Top Pick Of The Week

August 9, 2005

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Vino de Milo
With six marvelous tomato sauces from Vino de Milo, we may give up making our own. Here, goat cheese and Mediterranean Pinot Grigio sauce fill a miniature phyllo cup topped with a black olive. This bite-size hors d’oeuvre is ready in 5 minutes.

Vino de Milo Tomato Sauce & Simmer Sauce: Sauce Au Vin

CAPSULE REPORT: Our mother is a great Italian cook, and we are no slouch.  We rarely dine at Southern Italian restaurants: we make better sauces than we have been served at most of them. When we don’t have time to whip up a batch, Emeril and Mario make a good mass-marketed product.

It was thus with greatest pleasure that we discovered Vino de Milo, a new line of gourmet tomato sauces for pasta. But far beyond “gourmet spaghetti sauce,” it also makes great meat, poultry and vegetable dishes—plus omelets, hors d’oeuvres and more. The collection hits the trifecta: great concept, top quality and nice packaging (which we like because it’s wonderful for gift-giving, to cooks and non-cooks alike). It’s also low-calorie and low-carb—a gourmet delight. Read the full review below.



The Vino de Milo line of six different sauces start with diced tomatoes, onions, vegetable stock, olive oil, and fresh cilantro (if you’re not cilantro fan, have no fear: it’s not a top note) and then add wine—the vino of Vino de Milo. (Milo is the middle name passed down through generations of the owner’s family, whose business is Milo’s Whole World Gourmet.) The line is 100% natural, vegetarian, vegan, diabetic-friendly, wheat-free, dairy-free, gluten free, low-carb, low-fat, low-cholesterol and low-calorie. Most of the sauces are just 45 calories per 4-ounce serving—amazing, but when you cram a multitude of healthy vegetables and herbs into your products to achieve flavor instead of sugar (there are no added sweeteners), it creates a low-cal taste sensation. They veggies also give the sauces great texture, an elegant chunkiness. You could pass them off as your own homemade—and we may give some thought to that as the occasion demands.

The sauces are so good, we enjoyed eating them straight from the jar when revisiting them for this review. If they were served at a fine Italian restaurant, that restaurant would be acclaimed for its sauces. That the name also alludes to a great masterpiece that symbolizes beauty and perfection did not escape our notice.

Regarding the wines: the sauces are made with, variously, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Pinot Grigio, Pinot Noir, and Shiraz. They add subtle flavorings to the blend. You won’t particularly notice the wine—you just know that it’s there, adding the complex profusion of flavors. If you’re serving it to people who can’t or don’t drink alcoholic beverages, know that all of the alcohol evaporates in the initial creation of the sauce.

Vino de Milo Sauce Varieties: Much More Than “Pasta Sauce”

It is easy to think of a line of tomato sauces as “pasta sauces”—and we did use each of the six to create a different splendid pasta dish. In actuality, half of the line is meant for pasta and half are simmer sauces. However you choose to use them—if you can’t decide, there are quite a few tasty recipes on the website and in a separate Cooking With Milo recipe book—you can’t go wrong.


The Venus de Milo, which resides in the Louvre, is believed to depict Aphrodite, the Greek goddess of Love (called Venus by the Romans). She was found on the Aegean island of Melos (a.k.a. Milo) in 1820. A fragment of forearm and hand with an apple were found nearby. So, Venus was a foodie.

The Gourmet Sauce (a.k.a. pasta sauce) group is a lifesaver for those who like complex, full-flavored sauces but don’t have the time or inclination to make them. These are sauces that even our mother, Il Critico, would be hard-pressed to critique.

  • Mediterranean Pinot Grigio is a gorgeous sauce with big pieces of artichoke hearts, capers, black and green olives, accented with fresh herbs and Pinot Grigio. We enjoyed it with both plain and fancy pastas: paired with good ravioli it creates an explosion of flavor. It works beautifully with chicken, veal or eggplant; with couscous and other grains; and for hors d’oeuvres, it makes dips and the goat cheese and phyllo bites in the photo at the top of the page.
  • Portobello Shiraz is a hearty sauce with large chunks of sautéed portobello mushrooms, diced onions, tomato paste, fresh herbs and hearty Shiraz. It is superb atop pork chops or on meaty fish such as tuna or swordfish. Toss it with fettuccini for a quick gourmet dinner. Or, use it in robust recipes like beef stroganoff, bruschetta, lasagna, and meatloaf. Opportunities with vegetables include zucchini parmesan, stuffed portobello mushroom caps, and tofu. The portobellos in the sauce give it heft that most other mushroom sauces lack.
  • Tuscan Merlot unites roasted zucchini, yellow squash and eggplant with diced tomatoes in a brawny sauce, accentuated by Merlot and lots of fresh basil, oregano, garlic, and parsley. Wonderful on pasta any form of pasta, it is also excellent on steak, lamb, and poached salmon. Use it to make bruschetta, panini, pizza, and lasagna—it’s a classic.
Mediterranean Pinot Grigio Linguini tuscan merlot bruschetta
Mediterranean Pinot Grigio Alp Dip. Any of the sauces pairs beautifully with pasta. Portobello Shiraz Spinach-Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Cap.

Simmer Sauces

The pasta sauces are undeniably Italian in heritage. The Simmer Sauces move to points beyond, namely Africa and India. Simmer Sauces are perhaps not fairly-named: you can do so much more with them than simmer meats and vegetables. We enjoyed them immensely on pastas and rice as well—exotic flavorings for those who see red sauce for pasta as Italian in flavoring, but a delight for those who love fusion cuisine.

  • North African Pinot Noir. It's unusual to find spices like cumin, cinnamon, ginger, red pepper flakes and turmeric in a tomato sauce. That’s what makes this sauce so special—the Pinot Noir is icing on the cake. Use it for chicken or lamb tagines and Asian-marinated pork, or simmer the sauce in a frying pan and poach breakfast eggs on the heated sauce. We paired North African Pinot Noir, and then its spicy brother, with egg noodles and loved the rich and exotic result.
  • North African Pinot Noir—Spicy ramps up the ginger, pepper, turmeric and red pepper flakes and adds cayenne pepper. It’s not overly spicy: the individual flavors are clear and not overtaken by “heat.” As with the rest of the line, it’s just right.
  • Bombay Cabernet is the most exotic sauce, pairing curry, chickpeas and tomatoes. It’s exciting! The hearty sauce is packed with eggplant, onion, mushrooms, yellow squash, zucchini, garlic, herbs and spices, and accented with Cabernet Sauvignon. It soars on saffron pasta, couscous, polenta, brown rice and steamed vegetables. Onsite recipes use it to create crusted filet mignon, eggplant gratin, shrimp pizza, and stuffed pork loin.
tagine Shrimp pizza Pork Loin
North African Pinot Noir Lamb Tagine. Bombay Cabernet Shrimp Pizza. Bombay Cabernet Pork Loin.

Gift Kits

Vino de Milo helps solve gift dilemmas—who doesn’t love pasta?—with several attractively-boxed gift sets. The Love Kit sets a romantic evening for two with sauce, pasta, a Chocolove chocolate bar, and Succulent Sundays bath salts and “lotion candle”—the wax becomes warm massage oil. The Get Well Kit has an easy-to-prepare dinner with sauce and specialty pasta, plus herbal sage tea. The Hostess Kit includes a pasta dinner kit for four and fours wine glass charms. All gifts include the Cooking with Milo recipe book. These user-friendy folks even have an automated gift reminder service.

Gift Set
recipe book
The Italian Box I includes all three pasta sauces, Milo’s recipe book, and four wine glass charms.
Cooking with Milo has easy, delicious recipes for all six sauces.

Milo’s donates up to 10% of its post-tax profits to groups working to promote social and economic justice worldwide. The Venus de Milo would be pleased with these saucy namesakes.

—Karen Hochman

Updated April 2008


FORWARD THIS NIBBLE to your pasta-loving friends, favorite cooks, to people who like exotic tastes and to everyone who needs a good gift idea.

Gourmet Sauces

Gourmet Sauces.

Simmer Sauces

Simmer Sauces.For yourself or for gifts—they’re
all delicious.


GOURMET SAUCES: Mediterranean Pinot Grigio,
Portobello Shiraz, Tuscan Merlot
Bombay Cabernet, North
African Pinot Noir, North African Pinot Noir—Spicy

  • Gourmet Sauces: 25-Ounce Jars
  • Simmer Sauces: 13-Ounce Jars
  • Discounts for 12 or More Jars:
  • Gift Boxes
    $21.95 to $45.00

Purchase online at

Prices and flavor availability are verified at publication but are subject to change. Shipping is additional.


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