• Sarah O'Kelley

The Joy of Entertaining


Discover wines from the Jura region of France especially the natural wines of Benjamin Benoit imported by Becky Wassermant. His Chardonnay and Ploussard are both amazing!

For better or worse I am the type of person who can bury themselves in work during tough times. I am quite good at putting my head down, accepting the circumstances, and simply surviving. Case in point: this past year :(


Of course, I am not pretending to have not had some total meltdowns -- fueled by fear, sadness, and anger at world events of Herculean proportions. However, I don’t think I really realized the sadness and mourned the loss of the simple things: time with friends, family gatherings, dinners out, etc.


As vaccines (and hope) became more readily available this spring we finally had time with fully vaccinated family from out of town. Upon their arrival ]we all had our first full blown outdoor dinner at a restaurant, complete with Champagne and a seafood tower, and I was truly giddy with the fun of the moment.


But for the remainder of their stay we spent nights at home. I remembered what it was like to choose multiple bottles of wine and set a pretty table and enjoy the fullness of an entire evening -- from cheese board to after dinner drinks.



South Carolina Shrimp cooked with turnip green and spring onions over Anson Mills yellow grits

Perhaps the most memorable evening centered around cooking shrimp and grits, which we hardly ever eat on our own but proves a necessity for family visiting from “the North”! I decided on a winter-meets-spring version as it was one of those surprisingly chilly March nights. Thankfully I had just the inspo I needed -- a plethora of spring onions and fresh turnip greens from the farmers market. A creamy but greens-heavy renditions of shrimp and grits sounded comforting and appropriately decadent for a celebratory dinner (celebrating life, of course).



And for wine? I had just the answer.


I had been saving my stash of our new Jura wines from Benjamin Benoit. I pulled out the Chardonnay to start and his Ploussard “La Ronde” to finish. I love treating friends and family to wines they might not normally think of (like this tiny Alpine region of France). And this was my first time experiencing the Benoit wines so it was truly exciting for all of us.


Perhaps it was the magic of the moment or the alignment of the stars but the wines truly sang. The Chardonnay was pure, mineral driven loveliness. And the Ploussard was the embodiment of red fruited, ethereal elegance.


My pre-pandemic self would honestly have felt the need to go into wine nerd stories about the region and the maker, but I was simply happy to be in that moment...to let the wines weave themselves into the fabric of the evening, complementing the food, and enhancing our joyous chatter.


Internally I felt myself finally lift my head from the grind of the past year and exhale. This was the life I had missed.



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