Recipe: Pie Crust a la Rose (Levy Beranbaum)

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt’s Thanksgiving, so let’s talk about pie crust, y’all. I started making pie crust with my grandma – affectionately called Yakima Grandma, because, well, she lives in Yakima, WA. Yakima is in the agricultural heart of Washington state, so I grew up making apple, peach, and other fruit pies with her. We always used a shortening-based crust. That’s just how I learned. I remember the finesse with which she moved her hands and manipulated the dough, and how perfect the pie came out – every freaking time. As I got into cooking myself, I became attracted to the science-based work of Alton Brown and Harold McGee, and eventually, Rose Levy Beranbaum. I think actually Shuna Lydon first led me to Beranbaum, but I’ve never looked back. I’ve got at least two of her cookbooks, and my copy of The Pie and Pastry Bible is well-worn and commonly spotted on the counter. I can’t get enough of it. She really knows the hows and whys of flour and all the great things you can do with it. And her pie crust recipe works for me, every time. It’s specific, hoo boy, but if you follow it, the payoff is great. I’ll re-post her recipe here, with some details, tips, and tricks to guide you through the process. This recipe does require a food processor. I’ve tried to do without, in a pinch, and it really just doesn’t work the same. If you don’t have a food processor, stick with whatever recipe is working for you so far!

Rose’s Favorite Flaky and Tender Pie Crust
(An update of Rose Levy Beranbaum’s original cream cheese pie crust from The Pie and Pastry Bible)

Ingredients
Enough for two single-crust pies, or one double-crust pie

6 oz frozen butter (12 T)
10.5 oz frozen pastry flour
4.5 oz cream cheese
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking powder
3 T heavy cream
1 T cider vinegar

A note on ingredients: there are only 7 ingredients in this recipe, which means each one counts. You should get the best of each one that you can manage, but definitely buy the absolute best butter, heavy cream, and cream cheese you can find and afford. The better taste will reward you in the final product, I promise.

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A note about the coldness: It’s your pie crust’s best friend and the secret to all your success here. The ingredients really do need to be as cold as possible. Start by slicing your butter into cubes, then put the cubes on a small plate and freeze them for about 20 minutes. Make sure your heavy cream and cream cheese are coming straight from the refrigerator. As for your pastry flour, I just keep a small bag in the freezer for pie crust time. It’s easy and convenient.

Method
Measure your flour, salt, and baking powder, then  combine them in the bowl of your food processor. Run the processor for about 10-20 seconds to combine the dry ingredients thoroughly.

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Slice the cream cheese into 3-4 small chunks, and add them to the bowl of the food processor all at once. Close the lid, leave your hand over the spout to keep the processor from bouncing all over the counter, and turn it on. Let the processor run for about 20 seconds. You want the cream cheese to get fully integrated at this point, the the final product will look like damp sand, and you won’t be able to find any cream cheese chunks. You want chunks of butter in the pastry, not chunks of cream cheese. The cream cheese just ups the flavor and fat content of the dough.

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Once the dough looks like it does below, you’re ready to add the butter. See how it looks fluffy, like fresh snow or damp sand? You can’t see any cream cheese, but you know there’s something adding moisture and fat to the flour mixture, which is exactly what you want.

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Next, add the frozen chunks of butter to the food processor. Generally, I add about 2/3 of the butter, pulse for about two seconds, then add the second batch. From here, you’ll want to pulse it somewhere between 10-20 times or so, total. Start with 5, then take the lid off. Grab a fork, and toss the mixture around a little. Does it look like there are massive boulders of butter in the bowl? If so, you’re not done yet. Pulse again 5 more times, and toss. Keep going until the pieces you can see are, as Beranbaum says, the size of peanuts. Below, we are about at the peanut stage. You don’t want to over mix, so go gently and carefully along, a few pulses at a time, tossing and checking.

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Once you get to the stage here, with the butter peanuts, it’s time to add the liquid. Take the lid off the processor, and add in the heavy cream and the cider vinegar. Pulse a few times (say, 3-5) to combine. Toss with the fork and check to make sure all the liquid is integrated. Scrape down the sides and the corner edge of the food processor bowl, because liquid can collect there. Give it 1-2 more pulses, and you’re done. That’s it! What? It doesn’t look like pie crust? It looks more like crumble topping? I know, I know. This is where the magic happens.

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Take a small chunk of the crumbly mixture in your hand, and squeeze. Does it hold together in a ball, like play-doh? If it crumbles apart, you should run the processor for 1-2 more pulses and check again. If it still won’t hold, add a half tablespoon more heavy cream and pulse 1-2 more times. Once it will hold together, you know you’re golden. It should look like this.

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Since the recipe we just made is for a double crust pie, you’ll need to divide the dough into two separate ziploc bags. I am a fanatic, and I weigh the contents. This dough will come out to around 21-22oz, so approximately 11 oz per bag is where you want to be. Dump your portioned crust into the ziploc bag, and start kneading – hands on the outside of the bag, dough on the inside. Use your palms and knuckles for this job. You’re incorporating the moisture further, and also developing gluten, which will help it hold together and become flexible and workable when rolling. It will take about 2-3 minutes of kneading to get the dough to form into a ball, and you’ll be surprised and impressed when that bag of crumbs turns into a disk, almost as if by accident. Once you can make a ball with the dough, you will want to flatten it into a workable disk. You can then take the disk, wrap it in plastic wrap, put it back in the ziploc bag, and store it in the freezer for several months. Or, since Thanksgiving is in a few days, just throw this bag into the refrigerator and pull it out 15 minutes before you need to start rolling your crust.

Did I answer your questions? Are you now a newly competent and confident baker? Do you have other worries? Let me know in the comments!

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Recipe: Roasted Little Birds with Garlic-Herb Butter

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThese delicious little birds are a fantastic Thanksgiving alternative for those who don’t have the time, space or appetite for a whole turkey. They take just an hour or two from start to finish and make the perfect serving size.

This recipe will serve 2­-4 people, depending on how hungry you are. I like to cut the finished birds in half, down the middle, and serve 1⁄2 per person… but I could easily eat a whole one.

We recommend pairing these delicious little birds with a bright and fresh Pinot Noir like the Verse Carneros Pinot Noir, or a full-bodied white wine with acidity and herbal notes such as our La Clarine White Blend No. 1. Both of these wines are offered in our Fall wine club lineup.

If you want to create a complete meal, you could serve these guys with our Raw Kale Harvest Salad and Savory Chanterelle & Gruyere Bread Pudding. All of these dishes are amazing together and would be sure to impress your Thanksgiving guests!

Special Tools:
Butcher’s twine
Meat thermometer
Oven­proof skillet (stainless steel, cast iron, etc) 

Ingredients:
2 Cornish Game Hens, about 1 or 1.5 lb. each.
Salt
Pepper

For the garlic herb compound butter:
2 tsp finely chopped oregano
2 tsp finely chopped thyme
2 tsp finely chopped rosemary
2 cloves finely chopped garlic
Pinch of salt
1⁄4 cup butter (1⁄2 stick)

Method

  1. Pre­heat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Rinse cornish hens and pat dry with a paper towel, inside and out. Salt the cavity of the bird liberally with sea or kosher salt.
  3. Make the compound butter by fork­-mashing the butter with the chopped herbs, garlic and salt.
  4. Run your forefinger between the hen’s breast meat and the skin (making a pocket), then stuff some compound butter under skin. Distribute it evenly under the skin and over the breast meat by patting it down from the outside. Do not put butter on the outside of the bird, as it will prevent the skin from crisping in the oven.
  5. Truss your hens with butcher’s twine. This makes the birds more compact, and they will cook more evenly. Trussing also makes for a more visually appealing finished product. Click here for instructions on trussing.
  6. Salt & pepper the outside of the hens.
  7. Heat a large oven­-proof skillet over medium-­high heat. Add 2 tbsp. olive oil & heat until the oil shimmers. Once hot, place the birds breast-­side up on the skillet. Brown the bottom of the birds and the sides of the birds, but NOT the breast of the birds. This should only take a few minutes.
  8. Once the sides and bottoms of your hens are crispy and brown, pop the whole skillet into your hot oven. Roast for 40 minutes to an hour, depending on the size of your hens. Baste the birds with the pan juices every 15 minutes or so. Your birds are finished when a meat thermometer inserted into the dark meat reads 165 degrees and the skin is brown and crispy. Let rest for 5-­10 minutes.
  9. Butterfly and separate into halves with poultry shears or serve them whole with a sprig of thyme as a garnish. I like to serve them with a little side of dijon mustard.

Secret Wine Club: Jura

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis weekend, Colleen and I hosted another wine tasting for our friends. The theme was Jura wines.

The Jura is a a cool-climate, mountainous region in France between Burgundy and Switzerland, and is composed of six regions including Arbois, Macvin du Jura, Côtes du Jura, Crémant du Jura, Château-Chalon, and L’Étoile. Within these regions, wines are produced from poulsard, trousseau, savagnin, chardonnay, and pinot noir. White, red, rosé and sparkling wines are produced from these grapes.

The most famous wine from the Jura is called vin jaune (literally, yellow wine). This wine is made from the white savagnin grape which is picked when it’s very ripe. The finished wine is put into large oak barriques, and is allowed to evaporate through the staves of the barrel until a pocket of air forms at the top. A special strain of indigenous yeast forms a veil (or voile, au Français) over the surface of the wine, imparting a unique salinity and oxidative quality that gives vin jaune it’s trademark aroma and flavor. Vin jaune is quite intense, an acquired taste, and very hard to find.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMany white wines from the Jura have a similar (but not as intense) oxidative quality to them, since they are often made in the same method. However, the difference between vin jaune and standard white wine from the Jura is the duration for which it’s aged. Vin jaune must be aged for a minimum of 6 years, while other white wines aren’t required to age for as long. Some whites from the Jura are aged in a barrel without that pocket of air, creating wines that are still very uniquely Jura, but much fresher in flavor and less intense.

The red wines from the Jura are very unique as well, and a little more approachable than their white counterparts. The reds are light but structured, with aromas of fruit, spice and earth. Poulsard makes the lightest of the red wines, while trousseau makes more robust (but still pretty light) reds. Pinot noir is also grown in the Jura and made into red wine, but the straight varietal wines are difficult to find.

Our wine list for the evening:
2011 Les Dolomies Savagnin, Côtes du Jura
2009 Domaine de Montborgeau Chardonnay/Savagnin, L’Etoile
NV Phillipe Bornard “Tant-Mieux” Pétillant Naturel of Poulsard
2012 Michel Gahier Trousseau, “Les Grands Vergers”, Arbois
2011 Jacques Puffeney Poulsard, Arbois
2006 Jacques Puffeney Vin Jaune, Arbois

Choosing the correct food pairings for these wines was really fun, as they are wonderful with food and the Jura has some really interesting regional culinary specialties. Wild mushrooms seemed to be quite common in the Jura, and in the winter I’ve been told that potatoes topped with melted raclette are a staple. The Jura is also a fly-fishing destination (weird, right?), so I wanted to make something out of freshwater fish. We also found some regional cheeses, and a rustic cream tart sort of thing called a Toétché, for which I could only find a recipe in French. Our resident Francophile Colleen was able to follow it just fine, no surprise there.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOur menu for the evening:
Toétché (above)
Trout rillettes
Fresh baugette
Sautéed wild mushrooms (yellow foot, black trumpet, oyster, hedgehog)
Warm salad of roasted rose finn potatoes and wild mushrooms
Morbier & Comté cheeses
Wickson apples
Breakfast radishes with cultured butter and grey sea salt
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe found that the Toétché paired perfectly with the vin jaune. This made me very happy, since I wasn’t sure what the Toétché would even taste like. Big ups to Colleen for making it come out perfectly, it was absolutely beautiful and delicious. The morbier and comté cheeses were also wonderful with the white wines, although they did not pair particularly well with the reds. The trout rillettes were lovely with all of the wines, while the apples provided a nice, palate-cleansing counterpoint to all of the savory foods. I especially loved the breakfast radishes with cultured butter and sea salt, while others in the room weren’t so enthused (I learned of this snack from a Frenchman who was so graciously hosting me at a winery some time ago). Perhaps it’s an acquired taste, but I find that radishes are an excellent vehicle for butter. The sautéed mushrooms were lovely piled atop fresh bread and enjoyed with the poulsard and trousseau.

As for the wines, we found that most people loved the ‘Les Dolomies’ ($28)– a white savagnin aged in a topped-up barrel. It was fresh, rich, and awesome with food. The Gahier trousseau ($39) was definitely the stand-out, everyone really loved it (it was my favorite as well). The Puffeney vin jaune ($80) was intense, too intense for a lot of people in the room. I also wish I’d opened it earlier and possibly decanted it, but my decanter was full of the Bornard ‘Tant-Mieux” ($32)which was absolutely reductive, sweet, and generally awful (not surprisingly, it tasted much better the next day). A friend also brought a bottle of Chardonnay from Côtes du Jura, which was great to balance out all the savagnin in the room.
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI hope everyone who came had a great time and learned a lot about these rare, unusual wines. I had a blast curating the list and finding foods to pair. I hope that everyone took away some useful knowledge and would feel confident ordering a glass from the Jura section on the wine list at their favorite French restaurant.

Recipe: Raw Kale Harvest Salad

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI love a well-balanced salad. A great mixed green salad is nice, but to me, a salad is best with a few different elements – some crunch, something sweet, a couple different types of greens, and a dressing that brings it all together. I think most people are used to cooking kale, but treated well, you can eat kale raw, and it’s super nutritious. The trick is really letting it sit with the lemon juice for a few minutes. You want to break down the cells of the kale, and the lemon juice acts as a tenderizer.

This recipe is very adaptable – you can use a different bitter green than radicchio, or a different sweet, fruity element than pomegranate seeds. Just keep the basic integrity the same – some kale, a bitter element, a nut, a fruit, and a tangy-sweet dressing – and you’ll be golden.

We paired this salad with the 2012 Porter Creek Rose, which was included in our recent wine shipment. I think there are many options for pairings here, but any tangy, acidic, lean wine will be best. Sauvignon Blanc would be another good option.

Serves 4-6

Special Tools
Small jar (8oz or so) with tight-fitting lid

Ingredients
1 bunch kale – lacinato/dino kale are best, the smaller the leaves, the better
1 small head or ½ medium head radicchio
1 small pomegranate, pips separated
3-4 T pumpkin seeds, toasted
1 lemon, juiced
1 T sherry vinegar
2 tsp honey
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper
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Method
Remove the stems from the kale leaves, then stack them on top of each other into manageable bunches, and slice crosswise into ribbons, about ¼” thick.

Quarter the radicchio half and cut the tough stem ends out, then slice crosswise to match the kale ribbons. Set aside.

In a medium bowl, toss the kale ribbons, and add the lemon juice, a healthy pinch of salt, and a drizzle of olive oil. Mix well with your hands, bruising the leaves with a moderate amount of pressure. You don’t want to crush them, but you are trying to break down the fibers a little, to make the kale more tender. Set aside.

In the jar, combine a few tablespoons of olive oil, the sherry vinegar, honey, and about ½ tsp each of salt and pepper. Shake well. Taste the dressing and adjust the seasonings as needed.

In a serving bowl, combine the bruised kale, radicchio, pomegranate pips, and pumpkin seeds. Pour the dressing over everything, and toss well.

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Recipe: Raclette Popovers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce upon a time, my husband surprised me with a wine club subscription for Robert Sinskey Vineyards. They were the first local Organic/BioDynamic winery I ever fell in love with and he wanted to surprise me for my birthday by purchasing me a subscription to their wine club. This was way before I really got into wine, and I learned so much from the experience. I honestly think that wine club is what opened the doors to the wine world for me.

The RSV proprietor’s wife, Maria Sinskey, is somewhat of a dynamo in the kitchen, and with each club shipment came some of her delicious recipes. If you’ve ever been in their tasting room, you will remember the gougeres that come with each tasting flight. This is the recipe for those gougeres, but made in a popover pan.

I changed the recipe a little – just the type of cheese used in the gougere batter. I prepared this recipe for a Chardonnay wine tasting I was hosting, but wanted to use a more regional cheese than cheddar. You see, raclette pairs beautifully with Jura blanc, and I was pouring a Jacques Puffeney Chardonnay from Arbois. Raclette and Jura blanc are a match made in heaven.

I love this recipe because instead of tiny little gougeres, it produces huge and fluffy gougeres in the shape of a popover. They are crispy on the outside and airy on the inside, with that distinctive, eggy, chewy gougere-ness. These are great as a side dish at a dinner party or just as an appetizer. If you don’t have a popover pan, you can make little gougeres on a cookie sheet, but just be sure to adjust the baking time and temperature so you don’t over-cook them. I haven’t tried to make them this way so I can’t tell you how long or at what temperature, but if you bake at all (like Colleen!) I am sure you can figure it out.

Raclette Popovers
adapted from Maria Sinskey’s Aged Cheddar Cheese Popover Recipe

Special Tools:
Popover Pan
Stand Mixer (helpful, but not required)

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups water
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 1/2 teaspoons KOSHER salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
6 large eggs
2 cups grated good quality raclette (I like Reading)
1 egg beaten with 1 teaspoon cold water to brush tops

Method:
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.
2. Bring the water, butter and salt to a boil in a medium saucepan. Remove the pan from the heat and add the flour.
3. Return the pan to medium high heat and stir until batter pulls away from the side of the pan. Scrape into the bowl of a standing mixer. Turn the mixer on and allow the paddle to cool the dough slightly for about a minute.
4. On low speed, add the eggs one by one. After each egg is added increase the speed to medium and beat until the egg is incorporated. The eggs may also be beaten in by hand. Beat well after all eggs have been added. Add the grated cheese. Beat until well incorporated.
5. Spoon the batter into the pan. Fill the molds 3/4 full. Extra batter can be held and baked in a second round.
6. Brush the tops of the popovers lightly with egg wash.
7. Bake for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake 10 to 15 minutes more until puffed and golden. Serve warm.

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Introducing the Winelandia Fall Lineup

The Fall 6-pack is sold out. Contact orders@winelandia.com if you have questions about re-ordering any of these wines by the case.

We’re very excited to introduce you to the delicious wines in our Fall offering!
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIn this lineup, we have included some outstanding wines from lesser­-known regions all over California. These are all sustainably produced, food­-friendly wines with a sense of terroir. We wanted to focus on local, artisanal, natural, small-production wines to pair with your favorite Thanksgiving foods and really show you what New California has to offer. We currently only have these wines available to wine club members, and we are almost sold out. Register for our wine club at https://club.winelandia.com if you wish to get in on the action.

Deux Punx 2011 Grenache Noir
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Winemakers: Dan Schaaf & Aaron Olson
Bio: Dan Schaaf and Aaron Olson are the Deux Punx. Living in San Francisco, Schaaf and Olson started making wine at home and the project just ballooned from there. They work with several vineyards in both California and Washington, and prefer a hands-­off, experimental approach to winemaking. Always willing to take chances, Deux Punx are still finding their style and perspective, and we’re excited to be part of that journey with them.
Deux Punx are wine lovers and music lovers, their labels are creative and done by artist friends of theirs, and they definitely think wine is meant to be shared and enjoyed, not cellared and ignored – that’s how we feel too! We just can’t believe that both of these guys have full­time “day jobs” and families in addition to making and selling this wine. Superhuman!
Region: Lake County
Vineyard: Tejada
Blend: 100% Grenache
Aging: 18 months 100% neutral French oak
Production Notes: Produced from sustainably farmed Grenache grown by the Tejada family, this is a pure expression of warm­-climate Grenache. Native yeasts were used for fermentation and aging was done in 100% neutral French oak to show off what was done in the vineyard. 125 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of ripe red fruits & spice with firm tannins and juicy acidity. This would be a great wine to have with anything grilled, roasted, or barbecued.
Food Pairings: Burgers, grilled lamb, pizza, sausage, roasted poultry, BBQ red meat.

Verse 2012 Pinot Noir
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemakers: Ryan & Megan Glaab
Bio: Ryan and Megan Glaab have been making wine as Ryme Cellars for only 6 years, which is hard to believe considering how good this Pinot Noir is. Ryan is the assistant winemaker at another of our favorite wineries, Wind Gap. They met and fell in love during a harvest at a winery in Australia, and, now married, turned their relationship toward business too. Ryme wines ­and their accompanying Verse label ­are all made from Sonoma county grapes, and seek to highlight restraint and food friendliness. We really think these two have a bright future in winemaking and can’t wait to drink what’s next.
Region: Carneros
Vineyard: Las Brisas
Blend: 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 10 months neutral French oak
Production Notes: This bright & fresh Pinot Noir is a blend of two different clones – Swan and Gamay Beaujolais (which is neither gamay nor from Beaujolais). It’s made from 20 year old sustainably farmed vines grown near the convergence of the San Pablo Bay and the Petaluma Wind Gap in the Carneros AVA. The grapes were mostly de-stemmed but 25% were left whole cluster and they were fermented with native yeasts in open-­top fermenters. This wine was aged for 10 months in neutral French oak and bottled without fining or filtration. 290 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of red raspberry, wild fennel and tarragon, rounded out by dusty red clay earth and juicy cherry on the palate. This bright and juicy Pinot Noir has a beautiful texture and will be sure to dazzle on your Thanksgiving table!
Food Pairings: Roasted cornish game hens, duck breast with pomegranate gastrique, aged goat cheese, pork loin, wild salmon.

La Clarine Farm 2012 White Blend No. 1
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemaker: Hank Beckmeyer
Bio: Run by Hank Beckmeyer, La Clarine Farm is a principled stand out in California winemaking. A follower of Masanobu Fukuoka’s “Do Nothing Farming” methods, Beckmeyer has created a holistic vineyard and winery experience, trying to leave the grapes alone to, in a sense, make the wine themselves. Beckmeyer sees himself as a guide for the transformation of grapes into wine. Beckmeyer understands that terroir is constantly changing, and everything he is doing to the vines, the grapes, and the land, is changing the terroir – he is trying to keep it as pure and unadulterated as possible.
Beckmeyer has been quietly making wines in the Sierras since 2001, and has a diverse lineup, comprised largely of Rhone wines, both white and red. Hank’s laid-­back winemaking approach produces wines with texture and tons of interest – he simply let each wine, each vintage, become whatever it might. Very different from most California producers, that’s for sure.
Region: Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: Various
Blend: 47% Viognier, 41% Marsanne, 12% Petit Manseng
Aging: 100% Stainless steel
Production Notes: Produced from organically grown grapes, fermented with native yeasts, aged in stainless steel, and unfined/unfiltered prior to bottling – this is about as real as wine gets. Minimal SO2 used. Only 155 cases of this wine were produced, which means it won’t be around for long.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of white flowers and herbs with tons of mid­-palate richness, medium body and zingy acidity on the finish.
Food Pairing: Roasted game hens, chanterelle & gruyere bread pudding (see recipe), cheeses, smoked meats, fish, Indian food, lobster, salads.

LIOCO 2011 Indica
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemaker: John Raytek
Bio: Started by two sommeliers who wanted to make the kinds of wines they loved to drink, Lioco has developed into a great example of clean, food-­friendly, cool­-climate winemaking. Matthew Licklider and Kevin O’Connor are endeavoring to make transparent wines – wines where the customer knows what goes in, and comes out of the wine. Lioco has only been around since 2005, and recently one of their proprietors took over as winemaker, so we’re looking forward to the next evolution of this label. Their lineup includes the Indica wines, which are food-­friendly, drinkable, and affordable, as well as some single­vineyard Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays that are at a higher price point. Something for everyone!
Region: Mendocino County
Vineyard: Various, Redwood Valley
Blend: 98% Carignan, 2% Grenache
Aging: 11 months neutral French oak
Production Notes: Produced from organic, dry­-farmed, head trained, old vines. 25% whole cluster fermented, and bottled without fining or filtration. Neutral oak aging brings out the best in this wine. This wine will drink beautifully now, as well as age for a few more years. 684 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of sour plum, red licorice, and lavender with blackberry, salted plums and orange pekoe tea on the palate. This rustic red wine with medium body is extremely food friendly, so don’t be afraid to experiment with pairings.
Food Pairings: Cracker crust pizza, carnitas, sausages, barbecue.

Two Shepherds 2012 Grenache Blanc
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemaker: William Allen
Bio: With a name like Two Shepherds, you’re probably surprised to find out that William Allen is a one-­man show. Allen is a longtime wine industry professional, and garagiste (home winemaker), who decided to start a professional winery with an emphasis on Rhone varietals. His first release was only in 2010, but he’s called on many of the great low-­intervention winemakers in California for advice, and it shows in his wine. He works out of a small winery in Santa Rosa, shared with two other wineries.
Allen only works with Rhone grapes, and even planted his own vineyard of Grenache recently. His wines are balanced, with both texture and acid, and really shine with food.
Region: Santa Ynez Valley
Vineyard: Saarloos
Blend: 100% Grenache Blanc
Aging: 80% 7 months sur lie neutral French oak, 20% 6 months in stainless steel
Production Notes: The winemaker aims for long hang­-time with these grapes, allowing for flavors to become more complex while preserving the grape’s acidity. This wine is from a particularly cool site in the Santa Ynez Valley. The wine is barrel fermented in neutral French oak, and then aged on the lees for another 7 months. It is then blended with 20% of the same wine aged in stainless steel, adding freshness and balance. Serve slightly below cellar temperature, do not over-­chill. 125 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Aromas of green apples, white peach, orange blossom and honeydew with juicy acidity and elegant minerality.
Food Pairing: Miso­-cured Black Cod, chanterelle & gruyere bread pudding (see recipe), ceviche, grilled chicken, pasta with lemon & spinach.

Porter Creek 2012 Rosé
OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWinemaker: Alex Davis
Bio: Porter Creek sits in a quiet corner of West Sonoma County, with a tiny tasting room and several lovely chickens you can visit and talk to. Winemaker Alex Davis has been profiled by many media outlets, but that doesn’t diminish the understated character and approach that he takes with all of Porter Creek’s wines. Their backbone is cool­-climate Pinot Noir, but Porter Creek produces a variety of other wines as well. The winery and vineyards have been organic for some time, and they are currently pursuing Demeter Certification – that’s the certification for Biodynamics. Davis speaks of being a wine crafter rather than a wine maker, because he feels it implies the minimal intervention approach he takes in all he does.
All of Porter Creek’s wine are consistent in their balanced profile and food friendliness. While each is different, they all possess acid and texture, and even the higher end, single vineyard pinot noirs are affordably priced for how much technique and skill went into their production.
Region: Sonoma County
Vineyard: Various
Blend: 75% Zinfandel, 25% Carignan
Aging: 6 months neutral French oak
Production Notes: Made from organically farmed, head-­trained grapes, this is a rosé for people who love the rosés of Provence and Bandol. Bone dry and balanced with delicate acidity, this wine was fermented 100% whole cluster with 95% native yeasts. 620 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: Focused aromas of spice and fruit with a mineral finish.
Food Pairing: Raw kale harvest salad, roasted cornish game hens, salads, pizza, salmon, hard winter squash, wild mushroom risotto. 

Recipe: Savory Chanterelle and Gruyere Bread Pudding

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThis is a recipe featured in our Fall wine club shipment. We chose to feature this recipe because it encompasses everything we love about fall food, and it perfectly compliments several of the wines we are offering in our Fall club shipment. Made with chanterelle mushrooms and delicious cave-aged gruyere cheese, this vegetarian dish is sure to delight your guests. It’s fancy enough for a holiday like Thanksgiving but easy enough to make for any day of the week. We really love it’s umami flavors and creamy/crusty consistency.

You can find Chanterelle mushrooms at your local specialty store during the rainy months. Right now we are getting Oregon chanterelles as well as Pacific Golden chanterelles. I prefer the Oregon variety because they are cleaner, have great flavor, and a better texture (in my opinion). They are smaller and more orange in color than their California-grown counterparts. Chances are you will see only one variety, so get whatever you can. You want to pick out the chanterelles that look the best. Look for firm, dry chanterelles without any red rot or raggedy edges.

Don’t skimp on the Gruyere, either. Get a good-quality cave aged gruyere from France, if possible. This should not be hard to find, as I believe even Trader Joes carries one.

Savory Chanterelle & Gruyere Bread Pudding
Adapted from 100 Perfect Pairings: Main Dishes to Enjoy with Wines You Love by Jill Silverman Hough

Special Tools
One 2 qt. casserole dish or six 1½ cup individual ramekins

Ingredients
3 cups milk
1½ tsp. chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp. chopped fresh sage
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme
¼ tsp. freshly ground black pepper
4 tbsp. unsalted butter, plus more for buttering the pan
12 oz. chanterelle mushrooms, coarsely sliced OR 2 medium leeks (white & light green parts only), halved lengthwise and thinly sliced
1 tsp. fine sea salt
5 large eggs
12 oz. crusty artisan French or Italian, with crusts, torn or cubed into ¾” pieces
8 oz. gruyere cheese, shredded (about 3 cups)

Method
Butter the casserole dish or ramekins and set aside.

Combine the milk, chopped herbs, and pepper in a medium pot with a heavy bottom. Set over medium-high heat until the milk just begins to simmer. Remove from heat and set aside to cool slightly.

Meanwhile, melt the butter in a wide skillet over medium heat. Then add the mushrooms and salt and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 5 minutes. (If substituting leeks, cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat if necessary to prevent browning.) Remove from heat and set aside.

In a large bowl, whisk the eggs, then temper the eggs by whisking in ⅓ of the warm milk mixture. Once combined, slowly whisk in the rest. Add the bread cubes, shredded cheese, and mushroom or leek mixture and stir until well combined. Set aside for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, to let the bread absorb the liquid.

Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375°F with a rack in the center.

Spoon the mixture into the casserole dish or ramekins. Bake until the top is golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes. Serve hot.