Monday, November 28, 2016

November 2016
CRAB Season in Sonoma County  

We love crab and our season usually starts right around thanksgiving. It is a common tradition for locals to celebrate the first of the crab season for thanksgiving before the turkey. We are right along with this tradition.

There are so many different ways to prepare crab and we love to try them all. Also very fun to pair different wines which we recommend.

Mat's favorite recipe is very popular, roast crab. We'll have it 4 or 5 times in the first few weeks before we start trying other's.

 Chilled crab with delish sauce ( mayo, meyer lemon, lemon zest ) great with Sauvignon blanc and Brut Rose'.
Roast crab ( recipes on the web site ) Crab lightly cooked tossed with chili flakes, garlic, thyme, fennel and olive oil. Pairs really well with Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and good Riesling. I would lean towards a pinot that is lighter with less earth notes, higher acid and bright fruits.
 Crab Timbale combines the crab with scallions, jalepeno, red pepper, avocado and mayo. We enjoy the Brut Rose' or Sancerre.

Tortilla chip with crab mix and guacamole paired with Chardonnay.

On this wonderful start to the 2016 season, Mat was invited to go out to off the coast at Bodega to catch crabs. This opportunity is such a thrill hauling the max per person, 10 Dungeness crabs.

A friend purchased an auction item at a local fundraiser for 15 live crabs which we agreed to co host the last Sunday.

What a delicious gift from our ocean.  A very social food, great to pair with many wines and so many great recipes to try. We will continue to search, taste and pair.

Friday, October 7, 2016

 Sept. 2016            

 Pinot, Pinot and more about Pinot

As we do for many months of each year, we discuss, taste and share a product of focus. Yes, this beautiful month of harvest we reflected on Pinot Noir.

Our first ever Library Tasting and Sale offered for a weekend in September and the following weekend , a sit down tasting of five vintages and food to pair.

The Library sale was a huge success as many of our fans don't have the room or experience with cellaring wine in hopes of a great return in flavor.
We offered ten wines from 2005, 2006, 2007 and the 2008 vintages. We had a wide range of favorites!
Some smaller lots sold out quickly and a few larger lots we still have some remaining. Nothing too much left as  we only hold back 10 cases each year and the amount gets dwindled away through the years.

So many of our guests were really thrilled to see a ten year old Pinot tasting so wonderful.

The Dinner the following weekend focused on all TNT Vineyard. We started with the 2006 to taste and then moved into all four vintages 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 with a five course pairing dinner.
2009 and 2012 wines come from a fairly warm vintage, the wines are still tasting full while the 2010 and 2011 vintages are  more on the elegant side.

We love curry with Pinot so, the first course the chef created a curry vegetable pizza with goat cheese. the 2010 TnT Pinot was the favored wine with the 2009 coming in 2nd.

Second course was a pasta with fresh wild mushrooms and a light gorgonzola sauce, surprisingly great with the wines. I was certain the boldest of the Pinot's would be best to cut through the richness but in fact the 2010 won the best pairing wine. ( sorry no photo )

Next up, classic Pinot pairing Duck Confit from our local farmer Liberty Farms. Rich and beautiful duck cook in it's own juices, so good with Pinot. The winner of this evening was the 2009.

 Pork Loin with a Pinot reduction sauce and Faro salad. Without the sauce this dish pairs with a lot of wines. But, the Pinot reduction brought the fruit component to match. The 2010, 2011 and 2012 were all favorites paired with this dish.

We finished the evening with a rare favorite that yes, does go with pinot. We discovered this years ago with our friends Ali and Jim. She is a great home baker and loves to perfect a recipe. Through a lot of taste testing we found the Russian Tea cookies filled with Raspberry jam pairs with Pinot. What a great way to finish a Pinot focused dinner.

The favorite dish of the evening was the Duck Confit and pasta with mushroom sauce second.
The favorite wine of the night was a tie between 2009 and 2010. This just reirates our constant need to taste and talk about what we're eating and drinking and pairing. It's just so much fun too!

Sunday, August 14, 2016

August 13, 2016

                               Celebrating the Gravenstein Apple

This month our featured food product is the Gravenstein Apple. What fun to see the trucks pass the tasting room with loads of these wonderful mostly green with red stripe fruits being transported.

The Annual Gravenstein Apple Fair falls on this weekend as well. A fun family fair full of apple opportunities, arts and music.

We here focus on foods that will pair with our wines. And we follow up by explaining what really did pair best from the groups evening of samples. The dishes prepared are all from the Farm Trails "Apple Cook Book ' which is a collection of recipes from the Fair's competitions over the years, the participating farmers and the Farm Trail team. A really nice collection of sweet and savory recipes.
We are featuring the savory....

#1 Belgian Endive stuffed with apple, goat cheese and walnuts. This was my personal favorite course, I will prepare this for a party or 1st course in the future. Light and flavorful, easy to make. A nice blend of ingredients placed in a endive cup. The wine pairings were really fun too, the winning pairing was our 2013 Chardonnay with Brut Rose' coming in second.

Chardonnay pulled chicken sliders with Gravenstein Apple slaw. What's not to love with this spicy and probably healthier that most sliders. The crunchy apple slaw makes it extra special.
We tasted four wines and unanimously our 2013 Bohemian Vineyard Pinot Noir won. All the wines were enjoyed with this course.

Apple Risotto, what a treat and unique dish. The risotto was made with apple juice instead of stock and chunks of apple. We discussed how great it would be as a side to grilled pork or seared scallops. The wine pairing was a real mix, the Gewurztraminer, Valdiguie and Pinot Noir were evenly enjoyed by the group. There was no single winner. That's not so common.

Braised Duck  with Apple and Cabbage, the favorite course of the evening and favored with our very special Bohemian Vineyard Pinot noir.

Filo Triangles with Gravenstein Chutney and Cheddar, also tried blue cheese. What a fun food and wine pairing! Both the Brut Rose' and the 2012 Syrah were fabulous! A great finish to a flavorful dining experience.

A special addition, our Forestville Bakery, Nightengale, Gravenstein Bread which is a special made only once a year. We all loved this savory bread and will be excited for it's return next August.

Any of these recipes can be requested but we will only add a couple of them to our recipe page.

The #1 take away was the versatility of the apple ingredient. The array of wines that worked. Another very nice food and wine learning experience.

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Saturday June 25th, 2016

Oyster Heaven Foodie Seminar

Definitely one of our favorite foods to prepare, eat and pair. So many different ways to cook these wonderful morsels and we did many.

400 oysters, 15 people, 2 shuckers and a lot of wine: makes for a very fun night of pairing.
We had 3 different mignonette's: Hogwash, Raspberry and Pink Peppercorn that was finished with our Brut Rose'.
Not surprising, the Brut Rose' wine was chosen best pairing and the Hogwash was the favorite with the pink peppercorn second.

On the grill BBQ oysters are amazing with wine, which wine was the winner?
Valdiguie, yes it was #1 pairing.
I recommend you try it. Next visit to Hog Island Farm take one with you!
We did grilled in the shell oysters with a garlic, butter, parsley and chardonnay sauce. The nightingale bread was so great to soak up the sauce! And the #1 pairing was Chardonnay. Our 2013 Chardonnay is elegant and bright with a delicate oak influence and a perfect food pairing due to the apparent acidity level and lower alcohol.

Chowdered, rich and creamy with plump poached oysters was next, I thought the Chardonnay would be the best pairing but preferred Brut Rose'. The group consensus was the Chardonnay, although it was a really mixed response. The RRV Pinot and Valdiguie were favored by many.

The next oyster prep was ' The Real Oysters Rockefeller ' from the Hog Island Oyster Lovers Cookbook. Scrumpcious and rich with no photo and favored by all with our 2012 Ruxton Pinot. It was a extra special treat that we had a Ruxton Family member at the table too!

Fried oyster is dessert for oyster lovers! Fullfilling does not describe these but after a meal of many oysters and a full belly, it is easy to finish with a few of these. We had 2 sauces, siracha mayo and a Meyer Lemon aioli, oh so good. No wine needed really but the Brut Rose' was pretty darn good to clean the palate!

At the end of this beautiful West Sonoma County warm Summer evening, the backyard and the fountain were a perfect closer. A little bit more Pinot Noir, stretch the legs and a great day done.

The chef needs a break, off to MI he goes until the next time.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

May / June 2016

France, The Farmhouse and our 10th Anniversary

Mat and I were married in 2006 and had planned to go to Burgundy for our honeymoon.
A combination of an expired passport, the craziness of organizing a wedding and the fact that all of our family was visiting from out of state, the honeymoon to Burgundy was postponed. Ten years later we made it.

Out of the 12 days away, eight were spent visiting Vineyards, Tasting out of barrel and new releases, visiting a Barrel production Facility and eating and drinking our way from Lyons to Dijon and back.

The markets were amazing of which we had a few meals from. Boulangerie's on almost every corner, a refreshing change from Starbucks. Paul Bocuse and Daniel Boloud's birth place of Lyons, it is the culinary capitol of France.

 The Vineyards are endless, not like Napa and Sonoma's huge single vineyards. These are all tiny plots, side by side with vines that are 40 - 80 years old.

Our favorite meals were a combination of cheese and charcuterie plates or Michelin rated Paul Bocuse. There were many simple peasant food meals and very little Foie Gras which was expected to be eaten daily.

A lot of amazing wine of course...

And returning home to one of our favorite Restaurants for our actual Anniversary dinner at the Farmhouse.

All beautifully paired by the Sommelier. An Anniversary to remember. Time for a diet.