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Archive for the tag “Port”

Adelaida is for (Chocolate) Lovers

Wine and Chocolate

There are so many things to love about Adelaida Winery, though it’s hard not to start with Glenn Mitton who is the Wine Librarian, Brand Ambassador and just one of our all around favorite people. His silky British accent, vibrant blue eyes and ready smile are immediately disarming and draw you into being willing to listen to pretty much anything he has to say. He could read the phone book and I’d happily sit and listen.

Wine and Chocolate Seminar

He’s always been a wonderful host when I’ve brought people to the property; taking us on great personalized tours of the vineyards, winery and the new stunningly appointed tasting room. He’s unbelievably knowledgeable with a long history in the wine industry starting with having owned a wine shop in his native Northern England, all the way to his current position at Adelaida. So when he mentioned he’d be moderating a wine and chocolate pairing at the winery for Valentine’s day last year, there was NO WAY we were going to miss it.

Let me start by saying I’ve been to a couple of these “types” of pairing events at other wineries so I came in with a preconceived notion of what to expect. You know, some great wine paired with different flavored truffles or chocolate nibs from a local chocolatier- maybe some brownie bites, stuff like that.  Well, let me say my preconceived notion was completely blown out of the water when we were ushered down into the winery where tables were set up and menus were placed at each seat announcing that local Chef, Alex Martin of Crush Catering, would be serving a complete 5 course luncheon menu of chocolate themed dishes paired with some of Adelaida’s signature wines.

Prepping for the tasting!

Upon arrival in the winery we were greeted with a glass of Chardonnay and encouraged to mingle and pick a seat. Glenn had set up a screen onto which he projected an informative slide show, with the  presentation focusing on the origins of chocolate, and of each vineyard and wine presented.

Our first dish was a Strawberry and Goat Cheese Salad, topped with toasted walnuts, compressed red onion, quinoa, rustic arugula and drizzled with a chocolate balsamic vinaigrette which was well paired with a 2013 Grenache from Anna’s Vineyard.

Anna’s Vineyard is host to 6 red and 4 white Rhone varietals. It is a mountainous 51 acres on the west side of Paso Robles, that at the higher elevations is strictly divided between the 6 red varietals which were planted between 2001 and 2004. They lie between 1,595 and 1,935 feet in elevation, 14 miles from the Pacific Ocean, on a steep 30 degree south-facing slope that offers ideal sun exposure. While the 4 white varietals were planted in 2007 at the lower elevations to promote a pooling effect of cool air.

Tasting notes- AROMA: Strawberry/black cherry compote, mulling spices, sweet pipe tobacco FLAVOR: Strawberry/black cherry concentrate, orange zest, English-breakfast tea

Next came Charred Cauliflower and Shishito Peppers with a Catalan style pesto, chocolate, parsley and almonds. In that I’m not a spicy heat fan (Shishitos can be unpredictable and this batch were on the hot side, naturally Doug loved them) I took a tiny bite of the peppers to get the general idea and left the rest for Doug. The dish was paired with the Mourvedre Signature Anna’s Vineyard 2014.

The Signature label signifies grapes designated as coming from the best steep sloped, sun exposed vineyard site and as having gone through a “best of” barrel selection process. Adelaida has refined their sustainability farming practices; thus they’ve been able to include deficit irrigation, mid-season pruning and shade cloth, which extends the ripening cycle and increases the phenolics.

Tasting notes- AROMA: Redcurrant, dried underbrush and sweet spiced cherries FLAVOR: Red currant jelly, deep red flowers with thyme and spiced box notes

Menu

The first “main dish” course was a traditional 24 hour braised Guatemalan Pork Pepian, sprinkled with pumpkin seeds, Aztec chocolate, radish and a long pepper crema served with the 2014 Anna’s Vineyard Syrah.

The vineyard management for the Syrah vines has them on a drip watering system and planted on lime tolerant root-stock using vertical shoot training. The 2014 drought conditions brought with it, an historically early bud break in the vineyard. That combined with a mid summer cool-down in August, subsequently extended the fruit hang-time allowing for the grapes to be picked later than in previous vintages. The grapes were harvested, fermented in stainless open top tanks, and moved to barrel for aging. This blend of terrior and Winemaker Jeremy Weintraub’s process, created a deeply colored and densely fruited masculine wine, that paired very well with the dish.

Tasting notes; AROMA: blueberries, smoke and bacon FLAVOR: aromas are reconfirmed in the fleshy, savory flavors of blackberries, salami, leather, lightly spiced with black pepper.

Our favorite pairing overall was the Sou Vide Beef Brisket with a smoked bacon-mole poblano chili, Kiler Ridge Tuscan olive oil, and upland cress paired with a Cabernet Sauvignon from the Signature Viking Vineyard 2014.

The Viking Vineyard is a a true mountain site whose original vines date back to 1991 and is comprised of 16.5 acres- 13 of which are wholly dedicated to Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s proximity to the ocean allows for the maritime influences the Paso Robles Adelaida District is known for; and is planted with grafted lime tolerant root-stock in limestone soil that sits on an extremely steep, south-facing slope. This makes for quite a challenging grape growing environment. As a result, the vine spacing is the tightest of all seven of Adelaida’s vineyards-with 4 feet between the vines and 8 feet between the rows. The vineyard has an average yield of 2 – 2.5 tons per acre of Cabernet. They harvested the Cabernet was toward the end of September from the upper elevation’s best blocks. A small, selection of destemmed grapes were then “barrel fermented” with native yeast, in new French oak. Because this winery specific method is so labor intensive, this process is reserved only for  the best lot designations i.e. Signature status. It entails removing and resealing the barrel end cap, then the barrels are loaded on to a unique rack system and spun. This allows for the incorporation of a more integrated toasted oak complexity into the fermenting must. The “free run” finished wine was then put into to specially coopered French oak barrels made from slow-growing oaks in the northern forests, and allowed to mature for 20 months.

Tasting notes  AROMA: saturated fruitiness, plump textured and supple with a sense of crystallized blackberries and melted licorice FLAVOR: long finish accenting the mocha-like richness of fine cigar tobacco wrapper and graphite tinged soft tannins. Drink now through 2029.

For dessert we were treated to Espresso-Dark Chocolate Baked Mousse, salted caramel, port creme Chantilly, and poached cherries coupled with The Don Port 2011. The mix of Portuguese grapes-Touriga Nacional, Tinto Cao and Souzou were planted in 2001, on sandy loam soil, covering a west-facing slope at the entrance to the winery, in an area known as Bobcat Crossing. The Port is named for winery co-founder Don Van Steenwyk, and is Adelaida’s interpretation of a Vintage Port.

This is not a late harvest style wine, the grapes were harvested at normal red wine Brix levels and co-fermented on native yeast. Towards the end of the primary fermentation, the remaining residual sugar measurements are taken, and a grape spirit is added to the must. This raises the alcohol level to 20% and kills the yeast cells. The wine was then moved to neutral oak barrels and aged for five years in the casks. 

 Tasting notes AROMA bing cherries, grenadine, rose petals, allspice, milk chocolate FLAVOR dried cherries, fruitcake, pomegranate, sweet cedar sweet red fruits and Christmas spices with a long finish. Drink now through 2024.

This was an incredible experience with interesting pairings and inspired dishes…I mean who doesn’t love wine and chocolate? I mean, we know somewhere people like that exist and all, but thankfully no one we know! LOL

Since Valentine’s day falls mid-week this year on the weekend after Valentine’s day (Feb 17-18), Adelaida will be hosting a Saturday night winemaker dinner, and a Rhone Rangers grand tasting in conjunction with Broken Earth Winery on Sunday. Both great, not to be missed events.

Once we hit forty, women only have about four taste buds left: one for vodka, one for wine, one for cheese, and one for chocolate. ~Gina Barreca

Cheers!

#SHEdrinks!

Great upcoming events: BlendFest 2/9-11/18; Chocolate Festival 2/10/18; Adelaida Winemaker Dinner 2/17/18; SLO Craft Beer Festival 2/23-24/18; Rhone Rangers Grand Tasting 2/18/18; Vintage Paso Zin Weekend 3/16-18/18; Wine Waves and Beyond 5/4-5/18; Paso Wine Fest 5/17-20/18; BeerFest 5/26/18; Roll Out the Barrels 6/21-23/18; Atascadero Lakeside Wine Festival 6/13/18; Harvest on the Coast 11/2-4-18

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A Heavenly Emporium Experience

Heavenly Emporium

I had the good fortune of attending an awesome brownie and wine pairing evening at the Grape Emporium owned by David and Annie Wilson in Atascadero and Heavenly Squared Brownie Company. You may remember I’ve written about David before as he was my Greek Ambassador counterpart, and I’ve had the opportunity to be interviewed on his radio program on several occasions. The thing about doing a tasting event like this at the Grape Emporium, is that David is a brilliant mad scientist when it comes to blending various wines and creating something all together new, which is an unusual experience in any wine shop. Read more…

Getting Uncorked at Forks and Corks!!

The Paso Forks and Corks Festival

The day started out a bit shaky, because Doug woke up feeling really nauseous and as much as I tried to help settle his stomach, the poor guy was a mess and ended up having to back out at the last-minute. So he took me over to meet up with the “party” bus that was going to take me and the other members of the #ShareSLO Street team up to Halter ranch  for the Paso Forks and Corks Festival benefiting MUST Charities a local charity who alongside other local organizations work to create long-term, sustainable transformation within the region.

#ShareSLO Street team and Cork Dorks!

We arrived at Halter Ranch and went to check in at the winery but discovered that the check in point was a bit further down the road. We weren’t deterred though, we were a little early so what else better to do than some wine tasting to kick off the day! But we can talk about that in another blog, this blog is about Forks and Corks! And be prepared it’s going to be long…because there is so much to talk about. So make sure you grab a glass of wine before sitting on a comfy chair or couch and put your feet up, for a detailed trip through the Forks and Corks festival. Read more…

Rollin’ Rollin’ Rollin’…SLO Wiiiine! (Day 1)

YeeHaw!! #ROTB2013

Roll out the Barrels is a 4 day food, wine, and music, kick off to summer event in San Luis Obispo, and this year was the 23rd Anniversary. Doug and I have been wanting to go for years but the event always sells out. They start the event with Barrels in the Plaza which is a “Grown here, Made here” winery and restaurant pairing event that takes place in Mission Plaza. The second night are Winemaker Dinners, and Saturday and Sunday is the Passport to Wine Country- an open house event. This is the event we attended. Two full days of winery to winery wine tasting,  food pairings, and music. Our goal was to hit 7 wineries a day for a 14 winery total. Needless to say there were a LOT of wines tasted. So I figure I’ll talk about some of our favorites and link to those with winery descriptions for some of the others. Read more…

Halter’s, Forks and Corks!!!

Happening July 6th 4-8 at Halter Ranch!

Produced by American General Media Radio Group, and hosted by Halter Ranch in Paso Robles, the Forks and Corks Festival this up coming weekend on July 6th, is shaping up to be quite an event! On the docket? Well lets start with all things “cork’d” (in a good way) being served and by that I mean we are talking whiskey, gin, wine, port, beer, hard ciders, champagne and more! Then the participating local chefs and restaurants will be challenged to come up with wonderful food and dishes to pair. But there is a catch, they can only use a BBQ pit to cook it all in, and they can only use fruits and veggies, such as avocados, peaches, cherries, olives etc. as garnishes.

This will be the first annual and the event is put on to support the MUST! Charities Organization, a community oriented non profit sector that brings help and hope to those in need. In addition to all the great food and booze, there will be live art being produced and exhibited and some terrific bands rotating on the stage to keep everyone in the groove mood.

So come on out with us and enjoy this “Pit to Plate” and all things “cork’d” event on July 6th from 4-8pm at Halter Ranch winery. Tickets are still available for purchase and are priced as follows:  Halter Club Members Discount $60pp, general Public $70pp, and Industry Discount $50 pp.

“Here’s to alcohol, the rose colored glasses of life.”
― F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned

Cheers!

#SHEdrinks

Next great event coming up is Seven Sisters Fest July 12-13 2013

#ShareSLO @ShareSLO2013

C&C Wine Factory…Everybody drink now!

Owners Clay and Fredericka

We have lived on the central coast for 7 1/2 years now and in that time we’ve joined and dropped many a wine club. But there has been one wine club that in flush times and lean, we have been a consistent member of and that’s Claiborne and Churchill Winery. The thing about Claiborne and Churchill isn’t just that they just make great wines but, that when you walk into their uniquely built Straw bale winery you always feel like a member of the family. Read more…

Battle of the (Turkey) Bulge: Winning Recipe 2012

Cranberry Sauce with Port and Figs

My fav T-Day recipe in a looong time.

Every Thanksgiving I experiment with the menu. This year was no exception. I tried a new orange peel and rosemary turkey brine that seemed to work better than others in the past. There was a lot more spice in this one – the orange peel worked well, the apple juice was a great exchange for cups of sugar in the water. I made roasted garlic mashed yukon gold potatoes. Yumm. But the roasted garlic got lost in the potatoes. I skinned the potatoes, which was a good choice, but would add another head of garlic next time and probably a good amount of pepper. The stuffing was a real bear to make and was good, but I wanted better: cornbread stuffing with linguica and kale. Making the cornbread for the stuffing and drying it out didn’t work like I wanted. The cornbread turned to mush, the linguica needed to be skinned to not be a chewy distraction, the kale was lost.

But the real winner to me, with modifications I will recommend, was the Cranberry Sauce with Port and Dried Fig. I first saw fig added to cranberry sauce on an episode of Iron Chef, so was eager to try it and was going to do it anyway when I found this recipe. Figs just seem like a perfect counterbalance to cranberries. They’re soft instead of crisp. They’re sticky sweet to offset the tart. But then the addition of port seemed like a real taste rounder, and I was right. Cranberry sauce is a high note in music, and the port, with its hints of rich base fruit and some barrel characteristics really grounded the dish. There were new layers to the taste profile now that made it both incredibly complex and satisfying – especially for wine lovers. And cooking it with a rosemary sprig and some black pepper? Genius. I love this one and am going to try it with my revisions again very soon.

Check it out at the above link or click here to try it yourself. Be sure to report back to me what you think. I think you’ll love it.

Glass is in session

One of the most well known wine glass makers in the world is Riedel glass out of Austria. According to acclaimed wine critic Robert Parker “The finest glasses for both technical and hedonistic purposes are those made by Riedel.”

According to Maximillian Riedel’s Facebook page it was in the 1950s, that Riedel Crystal of America, “introduced the concept of varietal specific wine glasses”. What most people don’t realize is that now a days, wine glasses are as diverse as the bottles of wine themselves. You have red wine glasses, white wine glasses, flutes and aperitif glasses. But how do you decide which one to use with which wine? Is there a general all around glass that I can use for both? How can you tell which is for red and which is for white?  And why does it make a difference anyway, a glass is a glass right? Wrong. Read more…

What to do on a rainy day? Wine tasting, of course!

Yesterday even though it was raining; my friend Pat, and my friend Sandy, and I went wine tasting…it’s a shock I know. I mean I do it so rarely after all! 😀 Since I usually go wine tasting around San Luis Obispo or take the 45 minute drive up to Paso Robles ,I thought it would be fun to go down to Santa Maria and Los Olivos. I rarely go down that way and felt that it was time to broaden my horizons. Read more…

A Play date with Pat…and his wines!

One of my favorite things to do is drink wine with friends- to me it’s a great adult play date. We never get too old to play, we just start changing the toys we play with. Instead of childhood tea pots and cups, now I play with Riedel glasses and wine bottles. To me wine is fun and even more fun with friends.

So today I had a play date at my friend Pat’s house. Now what makes going to Pat’s house so much fun, aside from the fact he’s a great guy, is Read more…

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