Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Harvest Lunch at Bohemian Vineyard                                                 October 21, 2018

Mat & I have talked about doing a 'lunch in the Vineyard' for a few years. When Tom and Sue Cleary who own Bohemian Vineyard offered us their property for an event, we scheduled it immediately.

We've also talked about having Matt Masera, incredibly talented chef that is part of our Ruxton Vineyard Family, do an event with us. After a few texts and phone calls, the date worked for his busy schedule and thus the Event was born.

Winding down the harvest is pleasant. Knowing that the hard work of crush is mostly over, we start celebrating. A perfect celebration is a lunch in the vineyard three days after it was picked. Great food, beautiful three vintage vertical of wine and a sold out crowd. And of course perfect Fall weather!

The view from the deck is such a perfect perspective of the property. We decided to welcome our guests with 2017 Gewurz, Gougeres hot out of the oven and this view.

One of my favorite bites ever - gougeres, topped with pear butter, dried prosciutto and shaved Vella Dry Jack cheese. What a yummy treat.

We tasted the 3 vintages of Bohemian on the deck before any additional food influences. And then continued to taste all three Pinot Noir's with lunch.
2013, 2014 and 2015 Bohemian Vineyard Pinot Noir, none currently available to taste at the Tasting Room.

A really great intro from Tom about his family purchasing land in Freestone in 1943 and his property in 1983. I joke that they own half of Freestone. This is not a fact but Freestone is small and the Family have a really nice amount of acres.

Next we head out to sit in the vineyard. Feet from the home is this....
                        Chef Matt busy prepping with his beautiful wife Dana assisting him.
 Keeping it simple. Off site events are a lot of work so using recycle bamboo plates and paper napkins helps with the load in and out.

~ Salad  is served
 Farro, Apple, arugula, burrata, radish, celery, pecans
                 Carrots the color of the leaves turning.
And then the same carrots dressed with fresh chevre, pistachio and shaved purple carrot

 Slow roasted brick chicken, harissa cous cous and herbs. Photos do not do this justice!

We couldn't have had a more perfect day to be enjoying and celebrating harvest. We finished with an Apple dessert - Apple cider cake with confit Apple, whipped creme fraiche, chervil.

                  The chef explaining the menu and telling his story.
The afternoon ended with words of 'perfection ', 'what a treat' , 'please do this again'. Which means... yes, we will do this again. We will try to offer a June "pre harvest lunch" at Ruxton Ranch and a repeat of Bohemian Vineyard in the Fall.


Friday, October 19, 2018

                      HARVEST 2018

       Leading into harvest is exciting, exhilarating and scary with so many questions unanswered. How will the weather
       patterns this far affect the fruit and will it maintain cool? hot? Foggy?

       The 2018 harvest has been a great one! Mat ranks it 8 out of 10.
       Exceptional quality, low but not scary low yields and OMG this will a great vintage to remember and purchase.

       We started purchasing Gewurztraminer in 2014, Mat's love of the grape drove this decision. This vintage was picked
       on Sept. 4th, our first fruit of the season. And so it begins....


                   Ruxton vineyard picked on Friday Sept. 7th. This vineyard location is our highest elevation and often above
                       the fog as seen in this photo. The longest hours of sun exposure lends to it's earlier ripening,
                Tiny clusters are perfect for producing high quality pinot as seen is this picture from the Ruxton pick.


                   TNT Vineyard picked in the wee hours of the morning on Friday Sept. 14th, coming in to the crush pad 
                    by 9 a.m.

           Great news that we found some Pinot Noir for Rose', which was picked Sept. 19th. 

           Two of the last four harvests we were unable to produce a Rose'. Mat saw an opportunity to purchase some Pinot 
            from a vineyard on Laguna Road. We bought just enough to produce about 150 cases. Look for it earlier Spring  

Our first Grenache grapes picked Sept. 25th from the same vineyard we purchase our viognier from.

We have been purchasing Cab Franc from Bill and Betsy at Acorn Winery since 2012. This year the fruit picked Sept. 26th
Rains came Monday October 1st, with two vineyards with fruit remaining on the vine. We received 2 inches over night.
Viognier was picked Monday October 8th and our final pick, Pinot at the Bohemian Vineyard in Freestone was picked Thursday October 18th, 1.3 tons arrived of these beautiful clusters

Now it is time to clean up the cellar, party, say good bye to the interns and get back to the Tasting Room!Come see us in Graton for more harvest 2018 details.


Sunday, August 26, 2018

August 25th

                                                Charles Phan Fans

We both love the Slanted Door in San Francisco and Mat loves to cook. This was 100% his pick for our newest Foodie Dinner in the Dining Room in Graton. Two cookbooks, 14 guests, 4 recipes and Paul Mathew wines.

A really great opportunity for our guests to see how versatile our wines are and discover food and wine pairings that might be unexpected.
We poured 4 wines for the evening, starting with the newly released *Brut Rose', 100% Pinot Noir, Methode Champenoise and really quite perfect to start with as well as taste with every course. * 2017 Gewurztraminer, *2014 RRV Pinot and *2016 Cab Franc.

Vietnamese Beef Jerky and Brut Rose' to welcome our guests.
A line up of 4 glasses and a menu greet our guests to the Dining Room.




We started with the Tuna Tartare, everyone loved this version and the winning wine was the Gewurz.
I did expect this outcome for the pairing. We have served our Gewurz with a different recipe of Tuna Ceviche to a very regular standing ovation. Wins every time.
The Brut Rose' was the second favorite wine pairing.

Mat's third Gewurz produced, he started purchasing the fruit in 2014.
So often in the tasting room customers do NOT want to taste the Gewurz, they think it will be sweet. Our rendition is bone dry, stainless steel fermented and wonderful with so many foods especially Asian flavors.

The second course, jicama and grapefruit salad, one of my favorite dishes at The Slanted Door.
This dish also won the Gewurz as best pairing. This salad has candied pecans and a really wonderful soy based dressing, it really depends on which combination of flavors in each bite to determine the best wine. Of course grapefruit is quite difficult. The Brut Rose' once again came in second place.

Bahn mi sandwich, WOW. I had never had one and we did a sample run a few nights before to see how the bread stood up. Amazing flavors. This one was made with Mama's Meatballs which are incredible on their own. But in the sandwich with pickled carrots, jalepeno's, cilantro and cucumber.
This was the favorite dish of the evening!!!

The Bahn mi favorite wine was hands down the new release 2016 Cab Franc. This wine is so fun to pair with food, it does really well in a lot of difficult food combos. Pinot Noir and Brut Rose' tied for 2nd place.

Bo Luc Lac: Shaking beef up next. A very beefy dish surprised me that the Pinot was the best pairing picked by the majority of the guests.

 We finished this enjoyable evening with Coconut Ice cream from 'Scoop of Sonoma' in Forestville.
A lot of great conversation and a little bit more wine. Plus a beautiful serenade from our dear friend Tim Portwood. Once again, full bellies and happy memories were the main results.

 Next up?? Still in the works. Hoping for a couple of Harvest lunches in the Vineyard. Stay tuned.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

For the LOVE of Viognier                                                                        Saturday July 21st, 2018

Viognier is a grape varietal that many do not know, can't pronounce it, or one has an instant opinion of love or not. I love it in many cases but not all. This evening we explored the flavors of viognier from 5 regions and paired ours with 5 courses.

Our very first viognier from the 2017 harvest has turned many people on to this grape and changed others opinion about Viognier. A very clean, non floral, low mineral, stone fruit, neutral oak aged, balanced rendition we are very proud of from Russian River Valley.

We begin our discussion of Viognier with a tasting flight of five examples from the classic Condrieu, to Australian, Oregon, Southern Cal and our Sonoma County. Prices range from $15 - $72.

Commonly used descriptions – medium viscosity, highly perfumed bouquet, fresh pear, nectarine, honey, warm peach, honeysuckle and allspice scents, flavors of white stone fruits, clove, hazelnut, marzipan, white pepper, smoke and minerals, with a note of orange, Buttered citrus, honeysuckle, pineapple, and a kiss of saltiness

Now that we know what to expect from different regions and winemakers of viognier, we'll begin with our first course.....

..chilled carrot and orange soup. Another character that can be found in Viognier, orange zest.

Second course - Fresh peaches and Burrata. Pairing is mostly successful working on similarities or opposites. Peaches have a great flavor component that can often be smelt or tasted in Viognier. The Burrata mellows out the fruitiness and adds a creamy component.

 I love this Burrata...…

Third course - Scallops. Fennell dusted, seared and served with Fennell puree. Fennel is another flavor profile that can be found in Viognier. You're getting the theme, right?

Fourth course - sweet potato and chicken curry, mildly spicy. Love curry and our 2017 handles it perfectly. You get all the spicy, sweet flavors and the Viognier character is not lost.

Last course of our tasting, cheese. A duo of very different cheeses and a sweet treat surprise....a late harvest Viognier that will never be labeled or sold, sorry. Cheese accompanied by dried apricots, cashews and nightingale French baguette.

A great cheese with our Viognier. Good acid and texture, dense but creamy.

Late harvest Viognier, fermented on the skins. Beautiful balance of sweet with acidity and great fruit!
We loved the format of this dinner: doing the tasting flight and then the varietal focus food.
Next up, menu inspired by Charles Phan and the Slanted Door paired with Paul Mathew.
Happy eating & pairing

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Spring Fling 2018

Russian River Chamber of Commerce started this Annual Event in 2015 which is a wonderful showing of local Wine & Restaurants. Only in it's 3rd year, it is appearing to be a great success and favorite event for many local's coming from near and far.

             The Entrance with a beautiful blue sky although we did get a some April showers.

                                   Our awesome Front Entrance team, welcoming guests...

                   Nothing happens here without ALOT of volunteers helping. Wrist bands anyone.

We had a local food writer, Michele Anna Jordan selling her cookbooks and she hosted a VIP early entrance tour of the Vendors.

The walk around the perimeter was set up alphabetically so we'll start with Agriculture Public House.
                  Chicken meatball slider with parmesan cream sauce. Where's the Chardonnay?

                        Here's the Chardonnay on ice, from Boheme Winery in Occidental.

And next up our local market which features Biscuits plus so much more.....

Wine from our new Tasting Room on the strip, Equality Vines.

We're getting a treat from this local producer that doesn't have a Tasting Room yet,
coming in 2019 we hope.

New to the scene

            Super treat, local bubbles since 1883 I believe. This is a beautiful property to visit.

 Seaside Metal Oysters with your Bubbles.
 We like the fact that some of our local wine club members joined in the festivities today.

And we had local talent 'The Thugz' performing.

 Hiding from the 5 minute rain that snuck up on us and Thankfully went away and the sun came out.

Pat's Restaurant made a great appearance with their KFC, Korean Fired Chicken. Although currently closed for some remodeling, the reopening will be anticipated by locals for this favorite treat. And the history of Pat's Restaurant goes back along way

Our neighbor up the street Redcar Winery.
 Fairly new to the neighborhood, Scoop of Sonoma, ice cream, yes please.
This is a popular stop rain or shine

There was so much more to this great Event Spring Fling. El Barrio tacos, Cape Fear shrimp and grits, Twist Eatery smoked salmon cheesecake, Main Street Pizza. Woodenhead wines, Sheldon, Moshin Winery, Landmark wines, Fort Ross Winery and yes Paul Mathew was pouring three wines.

Look for this event in 2019, it's bound to get better each year!