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
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
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)
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.
Makes 2 cups
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
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.
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
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)
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
Combine above ingredients and refrigerate.
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
We’ve added a new key player to our V. Sattui team this year. Assistant Winemaker Jason Moravec joined our V. Sattui Family in July, and we are thrilled to have a passionate winemaker who literally grew up in a local vineyard. Jason’s family lived on a farm on the Sonoma side of the Los Carneros appellation where they grew 10 acres of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes. From an early age Jason has been working and learning the industry from the ground up!
Q: How was your first harvest with V. Sattui?
A: My first harvest with V. Sattui was fast and furious! My first day on the job was just a few months before the beginning of harvest and we still had months of bottling to finish. I hit the ground running and took the reins on bottling our 2013 red wines. At the same time we prepped the winery for an early harvest. The 2015 vintage was a true test of how quickly I could adapt and it went amazingly. Due to the drought and other factors during bloom, 2015 will be low yielding but exceptional quality year. I can’t wait to get crafting and shaping these wines through the blending process.
Q: You grew up helping your parents grow grapes. When did you know you wanted to be a winemaker?
A: I knew I wanted to work in the industry when I was 10 years old. I saw how it brought my family together on our vineyard ranch in Sonoma. But it wasn’t until I was 16, when I started working in the tasting room at Gloria Ferrer Winery as a bus boy, that I really knew what I wanted to do. I found that the winemaker, Bob Iantosca, was this critical focal point that pulled all sides of the wine industry together. I saw that the winemaker gets to be all over the place-- in the lab, in the vineyard, in the cellar, and even in the sales market. And I wanted that. I couldn’t wait to discover the intricacies of every department and to make my own wines for everyone to enjoy.
Q: I love pulling into our parking lot in the morning and seeing your car parked next to Vittorio's Vineyard-- plugged into an outlet we have there. When did you start driving an electric car, and what does it say about you?
A: We only have one world, and it’s our responsibility to protect it for future generations. Since I’m always seeking out new ways for our winery and vineyards to become more sustainable, it feels only natural to live life in the same way. I started driving an all electric car in 2013, and love that I have already gone 40,000 miles on zero gas.
Q: Not to be depressing-- but let's pretend it's your last day on Earth. What are you drinking? Eating with it? And who are you with?
A: That’s an interesting question for me because my birthday is December 21st, and a few years back it was thought that the world would come to an end on December 21st 2012. So I threw an end of the world birthday party and invited all my friends and family to join. I vividly remember by the end if the night my grandfather “Opa” was strumming his guitar and everyone was singing along with drink and food in hand. A roasted New Zealand lamb shank in one hand, and a glass of Mount Veeder Cabernet in the other was the icing on the cake of a wonderful experience with family and friends.
Q: What is it like to work with Brooks Painter?
A: He is a wealth of winemaking experience and knowledge, and has been a pleasure to with. I can only hope to continue my own career in the same way.
Q: I know you've only been at V. Sattui for a few months. What are your first impressions?
A: V. Sattui is a solid family of knowledgeable and inspirational people. I am very excited to be a part it.
Q: What are you hoping to accomplish in the future at V. Sattui?
A: I hope to bring some new flare to the wines and culture, while respecting the solid foundation and history that V. Sattui Winery has come to represent.
Jason and his dog, Hans
In just a few short weeks we’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving, (sheesh- where does the time go?). This can be such a difficult holiday. Sharing a table with family members who know how to push our buttons with opposing political, religious, and opinionated views. Doing your best to cook the turkey to perfection, while accommodating the vegetarians, vegans, gluten-free, pro-paleo, and folks with nut allergies. Even trying to decide what wine to serve can be daunting. AND YOU KNOW YOU’RE GOING TO NEED WINE!
V. Sattui to the rescue! Our Thanksgiving Box is bundled with four wines that go perfectly with a traditional holiday meal. These wines also offer a wide variety of flavors to please all of the palates at your table. The V. Sattui Thanksgiving Box is available for $89, and is available in our Tasting Room or online, and shipped to your door.
At the very least, everyone at the table will find a wine that makes them happy. Maybe you better get two boxes?
2014 Gamay Rouge
The beautiful cranberry color of this wine alone sets a festive atmosphere on the table! Add the bright and fruity flavors of strawberry, tropical fruit, and cranberry and you have a great pairing for turkey, cranberry sauce, and sweet potatoes. It’s also great with smoked salmon and cured meats, which you may have as appetizers to kick off your feast. Gamay Rouge is a crowd-pleaser-- both light, and festive!
2014 Sattui Family Chardonnay
Open this bottle and take in the beautiful aromas of vanilla, citrus, and green apples! These fruity flavors follow through when you take a sip, followed by tart acidity and rich mouthfeel. This lighter bodied chardonnay will make a great pairing with roast turkey, buttery mashed potatoes, and dressing doused with gravy!
2013 Sattui Family Pinot Noir
This newly released Pinot has enticing herbal and earthy aromas followed by ripe black cherry and pomegranate flavors. It is a very versatile wine to pair with many different turkey preparations, stuffing recipes, and a spectrum of side dishes. The gentle tannins also marry well with green vegetables such Brussels sprouts, leafy greens such as kale, chard or spinach, as well as the classic green bean casserole!
2011 Sattui Family Cabernet
A classic Napa Valley Cabernet you and your guests will give thanks for! Our Sattui Family Cabernet is made in a soft, engaging style with earthy notes, sweet ginger, cocoa and hints of lilac. Strong on flavor and light on tannins, this wine will pair well with your traditional Thanksgiving meal, plus longer-cooked meats like beef stews and pot roast.
Photo courtesy Tubay Yabut/GEV Magazine
If you’ve picnicked on our property most likely you’ve seen, and maybe even purchased, one of our Picnic Packs. On the surface these Picnic Packs look like a useful convenience, especially for impromptu picnics. But they’re so much more than that.
The people who put these Picnic Packs together for us are 18-22 year-old young adults with developmental disabilities. They are part of the Napa Valley Unified School District’s Transitions Program. They are amazing young people with varying disabilities who have graduated from High School, and are now learning life and job skills as they transition to a more independent chapter in their lives. This is a business partnership that was established 30 years ago, and it’s one we are very proud of.
“We love seeing these kids come here each year and experience their enthusiasm and spirit,” says Tom Davies, President of V. Sattui Winery. “They really light up when they see the picnic packs being used here at the winery. The folks with the program say we do a lot of good for the students, but they do just as much good for us.”
“The students earn a paycheck for putting together the Picnic Packs,” says instructor Melodie Roche. “Our program helps these kids learn to budget money and manage finances. As they put the packs together, they are also learning to work as part of team and how to communicate with each other.”
Recently the class came to visit the winery, as they do each year, and we treat them to a picnic lunch and some winery souvenirs. They learn more about V. Sattui and are able to see for themselves how the Picnic Packs are displayed and used by customers. When V. Sattui President Tom Davies told them the Picnic Packs are so valuable to us they are “priceless”- the group cheered with glee and accomplishment. Students say they really enjoy putting the packs together and listen to really good music as they do it.
So the next time you pick up a Picnic Pack in our deli, we just wanted you to know it’s packed with so much more than just picnic essentials.
The children of the Boys and Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga with Dario Sattui and staff in 2013.
Just last week the Boys & Girls Club of St. Helena and Calistoga reached a significant milestone in its quest to build a permanent club facility in Calistoga. Currently the organization has raised $9.01 million, with a final goal of raising $9.5 million in the next 9 months.
This is a project near and dear to Dario Sattui’s heart. He donated $1 million toward the project in 2013 on behalf of V. Sattui Winery and Castello di Amorosa. In December of 2014 he pledged an additional $500,000.
“Calistoga really needs a place where young people can congregate, socialize, learn and to play sports in a healthy environment with positive role models,” said Sattui.
Draft concept of the permanent Boys & Girls Club to be built in Calistoga.
“Mr. Sattui’s vision and generosity were instrumental in starting our fundraising campaign,” says Club Executive Director Jay Templeton. “His early donations were the rocket fuel that propelled more gifts to come forward.”
Templeton says the children of Calistoga really need this facility. The Boys & Girls Club has been using Calistoga Elementary School as a home base since 2001 when they had a membership of just 50 kids. Now they have 430 kids, and have completely outgrown the school.
Draft concept of the permanent Boys & Girls Club to be built in Calistoga.
The Boys & Girls Club has property for the facility secured, an architect on board, and will soon be hiring a general contractor to build the 14,000 square foot building. They hope to break ground in June of 2016, and have the facility open for kids and the community by Labor Day of 2017.
Sometimes in life, you just get lucky. For V. Sattui Winery and many other Napa Valley wineries, 2012 is a truly exceptional vintage.
“We knew in early spring we were looking at a very good vintage,” says Brooks Painter, Head of Winemaking for V. Sattui Winery. “As the season progressed, with phenomenal weather that allowed fruit to ripen evenly and completely, we realized that we were actually experiencing one of those ‘perfect’ vintages—long and cool, and with the best fruit we’ve seen in a long time.”
Wine writer Robert Parker agrees that both the 2012 and 2013 vintages from Napa Valley are special.
“The biggest problem in Napa Valley (unlike Bordeaux or other areas where Cabernet Sauvignon is grown) is that Napa can have very damaging and stressful heat spikes well over 100 degrees F that can last from three days to as long as a week,” says Parker. “The negative results can cause grapes to raisin, threatening dehydration and inflicting stress on the delicate health of the vines. This never occurred in 2012 or in 2013. Grapes, much like people, mature and flourish under ideal conditions, and both vintages provided that.”
We have just released three of our five 2012 single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignons. In general, they are wines with well-structured tannins, rich concentration, and developed aromatics that define the vintage. Most of the fruit was picked at ideal ripeness before rain fell in late October, making coordination of the avalanche of grapes arriving in the winery one of the greatest challenges of the harvest. It is a great vintage from both a growing and volume perspective; we had fantastic yields of some fantastic wines. This is truly a classic vintage.
From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online: “V. Sattui's 2012 Mount Veeder Cabernet is a classic Napa Valley mountain red, a rich, powerful Cabernet Sauvignon with broad shoulders and impressive dimension. This vintage shows rich black fruits, chewy tannins and a generous dollop of oak that matches the heft of the wine. A panel of advanced and master sommeliers at the 7th annual Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition loved it and awarded it Platinum and a score of 94 points.”
From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online: “The juggernaut that is V. Sattui Winery continues to roll out spectacular Cabernet Sauvignon from this vineyard. The nose is extremely deep and complex, with solid varietal character, firm tannic structure, lively acidity and a long finish that is currently emphasizing elegant red fruit and spice. This deserves five to ten years additional bottle aging to bring out all of its charms, though they are already many.”
From Robert Whitley, Wine Review Online: “With soft, supple tannins and a juicy blackberry and blueberry core, this is a delightful Cabernet Sauvignon that can be enjoyed now while you wait for some of the more muscular Napa Valley Cabs from this outstanding vintage.
2012 Morisoli Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
A Platinum Award winner at the 2015 Sommelier Challenge International Wine Competition
From Rich Cook, Wine Review Online: “A favorite vineyard source of mine, and thankfully, also a favorite of some great winemakers. Brooks Painter and his crew always bring out all that Morisoli has to offer, and in this vintage it's lively raspberry fruit, joined perfectly by pie spice, mild dried herbs, cedar and cigar. It's got a big structured backbone that begs further aging while providing great delight at present. Decant, or go long? You win either way. “
A few years ago, our “Ray of Sunshine” employee, Lynn Catania, had the chance to visit family in Sicily. Lynn loves to cook and was hoping to learn some dishes from her native land. It took four days (she was only staying with them six days!) for her Aunt to allow her into the kitchen. But oh what a recipe they made!
“This dish was so simple, but it tastes like heaven,” says Lynn. “The leeks melt in your mouth, and the fish is so tender. I’ve also made it with scallops.”
Makes 4 servings
4 Halibut fillets or steaks
(you may substitute another firm white fish like cod or swordfish. See note below for using scallops.)
4 -6 leeks
1 shallot, sliced
2 cloves garlic, sliced
3-4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 ½ cups dry white wine
We suggest V. Sattui’s Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, or our Dry Riesling
Sea salt & pepper to taste
Season fish with salt and pepper. Let set out at room temperature while you prepare the leeks.
In this recipe, you want to use the green part of the leeks. Cut off the ends of the leeks, then slice through the point where white meets green. Save the whites for another recipe. Slice through the green portion of the leek lengthwise. Clean the leeks under cold running water, as leeks are usually dirty. Once the leeks are free of any dirt or grit, cut each half into slices.
In a sauté pan large enough to hold the leeks in one layer (and a pan that has a lid), heat the extra-virgin olive oil over medium-high heat. Add the minced garlic and shallots and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the leeks and cook for 1-2 minutes more, just to get them a little browned and let the oil get into the leeks. Add the wine, and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer- until leeks are semi-soft, about 15 minutes. Nestle seasoned fish into the leeks. Cover and cook until fish is firm, and leeks are soft, about another 15 minutes.
Before serving, drizzle a little more olive oil over the fish. Serve with polenta or risotto and a glass of the wine you used in the dish. Cheers!
Note: If you choose to use scallops in this dish, brown them in a pan first, before nestling into the cooks. Also, shorten the cooking time to 5-10 minutes, as scallops cook faster.
Lynn Catania is sunshine personified. Her sunny personality lights up our Cellar Club when she’s pouring wine for members, and it’s perfect for the outreach she does with our local hotels and B&B’s. Her smile is infectious, especially after she’s hit you with a quick witted a one-liner, or bursts into song with her beautiful voice.
Lynn is a Napa local and grew up working at her family’s restaurant, Catania’s Pizza, which was a favorite hangout for locals. This job fueled her passion for cooking, a hobby she still continues today. She’s also a great floral designer and even owned her own flower shop at one time.
Q: When did you first start at V. Sattui?
A: “The first time, I was 18 years old. A friend got me a job working in the deli. This was back in the day when we didn’t have an automatic vacuum sealer for the deli meats. It was all hand-done by wrapping the plastic really tight. My arms still ache when I think about it! I also worked in the cheese case and at the registers.
About 18 years later, I worked in our Events Department helping with weddings and parties. A few years ago I was working at Artesa Winery in the Tasting Room, and Tom (Davies, President of V. Sattui) called me one day and asked, ‘When do you want to come home?’ And that was it. Working here is like coming back to family. It’s my home base.”
Q: Now you work in our Cellar Club and get to see our best members daily. You also help out with our Wine of the Month Club?
A: “I love our members. I have so much fun down there! People come from all over the world to see us. They just love V. Sattui Winery. I have members that come in and want to have lunch with me, which I’m just too busy to do! They plan a day just to come here, and don’t want to visit anywhere else. I get invitations to visit their homes. They’ll say ‘If you’re ever in St Louis, or San Antonio, or Hawaii or wherever – you can stay with us.’ They bring me gifts too. I got a Lady Gaga toothbrush once! V. Sattui isn’t just a Winery, it is a wonderful, extended family.”
Q: Speaking of family, you recently got to visit family in Italy and learn to cook some of their dishes?
A: Yes, I visited my Aunt in Sicily. On the 4th day of the six that I stayed with her, she allowed me into the kitchen to help her cook. This was a major accomplishment!
Q: What is your favorite V. Sattui Wine?
A: I’m very seasonal with my drinking. I like the Anderson Riesling in the summer. It’s not overly dry, but has these nice crisp, apple flavors. In the fall, I just love the Entanglement. I always tell people this is the wine I reach for when I hit a wall with Pinot. It’s a chameleon wine – it can be heavy and seductive or bright and acidic. In the winter I really love our Morisoli or Mt Veeder Cabernets.