iOTA Cellars Chardonnay with Shrimp and Pea Risotto Milanese

Not Just Pinot Noir
Our friends at iOTA Cellars started out in the Eola-Amity Hills area of the Willamette Valley with Pinot Noir from their Pelos-Sandberg Vineyard. Over time, they decided to add Chardonnay vines to their estate plantings, and while they wait for their estate vines to mature enough to produce wine, they purchased grapes from their neighbors at Dukes Family Vineyards to dial-in their Chardonnay skills. A task they have mastered!

iOTA Cellars Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay

iOTA Cellars Chardonnay is made from neighbors’ grapes while they wait for their estate vines to mature

iOTA Cellars Eola-Amity Hills Chardonnay 2014 ($35 direct from winery)
Eye: Clear, medium lemon yellow
Nose: Clean, tropical fruit, pineapple comes first followed by ripe apples and pears. A touch of vanilla and cinnamon in the background from oak aging, but beautifully integrated.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ acidity, medium body, tropical fruit flavors as well as ripe pears and apples continue from the nose, medium+ finish. 100% delicious with our Shrimp and Pea risotto.

Important note: the 2016 vintage should produce the first iOTA Cellars estate grown Chardonnay. I can’t wait!

My Risotto Validation
Risotto is one of my favorite Friday night dinners. After a long week at work, I want something easy to cook, but delicious. Comfort food. One of my faves is risotto. Until just a few weeks ago, I thought Julie was just humoring me, allowing me to make risotto one of our regular dinners. I thought it was all for me. Just before leaving for China on a work trip I asked Julie what she wanted for dinner the night before I left. “How about risotto”? My jaw dropped! To show my thanks, I surrounded the dish with shrimp and peas, two of Julie’s favorites. And asparagus on the side.

iOTA Cellars Chardonnay with Shrimp and Pea Risotto Milanese at

Surprise – Julie suggested risotto!

Shrimp and Pea Risotto Milanese

My basic risotto recipe was originally adapted from: “A Passion for Piedmont” by Matt Kramer (of Wine Spectator).  Matt’s Piemonte cookbook is one of my favorite Italian cooking resources. Even though it’s out of print, you can easily pick one up used, well worth it!

It’s never too late to start mastering your risotto skills. Give it a try. No homemade stock? Use store-bought. One you get the hang of it, you’ll have a dish you can cook almost anywhere in almost any kitchen with only a few ingredients. It will become your cooking secret weapon!

Risotto Advice

  • Risotto is a simple dish, so one of the keys to success is to use the highest quality ingredients possible.  The stock is key, if you don’t make your own, use the highest quality stock you can find.
  • Use Vialone Nano, Carnaroli or Arborio rice, hopefully from the Po Valley (in the Piedmont)
  • Ratio: 1 ounce (weight) of raw rice to 1/2 cup of liquid
  • Risotto Milanese – as far as I can tell, Milanese risotto simply adds saffron to the risotto. It adds that rich yellow color and a nice subtle flavor

Ingredients (4 servings plus leftovers for Risotto Fritto!)

  • 8 oz. Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup white wine
  • 32 oz. chicken stock
  • 1 pinch of saffron, soaked briefly in 1/4 cup hot water
  • 1 Tbsp. olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 garlic clove minced finely

at the finish

  • 1 cup fresh spring peas
  • 1-2 Tbsp chopped flat leaf parsley
  • 2 oz. Parmigiano-Reggiano (use the real thing!) cheese, grated


  1. Start by bringing the stock up to a simmer, just under boiling.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a pot large enough to hold your finished risotto, add the onions and cook until they are translucent, just a few minutes.
  3. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 sec. to 1 minute.
  4. Add the rice and continue cooking until the rice becomes slightly glossy and translucent.  It will still be white in its center.  This will only take 3-4 minutes.
  5. Add the white wine and saffron (in its water) and stir.  Adjust the heat to keep the liquid at a gentle boil. Wait until the liquid is absorbed.
  6. After the liquid is absorbed, add a ladle of stock to the rice and stir.  You don’t need to stir constantly.  Some good advice: stir every time you take a sip of wine!
  7. Continue to add stock, 1 ladle at a time, allowing the liquid to be absorbed before adding another ladle.  All the stock will be absorbed in about 20-30 minutes, but you’ll want to judge by tasting the nearly finished rice.
  8. Fold in spring peas and parsley, heat through for just a minute or two
  9. Add the grated cheese, mix in. Serve!

Note: I purposely choose super simple additions to the risotto, as it takes a fair amount of attention and when the risotto is done you’ll want to serve it immediately. With this dish,  I fired up the gas grill and just briefly grilled the shrimp and asparagus at the tail end of the risotto prep.

iOTA Cellars Chardonnay pairs beautifully with shrimp and pea risotto milanese at

6 Responses to “iOTA Cellars Chardonnay with Shrimp and Pea Risotto Milanese”
  1. Jill Barth says:

    I love risotto – what a gorgeous pairing. Weekend meal idea!

  2. Lynne Pelos says:

    Whoa, looks delicious! It’s time for coffee & breakfast here, but I’m ready for dinner. Thanks for the shout out, Jeff. You are the best! I’ll check in with Don & Johanna on chard release…should be soon 🙂

  3. Lynn says:

    One lucky gal Julie is! Look forward to reading about iOTA Cellars. Most the Willamette Chardonnay I’ve tasted has been very nice. Seems the iOTA Chard is a winner!

  4. Sound like a wonderful bottle of Chard Jeff! And a great pairing too. Will keep an eye out for this producer, I think our palates have much in common! And it always great to get a rec from a palate you trust!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] evening. Risotto is an easy but elegant dish and well worth your time. Here’s a link to the Shrimp Risotto Milanese recipe I use. Risotto is a fun dish to master as it is very accommodating to all sorts of variations. Our […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: