The Wine Rx


Hello, my wine friends!Red Wine Grapes

I’m delighted to launch the first in a series of my new Wine Rx column. It’s designed to ‘prescribe’ just the right wine for your special occasion, your night out or just to stock in your cellar. I enjoy sharing my wine knowledge with you and hope I can be of service to you.

Next time you’re cooking a special meal for your anniversary, making dinner for your college girlfriends or planning what to order at a restaurant dinner in advance, please chime in here and send me a question or query. I’ve amassed quite a repertoire of wine knowledge and exposure and think this is the best use of it all.

So, as an opener, I had a friend send me a request on Twitter @TheWineMagnet, which I’ll share with you…



I have a special group of friends coming in town this month and I plan to make a special dish that we’ve all cooked together before. It’s a braised chicken but there are prunes and pine-nuts also in it so I’m not clear what kind of wine to serve with it. Also, we’ll be having a goat cheese spread as a starter – what’s good with that? I know you’ll come up with a good one – thanks, as always, for helping me survive the wine aisle!

My Wine Rx…

What a great challenge and delicious sounding dish! Must be exciting to have good friends around a table for such a delicious sounding meal. Here’s what I’m thinking:

For the starter, you have the tang and creaminess of goat cheese. My favorite wine with just about anything involving goat cheese is a nice crisp, tropical white wine. You’ll want one with good acidity since the goat cheese is rich and the wine will cleanse your palate after each bit. I’d go with the following – or whatever is similar at your local wine shop.

New Zealred wine and olivesand; A juicy Sauvignon Blanc. These NZ Sauv Blanc pop with wonderful citrus-like acidity, often with lovely hints of grapefruit, mango and lush passionfruit, often with a hint of gooseberry. The bright fruit flavors, the modestly high acidity and the slightly lower alcohol level of these wines make them superb with starters like this. Here are a few brands I’m fond of:


Omaka Springs Sauvignon Blanc

Cloudy Bay 

Lake Chalice




As for the chicken dish…ah, the prunes! This changes everything. Whenever you have a fruity element to a meat dish, even poultry, it gives you the freedom to go with a slightly fruitier and often fuller bodied wine. In this vein, I’d probably stick to a Pinot Noir, but likely one from the New World such as Russian River Valley, Santa Barbara or even the Willamette Valley, Oregon. I’d stay away from a French Burgundy, as it may not hold up with it’s lighter body. There are endless Pinots I’d recommend, but here are just a few suggestions. (Notice I don’t list vintages since they change so often. I don’t want to limit your choices)…

Au Bon ClimatFlowers Sonoma Coast Winery

Native9 Vineyards Rancho Ontiveros Vineyard

Bergstrom Vineyards

Ken Wright Cellars

Flowers Sonoma Coast 

Enjoy the selections, and please keep in touch. Let me know what you chose and how your guests liked (loved it!).

Please send your questions, comments, et cetera. I’d love to hear from you, especially as the holidays are approaching.


About Laura Levy Shatkin

Laura Levy Shatkin served for 10 years as food and wine critic for the Chicago Reader. Later, she became an Emmy-nominated executive producer for Taste, a 30-minute food and wine show on NBC-5 Chicago, which later merged into, where Ms. Levy is a partner/owner. Today, she teaches private wine classes and hosts wine parties for consumers and firms, and continues to tell the video stories of wine, girlfriends and wine travel on her TCW blog, Wine…ing Women.