I talk about the dirty job of making wine every season. Other than people in the wine industry, no one else sees all the stuff that gets cleaned every day with brushes, pressure washers, hot water, acidic and caustic liquids. All the public sees is a bottle with a cork in it and a really good looking winemaker (like me) pouring it.
Now that Fall has dropped in, the timing was perfect for me to stop being a winemaker for the night and put on the apron to cook a comfort food meal among friends. Warm, hearty, rich foods with copious amounts of Mastro Scheidt red wines, pair perfectly with the Fall season; and yes, I slipped in a barrel sample of Rose, because I can (Rose pairs nicely with the sliders...)
Several early mornings, late lunches, and progressive eating evenings are the norm during the harvest. Eating a cup of chili or Cup O'Noodles on the crushpad spiked with one of the many hot sauces was a daily occurrence.
One of the surprise dishes was the duck fat popcorn. Hot duck fat was poured over a sage infused popcorn; add some salt and you're in business. Not a bad way to start the night in Healdsburg.
As much as I'd like to think I don't have a pattern or a routine, I'm as guilty as my parents for being somewhat habit bound. Thanks to some online tools at Wordclouds.com for figuring this out, I seemed to write and post in 2015 about:
Dry Creek Valley
As a winery owner who travels a lot around California, I suppose it's not so bad that I'm spreading the word about Dry Creek Valley, Cabernet and Sangiovese in towns like Mammoth Lakes, Healdsburg and Fresno.
So it seems only natural in this blog post to have you check out our Signature Cabernet Sauvignon from Dry Creek Valley!
While the entire state of California has not experienced significant rainfall this season, much of Sonoma County has received an average precipitation amount. Rainfall amounts in the vineyards have shown 30 or more inches of rain in vineyards throughout Dry Creek and Alexander Valley.
Walking through one vineyard recently, after roughly a quarter inch of rain, shows the beginnings of Spring. It's too early to tell what Mother Nature will bring this season, but I'm thankful she brought rain to Healdsburg.
I love cooking Italian-themed meals. Acquiring the last heirloom tomatoes of the season, scouting the Bay Area for the best Ahi tuna, making fresh pasta, and quickly searing a skirt steak over a hot fire are some of my favorite things.
It was a pleasure to cook for my friends from Charleston, South Carolina Bill and Margaret and to make some new friends that evening around the table. Thanks to everyone that night and I look forward to seeing you all again very soon. Cheers!
Bolognese Sauce Recipe
1 pound ground pork
½ pound ground beef
1 medium white or yellow onion, finely minced
1 large carrot, finely minced
1 Handful of dried porcini mushrooms
8 Cups liquid from soaking the dried porcinis
10-15 leaves of fresh sage
¼ stick of unsalted butter
¼ cup of olive oil for finishing
Salt and pepper to taste
Parsley or Basil, finely chopped for garnish
Parmigiano Reggiano to finish, Freshly grated or ribbon sliced
Soak you dried porcini mushrooms in about 8 cups of water for 30 minutes. Make sure porcinis are free of sand/dirt. Use a coffee filter to strain the liquid for use in the bolognese.
Heat up a 3 quart pot on medium heat and add butter and all of your ground beef and pork. Once all of the beef and pork are broken up (no chunks) add the onions and carrots, lowering the temperature to Low or Simmer and cook the onions and carrots for about 10 minutes.
If there is a crust on the bottom of the pan from all of the sautéing, you may add a little of your porcini liquid to prevent it from burning. Scrape the bits of caramelized meat, onions and carrot from the bottom of the pan.
Turn the heat back up to high and pour all of the porcini liquid into the pot and bring up to a boil. When boil is reached, turn the heat down to low. You may add the sage leaves. Partially cover the pot and allow the sauce to reduce until nearly all of the liquid had been evaporated. If one thinks of this dish as a slow braise, rather than a rapidly made sauce, the cooking time of 2 hours makes more sense, which is how long it will take on Low Heat to reduce all of the liquid.
Test for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. When the taste is satisfactory and liquid has been almost completely reduced, turn off the burner and add the remaining olive oil to the pot.
Scoop a moderate portion of Bolognese Sauce over your Pappardelle (do not over sauce) into a warm bowl.
Add a dusting or several ribbons of Parmigiano to the top of the pasta along with a garnish of basil and a drizzle of olive oil.
The 2014 Harvest has almost come to a close for Mastro Scheidt Cellars. A few loose ends to tie off and we'll have barreled down another season. A wide variety of grapes picked again this season, with Cabernet Sauvignon the leading varietal by tonnage picked.
Many people ask us, "Do you pick your own grapes?"
The answer is...ABSOLUTELY!
Our proprietor and winemaker, David Scheidt personally hauled and picked over 3 tons this year from 3 different vineyards sites, including our 7th Vine Cabernet Sauvignon. He was helped in the vineyard on numerous occasions by his father T.L. and his brother John. We even recruited one of our close friends, Jason, to assist in the vineyard this season. Thanks to everyone who helped with harvest this year.
A series of pictures detailing the process of the 2014 Harvest are included in the Gallery: 2014 Harvest
Everyone at Mastro Scheidt is thrilled to be featured in the Hopper Travel Blog: Small Town Spotlight:Healdsburg.
A little more about Hopper. They are organizing big data on travel from all over the web. Flight information, food reviews, destinations spots, drive times from major airports, in both macro-views and click in details on the specific item with both original content and linked content from bloggers and relevant websites.
All that data out there and they found Healdsburg and Mastro Scheidt Cellars, which is way cool.
Personally, I was pleased with being able to recommend the Sauvignon Blanc from Hostage. I only met Jeremiah and Elizabeth about a year ago at a blind wine tasting group in Healdsburg. Jeremiah's no-nonsense style of evaluating the wines he was tasting was similar to mine, up-front and blunt. Elizabeth's evaluation was deeper, less given to whim or her "first sip".
So when I finally tasted their 2011 Sauvignon Blanc, my initial reaction was one of delight. This is really tasty! But it was more than that. This is the style and type of Sauvignon Blanc I remember drinking years ago, before we were inundated with Kiwi Blanc. I'd almost forgotten how good a Sauvignon Blanc from California could taste on a 90 degree day. How complementary it could be with food, rather than just a pre-dinner wine.
The Hostage Sauvignon Blanc was an expression of both the up-front, no-nonsense style from Jeremiah and the complexity from Elizabeth.
It got me thinking about Sauvignon Blanc again and that's why I recommend it.
Here is a little background on the wine. Paraphrasing a bit from their website, Jeremiah and Elizabeth purchased a unique clone of Sauvignon Blanc, called Sauvignon Musqué, from a vineyard in the Russian River Valley Appellation. This particular clone has to be picked at optimal maturity in order to capture its incredible tropical aromas and flavors. On a cold morning, right before a storm rolled in, we harvested the fruit and put it straight into the press. From there, we racked the juice into neutral French oak barrels to ferment. It remained in barrel until bottling last February.
One of the premier, if not THE premier event in Healdsburg, is Charlie Palmer's Pigs & Pinot. Local chefs and several guest chefs participate in the event each year. I was fortunate enough to attend this year and brought home some of the food in pictures.