- December 2013
- November 2013
- October 2013
- September 2013
- August 2013
- July 2013
- June 2013
- May 2013
- April 2013
- March 2013
- February 2013
- January 2013
- December 2012
- November 2012
- October 2012
- September 2012
- August 2012
- July 2012
- June 2012
- May 2012
- April 2012
- March 2012
- February 2012
- January 2012
- December 2011
- November 2011
- September 2011
- August 2011
- September 2010
- February 2010
- September 2009
- August 2009
- July 2009
- May 2009
- March 2009
Tag Archives: Wine Wednesdays
Wine is a big part of a holiday meal, which is one reason I love to design wine coasters and coolers. For Thanksgiving I like to serve both a red and a white wine to suit everyone’s preferences. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay are both perfect for Thanksgiving because they are food-friendly and can pair pretty well with all the various food and spices that make up the meal. I also like to highlight some really wonderful local vineyards.
- Hunter Hill Pinot Noir. This Santa Cruz, CA winery makes acclaimed Pinot Noirs with lots of deep berry fruit notes
- Alfaro Pinot Noir Also from Santa Cruz, this ruby red wine is always a hit.
- Testarosa Chardonnay These wines hailing from Central Coast California are rich, layered and a little bit exotic.
- Storrs Chardonnay This wine, made from fruit from the Santa Cruz mountains, is amazingly balanced and structured
- Talbott Vineyards Chardonnay This Monterey winemaker makes full-bodied and lushly classic Chardonnays.
With all of the celebrations happening this time of year — graduations, engagements, weddings — there are bound to be lots of reasons to open up some sparkling wine or Champagne. Here are some tips to get the most from your bottles:
Flute Vs. Coupe Vs. Tulip: The different glass shapes are largely a matter of personal preference: The long stem of the flute insures that you can drink the wine without warming it up through the heat from your hand. And the long bowl is designed to preserve the bubbles by reducing the surface area at the top. The tulip also has a long stem and narrow bowl, but boasts a tapered rim which helps emphasize the aromas. The coupe is the classic Champagne glass, designed in the 1600s. But even winery owners and winemakers use regular wine glasses sometimes for their sparkling wines. Use what works best for your table and overall design.
How to open bubbly like a pro: The goal is to gently ease the cork out. Popping the cork may be dramatic, but it also comes with a loss of wine, and nobody wants that!
• Remove the foil from around the cage.
• Tilt the bottle away from yourself — and anyone else — at a 45 degree angle.
• Place your thumb on top on top of the cork and twist the wire tab that encases the cork — it should take six twists to release the cage. Once you have started this, do not take your thumb off of the top of the cork — the pressure in the bottle can cause the cork to prematurely pop and fast. The pressure behind the cork is more than that of most car tires, at about 90 pounds per square inch. The cork can shoot out as fast as 50 miles per hour, and cause bruising or worse if it hits someone.
• Keep your hand on the neck and your thumb on the top of the cork. Use your other hand to twist the bottle from the bottom.
• Once you hear a little sigh, you can gently slide the cork out.
What temperature should your bubbly be? The ideal temperature is 42 degrees, but really, the temperature you like it best at is fine. To chill, one hour in the fridge is good. Or 20 minutes in a bucket of ice and water — adding a ¼ cup of salt to the water speeds up the chilling. And pour your glasses less than ½ full, and replenish often to keep bubbly at optimum temperature.
How much sparkling wine do you need?
• For a toast: one bottle for five to six glasses
• For a two-hour cocktail party or reception: one bottle for every three guests
• Paired with a meal: one bottle for every two people
We are very lucky to have winemaker, Denis Hoey, of Odonata Wines pairing with Wendy Brodie’s great food for our Platemaker’s Dinner tomorrow night. His small family winery is based on the west side of Santa Cruz. Denis produces great wines in limited amounts blending old-world winemaking techniques to create wines that are soft, supple, yet offer subtle complexity. His inspiration is the traditional French style of winemaking.
In his own words: “My desire is to create wines that are soft, supple, and with subtle complexity. Inspired from the traditional French style, these wines are designed to be food friendly. They are balanced in fruit, acidity, alcohol, and wood, with flavors and aromas that are cohesive with a lengthy finish. Odonata wines are made to be accessible now, but will also age beautifully. They will always be hand made in small batches to exemplify the unique qualities of the varietal and vineyard.”
These wines are designed to be food friendly. Odonata means “of the dragonfly family” and their Odonata River Skimmer is a truly unforgettable wine. And this will be an unforgettable night! There are just a few seats left. Get your tickets now
I like to talk about — and drink — the wines from my local region, not just to support local businesses, but also because the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation has a wine-growing tradition that goes back over 100 years and winemakers here are making some truly spectacular wines.
The Santa Cruz AVA — American Viticultural Area — runs pretty much along the fog line along the coast. The grapes grown here, including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel, Cabernet, and Merlot, reflect both the mountain terrain and the maritime influences of the Pacific Ocean and Monterey Bay on the west and San Francisco Bay to the north and the wines are known for their complexity, minerality and acidity.
The 70+ wineries in the region are mostly small and family-owned
and dotted along picturesque mountain roads. They are also all committed to sustainable agricultural practices. A wonderful holiday trip can be spent traveling along the various wine trails, visiting winemakers and tasting. Or you can come to our studios for Pours and Tours, where you can tour our studios to learn how we make our glass and then head into a tasting, where award winning local wines are available for tasting and purchase.
Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyards is considered one of the most innovative winemakers in America, and that’s just one of the reasons that I’m so excited that we will be pairing his wines with the foods of Chef Steve Wilson of Cafe Cruz at our next Platemakers Dinner.
Randall is a trailblazing winemaker and the president-for-life of Bonny Doon Vineyards, and he is an old friend of mine. The winery is based in Santa Cruz and was started by Randall in 1983. Bonny Doon was amongst the first Californian wineries to embrace Rhone varietals — Randall’s nickname was “The Rhone Ranger”. He produces such whimsically named wines as “Le Cigare Volante” and “Critique of Pure Riesling” — Randall had been enthralled to hear of the mayor of a town in France who outlawed flying saucers, in particular the ones shaped like flying cigars — hence the name Le Cigare Volant.
Randall is a big believer in terroir and that the grapes reflect the place that they are grown in and he has always wanted his wines to express that. Randall is also a believer in sustainable farming techniques. He has a biodynamic vineyard near Paso Robles and plans to expand.
His numerous awards and achievements are well deserved, among them the prestigious James Beard award. Randall is passionate, inspired and endlessly curious. I invite you to meet him and see for yourself at our next dinner July 25. An entertaining and talented man I am fortunate to have as a friend.www.bonnydoonvineyard.com