Category Archives: Sunday Bottles

And then it got hot

And now as I get slightly tipsy off of a couple glasses of rosé, I rant for the sake of blogging. Blogging – I have a kind of love hate relationship with it. I was once morally opposed to the idea; and then I warmed up to it; and then I started doing it, and I loved it; and then I hated it; and then I loved it again; and then I found it a lot of work; and somewhere in-between a period of poverty and now, I’m here, like I said, ranting.

October 2nd will go down in history as the best rosé day of the season. I never thought I’d say that on October 2nd, but had it not turned 100 degrees, this last remaining, straggler bottle of rosé probably would have been forgotten in the bottom of the second case box until spring.

So yeah, remember how last week I mused about the coming of autumn? Well mother nature decided she wasn’t done, and threw us for a loop with three days in the high 90’s and triple digits. The golden sun that I spoke so highly of is now intensely crushing my visions of crisp autumn days.

I drive home passed rolling vineyards that have already started to turn crimson and gold with the season, but are now radiant in the fall (?) heat… That sentence baffles me. I can’t remember the last time it was over 90 degrees in October. Has that happened here, ever? I really need to get my research team on this…

Anyway, as I was passing the pumpkin patch on the corner of Adobe and East Washington, on October 2nd, I imagined digging my hands into the slimy, stringy sludge of a pumpkin, prepping it for carving, and was promptly brought back to reality by the heat of the sun, punishing me through the windshield.

Last week was wishful thinking, really – I mean, it hasn’t REALLY started to feel like fall, other than the changing colors and the cool morning – I still have tomatoes ripening on the vine and zucchini blossoms popping up every other day. I’m sorry I mislead you with my banter about gilded light and leaves and soup. But now I’m kind of thankful for the heat and the ability to drink rosé. And I’m thankful for my job and the opportunities it has already presented me to learn and write. And of course the money and full benefits aint’ so bad either… I’m starting to wonder just how far this business card with my name on it can take me; how many people will accept me as royalty?

But yeah, I guess it’s still sort of summer, and I can eat stuff like this…

and drink stuff like this…

and have a damn fine Tuesday.

VML 2011 Russian River Rosé of Pinot Noir

This tasty bottle will only set you back $20 (unless you’re part of the wine club, which Amber just happens to be). It’s rich and creamy and ripe with flavors of strawberries. There’s not much not to like. A good rosé should be pleasant to drink, and that’s exactly what this is. I recommend drinking it on a hot October 2nd or any other hot day before fall actually arrives.

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New opportunities

Well hello there! I know, I know, I haven’t been around in awhile; but I haven’t been for good reason – I’ve been out getting a new job. That’s right, a new job! Where, you ask? At a little publication … Continue reading

Goooooooats!

I’m not kidding around – this post has three parts. What we have here in this post is the perfect trifecta: an adventure, recipe, and Sunday bottle, all in one posting. Pretty awesome day if you ask me…

I’m writing from the comforts of my old workstation – my local coffee shop, The Flying Goat. I figured a good way to reboot my writing is to go back to the place where so much “magic” has happened. Also, I thought it fitting, because this weeks post starts with goooooooooooats!

Yes, gooooooooooats! As Amber so affectionately bellows when referring to them. The amount of o’s you use depends on how excited you are by them at that present moment; for Amber, there is always more than one o. Amber has a love affair with goats, especially the “kids;” (the babies) and I have to admit, after spending the afternoon, cuddling with them while they chewed on the flaps of my pockets, I’m in love with them too.

What’s not to love? Little, cute, innocent faces with all the energy of a puppy, and all they want is your attention and loving. The pen attendant at Redwood Hill Farm even said, “they’re just like puppies.” There were several different breeds, all with different demeanors, but none were afraid to crawl in your lap or eat anything that might be dangling, loose, or even tucked into a purse.

Amber and I had waited for this day for months now. Each spring, Redwood Hill opens their farm to visitors for two weekends; there is music, cheese sampling, cheese making demonstrations, and of course, kid cuddling, among other activities available. We were mostly there for the kid cuddling, but we played with the adult goats too, and we sampled some goat milk, which neither of us has had before, kefir (which I’d somehow never had before), and various cheeses, including goat cheddar (also new to me). We also watched a demonstration about how to make “rigotta” goat’s milk ricotta, which is as easy as bringing milk to 200 degrees, and adding lemon juice.

It was about as perfect an afternoon as anyone could ask for, especially since Amber is in the thick of wedding season, and Sunday was probably the last full day off we’ll have together for a while. After goats, we picnicked, ate some cheese that we purchased from the farm, and drank some bubbles at my old stomping grounds, Iron Horse Vineyards – which just happens to be right below the Redwood Hill property.

Then it was home for a little R&R and  dinner.

You couldn’t take the thought of goats out of Amber’s head though; all throughout the day, while picnicking, and while resting on the couch, and while making dinner, and while savoring the last sips of wine, she would spontaneously cry out, “gooooooooats!” with a big grin on her face, and a childish twinkle in her eye. Every now and then, I would egg her on, calling out, “gooooooats!” when I hadn’t heard it from her recently.

“I just love goats!” she kept reminding me, “I love ‘em!”

Temps were in the 90’s that day, which means I was craving was something cool and refreshing all day. We popped this guy into the fridge when we got home to go with dinner.

Kokomo is one of my favorite wineries in Healdsburg. Their entire lineup of wines is pretty stellar, but one of my favorites is their rosé made from Grenache. A few weeks ago while out on a rosé-finding adventure with my roommate, Alex, we popped in and had to coerce the tasting associate to sell us a few bottles, because it was supposedly allocated to wine club members. We had to pull the industry card to warm her up to the idea, and then I had to be the guy to name drop, mentioning that I know Josh and Eric, the winemakers. Long story made short, we left with some bottles, and it was the best rosé I tasted all day.

Rosé has become one of those items, like tomatoes, and days on the river, that defines summer for me. There is nothing better than a warm evening, sitting on the back porch as the sun drops behind the hills, enjoying a glass with all the slow-paced leisure that summer evenings bring. My favorite kind of rosé is one that is faintly pink in color, almost a salmony-orange; crisp and clean. The Kokomo rosé is rich with aromas and flavors of watermelon, strawberry, citrus, with a kiss of minerality, while still lush, round, and above all, delicious.

Dinner? Oh yeah, we had a pretty killer dinner too. Remember when I posted a few weeks ago about grilled pizza? Well I froze some of the dough for later use, and thanks to the warm temps, decided to pull it out for some grilled pizza action so I didn’t have to cook in the kitchen.

Around here, stone fruit is starting to come into season, and I have had some pretty amazing peaches and nectarines lately. I’m a firm believer that anything can go on a pizza, so this time around we decided to do a fava bean purée (to get our last fix of favas before they are out of season), peaches, prosciutto, and chèvre. When I posted this Instagramed picture on Facebook that evening, I had everyone oohing and aahing.

I don’t want to beat around the bush; it was delicious! I messed with the temps on the barbecue, so that the crust didn’t burn, like it sort of did last time, and the crust came out perfectly golden and crisp, with deliciously-sweet bites of peach, laced with salty strips of prosciutto, all underneath earthy, nutty favas with melty, creamy chèvre on top. Commence drooling.

I recommend a sprinkle of thyme and a squeeze of lemon juice to finish it off; all washed down with a glass of rosé. It can be enjoyed further with thoughts of goooooooooats dancing in your head.

Dough: (makes enough for 2)

1 1/2 Cups warm water

1 Packet of active, dry yeast

1 TBSP honey

2 TBSP olive oil

3 1/2 cups flour

I TSP salt

Pizza toppings:

1 Cup Fava purée (see below)

4-5 ounces Parmesan cheese

4-5 ounces chèvre

2 medium-sized peaches

4-5 slices prosciutto

1 teaspoon fresh thyme

Purée:

1 pound fava beans, shelled and cooked

1 tablespoon finely chopped preserved lemons (or juice from half a lemon)

1/8 cup grated Parmesan cheese

1/4 cup olive oil

salt and pepper

For dough: In a large bowl, add warm water, yeast, and honey and let sit for 5 minutes until the yeast is dissolved. Stir to dissolve completely if needed. Mix in the olive oil, flour, and salt. Knead the dough on floured surface until it is smooth and elastic and roll into ball.

Place ball of dough in a bowl that has been coated lightly with olive oil. Cover with plastic wrap. Let sit at room temperature until it doubles in size, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Then place dough in fridge for several hours or overnight, until ready to use.

Fava purée: In food processor, add all ingredients except for olive oil and pulse a few times. Process while slowly adding olive oil until fully incorporated and smooth. Add salt and pepper as needed.

When all toppings are ready, cut dough in half and roll one piece out thin and flat.

Dip a tightly folded up paper towel in olive oil and use tongs to wipe the grill grates. Then place pizza dough round on a lightly floured, rimless cookie sheet (or pizza peel if you have one). Let the dough slide off the cookie sheet onto the hot grill grates. Close the lid of the grill and let cook for 2 minutes.

Open the grill. Use tongs to rotate the dough 180 degrees and cook for another minute. Remove from heat and move to working surface to apply toppings.

Spread fava purée on cooked side of crust, layer prosciutto, then peaches, and cheese. A little fresh thyme sprinkled on top and a few turns on the pepper mill.

Paint the grill with olive oil again, and place pizza back onto heat. Cook 2 minutes, rotate 180 degrees, and cook for another minute or until bottom is browned and edges are crisp.

Remove from heat, slice and serve.

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How to drink a large bottle of wine

And we’re back! All right, party on! So I last left off mentioning that I was moving. And now after a couple weeks away from the blog, I’m settled into the house, 90% of my stuff is put away, Internet … Continue reading

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Giggles and Sips

Which came first, the fame, or the love of wine?  This age-old question is a great table topic to discuss – perhaps over a bottle or two of wine. It is a question I often ask myself when I see … Continue reading