Vino Las Vegas stopped in to Whole Foods Market for the launch of RAOs signature wines and met Rao’s New York celebrity owner, Frank Pellegrino Sr., managing partner at Rao’s Caesars Palace, Frank Pellegrino Jr., Executive Chef at Rao’s Caesars Palace Carla Pellegrino and the Rao’s winemakers Robert and Susan Summer. Guests had the unique opportunity to spend time with this legendary family while sampling wine from its just released signature label. Along with the winemakers, Rao’s Sommelier, Krista Rediske was on hand to answer questions, discuss tasting notes and suggest food pairings for these wines. Rao’s Executive Chef, Carla Pellegrino, created a few of her dishes and spoke about a few of her kitchen secrets as well.

Rao’s signature wines include the Napa Valley Chardonnay (2007), Napa Valley Merlot (2006) and California Cabernet Sauvignon (2006). Previously unavailable for retail purchase within the state of Nevada, these wines can now be purchased at Whole Foods Market As a compliment to any number of the Rao’s specialty foods line, or with meals made from scratch, these food-friendly wines are a great way to recreate the Rao’s experience at home.

RAOs 2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay features grapes sourced from the Jamieson Canyon region of Napa Valley. Having nine months in oak barrels this Chardonnay has classic toasty notes with green apple and pear on the nose and palate with a smooth finish.

RAOs 2006 Napa Valley Merlot was a real treat. On the nose, this Merlot has aromas of black cherry , bakers chocolate and earth that come through on the palate with hints of earth and ripe tannins with a long lingering finish.

RAOs 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon lived up to what we would expect from a
California Cabernet. On the nose aromas of Tobacco , currant and a slight hint of mint come through and are balanced on the palate with some spice . Eighteen months in oak barrels adds to the complexity of this nicely balanced wine with a long finish and smooth tannins

John and Susan Summer have done a great jobs with these wines from their Strawberry Ridge winery. All three of them are very well balanced and should do very well at Whole Foods Market.

It is always a pleasure to sample Chef Carla Pellegrino's creations.
RAOs is a legendary restaurant and her dishes are creative and well known throughout the world. Guests that attended the RAOS signature wine launch also had the extra bonus of seeing Chef Carla create some delicious , basic dishes that even amateurs could make look and taste like a gourmet meal.

Join VINO LAS VEGAS as we enjoy these great new signature wines, sample some great dishes and visit with Chef Carla Pellegrino

Chef Thomas Keller celebrates his first Las Vegas book signing of his new book " Under Pressure " at Bouchon in the Venetian

Thomas Keller, chef / owner of Bouchon and Bouchon Bakery stopped in Las Vegas, to celebrate his first Las Vegas signing for his latest cookbook “UNDER PRESSURE: Cooking Sous Vide” at Bouchon in The Venetian Resort-Hotel-Casino.

The evening attracted over 160 guests, which included an a wide array of VIP’s, culinary aficionados and the current Miss America 2009 Katie Stam. In addition to a Question and Answer session , attendees were offered an opportunity to speak with Chef Keller and participate in an informative discussion on modern culinary techniques. He also signed copies of the book and participated in photos.

Chef Keller's new book "Under Pressure" is written for Chefs but even novices can learn from who many consider the greatest American Chef.

Chef Keller uses a method of cooking food called " Sous Vide". Sous vide is French for "under vacuum" and describes a method of cooking in vacuum sealed plastic pouches at low temperatures for long times. With the proper equipment and some basic knowledge, anyone can prepare consistently delicious and safe food. With more advanced knowledge, a chef can safely create (or modify) recipes to realize their unique vision.

The Cuisineist
Takes a very detailed look at the techniques of Sous Vide cooking and its history, As well as some very important precautions that need to be taken.

We have visited Bouchon in Las Vegas on numerous occasions and must say, we have never been disappointed. Chef Keller's techniques and influence can been seen everywhere from the decor , food and service.

Please visit Our sister site , The Cuisineist for the unique opportunity to spend a few minuets with Chef Keller and talk about his book, Sous Vide cooking , his thoughts about Las Vegas dining and advice to young Chefs.

You can purchase Chef Keller's new book " Under Pressure " in the VINO LAS VEGAS Store for your convenience.

Botl'z Bistro goes down under with a South African Wine Dinner featuring Van Loveren Wines and a very special guest from South Africa

We have dined many places but have never enjoyed authentic South African fair. Botl'z Bistro in Las Vegas steps up to the plate with monthly wine dinners and this month was South Africa . We jumped at the chance to have South Africa come to us.

The event was hosted by Kristen Kruger of 4Winesplusmore and South African, Jeremy Wilkenson, who is known worldwide for finding excellent boutique wines.


Chick Pea and Ocra Fry with Coconut Chapatis
Papillon Sparking White Wine, NV South Africa

This was our first experience with a South African Dish and we were pleased. The dish was well balanced with a nice Coconut Chapatis for added sweetness. The Papillon Sparkling White, a blend of Sauvgnon Blanc 30% , Colombard 70% provided aromas of Peach, grass and tropical fruit on the nose. The palate continued through with crispness and a just-dry finish.


Traditional South African Cape Kidgeree
Van Loveren Estate Chardonnay 2006, South Africa

This dish was perhaps the most interesting of the night. Its very light texture paired well with the Van Loveren Chardonnay with its citrus character. This unwooded Chardonnay provided a dry citrus palate moving into a gentle long smooth finish.


Cameroon Suya with Bean & Gari Loaf
Van Loveren River Red Meritage , South Africa

We were anxious to try the first meat dish . The Cameroon Suya provided a light game touch to this great authentic dish. The Van Loveren River Red , an unwooded blend of Shriaz 50% , Ruby Cabernet 20% and Merlot 30% was the best pairing of the evening. There was an upfront blast of fruit and berries on the nose and a palate that was light and smooth with soft tannins and a lingering finish.


Beignets de Bananas

Van Loveren
Pink Lady, Blanc de Noir Muscadell ,2005 South Africa

This dessert was one to be remembered. The Bananas prepared in this classic way were amazing The pairing of the Van Loveren Pink Lady Blanc de Noir Muscadall was a total marriage with the dish. This wonderful wine is at its peak and showed. In the glass , its color was almost rust like with a nose of strawberries and fruit coming through on the palate with a long finish. The label , which we don't normally speak about is memorable with a long stem rose running the length of the bottle.

Botl'z Bistro did a great job with this unique dinner. Jeremy Wilkenson took the guests on a journey through the wines like only a native can do. These monthly wine dinners are becoming well known and we look forward to a journey to New Zealand with Wild Rock Winery in July. For reservations and information on Botl'z Bistro call 702-804-2685.

If a trip to South Africa with Jeremy himself is something you want to experience or more more information on the wines please go to .

Via Brasil does it up right with their first South American Wine Dinner in Summerlin

We have had the pleasure of dinning at Via Brasil in the past. The food is always amazing and one can make a meal just out of the salad bar. On this occasion we attended their first wine dinner to get the summer started out right with of course some great South American wines.

Sommelier Jean Ricardo had is work cut out for him when considering the wine pairings. With over 18 meat dishes carved table side and the salad bar with sushi and other items would not be an easy task.

We entered and headed for their beautiful bar. Sommelier Jean Ricardo was very gracious and greeted the guests with a lovely Aperitif. Santa Julia , NV Pinot Noir Sparkling was a great way to start things off.
Its elegant Pink color led into a bouquet of red fruit and the expected cherry from the Pinot Noir. On the palate flavors of fresh fruit gave way to a nice balance and long finish.

We started out with a trip to the salad bar and some sushi but kept it kind of light as we knew what was in store for us when the parade of meat would begin. With this first course , Jean Ricardo chose Tamari Torrontes 2007. Torrontes is a white varietal that comes from the Fatima Valley in La Rioja, Argentina . In the glass its showed with yellow/green hues and medium bodied. The Nose exploded with hints of Jasmine and Roses leading to intense flavors of fruit and a long finish.

We flipped our cards to GREEN and the meat parade of Rib Eye, Prime Rib and Suckling Pig began. The second wine was an Argentinean classic. The Zuccardi Q Malbec 2006 Mendoza was a great way to get started with these great cuts of meat. Argentina is considerd the home of Malbec and can take the hot summer temperatures. The best of the Malbecs are deep red , almost inky with lots of dark fruit and soft tannins. This Zuccardi Q 2006 met all of those standards with deep violet and purple hues in the glass. The nose gave us hints of intense ripe fruit , plum , tobacco, vanilla and cassis. On the palate these aromas came through very big and bold with a long finish

Whenever we visit Via Brasil we never think we would have room for desert , BUT a mention of their great Flan and Creme Brulee is a weakness. The last wine of the evening was Concha Y Toro Late Harvest 2005 Sauvignon Blanc 95% Riesling 5%. This wine is from the Maule Valley which has an ancient history of wine making. The sun shines in the Chilean Central Valley over 300 days a year. In the glass this late harvest was golden yellow and a nose of ripe fruit and honey. The palate was very pleasing with flavors of honey and some citrus on the back with a nice finish. The pairing of this Concha Y Toro was a home run.

This South American wine dinner was a great success. Where else would you want to be for a dinner paired with these wines rather than Via Brasil ? Sommelier Jean Ricardo had a difficult task to pair wines with the wide variety of their extensive menu of meats. He succeeded beyond our expectations. For more about Via Brasil's upcoming events , visit

Join Scott from Vino Las Vegas as he joins Sommelier Jean Ricardo in the wine cellar to talk about the wine pairings and Via Brasil after the dinner

The PALAZZO has a new FIRST ! Join VINO LAS VEGAS as we take a look at opening night

Remember the neighborhood bar just down the street ? casual , friendly great food that is creative but yet simple ? Those memorable burgers and fries that you can still taste even today ? Las Vegas has always been known for firsts but now inside The Shoppes at The Palazzo, a new FIRST has been born . FIRST Food & Bar has opened and from what we saw , and tasted will be a very big hit.

The trio of Chef Sam DeMarco, Jon Newton VP of VV Ventures and Tommy Nally of VV Ventures combined their many years of restaurant experience from all over the world to create FIRST , described as having an Industrial & Urban decor. The high, open ceilings and the tribal tattoo imagery embedded in the floor reflects its an industrial urban design.

FIRST will be a regular stop for us no matter what time of day or night. For a deatiled look at FIRST FOOD AND BAR in the Palazzo go to THE CUISINEIST
and experience the energy of opening night and meet the Chef and owners of this very unique culinary venue

The Venetian/Palazzo and Iron Chef Mario Batali team up , go Green and make history

Celebrity Chef Mario Batali celebrated the Green Restaurant™ Association certification of his three restaurants: Carnevino at The Palazzo and B&B Ristorante and Enoteca San Marco at The Venetian by bringing the first-ever Farmer’s Market to The Palazzo. “Bet on the Farm: Sustainable Food and Wine” welcomed local green farmers to The Palazzo. On display were be fresh and sustainable produce such as tomatoes, cucumbers, and honey .

Many people who visit Nevada assume it is an arid desert and incapable of producing any types of produce. The Palazzo's waterfall atrium was the scene of the Palazzo's first ever Farmers Market. Seven local farmers showed off what southern Nevada can produce. Items such as quail , chicken, duck ,eggs, apricots , peaches , figs , tomatoes , honey ,strawberries , raspberries and blueberries were located throughout the atrium area to sample this sustainable produce and products.

For a very in-depth look at the World's Largest Green Building , Chef Mario Batali's three Green Restaurants and the Palazzo's first Farmers Market go to our Premiere Culinary site ,

to see history in the making

Bledsoe Family Winery Opens Its Walla Walla Winery At The Box Factory Location.

Not long-ago Drew Bledsoe was throwing touchdowns in the NFL. Shortly after his retirement in 2007,  they planted their first vineyard. ...

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