A Winemaker’s Thanksgiving

Cooler days and chillier nights are upon us. Ahhh, the holiday season. With Halloween down, bring on Turkey Day!! Thanksgiving, as you know, is a time for turkey and family and…  jalapeños?? Well, it is for V. Sattui’s Winemaker Laura Orozco!

Laura in her various incarnations as Winemaker

Laura and her family are from the state of Michoacán in Mexico, and while they have nearly fully embraced the turkey, stuffing and cranberry staples so common on our Thanksgiving tables (up until a few years ago, they had to have beans and tortillas at her dad, Francisco’s, insistence); jalapeños will always be a requirement. Chicken is another important must-have at the table – not everyone is a fan of turkey, including Laura’s dad and her husband, Felipe.

Laura and Felipe at our 30th Annual Harvest Ball
September, 2014

Of all of the holidays throughout the year, Thanksgiving is Laura’s favorite because it is the one time a year when her whole family gathers around one table and eats together. She and her husband bring their two girls, Nadia, 2, and Paola, 6, to her uncle David’s (her dad’s brother) house in the Mayacamas – the designated “Thanksgiving house.” David has been the vineyard foreman at Pride Mountain Vineyards for over two decades and lives in the old ranch house on the property there.

Twenty-five of Laura’s aunts, uncles, cousins, and other family come together and bring their children for a Thanksgiving family feast. Everyone is in charge of bringing a dish and Laura brings the chicken for the non-turkey-lovers.

Check out her delicious recipe below! 

After serving themselves buffet-style, everyone sits down to dinner and Laura’s mom, Arcelia, leads them in grace. Then, they take the time to go all the way around the table and have each person say a few words on what they are thankful for. Turkey (or chicken!) follows with much happiness and laughter interspersed and industry talk, since most of her family works in the wine industry in some capacity or another.

When dinner is done and bellies are full, everyone gathers around for a game of Lotería, a sort of Mexican-style bingo with pictures.

As crazy as Thanksgiving can get, with family coming in and out and kids to corral and food to prepare, it is wonderful to see such a pure example of the spirit of Thanksgiving: love, family and the true enjoyment of one another’s company. Because truly, that is what it’s all about.

So from our table – and Laura’s table – to yours, have a safe and wonderful Thanksgiving and remember to give thanks, as Laura does, for family, health and togetherness.

Laura's dad (Francisco), Laura, her sister (Jessica), her mom (Arecelia), and her brother (Jaime) holding her daughter (Paola)

 


 

Here is Laura’s recipe for juicy roasted chicken that she makes for the non-turkey-lovers in her family. Do you have something special or different that is a must-have on your Thanksgiving table? Leave us a comment and let us know what it is!

Orange and Garlic Roasted Chicken

Marinate the chicken overnight in apple cider vinegar and season with garlic salt.

Put the chicken on a roasting rack and stuff with onion and sliced oranges. Surround with cubed potatoes, yams and onions and roast it like you would a turkey.

Enjoy!

 

What Flavor Are You??

Riesling is for everyone and everyone should be for Riesling. It is the MOST food-friendly wine, pairing easily with foods that run the gamut, from typical table fare to more exotic cuisines and flavors.

Are you light & sweet or crisp & dry? Riesling can be made in different styles, from the bone-dry that make you think you’re quaffing a tart Sauvignon Blanc, to the sweet and rich Late Harvests made for after-dinner relaxation and everything in between.

There is even a website wholly dedicated to Rieslings, with everything you need to know about the different regions they’re grown in the world over. The URL is (go figure) www.drinkriesling.com. They also have a handy dandy sweetness scale (called the “Riesling Taste Profile”) with which to categorize your Riesling, which helps make sure everyone is on the same page when referring to a Riesling as “dry” versus “medium sweet.”

The more technical stuff
 

In order to calculate where the wine falls, you’ll need to know RS, TA and pH. RS stands for residual sugar and is the sugars left after fermentation. It is often expressed in grams per liter but can also be calculated as a percentage. TA is titratable acidity and pH is a different expression of acidity (remember – water is neutral with a pH of 7). I could geek out on you and talk and the negative logarithms of hydronium ions, but I’m sure you’ve had enough.

So when figuring out where a Riesling should be on the Taste Profile, you find the ratio of the sugars to the acid (TA) and factor in the pH. Remember when you were in school and you used to ask your teacher, “When are we ever gonna use this math and science stuff in real life?” Well now you know the answer – to figure out which Riesling to drink, of course!!

Oh, but don’t think you’ll actually have to do any calculations – I’ve done all the heavy (brain) lifting for you. Check out where our different Riesling fall on the chart below.

What Riesling are you?
 

Now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about you. Yes, you. Who are you? Or more importantly, what Riesling are you?

 

OFF-DRY RIESLING

 

Do you like exotic foods that you order extra spicy, like Thai food or curry?

Are you the sweetest one of all of your friends (c’mon, you know you are!)?

Do you sometimes wish you could eat dessert instead of dinner?

Then curl your hands around a cold, cold glass of Off-Dry Riesling.

 

The sweeter the wine, the spicier the food you want to pair it with. The sweetest of our Riesling line-up, our Off-Dry Riesling stands up well to spicy Indian curries, spicy Mexican or spicy Thai food… are you sensing a theme, here? Think about this when you break out the sweet potato or pecan pie in a week.

                                         Spicy Indian Curries

 

DRY RIESLING      

 

Do you like to have a go-to wine to take to parties at friend's houses?

Could you eat sushi for breakfast, lunch and dinner?

Do you like sunsets and long walks on the beach?

Get this lightly-sweet, lightly-crisp Dry Riesling stat!

 

 

Our Dry Riesling is THE sushi wine – the light sweetness coupled with a delicate wash of acidity on the finish makes this perfect for the equally delicate flavors of sticky rice, roe and sushi-grade fish. It also stands up nicely to an autumn dish of pumkin ravioli with brown butter sauce and pecans. 

              Pumpkin ravioli                                    Sushi

ANDERSON VALLEY RIESLING

 

Do you like seafood, pastas with light sauces and Asian foods with just a hint spice?

Do you like wines wines with balance and finesse (I mean, who doesn’t?)?

Are you the middle child, always mediating between your older and younger sibling?

Grab a glass of our Anderson Riesling and get mediatin’!

 

This crisp and clean, well-balanced Riesling is perfect for and kind of grilled or broiled seafood dish, as well poultry – I'm thinking a beatifully brined turkey with herbed stuffing may be in this Anderson Valley Riesling's future…

Grilled Snapper

DANCING EGG RIESLING

 

Do you like crisp autumn days when the wind nips at your cheeks?

Do you like to show off great wine finds to your friends?

Is “Humpty Dumpty” your favorite nursery rhyme?

Twist the cap off the Dancing Egg and pour away!

 

 

This delicious dancer is a favorite among us here at the winery. The wonderful minerality makes it perfect for so many foods, from a plate of freshly shucked oysters to richer dishes of fish and poultry – even veal or pork. Just stay away from sweeter dishes. Our Dancing Egg Riesling would be another boon to the Thanksgiving table, pairing nicely with a side of roasted acorn squash, yams and apples with cranberry and walnuts.

 Roasted squash, yams and apples

 

 

 

 

 

A Chef’s Tour Through Napa & Sonoma

You may recognize Chef Stefano Masanti from some of our memorable events at V. Sattui, like our Harvest Ball where this year he created a beautiful six-course meal for our 490 guests.  Or you may have tasted his delicious wood-fired pizza at our Crush Party in October.  Stefano has become a good friend to our Winery family, and we are thrilled that he will be joining us next year from April to October as a guest chef at the Winery!

Stefano will create food for group events, weddings, and other special occasions at V. Sattui. In his home town of Madesimo, Italy, Stefano is known for sourcing the best local ingredients to use in his restaurant, Il Cantinone.  He’s a member of the international Slow Food organization, and he has received numerous accolades, including a Michelin star, and his restaurant  was just awarded by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine magazine, as one of the best Italian restaurants that promotes local food and farmers.  Il Cantinone was also just named one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy by L’Espresso, the guide to Italian restaurants.

Stefano and his wife, Rafaella, run not only the restaurant in the ski-resort town of Madesimo, but also a small hotel called the Sport Hotel Alpina.  While Stefano is busy cooking delicious food, Rafaella, a sommelier, pairs it with great wine and makes sure all restaurant and hotel guests are comfortable.  Stefano and Rafaella are the epitome of warm, Italian hospitality. ..easygoing and funny, yet conscientious of every detail that goes into making people feel welcome.  After spending just a few hours with them, it is easy to feel as if you’ve been friends forever!

The couple plans to continue their philosophy of cooking with local ingredients while they’re at V. Sattui.  They set out to discover the abundance of produce, fish, meats and cheeses in Napa and Sonoma counties and to meet the people who make them.  We’d like to share this journey with you.

Preservation Sanctuary & Learning Center- Calistoga
Douglas Hayes is the owner of this small farm, tucked into a hillside in Calistoga.  Hayes is devoted to preserving heritage breed chickens, hogs, and produce.  To hear him talk about the relationship among the animal, farmer and the cook is a spiritual experience.  His staunch belief is that love and respect for animals and all life results in delicious food that is good for you.  Mindful chefs in the area agree.  You will find meat and produce from Azalea Springs Farm at a few local restaurants, including the French Laundry, who purchases eggs from his chickens.

Tierra Vegetables Farm Stand- Santa Rosa
This urban 20-acre farm is a mecca for both chefs and home cooks looking for local, fresh produce throughout the year.  Tierra Vegetables grows a wide variety of vegetables, chilis, beans (fresh and dried).  They even grow and mill their own corn meal and produce popcorn!  Brother and sister Wayne and Lee James have created a ground-breaking partnership with the Sonoma County Agricultural Preservation and Open Space District to lease 17 of their acres from the county.  The result is a convenient, family-friendly farm that is accessible to the public.  Check their website for farmstand hours and special events.

Haverton Hill Creamery
This family owned and operated sheep dairy was just established in 2010.  

Joe and Missy Adiego, along with Joe’s parents, Tony and Jolene Adiego, have a passion for animals and agriculture  and a drive to produce top quality sheep’s milk and products made from the milk.  Haverton Hill sells their farm-fresh sheep’s milk at Whole Foods markets and other specialty retailers in the Bay Area.  Soon you’ll also find their creamy sheep’s milk ice cream and sheep’s milk butter too.  Not only is sheep’s milk highly nutritious, it can be consumed by people who are lactose intolerant.

Ramini Mozzarella
Pioneers Craig Ramini and Audrey Hitchcock are the animal lovers behind this small, unique farm and creamery.  It started with Craig’s dream to get back to his Italian roots and make real buffalo mozzarella cheese.  However, that requires milk from Italian water buffalo, which are not found in the U.S.  Craig fixed that problem by starting his own herd.  Currently they make fresh buffalo mozzarella and some ricotta cheese for wholesale to a few Bay Area restaurants.  But when you see it on a menu, it is worth ordering this handmade, farmstead cheese.

Double 8 Dairy
This is a newer Italian water buffalo dairy, located just a few miles from Ramini Mozzarella.  After purchasing the buffalo from the Ramini farm, Andrew Zlot started his own dairy and creamery where he uses the creamy, rich milk to make gelato.  The Double 8 Dairy gelato is available in restaurants and a few specialty markets in the Bay Area.  Look for flavors like Fior di Latte, which translates to just the flavor of the milk.  They don’t add cream, eggs or vanilla, yet the gelato is some of the creamiest you’ll find, due to the high fat content in the buffalo milk.  Also look for Raspberry (made with local fruit) and Candy Cap Mushroom!

Taste fireside in our Vittorio Tower!

If you are looking for an elevated, intimate and exclusive tasting experience, look no futher. On those chilly autumn days, V. Sattui is now offering a fireside tasting located in our Vittorio's Tower. It will include our estate wines, limited releases and even some older vintages, such as our 2007 Preston Vineyard Cabernet – a bold valley floor Cabernet from the acclaimed Rutherford AVA with ripe cherry flavors, or our 2009 Mount Veeder Cabernet – a highly-awarded hillside Cabernet with rich flavors of plum, cassis and an herbal tinge.

 

 

 

 

As you cozy up by the fire, savor six of some of our best wines at a cost of $20 per person ($15 for club members). Curl your fingers around a glass and enjoy respite from the cold, blustery day outside. It's a tasting experience to share with friends and family alike as we move into the holiday season.

 

 

 

Fireside tastings are offered from 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. on chilly days from mid-October through March. No reservations are necessary.

Available only to guests 21 years of age and older.

Call us at 707-963-7774 for more information. See you soon!