Mountain Views News, Combined Edition Saturday, February 10, 2024

MVNews this week:  Page 8



Mountain View News Saturday, February 10, 2024 


I’m Gustavo Lira, Tasting Room Manager 
and Wine Buyer at The Bottle Shop in 
Sierra Madre with another wine and spirits 
selection. (And a bit of Black History you 
may not have known!))

There’s a fascinating story behind the 
Uncle Nearest Premium Whiskey – this 
country’s best-selling Black-owned spirit 
brand, the fastest-growing American 
whiskey brand in U.S. history, and most 
awarded bourbon and American whiskey 
of 2019, 2020, and 2021. 

Fawn Weaver founded Uncle Nearest 
in 2016 after reading a New York Times 
article about a former slave named 
Nathan Green aka “Uncle Nearest.” Her 
subsequent research with the help of 
about 20 others concluded that Green was the first master distiller for Jasper “Jack” 
Daniel’s distillery. 

However, it was the accompanying photo that really grabbed her attention. The 
photo showed Jack Daniel and his entire all white team - except for a single black 
man, George Green, son of Nathan Green – who was in the center of the photo. 
Further research uncovered that Nathan Green taught Jack Daniel how to make 
whiskey, and when Jack purchased his own distillery, he hired Nathan to be his first 
master distiller. 

Nathan utilized and perfected the Lincoln County Process – a means of charcoal 
filtering whiskey through sugar maple timbers – which gives whiskey its smooth 
profile along with a maple-sweet flavor. All of this occurred in the 19th century 
shortly after slavery ended in this country - Jack Daniel and Nathan Green worked 
together with Nathan acting as Jack’s mentor and master distiller - which makes this 
story even more remarkable. 

Today, Uncle Nearest Whiskey’s master blender is Victoria Eady Butler – the 
first Black female master blender in American Whiskey – and the great-great-
granddaughter of Nathan Green. To further promote diversity in the American 
whiskey industry, Uncle Nearest and Jack Daniel’s created the Nearest and Jack 
Advancement Initiative which created programs for apprenticeships and other 
programs that boost Black entrepreneurship in the industry. Fawn Weaver also 
founded the Nearest Green Foundation, a nonprofit organization offering college 
scholarships to Nearest Green’s descendants. 

This is one of the most remarkable stories behind a brand that I’ve come across in a 
while – a brand that deserves your attention and support.

The Bottle Shop has the following Uncle Nearest Whiskey available: Uncle Nearest 
1856 Premium Whiskey $59.99, Uncle Nearest Rye Straight Rye Whiskey $64.99, 
and Uncle Nearest 1884 Small Batch Whiskey $44.99.

Until next time – Salud!


Saturday February 10th Spotlight on 
Stolpman Vineyards; 

Thursday & Friday February 15 & 16 Husband 
& Wife Winemakers.

Subscribe to The Bottle Shop newsletter and stay informed on our weekly wine 
tasting, beer tasting, and special winemaker events. 


The pride of Pasadena, John Mathues got to me just in time, asking for suggestions for wine 
to pair with Valentine’s Day. John tells me that he is a big Chardonnay fan. He’s looking for 
something reasonable in the $30 range.

I’ve got the answer, Frank Family Chardonnay

Not only will this Napa gem be a perfect Valentine’s Day gift, it’s a wine that drinks so well with 
any entrees that you might have planned to cook that day, heck even the desserts.

John asked me to describe the wine that I picked for him. This wine is truly the gem of the 
Carneros region, brimming with Meyer lemon, yellow apple and note of butterscotch. The first 
taste is a delight, and if you have been following my columns, you know I don’t swirl -- I go 
for a complete taste. There’s no need to let this chardonnay sit; it ‘s ready to enjoy with your 
Valentine’s Day sweetie right after opening. This is an absolute favorite of mine, and one of the 
best chardonnays that I have tasted at any price. It’s available at VONS Pasadena for $28, there is 
catch this price is part of their one-day sale on this Thursday the 8th of February.

I give it a score of 95 out of 100, I haven’t been let down once no matter the vintage. I would call 
this chardonnay crisp, opposed to buttery or oaky.

A bit more

Frank Family has consistently recognized as a premier wineries in Napa and though I haven’t 
been there, Sunset magazine gave it “Best tasting experience for 2023”!!

Email Peter at and follow me on Twitter @KINGOFCUISINE


Get Your Valentine Chicken & 

Baked Mac & Cheese Bites

From The Neeley's On The Food Network

Baked Mac and Cheese Bites

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr

Prep: 10 min

Cook: 10 min

Yield: 48 Bites


1 pound small elbow pasta

3 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 small onion, minced

2 garlic cloves, minced

¼ cup all-purpose flour

2½ cups whole milk

¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper (optional)

Salt and freshly ground black pepper

2 cups grated white cheddar cheese

2 cups grated yellow cheddar cheese, divided


1. Preheat the oven to 375°F. Grease two mini-
muffin pans with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add 
the elbow pasta and cook according to the package 
instructions, about 7 to 9 minutes. Drain.

3. In a large pot, melt the butter over medium heat. 
Add the onion and sauté until translucent, 4 to 5 
minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 
minute more.

4. Sprinkle the flour into the pot and stir to combine. 
Cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.

5. Add the milk and whisk well to combine. Bring 
the mixture to a simmer over medium-low heat, 
stirring occasionally.

6. Season the sauce with the cayenne pepper (if 
using), salt and pepper. Remove the pot from the 
heat and stir in the white cheddar and 1½ cups of 
the yellow cheddar. Stir until the mixture is melted.

7. Stir in the cooked pasta and mix until it is evenly 
coated with the sauce. Scoop 1½ to 2 tablespoons 
of the mac-and-cheese mixture into each cavity of 
the prepared pans.

8. Sprinkle a few pieces of yellow cheddar on top 
of each mac-and-cheese bite and then transfer the 
pans to the oven. Bake until the cheese is melted 
and the bites become golden, 17 to 20 minutes.

9. Let the bites cool for 15 minutes before unmolding 
and serving. Serve hot or at room temperature. 

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the 
refrigerator for up to two days.

Get Your Valentine Chicken 

Level: Easy

Total: 1 hr 3 min

Prep: 8 min

Cook: 55 min

Yield: 4 to 6 servings


2 tablespoons olive oil

6 chicken thighs, skinless

1 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon pepper

1 medium onion, sliced

1 cup chicken stock

1/2 cup white wine

One 14.5-ounce can crushed tomatoes in 

1 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 tablespoon dried rosemary

1 tablespoon lemon-pepper

Hot buttered rice

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves


1. Heat the oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium 
high heat.

2. Pat chicken dry with a paper towel and season 
with saltand pepper. Brown the chicken, meat-side 
down first,and turning once, about 4 minutes on 
each side. Transfer to a plate to reserve.

3. Pour off all but 1 tablespoon of oil from the pan.

4. Add onion to the pan and saute until tender, 
roughly 3 minutes. Add the stock and wineand 
stir, scrapping any brown bits off the bottom of the 
pan. Turn heat to high andreduce by half, about 
3 minutes. Pour in the crushed tomatoes and 
add the dried herbs andlemon pepper. Add the 
chicken thighs back into the pan. Coverand cook 
on medium-lowheat for 40 minutes.

5. Remove chicken from liquid and serve on hot 
buttered rice. Ladle the sauce on top andgarnish 
with fresh chopped parsley.

626.253.1323suecookrealtor@gmail.comDRE02015404Real Estate Cooked to Perfection!
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