Big and rich, with intense fruit flavors like blackberry, black cherry, candied orange and chocolate, with a touch of spice and herbs. The combination of fruit and spice complements the flavors in Greg's Persimmon Pudding Cake nicely. I like how the cake's sweetness offsets the port's own sweetness, which ensures liveliness and balance in the pairing. Made from classic Portuguese grape varieties (and some Zinfandel), this Californian dessert wine finishes with refined tannins and elegant persistence, and is reminiscent of many fine Portuguese vintage ports.
Port is another example of one of those "happy accidents" which were so prevalent throughout wine's history (Champagne being my favorite!). In an effort to stabilize the red wine bought back in barrels on the the long journey from Portugal, the British added distilled alcohol to the wine. In at least one instance, the addition of spirits to a not fully-fermented wine halted the fermentation process, resulting in high levels of sugar and an elevated alcohol level. Since then, the process has been refined, resulting in the wonderfully sweet yet complex pleasure we know today as port.
Where I live the persimmon trees have already dropped their leaves. I love how stark they look. Gray tangles silhouetted against a gray sky with just a few crimson orbs dangling from their branches. I've lived in Los Angeles so long that I've come to consider the persimmon tree the real true Christmas Tree. The first harbinger of the season. The first hint that the holidays are coming. You can almost smell the sweet spice of them. I try to stop and savor this moment every year, because we all know that the stress of the holidays will soon follow. The weight of them will soon be felt.
But right now– they seem so enchanting, so full of possibility and promise.
Take fruit cake. Every year about this time I think to myself, "I should make fruitcake". The idea of fruitcake seems so romantic, ripe with holiday spirit and good intentions. So full of possibility– so promising. But then the calender clicks off a few more days. The big day looms more near. My to-do list grows. Suddenly I remember all the hassle involved tracking down all those gummy neon colored fruits. Besides, nobody really likes fruitcake. They (like me) have romanticized that little confection all out of proportion.
So before I get to that point. Before the possibility and the promise fizzle out like the last candle on the 8th night. I plan to make fruitcake.
But this fruitcake holds all of the promise and none of the burden. Because you will love this fruitcake. I made it with persimmon. Hachiya persimmon. Its pudding-like pulp will add just the right note of sweetness to this very dense, very moist "fruit" cake. I hope you'll consider this Persimmon Pudding Cake. My gift to you. Because I realize many people aren’t sure what to do with persimmons. Some people even claim to dislike them. But I don't really believe them. Though its true persimmons can be confusing.
You see there are 2 types. Fuyu persimmons are squat like a bright orange tomato and are eaten while crunchy. They are great simply sliced and eaten out of hand. But they also shine in winter salads. I really defy anyone to say they don't like fuyu persimmons. It's like saying, "I don't like apples".
It's the other type of persimmon, Hachiya, that has convinced folks that they don't, can't or won't eat persimmons. Hachiya are more acorn shaped, more red than orange– and are abruptly tannic when under-ripe. Grimace your face and run from the room tannic. Hachiya persimmons must be squishy soft before eaten. At that point their flesh is like jelly. You can cut one in half and spoon its soft sweetness into your mouth. You can freeze them and do the same thing– enjoying them like the sweetest most exotic sorbet imaginable.
But there are other ways to enjoy them also. Their sweet pulp, when pureed, is as smooth as pudding. Making it a terrific ingredient for baking. It's the star of this dense and moist– perfect for the holidays– cake. It's a luxurious cake. Packed full of raisins and walnuts. At first bite it might seem not quite sweet enough. But keep eating. Just like the promise of Christmas, this cake's unexpected pleasures are not as obvious as they seem, and they don't last forever. GREG
Persimmon Pudding Cake serves 12 CLICK here for a printable recipe
1/4 c brandy
1 c raisins or dried currants
6 very ripe hachiya persimmons
3 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 c whole milk
1 t vanilla extract
6 T melted butter, slightly cooled
2 T honey
1/2 c sugar
1 1/4 cg all-purpose flour
1/2 t kosher salt
1 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1 1/2 c coursely chopped toasted walnuts
2 c whipped cream (optional)
Place the oven rack in the center position and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Butter the bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan. Place a round of parchment on the bottom.
Place the raisins in a small bowl and pour the brandy over. Let soften about 20 minutes.
Cut the persimmons in half, then scoop the pulp from the skins and place the pulp in a large bowl. Discard skins. Mash the pulp with a fork until until smooth. Add the lightly beaten eggs, milk, vanilla, honey, melted butter and sugar. Stir to combine.
In a separate large bowl, combine flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients in 3 additions. Stirring to combine between each addition. Fold in the raisins and any remaining brandy along with the walnuts. Pour the batter into the prepared pan. It should come to about 1-inch from the top. Don't overfill. Place the filled pan a a rimmed baking sheet and transfer to the heated oven.
Bake until the cake has risen, is firm to the touch and begins to pull away from the sides of the pan, about 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 hours. Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Once cool run a small knife along the edge to loosen the cake from the pan, then remove ring. Cut into wedges and serve with whipped cream, if using.
Source: Adapted from CIA Greystone
The Napa Valley Vintners Association reports that Chardonnay is pretty much off the vine, Merlot is coming in and last week's heat spike has gotten Cabernet Sauvignon to a very happy place on the valley floor. The long, smooth even growing season continues, with cooler days and cold nights allowing for flavors to develop in a winemaker's idea of a perfect scenario. Catch Harvest Napa Valley 2012 while you still can and take a peek at what happens once grapes come on to the "crush" pad.
Watch this video produced by the Napa Valley Vintners.
According to the Napa Valley Vintners Association the 10-day weather forecast for the region predicts continuing warm days with cool and foggy nights which bodes well for optimal ripening with balanced sugars and acids. The vintage is shaping up as a smooth, even harvest that--so far--finds winemakers throughout the appellation all-smiles with the 2012 crop. Across all varieties and from Carneros to Calistoga, the spring fruit set followed by a nearly perfect growing season finds beautiful, healthy vines delivering some of the most flavorful grape clusters vintners have seen in years.
Watch this video produced by the Napa Valley Vintners.
V. Sattui’s 28th annual Harvest Ball was a sucess as we celebrated this year’s harvest with a focus on the cuisine of Italy’s Alto Adige region, and showcased some of our very best wines, both new and aged. The evening began with a champagne reception, followed by a six-course Italian feast, and music and dancing lasting into the night.
2012 is shaping up to be a great vintage year in the Napa Valley.
The Napa Valley experienced a relatively dry winter, but spring rains added plenty of moisture to the ground, giving the vines an early start on spring growth. This summer saw mostly moderate temperatures, with only a couple of short heat spikes; but the recent string of warm to hot weather pushed grape maturity along and vintners expect this year’s harvest to be one of the biggest, due to increased berry set and cluster size.
“We’ll be starting our harvest of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir for sparkling wine very soon to produce our lovely Brut: the Prestige Cuvee,” explains Director of Winemaking Brooks Painter. “The Pinot Noir is picked earlier, before it is fully-colored, and then gently pressed to avoid red pigments and tannins in the juice,” he added. “The Chardonnay is picked slightly riper,” he continued, “then they are fermented separately and carefully blended before the second 'methode champenoise' fermentation in the bottle.”
“Sauvignon Blanc from our Carsi Estate vineyard was tested yesterday, and the 'brix' (sugar-content) lead us to expect that harvest will begin of this early-ripening varietal by the third week of August,” remarked V. Sattui's Associate Winemaker Laura Orozco. The first reds—Pinot Noir, Merlot and some Zinfandels—will arrive at the crush pad around mid-September. Both Painter and Orozco predict that the winery will begin crushing Cabernet Sauvignon in late September through mid-October. The red grapes are looking excellent and quality should be very high this year.
We look forward to having you here soon!
It's a big question that’s been fermenting for years among wine producers, from Bordeaux to California to New Zealand. Throughout history, corks have provided a fairly benevolent environment in which wines can mature. But there’s been a recent shift=from cork to metal among some producers as an increased amount of wine seemed to be suffering from cork taint, leaving some wine tasting musty and dull. The culprit, which can spoil up to one in twenty bottles, is trichloroanisole (TCA), a compound formed when chlorine used for bleaching reacts with mold already growing in the cork. Humans are incredibly sensitive to the compound and can detect it even in weak dilutions. The problem with tainted corks is thought to be on the up because cork manufactures are finding it increasingly hard to find supplies of good quality cork to meet an increased demand; though there’s some evidence the cork industry is turning this trend around.
What About Synthetic Cork?
Of course, another alternative is synthetic ‘cork’, which is already in widespread use; but many vintners realize these do not provide a tighter seal than natural corks, many tasters complain of ‘plastic taint’, and many consumers find them difficult to remove and impossible to recycle.
An Industry Stance?
There is no official view yet among wine industry professionals. The general consensus is that it is up to the producers to decide how to close their wine. Everyone does agree that slow oxygenation is needed to age some types of wine. Screw cap proponents argue that wine is aged by oxygen in the wine itself and the tiny amount of residual air held between the cap and wine, while many producers remain resolute in their belief that oxygen is able to gradually seep through cork and into the bottle, and that this is the only way wine can mature.
And One More Thing…
Then we’re observing in Australia and New Zealand, where screw caps are plentiful, their solution to overcome the major obstacle facing screw caps—post-bottling sulphide reduction—is to dose wines with ‘heavy metal’ in the form of copper sulphate. No telling yet whether it’s something we’d embrace here; but, to purists, this philosophy demands that wines must adapt to its container, not the other way around. Where most people want fewer chemicals in their food and drink these days, screw cap advocates seem to be stepping in with more.
V. Sattui’s Position: Yes and No.
Our belief is that people haven’t attempted to keep wines for a long time with a screw cap, so we’re not going to switch wholly to metal closures without better evidence. While some wineries have taken the lead (risk?) in switching entirely to screw caps, we prefer to take small steps and have bottled six of our wines in metal closures. We believe they’re fine for maintaining freshness and fruitiness in our wines meant to be consumed early. So far we’ve seen no compromise in quality, nor has it met much customer resistance. But we’ll need more empirical data before moving further. We’re pretty sure that for long-term aging, cork is still it. Meantime, it seems change is likely to move at the pace of a maturing fine wine—all in good time.
Our chef, Gerardo Sainato, a native of Naples, Italy, with his well-practiced hands reaches deep into almost boiling water to twist and pull the soft white mass of curds, stretching and shaping slowly into perfectly smooth, creamy balls of warm fresh mozzarella. We offer own cheese daily and host a Mozzarella Bar every weekend (Spring through Fall) for our guests to enjoy with our wine as they sit under the oaks next to the Winery.
Grilled Italian bread, heirloom tomatoes, fresh basil, the best olive oils and balsamic vinegars complement our fresh mozzarella. Adding the choices of roasted peppers with golden raisins and pine nuts, olive tapenade and roasted whole garlic, our Fresh Mozzarella Bar has become a huge hit with our summer guests and a favorite memory when paired with a bottle of V. Sattui wine. Try it when you visit again. Our Mozzarella Bar will make your weekend at V. Sattui an unforgettable culinary memory!
Our Mozzarella Bar Saturday & Sunday from 11:30 am to 3:30 pm.
After years of featuring the award-winning, premium-quality Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil in our own Marketplace and recipes, V. Sattui Winery became partners in this small family-run Napa company back in 2006.
Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil has long been the secret of gourmet chefs who love its light and nutty, yet neutral flavor. It has the unique ability to enhance the flavors of ingredients instead of overpowering them and leaves no greasy aftertaste! It makes savory marinades and salad dressings that will not cloud when chilled, so you can use them right out of the refrigerator. The high smoke point (485 F) makes it ideal for hot food preparation which means you can sauté, fry or bake without any smoking, splattering or burning. The excellent emulsification properties make it ideal for whipping mayonnaise and creamy dressings that will not separate when chilled.
The Salute Santé! Infused Grapeseed Oils shine with delicious fresh flavors, making them ideal as a liquid spice in all your cooking or as a simple and delicious dip for bread in place of butter or margarine.
Salute Santé! Grapeseed Oil is an ecologically sound product that is made from the seeds of grapes after the wine is pressed. There is no need for hybrid or genetically engineered crops, nor does it require new farmland, crops or water to produce.
Salute Santé! means “to your health” in Italian and French. Grapeseed oil is high in vitamin E and is 76% essential fatty acid, linoleic acid (also known as Omega 6). It is low in saturated fat, contains natural chlorophyll and valuable antioxidants (known as proanthocyninidins). Studies have shown a unique ability that may significantly raise HDL cholesterol (the "good" cholesterol), lower LDL cholesterol (the "bad" cholesterol) and triglycerides; the effect of which may lower your risk of cardiovascular disease and impotency, something that no other food product has been known to do!
It contains NO cholesterol, NO sodium and NO preservatives such as TBHQ or BHT. It is NOT hydrogenated and contains NO solvents, NO trans-fatty acids or free fatty acids.
Check out thier products at /Wine-Shop/Wine-Gifts---Accessories/Foods