Sattui Sonoma: Alongside Napa on the map and beyond

V. Sattui’s Sonoma County Jewels.

 

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In today’s world, anyone who attempts to rank either Napa or Sonoma County as one better than the other is seriously misinformed. At V. Sattui, we have long been aware of the jewels that Sonoma County possess and we access tons of grapes for our top, premium wines from extraordinary vineyard sites in a number of Sonoma’s distinctive sub-appellations.

It is a cooler region than Napa because of its closer proximity to the Pacific Ocean and the topography diverts, channels and segments maritime penetration in such a way that exceptional – even somewhat magical – growing sites are created in the various nooks and crannies of the Sonoma hills and mountains.  Another dimension is the wide array of soils from the Rock Pile Appellation – which is what the name suggests – to the sandy alluvial soils along the Russian River to the calcium carbonate (read chalk) found in Chalk Hill Appellation.  These phenomena combine to create a wider impact from AVA to AVA (American Viticultural Area or BATF approved Appellation) and a wider diversity of varietals suited to those micro-regions.

Growers in Sonoma County have sensed these unique conditions by planting accordingly in these micro-climates. As a result, the wines they produce have become very terroir driven and display a developed a sense of area identity. Russian River Pinot Noir, for example has an identifiable profile as does Dry Creek Zinfandel and so on.  This, of course, leads me to our Sonoma County Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as well as a couple of our Flagship Sonoma Zinfandels.

2015 Sonoma County Chardonnay:2015-Sonoma-Chardonnay2015-Sonoma-County-Pinot-Noir The Bella Vista Vineyard lies just a few hundred yards from the Napa Line in the northern part of the Mayacamas Mountain Range. These eastern slopes are noted growing areas for Chardonnay.  This vineyard is on the crown of the mountain where there is always a lot of air movement and abundant sunshine above the fog level. The soil is clay loam with tons of gravel.  Simply put, it’s everything a Chardonnay vine would like.

2015 Sonoma County Pinot Noir:  This wine is beyond the Carneros Appellation (Sonoma side), which borders San Pablo Bay. It is literally in the Bay on Skagg’s Island (along with the Coast Guard).  Talk about bathing this varietal with the cool air it loves.  And, here’s a twist:  This vineyard belongs to Reynaldo Robledos and his family. He is the first Mexican immigrant field worker to own and operate a winery with vineyards in the U.S. (350 acres).  Not enough can be said for his dedication, passion and just plain, hard work. We have a special sensitivity toward immigrants, as we salute the Sattui Family’s journey from Italy to California with a special wine called La Merica.

2013 Gilsson Zinfandel2015-Russian-River-Zinfandel2014 Russian River Zinfandel: A prime example of what this region can produce.  A finger of fog follows the river inland, permeating and expanding over its banks long before the larger area is encompassed.  This provides nice heat during the day which Zinfandel requires as well as an extraordinary diurnal temperature range of 35° to 40° (temps between day and night).  This locks acids and flavors into the fruit which are showcased well in this wine.

2013 Gilsson Vineyard Zinfandel: Gilsson Vineyard fruit grows in the eastern reaches of the Russian River Valley; in the “elbow” of a neighboring Sonoma appellation – Chalk Hill.  From a drone’s eye, one can actually see bands of chalk striating throughout the hill. The combination of the Valley’s cool climate, quick drainage from the chalk and nutrient bound clay, causes the vine to struggle to produce its fruit. The end result is a wine with amplified notes of fruit, framed in depth and structure.

Care to sample these Sattui Sonoma jewels?

Now through August 15th, enjoy $1 Ground Shipping on all mix-or-match cases of the four Sonoma County wines listed above!  Receive 15% OFF 1 case and 20% OFF 2 or more cases.

 

Dario’s Top Four V. Sattui Wines to Stash in Your Cellar

This is the time of year we pull out those special bottles from the cellar we’ve been saving for a significant occasion.  Wine is meant to be shared with those we love!  But before you know it, the wine cellar starts looking a bit empty, and it’s time to restock.

We asked Dario Sattui, owner of V. Sattui Winery, what wines he would choose to stock in his cellar (we limited him to just four!).  Here are his top choices.

2011 Paradiso2011 Paradiso

Paradiso is our Bordeaux-style red blend, and this vintage has been praised for tasting as good as a high-end Bordeaux, but with a much more palatable price.  Included in its long list of awards is “Wine of the Year” and “Best Red Wine”, earning 97 points and a platinum medal at the Critics Challenge.  This wine is great now, but within the next 7-10 years it will get even better.

2012 Mt. Veeder Cabernet

2012 was an exceptional year for growing grapes in the Napa Valley.  Near perfect weather conditions created a rare combination of high quality fruit2012 Mt Veeder Cabernet and an abundant crop.  In addition, this wine comes from an area with rugged mountain terrain and conditions that demand handcraftsmanship at the highest level.  Brooks Painter, our Director of Winemaking, has done an excellent job with this one.

Selected as the “Wine of the Year” and the “Best Cabernet Sauvignon” with a score of 98 points at the 2015 Monterey International Wine Competition, this is definitely a Napa Valley cab you want to add to your cellar.

This wine is fabulous right now and will bring even greater rewards 10 years down the road.

2013 Morisoli Cabernet

This wine comes from Gary & Melody Morisoli’s Vineyard located in the heart of the famed “Rutherford Bench”. Gary is a third-generation farmer on this property, a special part of Napa Valley where some of the best Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley is grown.  Our 2013 vintage has not yet been released to the public, but it’s already been awarded 97 points and named “Best of Class” and “Best Red Wine” in the 2016 Monterey Wine Competition.  Look for this wine’s release in early 2017 and make some room to save it for the next 10-15 years.

2012 Reserve Merlot

The elegance and concentration of our 2012 Merlot inspired us to bottle a small barrel selection separately as a “Reserve” wine. It has a very deep ruby-purple color in the glass, and sweet, red berry fruit aromas explode in the nose. This wine shows layers of aromas and a depth of flavor seen only in great vintages, and the 2012 was definitely a vintage to remember, with near perfect weather conditions for growing grapes in the Napa Valley.

Judges at the San Diego International Wine Competition awarded this wine a Platinum medal and 94 points.  We plan to release our 2012 Reserve Merlot at our Winemaker’s Dinner in May 2017, and we suggest enjoying this wine over the next 8-10 years.

 

Elaine + Ralph + VSW = True Love!

With December around the corner and the cold weather setting in, we draw comfort and warmth looking back on one of our favorite Summer 2016 weddings. Thanks to One Love Photography for capturing these beautiful shots!

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Toast a Great Country with a Great Wine- V. Sattui Madeira

Madeira and brownie sandwich- editedRevive an old custom this July 4th and toast our stars and stripes with Madeira!

While the wine is named after the Portuguese-held island some 500 miles off the coast of Morocco, celebrating Madeira in America is a long-held tradition. Few people today associate Madeira with Colonial America when, in fact, it was a household beverage during the latter half of the 18th Century. The East Coast is mostly hot and humid and much of it has high water tables which precluded any form of cellaring table wines. Madeira is virtually indestructible; so it became the wine of choice and maintained its popularity right up to the Great Experiment – Prohibition.

When the final draft of the Declaration of Independence was signed on July 4th 1776, members of our first Congress consumed some 50 bottles of Madeira. What a celebration that must have been! Other great occasions calling for Madeira included George Washington’s marriage to Martha, Washington’s inauguration in 1789, and the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.1200px-Declaration_independence

Madeira came to America by way of European ships that would make regular stops at the island of Madeira to “freshen” with the island’s abundance of fresh water and take on its wine as ballast. Vintners of Madeira knew their wines would not survive an Atlantic journey without a little help so they added brandy as a preservative. What they didn’t know was the heat from traveling the equator would oxidize alcohols into aldehydes, which added a marvelous nutty character to the wine. After this discovery, intentional heating of the wine was done in estufas (heated vessels) and it continues today. Vintners also adopted the Spanish solera system in which young wines go into barrels and matriculate by constant blending to the bottling barrels over many decades and even centuries. The younger wines freshen the older vintages while the older wines impart their wisdom to the newer arrivals.

V. Sattui Madeira shares this historic tapestry, as Vittorio Sattui procured a number of barrels from the island and started his own solera at his winery in San Francisco in 1887. When you enjoy V. Sattui Madeira there may be a few drops of this vintage in your very glass which connects you with history. Vittorio had to hide his decades-old solera around North Beach in San Francisco during Prohibition, as surely the Feds would have destroyed it. So, this wine has its own bit of romantic history.

colonial- holding wineFrom fortification to heating, V. Sattui Madeira continues to be made in the time honored traditions of the island, rendering a complexity of caramel, dried plum, honey, maple, vanilla combined with hazelnuts, almonds and chocolate. All of this is re-enforced with smooth, silky, and balanced sweet sensations on the palate. This is the oldest Madeira produced in the U.S. and it’s as though the wine waited all of these years and decades to come to life on your palate.

Our Madeira is compatible with so many foods. Friendships range from pumpkin pie to tiramisu. By the way, we use the Madeira to make tiramisu in our deli. It’s wonderful with nuts like a hazelnut torte and any recipe that calls for dried fruit, vanilla, and caramel (Flan). We love it as a float with our house made Vanilla Bean Gelato. Let your dessert imagination be your pairing highway.

It’s also a good cooking wine. Try this: cook your meat of choice in a pan or grill pan and remove it. Pour in our Madeira along with an equal part of Sattui Family Red. Deglaze the pan and allow a few minutes to reduce the sauce. Plate your meat, add the sauce and enjoy. REALLY enjoy!

Discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and Il Cantinone

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Stefano and Raffaella in the kitchen of their restaurant, Il Cantinone, in Madesimo, Italy.

This week we are getting ready to host our first Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Stefano Masanti and his wife, Raffaella.  Our winery president, Tom Davies, met Stefano and Raffaella a few years ago while traveling with his wife and daughter through Italy.  It was actually Tom’s daughter, Michaela, who chose the small, charming hotel in the town of Madesimo as their destination.  Little did the Davies family know that stop would include one of the most delicious and memorable meals, and would lead to a long friendship between the two families, and now, their businesses too.  

Michaela shares her version of discovering Stefano, Raffaella, and their Il Cantinone Restaurant:

I first met Stefano Masanti and Raffaella Mazzina when I was traveling in Italy with my parents. We were staying in Sesto Calende, near where my family originated, and not sure of our next move. As a fourteen year old flipping through guidebooks, my criteria for a hotel exhausted itself at ‘has a pool’. However, something about the Sport Hotel Alpina, located in the Italian Alps, stuck; I shared this with my parents and we headed there the next day.

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One of Stefano’s creative dishes served at Il Cantinone.

When we arrived, we found the hotel also had a small restaurant called Il Cantinone.  Shortly after arriving we ordered food. Lots of food. The best food I have ever had. Stefano prepared his tasting menu for us, which essentially entails course after course of creativity and the juxtaposition of wonderful flavor profiles. Raffaella, an exceptional Sommelier, carefully selected and poured each wine. While my mother and I had to bow out after a handful of courses, my father continued to taste well into the double-digits. Even as a young teenager, I considered that meal one of the most impressive experiences I have ever been part of.

Harvest Ball. I knew Stefano and Raffaella were special when they simply said “yes”. While I was undoubtedly excited for the beginning of the relationship between Stefano and Raffaella and V. Sattui, I had no idea what that would ultimately mean to me.

Each year from April to November, Stefano and Raffaella join us as our in-house special events chef and catering manager, respectively. Following my graduation from college last May, I began working alongside Stefano and Raffaella at V. Sattui. I always had a deep respect for their relationship and partnership with the Winery and my family; however, I did not expect that a year later Stefano and Raffaella would be among my dearest friends.

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Stefano at work at V. Sattui’s Harvest Ball in September, 2014.

Stefano and Raffaella share both their goodness and talent with everyone and to be honest, it is hard to say which outshines the other. Among the most humble and generous people I know, Stefano and Raffaella also boast monumental accomplishments in the world of food and hospitality.

In addition to Stefano receiving a Michelin star, their restaurant, Il Cantinone, was named the best Italian restaurant that promotes local food and farmers by Gambero Rosso, a well-respected food and wine publication. Furthermore, Il Cantinone was selected as one of the best 60 restaurants in Italy and top 10 in Lombardia by L’Espresso Guide. Stefano is also Vice President of “CHIC, Charming Italian Chef”, one of the most important chefs’ associations of this time. Finally, Stefano was awarded Italian Chef of the Year for the promotion of Italian culture at the 2014 Merano Wine Festival.

I am so happy they have become family to both me and to the Winery I was raised in, and that we now have the opportunity to share their magic and the exceptionality of their restaurant with you at the Il Cantinone Pop-Up Dinner! Trust me, you do not want to miss this one.

Making Centerpieces the Center of Attention at your Destination Wedding!

Here at V. Sattui, we love it when brides get creative with their centerpieces. The wedding meal is such an important part of the celebration, and the table decorations can really make a huge statement! These days, brides are steering clear of bland and boring flower vase designs and old school decorations like mirrors and floating candles, and instead coming up with much more unique ideas that show more of their personality. Here are some of our favorites that we’ve seen!

Forget the vase, these candelabra-based flower arrangements are way trendier! The height really elevates –pun intended—the elegance of the table, and we love having flowers and leaves trickle down from above.

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Speaking of adding height to the tables, check out these beautiful branch decorations! The hanging flowers and crystals helped make this look extra magical.

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We love how these Disney-themed and rustic-themed weddings went for a non-traditional approach by opting for centerpieces that weren’t just flowers! The silhouettes and the barrels were such creative touches.

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Auction Napa Valley- Participate With Us!

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A peek at Auction Napa Valley 2015 at Hall Winery

It’s great to be in Napa Valley any time of year, but this week is a bit more colorful, glamorous, and generous. Auction Napa Valley begins Thursday, June 2nd, and runs through Sunday, June 5th. This is one of the most celebrated charity wine events, and the benefits from it linger much longer than just four days.

Auction Napa Valley is hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) association, and with the generosity of bidders, vintners, event partners and volunteers, we are all creating a healthier community for children, families and adults. The NVV’s contributions to community health and children’s education nonprofits allow them to serve more than 100,000 clients of all ages annually.

At V. Sattui, we are proud to partner with the NVV and support these efforts to keep Napa County one of the best communities to live, work, and visit. We have created an E-Auction Lot, which allows both folks attending Auction Napa Valley, and those who cannot physically be here to participate in the event too. The E-Auction is open now and closes on Sunday, June 5th. Our lot is an Imperial sized bottle of 2012 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon. This is equal to eight regular sized (750 ml) bottles of one of our best single vineyard Napa Valley Cabernets. It has won several awards and earned numerous points, including being named “Wine of the Year” and “Best Cabernet” by the 2016 Monterey International Wine Competition.

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We hope you’ll make a bid on this E-Auction lot, and we hope you win!

 

 

Viva Moscato!

(14) MoscatoWARNING: Consumption of this product may cause uncontrollable humming, skipping and dancing.

Happy Moscato Day! Millions of folks on the northern side of the Mediterranean Sea from Portugal and Spain to Italy and Greece can’t be wrong as it is widely grown and enjoyed. For many, a sip of Moscato is like a sip of sunshine. You just have to smile.

One place on which the wine world’s spotlight shines is Asti in Northern Italy’s Piemonte Region. Here, Asti Spumante is produced, which is moscato refermented into a sparkling wine with the same effervescent pressure as a Champagne – La Spuma is “the foam” in Italian. Numerous places throughout Italy produce a sparkling wine with less effervescence (about the same as Prosecco) called Moscato Frizzante – La frizza means “the gas” in Italian.

V. Sattui Moscato is fashioned in a very Italian style and the wine is “carbonated” naturally by a second fermentation in a sealed stainless steel tank which does not allow the natural bubbles to escape; just like Spumante. Fermenting in a bottle creates a yeasty wine because of the wine’s intimate contact with yeast. Fermenting in a much larger vessel reduces yeast contact to the point where the wine’s delicate fruitiness remains essentially intact.proscuitto-wrapped-figs

Our Moscato Frizzante exudes the personality of the Muscat grape with peach, orange blossoms and melon. La Frizza creates a lovely edge in the wine which prevents the subtle sweetness from being cloying. A marvelous dessert wine on a hot summer night.

Please DO attempt this at home: cut a little pocket in a Mission fig and stuff it with a semi soft goat cheese. Wrap with prosciutto and affix it to the fig with a water soaked toothpick. Grill until the cheese runs a bit and the prosciutto becomes crisp. Place on a platter, serve V. Sattui Moscato and stand back so that you can watch your guests’ knees buckle.

V. Satttui Winery: A Slice of Italy in Napa – the Ultimate Wedding Destination!

No one can deny that Italians are passionate people, especially about art, family, food, wine and romance! Here at V. Sattui, we’re very proud of our Italian roots and the special touch they add to our weddings. That’s amore!

What could be more romantic than getting married in an Italian villa? Our stone buildings are charmingly rustic, and the rounded archways provide natural alters in our ceremony spaces.

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Italians are known for their strong family bonds, and our brides and grooms feel the same way about their families too. With multiple options for hosting your ceremony, V. Sattui can comfortably accommodate up to 250 guests, so your whole family can celebrate with you!

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When it comes to delicious food and wine, Italians definitely take the gold. Here at V. Sattui, we’re very lucky to have Michelin-star chef Stefano Masanti on hand to create incredible food that complements our fine wines. What brings people together better than a good meal and wine?

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Celebrating 40 years of Doing Business in the Napa Valley!

Today we celebrate the day V. Sattui winery opened its doors in Napa Valley, 40 years ago!

A Dream Come True

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Vittorio Sattui, founder of V. Sattui Winery and Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather

Dario Sattui’s Great Grandfather originally started V. Sattui Winery in San Francisco in 1885.  The winery was forced to close in 1920 when Prohibition became law.  But on March 4, 1976, Dario’s dream of resurrecting the family winery in Napa Valley became a reality.  He remembers opening day well.

“I was really nervous,” says Dario.  “My wife at the time thought opening a winery was a crazy idea.  I was optimistic.  I knew I was willing to work hard, and I had dreamed of reopening my great grandfather’s winery for years.  We made $141 in 9 hours on that first day.  We collected it in a wooden box since we didn’t even have a cash register.  I started to think maybe my wife was right.”

But Dario persisted.  At the end of the first year he’d sold 1800 cases and made a small profit.  But it came at a cost.  Dario and his wife lived very frugally.  At one point he needed to store barrels of wine, and the only extra space he had was the living room of the tiny house behind the winery.  The weight of the barrels was so heavy, the floor started to sink, and eventually the foundation had to be fixed!

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Tom Davies- President of V. Sattui Winery

“You name it, we didn’t have it,” says Tom Davies, who was hired in 1980 and one of the first 10 employees at the winery.  Today, he is the President and a co-owner of V. Sattui.  “When we used the phone, we called people collect most of the time.  We used pitch forks to move our grapes into the hopper during harvest.  We didn’t have equipment for that.”

The small winery crew even corked and labeled their bottles of wine by hand.

Innovation Leads to Success

Although budgets were tight, Tom says it was a thrilling time to be at V. Sattui and in the wine industry.

“I wanted to be in the wine business, and it was exciting!  Any given day we were doing something different, and we were learning as we were doing it.  There was a lot of innovation and we were pioneers.  We had to be.”

That innovation led to V. Sattui being one of the very first wineries to start a wine club and events for members like our annual Harvest Ball.  V. Sattui was the first in Napa Valley to offer wine futures, host weddings, and create our world-famous Italian deli, expansive cheese case, and gorgeous picnic grounds.

Rick Rosenbrand, Dario Sattui
V. Sattui’s first winemaker, Rick Rosenbrand tastes a barrel sample with Dario Sattui

Success followed.  In 1983 V. Sattui won its first medal- a bronze for a Chardonnay.

“I was the winemaker, and I wasn’t a very good one,” says Dario.  “I couldn’t afford a winemaker, so I learned from my mistakes, and got help from people along the way.  I was elated when we won a bronze medal!”

The medals kept coming, and in 1990 Dario promoted Rick Rosenbrand, to winemaker, whose father was also a winemaker at Beaulieu Vineyard.  Eventually Brooks Painter was hired as winemaker and continues his reign today, making 60 different wines.  Just recently V. Sattui’s 2014 Los Carneros Chardonnay received a 92-point score from the Wine Spectator and won the Sweepstakes for White Wines at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition.  The SF Chronicle Competition also awarded us two “Best of Class” categories, 4 Double Gold medals, and 11 Gold medals.   We believe our winemaking skills have definitely matured with us!

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Brooks Painter, V. Sattui’s current winemaker

Future

Dario and Tom plan for V. Sattui to continue making the best wines we can, and will continue to provide a great experience when you come to visit us.  The V. Sattui staff loves to share things we love: good wine, hand-crafted foods, and gathering with friends.  We plan to keep doing that for at least the next 40 years!

Celebrate Big!

‘Tis the season to celebrate, and show friends and family how much we care about them.  We encourage you to THINK BIG!

Large format bottles are the unsung heroes of the wine industry. Not only do they make an impression at the table, they age better than their standard counterparts, making for a wise and generous investment.

Many people save the larger bottles for very special occasions such as Christmas Dinner when all of the family is gathered around the table, or New Year’s Eve to celebrate the beginning of a new chapter.  If you’ve been to V. Sattui Winery’s Harvest Ball, you know we choose that night as a great occasion to open our large format bottles of older vintages and share with our party guests.

We find the presence of a large format bottle can make any occasion a special, and successful, one – a gathering of friends, the first time meeting the parents, a weekend out-of-town.  Our Vice President of Operations, John Winkelhaus, recently hosted a dinner party for 12 people where he opened a magnum of 2007 V. Sattui Morisoli Cabernet, and a magnum of our 2012 Crow Ridge Zinfandel.

“The wines tasted beautifully, since they age so well in the larger bottles,” says John.  “It was really a memorable evening of good friends and great wine served with a prime rib dinner, and later, a great cheese course.  Opening the large format bottles made our guests feel special and added a detail that made the night extra special.”

Our large format bottles also make great gifts, especially for BIG occasions.  One of V. Sattui’s longtime wine tenders, Marty Slavin, says he purchased a magnum to commemorate his son’s birth.  He also gives them to salute marquee occasions like weddings and retirements.

“I like to buy a large bottle with the vintage year of the special occasion for a gift,” says Marty.  “It’s a nice way to memorialize the moment, and be able to remember the event by enjoying a really great wine later.”

And because they age so well, you have plenty of time to decide which occasion is the right one. Simply make sure they are stored on their side, so the cork stays wet, at cellar temperature (55°F).  Our extensive portfolio of large format wines goes back decades. Our Magnum-sized offerings are the most diverse, though we do feature Double Magnums, Imperials and Nebuchadnezzars.

One magnum contains 1.5L of wine, which is the equivalent of two standard wine bottles. When is the last time you were in excellent company, enjoying one of those deep belly laughs, and loving the wine being shared, and a second or third bottle of wine needed to be opened? Those nights are perfect for large formats.

Be sure to keep an eye out for our new limited membership Magnum Club- which will launch in 2016!

New Year’s Eve Party in a Box!

New Year’s Eve. It’s happening. And all you need to know is bubbles, bubbles, bubbles… and brandy??

We’ve put together a fool-proof celebration box to cover your New Year’s Eve celebration:

2011 Prestige Cuvée

This sparkling wine is like getting the fancy French stuff with a cool California twist. We use the traditional French methode champenoise and apply it to our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes grown right here in Napa Valley. This is a labor of love, truly, where the wine undergoes a secondary fermentation in the bottle to create those lovely bubbles, bubbles, bubbles. Then, we add a little sugar (known as dosage) to bring the sweetness up to a level known as brut (1.3% residual sugar [RS]). Et voilà! Pop the cork and get ready for green apple, some toasted notes and a pleasant yeastiness.

2012 Cuvée Rouge

Made in the same methode champenoise as our Prestige Cuvée, we start off with Valdigué grapes (and a little Grenache). Valdigué is the same grape we use for our well-known and well-loved Gamay Rouge, so you know this sparkling wine will have those bright and juicy cherry and strawberry flavors. When it is time for the dosage, we add a little more sugar to this one (2.6% RS).

It’s a beautiful pink color, and perfect for those sparkling rose fans (you know who you are!).

2014 Moscato “Frizzante”

Oh, Moscato. With it’s ticklishly tiny bubbles, this one is definitely a fan favorite. We start out with its namesake – Muscat grapes. It is made a little differently than the first two, using what is known as the charmat method. This means the secondary fermentation happens right in the tank, so we can keep the wine nice and light and fruity. And it shows – orange blossom, peach, apricot and lychee burst forth from this fun wine. We keep the alcohol low, and the sugars a little higher (8.1% RS), for an effervescent experience.

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So here’s where the brandy comes in. We take that sweet and delicate Muscat grape juice (not wine, just juice) and throw in some brandy, just to step it up a bit. The result is this ambrosial liquid. It tastes like honey, toasted hazelnuts, and vanilla. Oh heaven! And it so versatile – serve warm, serve chilled; in glass or on ice cream, or you can even add it to a glass of Moscato for a crazy delicious drink! And once it’s opened, it will last for six months to a year. So if you decide to hide it away halfway through the party to save it for yourself for later… don’t worry, we won’t tell – we completely understand!

Order your New Year’s Eve wines here!

New Year’s Eve – handled! Now all you have to worry about is your outfit…

Cheers!

Help a Child- Receive a Free Tasting

It’s that time of year when we all want to “do good”.  Maybe it’s the crazy things happening in our world, maybe it’s the colder weather that forces us to be inside with each other longer, or maybe it’s because we were trained to “be good” for Santa at a very young age.

At V. Sattui Winery, we are giving you, (and us!), a very easy way to “do good”.  Bring a children’s book, help a local child, and receive a free tasting. The books will be donated to Napa County Child Start Inc.’s Raising a Reader Program, which promotes lifelong learning for children.  We’re off to a good start, having asked our employees to donate books at our recent holiday party. We’d love to get your help in collecting hundreds more to give to local kids in our community.

Your new, unwrapped children’s book (ages 0-9 years) will eventually be sent home with a child to share with their parents and families.  While Raising a Reader is targeted to preschool children, the benefits are family‐wide as reading supports parent-child interaction, enhances a child’s ability to listen, and encourages a family routine of having “special time” together.

Just hearing a loving adult read, helps children expand their vocabulary, knowledge and imagination.  It also makes them aware of the spoken and written language.  It helps children listen better (wouldn’t we all love that?).

We will collect the children’s books in our Main Tasting Room through the month of December.  We are open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., except December 24th when the winery closes at 3 p.m., and we are closed for business on Christmas Day.

Guests who donate a book will receive a complimentary tasting at the winery.  

Let’s give the gift of reading!  We hope to see you soon!

Recipe: Filet Mignon with Morel Mushrooms

A great Cabernet calls for a great cut of meat; cooked to perfection and paired with a smooth sauce and succulent side dishes. Our favorite side dishes for this recipe are creamy polenta and asparagus, and we love pairing this dish with our Mt Veeder Cabernet. The grapes for this mountain-bred Cabernet come from the upper blocks of our beautiful and historic Henry Ranch property

Filet Mignon with Morel Mushrooms

(Serves 4)

Ingredients

4 filet mignons, about 6 ounces each
4 tablespoons olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1 shallot, minced
1 cup red wine
1 cup beef stock
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
¼ cup sugar
1 tablespoon each thyme & parsley, chopped
2 ounces dried morel mushrooms, hydrated and roughly chopped

 

Directions

Heat your grill and rub the filets with half the oil and season with salt and pepper. Set the filets aside while you prepare the sauce. 

In a small sauce pan add the shallot and red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce by half. Add the stock and reduce by half. Add the vinegar and sugar. Stir to combine. Add the thyme, parsley and mushrooms. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer while you grill the steaks. 

Grill the steaks to your desired temperature. It should take about 12-15 minutes to reach medium rare.

Place a steak on each of four warmed plates, spoon the sauce over each steak and serve with your side dishes.

Photo credits: The Gourmet Gourmand

Not Your Usual Turkey Leftover Recipe

Happy Thanksgiving!  We hope you are enjoying some time with friends, family, and of course, some great V. Sattui wine!  Think you might have some turkey leftover after your big feast tomorrow?  We enlisted some help from local chef John Ash.

In addition to being a renowned chef, author, and food and wine educator, many refer to Chef John Ash as the “Father of Wine Country Cuisine”. In 1980 he opened his namesake restaurant, John Ash & Company, in Santa Rosa, CA. It was the first restaurant in Northern California wine country to focus on local, seasonal ingredients used to create dishes that complemented the wines being made in the region. It continues to be critically acclaimed today.

 John travels the world teaching cooking classes to both home cooks and professionals. And for John, wine is always considered an essential part of the flavors of a meal.

The following recipe is from John’s Culinary Birds cookbook.  Tortillitas are a little-known savory pancake from Spain that make delicious little tapas.  They are meant to be served with Romesco Sauce (recipe is also below), and John recommends serving them with our Dry Riesling.  Enjoy–and use up that turkey!

Tortillitas with Turkey
From Chef John Ash
Makes 4-6 Pancakes

Ingredients:

For Turkey
½ cup leftover turkey meat, cut into small ½” to 1” pieces
½ teaspoon ground cumin
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon ground black pepper
Olive oil
Salt

For Batter
½ cup chickpea flour
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ teaspoon baking powder
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/3 cup chopped scallions, white and green parts
2 tabelspoons mixed chopped fresh herbs (such as rosemary, parsley, thyme, cilantro)

Method
Combine turkey with cumin, coriander and black pepper and mix.  Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil to a small skillet over medium heat and cook the turkey until lightly browned and cooked through, about 3 minutes.  Season to your taste with salt and set aside.
For the batter, in a bowl, combine the flours, baking powder, and salt and pepper to taste.  Add 1 cup of water and stir to combine; consistency should resemble pancake batter (if batter is too thick, add more water, a tablespoon at a time).  Stir in the scallions, cooked turkey and any juices and the herbs.

Add 1-2 tablespoons olive oil to a 9 or 10-inch nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.  When the oil is hot, pour one-third of the batter into the center of the pan and tilt to form a pancake, spreading the batter gently with a spatula if necessary.

Cook until the pancake is set around the edges, about 1 minute.  Flip the pancake and continue cooking for another couple of minutes, then flip it again and cook for another 30 seconds or so, until it is crisp on the outside but still moist inside.  Remove from the pan and serve immediately, cut into wedges, Romesco sauce on the side to spoon over top.  Cook the remaining pancakes in the same way and serve warm.

Romesco Sauce
Makes 2 cups

Ingredients
2 large tomatoes
1 large dried ancho chile
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
¼ cup peeled hazelnuts
¼ cup blanched almonds
1 (1/2-inch thick) slice firm white bread, cut into ½-cubes
2 large garlic cloves, sliced
1/8 teaspoon dried hot red pepper flakes
¼ cup drained piquillo or pimento peppers, rinsed
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar, or to taste
Kosher or sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

Method:
Place the tomatoes under a hot broiler and roast until lightly charred and softened.  Chop them and set aside, saving all the juices.

While the tomatoes are roasting, slice the chile open lengthwise and discard the stem and seeds;  then tear the chile into small pieces.  Heat the oil in a 10-inch heavy skillet over moderate heat, add the chile, and cook, stirring until the oil is fragrant and the chile turns a brighter red, about 20 seconds.  Transfer the chile with a slotted spoon to a heatproof bowl.

Add the hazelnuts to the skillet along with the almonds, bread, garlic, and red pepper flakes and cook, stirring, until the bread and garlic are golden, 2-3 minutes.  Add the mixture (including oil) to the chile in the bowl and let cool.

Combine the chile mixture, piquillos, and vinegar in food processor and purée until smooth.  Season to taste with salt, pepper, and additional vinegar if needed.  Thin with water if desired.  Can be made up to 3 days ahead and stored covered and refrigerated.  Serve at room temperature.

ROTA’s RAMBLINGS ON WINE: Che Syrah and Petite Sirah

A terrible blight (read mold) called Powdery Odium ravaged much of France in the mid 1800’s. By the time this disease was eradicated, the vines were weakened and set up for the next scourge which was even worse. It was a root louse called Phylloxera Vastatrix which wiped out almost all of the vineyards in Europe and greatly affected the New World. Hold this thought because this will constitute a future Ramblings.

Syrah is particularly prone to mold because the grape clusters are rather tight. By the time mold is manifest, it’s too late because it grew from the inside out. This prompted specialists to find a way to better ventilate the clusters by hybridizing.

 

Bear in mind that genetic engineering didn’t exist back then and hybridizing was a long trial-by-trial, exhausting task. Pollen had to be collected from the stamen of the trial plant with a small painter’s brush and applied to the sticky surface of the pistil of the host plant which is located just above that blossom’s ovary. When the cluster has been pollinated, a bag is placed over it to prevent any foreign pollen from getting involved. Then the fruit development and ripening pattern have to be analyzed and ultimately, a wine had to be made, analyzed and, of course, tasted. Try going through a hundred or so trials, keeping copious notes and records. It gives me the notion that nurserymen of that period didn’t live long lives.

It was Dr. Francois Duriff who successfully hybridized Syrah with a local (Rhone Valley) darling called the Peloursin. The new varietal was named Duriff after the good doctor and it goes by that name in Australia to this day. This combination produced smaller berries which allowed for better control of various molds. Smaller berries also accelerated the juice-to-skin ratio which extracted much more color and flavor from the skins, creating dense, intense, full bodied, huge (read brooding) wines. Early on, the wines were gritty, tannic monsters (so monstrous that bottles have been known to grow fur). Vintners soon learned to pick later rather than earlier and to press the skins gently, sending aggressive pressings to the distiller.

Soon, balanced, robust, rich, age-worthy wines were on shelves throughout France. Inevitably, this grape made it to Californian shores (circa 1915) and the “old timers” (like John Parducci) would plant Petite Sirah with other varietals to make Field Blends much like the Grenache vineyards in the South of France. A field blend is picking everything from that vineyard, keeping and fermenting it together and the field becomes the wine. Ultimately, Petite Sirah thrived in the dry, Mediterranean climate of California which is similar to that of Southern France.

The Name Game:
American marketers were searching for a name that would give the wine “shelf appeal” in the self service supermarket environment. They thought Duriff could not be associated with anything, much less wine. They grappled with Peloursin and thought not a chance. Finally, one bright, young “exec” thought smaller berries; why not Petite Sirah? As a final touch in relating to but separating from Syrah, they altered the spelling.

Here is an analogy that will help you. Would you see a movie starring Marion Morrison? What if that person was John Wayne??!! How about Bernie Schwartz? I’ll bet you would pay quickly to see that person as Tony Curtiss. It’s all about marketable, friendly names that can be easily associated with and related to.

The British Empire which ruled the seas and filled them with trade vessels was masterful in naming wines with difficult market appeal. Here are a few examples.

Bordeaux: This region had hundreds of Chateaus with French names – one harder to pronounce than the next, if you were not French. They simply dubbed the wines as a category called Claret (pronounced CLA- ret). By the way, they were instrumental in creating the famous Classified Growths of Bordeaux Vineyards in 1855.

Then, there is Germany with hundreds of vineyards equally hard to pronounce, if you are not German. The Brits called these wines along the Rhein and Mosel Rivers Hock Wines named after the town of Hochheim where that signature, slender Hock bottle was designed – green for Mosel and brown for Rhein (Rhine). To demonstrate confusion there are almost 200 villages along these rivers that end in heim.

Now the tongue twister for champions which again was rescued by British marketers: It was a region in the very dry part of Andalusia in southern Spain visited by the Greeks and called Xeres or Dry Land (witness Xerox or dry process). Later, it was invaded by the Moors and they called it Sherrisch. Finally, with the help of a Crusade, the locals reclaimed the land and called it Jerez de la Frontera (pronounced hay-RETH day lah fron-TER-ah). Who could possibly relate to that? So the Brits simply called the wines of the region Sherry and sub-classified the wines as Dry Sherry, Fino, Cream Sherry, etc. “Shall we ave a spoh a sheddeh”?

And, let’s never forget that the British classified and grouped all of those non-descript, average Country Wines or table wines as PLONK, which means the carafe was simply plonked on the table without comment, much less fanfare.

And, here’s a name that involved a Brit in the New World which will jog your memory every time you are in a supermarket produce section. Sir William Thompson came to California bringing with him two mating pairs of starlings for which we have never forgiven him. He also brought along some grapes that grew in England’s “Banana Belt” around Bath called Lady de Coverly which he planted along the San Joaquin River in California’s Central Valley. A devastating flood occurred one year, as in those days the San Joaquin was a significant river. (Today, it’s merely a trickle.) Sir William was prompted to say: “Well that ends my grapegrowing.

A couple of years later, he returned to the flood scene and noticed wild grapes growing in profusion. He, naturally, tasted a berry and it was delicious WITH NO SEEDS….!!! It was a mutation initiated by the flood waters and it was called Thompson Seedless and Sir William became known as Seedless Thompson, albeit he sired 12 kids.

Back to Petite Sirah:

Here are the aroma/flavor profiles of this Rhone style varietal.

Fruit/Vegetable: Beetroot *** Blackberry *** Black Currant *** Black Raspberry
Wood: Chocolate *** Clove *** Mocha *** Toffee *** Vanilla
Other: Black Licorice *** Black Pepper

Marriages:

Meat: Here is a wine created for carnivores. From slow-cooked briskets, to smoked sausage to rich braises and stews. Charcoal grilled steaks or burgers. Boldly flavored meats are especially good like Mongolian barbecue, Mexican Mole or Beef Chili and Asado. Red meats with a sweet edge like Teriyaki or a barbecue sauce (in Pulled Pork) show especially well. And, don’t forget Mom’s Meatloaf.

Cheese: Surprisingly, Petite Sirah pairs with a wide range of cheeses and you can even bend the rule a bit by serving a mild blue veined cheese without causing a tannic collision with the salty cheese. The larger-than-life presentation of Petite Sirah and the perceived sweetness in its juicy fruitiness allows this marriage. So, without trepidation, serve a Camembert, Teleggio, Aged Cheddar, Liverot, Morbier or Chaumes.

Game: The assertiveness of game meats matches well with the boldness of Petite Sirah – perfect with venison, elk, boar and even moose.

Spice: Slightly spicy Asian dishes such as Garlic Beef or Tandoori Lamb Kabobs and most Southwestern fare.

Humble Foods: Burgers, hot dogs (Mustard based dishes), smoked meats, most sandwiches and just about any red meat with Ketchup on it.

Chocolate: A good wine to pair with 80% Cocoa Chocolate, if so inclined.

Divorces:

By itself: Like most powerhouse red wines, Petite Sirah begs to have a munchable companion. It’s no fun to drink this wine by itself or alone, for that matter.

With Fiery Hot Food: Remember alcohol only exacerbates capsaicin and/or the heat in spice. The combination could be memorable, but not in a good way.

With Delicate Food: The robust nature of this wine will simply overrun any shy flavors.

With Fish: The tannins inherent in this wine will give fish a metallic flavor.

When Old: When Petite Sirah is young it is flavor-packed and explosive. When aged, its prowess diminishes and it should be paired as one would with an older Syrah or Zinfandel.

(Once again, I owe a debt of gratitude to my favorite Sommelier Evan Goldstein and his second book Daring Pairing)

V. Sattui Petite Sirah:

This wine harkens from the fabled Rutherford Appellation as well as our certified organic Vittorio’s Vineyard adjacent to the winery.  Dark and deeply colored, it sports highly extracted flavors of blackberries and wild plums with underlying, enticing, barrel notes of vanilla, pepper and smoke.  Full bodied and muscular, the wine has abundant tannins but not those that grip your tonsils; so the wine is approachable now with a bottle promise of at least 10 years.  So lay it down with your gorgeous Cabernets with confidence.

A Thought to Embrace  

Looking forward, American marketers will always have their plates filled with foreign grape/wine names to Americanize and familiarize for a long time ahead. There are thousands of grapes and local, darling wines that are totally unknown a scant 100 miles from their source(s) and their magic is just waiting to be discovered. Consider a book just published listing Italy’s 624 local and indigenous grape varieties heretofore unknown, and you’ll get an idea of what excitement lies ahead for consumers and marketers alike. Maybe, God will grant me another 25 years of life to witness and record these new dimensions added to our wondrous world of wines. Of course, much depends on regularly (and moderately) taking my  medicines of the vine and you know I’ll be sharing my findings with you.

“A good name is like a precious ointment; it filleth all around about and will not easily away; for the aromas of ointments are more durable than flowers”

Francis Bacon 1561 – 1626

ROTA’S RAMBLINGS ON WINE: Che Syrah Syrah

The headwaters for the Rhone River rise out of the snowpack in the Swiss Alps flowing west and south passing some of the highest vineyards in the world.  In fact, THE highest vineyard at 3600 feet is the Visperterminen Vineyard lying literally in the shadows of the Matterhorn. (Good trivia material.) 

The river flows through Lake Geneva and enters France in the Beaujolais Region near Lyon where it heads south to the Mediterranean Sea. With the Alps to the east and the Massif Central to the west, it neatly parts Provence from Languedoc and the Rhone Appellation begins at Vienne. 

The Rhone varietal – Syrah – has its origins in a grape growing region in the state of Fars in Persia midway between the Persian Gulf and the ruins of Persepolis about 500 miles from Tehran.  The Farsi capital and principal winegrowing region is Shiraz. This explains why the Aussies refer to this identical grape and its wine with this name. 

How it traveled some 3000 miles to France remains somewhat of a mystery.  One legend holds that a hermit monk brought it back from one of the Crusades and planted it not far from his residential cave along the Rhone River. Hence, the principal appellation of Northern Rhone memoralizes this monk with the name l’Hermitage and its surrounding area Croze Hermitage.

A more plausible theory lies with the Greeks from the sect of Phocaea on the Island of Lesbos who were known for their distant sea journeys, mapping such coast lines as Spain, the Adriatic and France.  They founded the French port city of Marseilles in 600 A.D. and most likely they brought the Shirazi grape with them.  Today, we should all be rather pleased that it emerged from Iran and, importantly, made it all way to the New World (Read California).

Meanwhile, back to the Rhone Valley which has two distinct climates.  The Northern Rhone region extends from Vienne to Montelimar a distance of approximately 70 miles.  Here, the climate is more Continental with adequate rainfall and hot summers that give way to an early fall and cold winters.  Two principal grapes are grown here along with peach trees and nuts – Viognier for white wine and Syrah for red.  As one could imagine,  the twists and turns of the river offer a variety of exposures to sun along with the river’s deposits and erosions of soils; Syrah ranges from powerful to graceful with a myriad of fruits and flavors that emanate from the terroir.  (Aromas and flavors unique to a patch of land. Called Lieux-dit – lee-yuh DEE – in this part of France)

THERE IS A POINT TO ALL OF THIS, I PROMISE.

The Southern portion of the Rhone Valley – from Montelimar south of Avignon to Cotes du Luberon some 55 miles further south – has a more Mediterranean  climate.  The weather is warmer and drier with warmer fall temperatures which guarantee consistent ripeness and lusciousness with each vintage.  Along with the olive trees and Lavender as far as the eye can see, there are some 20 grape varieties grown with appellate legality.  The signature grape in this region is the Grenache (originally from Spain where it is called Garnacha) along with Syrah and Mouvedre.  Some of the other grapes remain completely foreign even to oenophiles such as Picpoul Noir, Cinsault, Connoise and so on.

In this region, Syrah is never alone as it is ALWAYS a blend of at least two grapes and as many as 13.

Two things are common throughout the Rhone Valley.  Ferocious winds called the Mistral which blow with enough force to strip vines of leaves, shoots and even fruit.  This is why ubiquitous rows of cypress trees act as wind blocks and vines are head trained close to the ground to minimize the wind effects.  Stones, called  Gallets from the size of a fist to boulders proliferate vineyards.  The one positive effect of these two elements is the lack of mildew or any problematical rot.

This region is the oldest grape growing region in France  Some 2000 years ago, the Romans cultivated the vine here and sent wines to Rome that were superior to those grown around Cesar’s local environs.  As Rome converted to Christianity, the Faith and clergy expanded to the Roman outposts and expanded their own beacons of the faith.  All of this leads me to the most famous chateau in the Rhone Valley………………

Chateauneuf du Pape:  In 1309, Pope Clement V was installed as Pope of the Roman Catholic Church.  He was born in Bordeaux which meant that he was no stranger to wine and that he was quite content to remain in and pontificate from France rather than go to Rome.  In fact, he had vineyards in Bordeaux which is known today as Chateau Pape Clemente in the region of Graves. This “arrangement” was made because The King of France and the Vatican were engaged in a nasty dispute with severely strained relations.  The Pope had another small vineyard around Avignon and he decided to settle there.

It was his successor, Pope John XXII who decided to get out of the oppressive heat of Avignon and move to the more comfortable countryside.  He knew about a castle ruins nearby and after managing the Vatican treasury and setting it in order, he amassed funds to build his NEW CASTLE; since called Chateaueuf du Pape.  The massive and ornate structure was completed in 1338 and the good Pope died just a year after he moved into this summer residence.  In 1944, the Germans returned the structure to ruins by blowing it up as they retreated from the advancing Allies.

V. Sattui Syrah is like a Northern Rhone version and the V. Sattui Entanglement is very much like a Chateauneuf du Pape, as we will see later. Meanwhile, here is an overview of Syrah.

Syrah: While history holds many mysteries and shadows which give rise to legends, here is a more modern, unromantic version which I purposely omitted from all of the charm above.  A somewhat renowned UC Davis grape geneticist – Carol Merideth –  claims that Syrah was the result of a French hybrid of two uninspiring grapes – Mondeuse Blanche (white) x Durerza (red).  Be my guest.  Go ahead and embrace any one of these historical dimensions as it’s all right with me.  More importantly, let’s embrace what we have in our glass…!!!

No longer the domain of the Wine Cognoscenti, Syrah is becoming increasingly popular because of its food friendly demeanor and its ability to pair with a wide array of popular dishes. Like Zinfandel, Syrah and the vanillan characteristics of new oak are not well suited.  In fact, many producers – especially those in France – prefer to use only seasoned (older) oak to allow the innate personality of Syrah to dictate the character of the wine.  Finally, Californian Syrah lies scrumptiously between Australian and Cote du Rhone versions.   Nice place to be.

Here is a universal flavor profile for Syrah.

Fruit & Vegetable:  Boysenberry  **  Blackberry  **  Black Current (Casis)
Black Raspberry  **  Black Plum  **  Prune  **  Fennel  **  Black Olive
Bell Pepper **  Citrus (Orange)  **  Mulberry  **  Stewed Fruit  **  Fruitcake
Floral:  Violets  **  Tea Leaf  **  Mint  **  Eucalyptus  **  Menthol
Earth:  Graphite  **  Mushroom  ** Charcoal  **  Truffle
Wood (oak):  Cinnamon  **  Clove  **  Chocolate  **  Cocoa  **  Coffee
Toast  **  Vanilla  **  Coconut  **  Smoke or Char
Other:  Peppercorn (White & Black)  **  Sausage (Roasted Meat)  **  Soy
Bacon  **  Leather  **  Animal

The implicit black pepper in syrah invites the incorporation of spices and peppers into marinades, glazes, sauces, side dishes or condiments.  Dishes with a coarse texture work well with Syrah.  Polenta, Black Beans, even a sauce made with whole grain mustard provide a nice scrape against this ample wine.  Try French Cassoulet, Greek Moussaka and even good old American Chili (Rich but not too spicy) as partners.  Bouillabaise or Ciappino and other big stews show off well.  Barbecue Sauce from any region – Texas, The Carolinas, or St Louis as well as meat off the grill are great.

Keep in mind that Syrah is rich in alcohol and it will neutralize any dish with subtle nuances.  Also, as Syrah ages, it becomes like an old Bordeaux and it should be treated and paired as such.     

Marriages: 

  • Grilled Foods like a char-grilled steak or peppercorn-crusted tuna. 
  • Assorted vegetables like eggplant, zucchini or tomatoes. 
  • Thick winter stews or a one dish does it all
  • Pungent and wild flavors like squab or wild boar
  • Herbs – no matter – how they are added or infused match perfectly
  • Barbecue sauce and moderate spice

 

Divorces:

  • Most fish.  Flavors are thrown out of balance by the generosity of Syrah
  • Hot and fiery recipes increase the Scoville Scale because of the alcohol.  Trust me.  You’ll be reaching for a beer.
  • Sour Foods such as dishes with a vinegar base and tart vegetables like escarole or leeks
  • While Syrah pairs well with sharp cheeses like Extra aged Gouda, Dry Jack and Pavie Vecchio; avoid stinky, washed rind cheeses like Epoisses or Camembert, runny soft ripened cheeses and, at all costs, any Blue Cheese.

 

Once again, my favorite reference was at work here and that is Perfect Pairings by Evan Goldstein.  He’s the best and I strongly recommend getting his book which is available in our tasting room.

Here is how V. Sattui Winery Syrah fits onto the global tapestry of Syrah.  We have vineyards up and down the Napa Valley.  Vittorio Vineyard (57%), in the warmer heart of Napa Valley, yields ripeness, chocolate, sweet blueberries, loam and white pepper.  Our cooler, Carsi and Carneros Vineyards add refinement and subtlety.  In my personal evaluation, I saw lovely crimson colors, smelled violets and sweet smoke, bacon, meats on the BBQ along with that inherent black pepper and an elegant, creamy texture on the palate. It definitely represents a Napa Version of the Northern, more elegant dimension of the Rhone Valley.  Viola….!!!

Here is an expression found on a 17th Century Italian painting that said: 

Ricorda questo bene
Un barile di vino da’ quello che ha
Se e’ vino ordinario, e’ che cosa ottenete
Se si ha l’acqua, e’ cio’ che dovete attingere
Se esso viene riempito di Gloria……………..Allora!!!

Remember this well. 
The barrel of wine gives what it has
If it is ordinary wine, that is what it is
If it is water, that is what you will draw
If it is filled with glory…………………. well then.

CHE SARA’ SARA’…………..!!!

Elevate Your Tailgate Ranch House Fajitas and Gilsson Zinfandel

Whether it’s your favorite professional team, college team, or your kids’ little league team… we Americans love our football!  At V. Sattui we are really into the spirit, especially since Super Bowl 50 will be played in February just a couple of hours down the road from us.

But some of us are even more enthusiastic about the Tailgate Party before the game!  Whether you enjoy hanging out in the parking lot with your portable grills blazing, or chilling in the family room with friends, we love to fuel up on tasty fare before cheering our team on to victory.  But we encourage you to think outside of the “nacho and beer” box.  

This recipe comes from our friends at Harris Ranch Beef.  This family-owned business is located in California’s Central Valley, has been in operation since the 1930’s.  They produce some of the finest quality beef and it’s available widely on the West Coast.

These fajitas are brought to a new level of flavor when you pair them with V. Sattui’s Gilsson Zinfandel.  This wine has equal “weight” to match the beef in the fajitas, some fruit-forward flavors like ripe boysenberry and blackberry that complement the spiciness in the dish.

Try elevating your tailgate to new heights—and hopefully your team’s success will follow!

Ranch House Fajitas
From Harris Ranch Beef

Ingredients:
2 pounds, marinated Harris Ranch skirt, flap or flank steak
2 bell peppers (red, green or yellow), sliced
1 large red onion, sliced
2 medium tomato, wedged
3 cups Harris Ranch Restaurant Marinade (recipe to follow)

Method:
Slice steak across the grain into 1/4"-1/2" strips and marinate for at least four hours, or overnight if desired. Remove meat from the marinade and discard the marinade. In a sauté pan, sauté beef, onion and bell pepper over medium heat until beef is browned and onion and bell pepper are tender. Stir in wedged tomatoes and sauté for five minutes more. Serve immediately with warm flour tortillas, grated cheese, sour cream, salsa and guacamole. Serves 4-6

Harris Ranch Restaurant Marinade:
8 oz. soy sauce
16 oz. water
2 oz. brown sugar
1 tbsp. granulated garlic
1/2 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. ground black pepper
2 dashes Tabasco
1 oz. lemon juice

Marinade Preparation:
Combine above ingredients and refrigerate.

V. Sattui Winery’s Black Sears Zinfandel- Love for the Land Shines Through

Mention V. Sattui’s Black Sears Zinfandel to any of our members who love big, bold flavors and you will see a little twinkle in their eye.  This single-vineyard Zinfandel comes from Howell Mountain, Napa County’s highest vineyard, which is also biodynamically farmed and certified organic.

The unique climate of Howell Mountain produces wines with a firm structure, intense fruit flavors, earthy spice, and round acidity. The ashy, iron-laden soils are perfectly suited for growing full-bodied, peppery Zinfandel and earthy, rich Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc. 

Joyce and Jerre Sears purchased their vineyard property in 1979, and now caring for the vineyards has become a full family affair, with their daughter and son-in-law, Ashley and Chris Jambois joining the family business in 2008.  They are committed to using organic and biodynamic farming practices not only in the vineyards, but also in the acres of orchards and gardens on this gorgeous property.

Their love of the land shines through in the wine.  V. Sattui’s 2012 Black Sears Zinfandel is a beautiful dark garnet color with concentrated blackberry fruit and a scent of cracked black pepper that is a signature of this vineyard.  People love this wine because it is both restrained and loaded with flavor.  It is impeccably balanced, and is ready to drink today, but if you are patient and lay it down for the next 5 to 8 years, we believe you will be richly rewarded.

Purchase our 2012 Black Sears Zinfandel here >>

 


Some information in this blog has been reprinted with permission. For more information about the Black Sears vineyard please visit www.blacksears.com