Recipe: Tortilla Española

tortilla-1Which five simple ingredients will create a dish that will change the way you think about snacking? Chances are, you already have them at home. Potatoes, onions, eggs, olive oil, and salt, that’s it! With these five pantry staples, you can create a Spanish tapa that is more satisfying and delicious than you could ever imagine something so simple to be. In Spain, it’s called tortilla Española, tortilla de patatas, or simply tortilla. It’s similar to an Italian fritatta, except that instead of being finished in the oven, it’s finished on the stovetop.

When I first visited Spain, I remember seeing tortilla on the menu at every tapas bar we visited. It was a welcome interlude to all the salty cured meat and preserved seafood that dominate the tapas bars. The Spanish enjoy this regional delicacy by itself as a tapa or on a baugette as a bocadillo. I knew that when I got home, I’d have to figure out how to make this thing because my husband loved it so much.

It turns out, this recipe is very simple and easy to make. You just need a few pieces of equipment; a 10″-12″ skillet at least 1-1/2″ deep (preferably, but not mandatorily nonstick), a big bowl, a large plate, and a sharp knife. It helps to have a mandoline; it’ll save you some time, but it’s not essential. A steady hand and a sharp knife will do just fine.

The best thing about tortilla Española is how versatile it is. It tastes great cold, warm, or at room temperature. It makes a great weekday lunch or mid-day snack. Take one to a potluck and you will be the talk of the town.

This recipe was developed with our 2012 Talai-Berri “Finca Jakue” Getariako Txakolina in mind – a deliciously fizzy white wine from the Basque region of Spain. The txakoli is perfectly contrasted by the richness of the tortilla – it has enough acidity to cut right through the olive oil and potato flavors. Enjoy the two together on a warm afternoon, the txakoli with a good chill and the tortilla served cold alongside some tomato-rubbed bread and jamón.

Tortilla Española
prep time: 15 min
cooking time: 30 min
Serves 8-10 as an appetizer

Ingredients:
4 medium russet potatoes or 6-8 yukon gold potatoes
1 large onion
6 large eggs
1/2 tsp. sea or kosher salt
3/4 cup olive oil

Special Tools:
10″-12″ frying pan, at least 1-1/2″ deep
Large bowl
Large plate, at least the size of your skillet
Sharp knife or mandoline

Method:

  1. Fill the large bowl halfway with cold water and set next to your work surface.
  2. Peel and thinly slice the potatoes, 1/8″ thick or a little thinner, with your knife or mandoline. Place the sliced raw potatoes in the bowl of water to prevent them from oxidizing.
  3. Peel the paper off the onion and slice in half, lengthwise. Thinly slice the onion and set aside.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large frying pan over medium heat.
  5. Drain the potato slices well and add to the oil, along with the onions. Cook the potatoes and onions over medium heat for about 20 minutes, turning the slices often. Avoid letting them brown. The potatoes and onions are done when they are fully cooked and easily pierced with the corner of your spatula.
  6. While you’re cooking the potatoes, whisk the 6 eggs and salt in a large bowl until combined.
  7. Remove the potatoes and onions from the pan with a slotted spoon and add to the egg mixture, reserving the olive oil in the pan. Mix the potatoes and onions into the egg batter with a large spoon, being careful not to crush or mash the cooked potato slices.
  8. Strain the oil from the skillet into a clean jar, and wash the skillet well enough that the surface is free of any stuck-on potatoes.
  9. Heat the skillet again over medium-high heat. I like to use non-stick cooking spray for this step (I don’t have a non-stick pan), or you can use 2 tbsp. of the reserved olive oil.
  10. Make sure the skillet is good and hot, but not hot enough to burn the oil. Add the potato/onion/egg mixture to the hot pan. It’s important the pan is hot, so the tortilla doesn’t stick.
  11. After about a minute, reduce the heat to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, or until the tortilla is set but the surface is still runny. Remove from the heat.
  12. Give the pan a shake to loosen the tortilla, use a spatula to help loosen it if you need to.
  13. Take your large plate and set it upside-down over the surface of the tortilla while it’s still in the skillet (if the plate is bigger than the skillet, that’s OK). Carefully invert the skillet and allow the tortilla to fall onto the plate.
  14. Wipe the skillet out with a paper towel and return it to medium-high heat. Add another coating of non-stick cooking spray or 2 tbsp. olive oil.
  15. Slide the tortilla back into the pan, uncooked side down. Turn the heat down to medium after a minute. Cook for an additional 2 minutes. In the meantime, wash and dry the plate you used to invert the half-cooked tortilla onto.
  16. Shake the pan to loosen the tortilla, and remove it by inverting it out of the skillet back onto a plate. Allow it to cool, then slice it into wedges and serve.

tortilla-2

 

Introducing our Spring Wine Club Offer

The Spring wine club offer is SOLD OUT. You can still join the wine club to receive our next shipment and to receive 10% off all wines in the online shop.

We’re shipping out these six great wines this week. Want to get in on the action? Join the wine club!

springwines

Did you hear? It’s Spring! Everything is blooming, unfurling, reaching for the sun. The days are getting longer, and it seems like I finally have time to sit on my porch after a long day and enjoy the last few moments of sunshine. Springtime makes me yearn for back yard barbecues, fresh and seasonal green vegetables, beaches, and rows of mustard flowers between the vines in wine country. Everything – the air, the food, the wine – is brighter, more floral, and fresher.

I believe that wine has seasons, too. Who wants to drink a heavy, extracted, tannic wine on a warm spring day? I’m sure people are out there that do, but I feel the majority of us would prefer something a little lighter, even if it’s going to be red. With our Spring wine club shipment, we wanted to not only embody the essence of Spring in full swing, but also champion wines made from some lesser-known grapes that make the wine geek’s heart go pitter-patter.

2011 Adega Vella Mencia, Ribeira Sacra, Spain
2012 Quarticello “Neromaestri”, Lambrusco Emilia IGT, Italy
2012 Talai-Berri “Finca Jakue”, Getariako Txakolina, Spain
2013 Idlewild Arneis, Mendocino County, US
NV Domaine Belluard “Ayse” Brut, Haute-Savoie, France
2013 Grace Wine Co. Rosé of Grenache, Santa Barbara Co., US

Adega Vella 2011 Mencia Ribeira Sacra
Winemaker: Jorge Feijoo Gonzalez
Bio: A tiny winemaking operation from the village of Abelada in northwestern Spain, Adega Vella is pretty much a one-man show. It produces only 3000 or so cases of wine per year, mostly from the Mencia grape. The building itself is from the 12th century, and has been slowly restored by hand. All of the wines are made from indigenous grapes, in small batches, by hand.
Region: Spain>Galicia>Ribeira Sacra
Vineyard: Located on the slopes of the river Sil, all of the fruit is estate-grown in their 6 hectares of vineyards.
Blend: 100% Mencia
Aging: Stainless steel
Production Notes: Not available.
Tasting Notes: Bright, fresh, and juicy red fruit flavors are accompanied by spice, minerals, soft tannins, and balanced acidity.
Food Pairing: This quaffable and addictive red wine is the perfect compliment to barbecue, chorizo, and burgers.

Quarticello 2012 “Neromaestri” Lambrusco
Winemaker: Roberto Maestri
Bio: Maestri’s grandfather produced wine as a hobby for the family, as many Italians do. Maestri quickly fell in love with the craft, set out to learn about enology and viticulture, and produced his first vintage from the family estate in 2006.
Region: Italy>Emilia-Romagna>Emilia IGT
Vineyard: Organically farmed, sandy clay and gravel soils.
Blend: 50% Lambrusco Maestri, 30% Lambrusco Gasparossa, 10% Malbo Gentile, 10% Ancellotta.
Aging: Secondary fermentation in-bottle.
Production Notes: Methode Ancestrale. 6-8 day skin maceration. Natural secondary fermentation in bottle.
Tasting Notes: Dense, spicy, and a little tannic, this lambrusco enters with a fizzy burst of intense dark red cherries. Bone dry with a firm, fleshy finish. Serve with a chill; it’s a great red wine for a warm day.
Food Pairing: Salami, Ricotta, and Tarragon Bruschetta

Talai-Berri 2012 “Finca Jakue” Getariako Txakolina
Winemaker: Bixente Eiagirre Aginaga
Bio: Aginaga is the 4th generation to operate this family-run winery located in the hills above Zarautz. His two daughters and wife help with the operation, along with two full-time staff members. They have 9 hectares planted to Hondarrabi Zuri and Hondarrabi Beltza and make two different styles of txakoli, a zippy, fresh, effervescent, easy-drinking wine.
Region: Spain>Basque Country>Getariako Txakolina
Vineyard: Terraced, south-facing hillside vineyard.
Blend: 100% Hondarrabi Zuri
Aging: Stainless steel, sur lie, with occasional stirring of the lees.
Production Notes: Pressed and fermented in stainless steel. Aged on the lees with light stirring, and bottled while still slightly spritzy.
Tasting Notes: A fun, pleasing, slightly fizzy wine from the Basque region of Spain. This Txakoli is slightly richer than the traditional style, with notes of ripe summer fruits and citrus. On the palate, it’s zippy, bright, and effervescent; the perfect accompaniment to a variety of Basque-style pintxos.
Food Pairing: Grilled sardines, tapas, olives, tomato salads, pickled foods, tortilla española.

Idlewild 2013 Arneis, Mendocino County
Winemaker: Jessica Bilbro
Bio:  Idlewild Wines is an owner-operated winery, brought to life by Sam and Jessica Bilbro. They operate out of their winery in Healdsburg, sourcing their fruit from compelling vineyards throughout California. They are focused on producing balanced, soulful wines from interesting varieties such as Dolcetto, Arneis, Grenache Gris, Carignan, and Cortese.
Region: California>Mendocino County
Vineyard: Fox Hill Vineyard is located southeast of Ukiah on Mendocino’s Talmadge Bench. North-facing exposure, with poor soils composed of gravel and sandstone.
Blend: 100% Arneis
Aging: 4 months on the lees in neutral French oak
Production Notes: Harvested on the last day of August. Gently pressed whole cluster, the wine fermented at cool temperatures over the course of a month. Aged sur lie with no stirring in neutral French oak for 4 months. 97 cases produced.
Tasting Notes: This is one of the best domestic whites we’ve had in a long time. Aromas of orchard fruits, white flowers, and marzipan waft from the glass. On the palate it’s broad and rich, with loads of depth and plenty of acidity.
Food Pairing: Grilled chicken, hard Italian cheeses, seafood in cream sauce.

Domaine Belluard NV “Ayse” Brut
Winemaker: Dominique Belluard
Bio: Deep in the eastern French Alps, near the Swiss border, the Belluard family has been making wine in the village of Ayse since 1947.  They started with vineyards of Gringet (a rare grape variety endemic to the region) and fruit orchards. They now own 12 of the 22 remaining hectares of this nearly extinct grape, and are doing their best to preserve it. Their vineyards are certified Biodynamic, and all of their wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs instead of wood or stainless steel. Great care is taken in the production of these wines, utilizing only native yeasts, and even aging their own sparkling wines in the bottle (most producers outsource this).
Region: France>Savoie>Haute-Savoie
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed. Southern exposure, chalky scree soils in the Chablais Alps. Soils of clay & limestone. 55hl/ha.
Blend: 100% Gringet
Aging: Concrete eggs
Production Notes: Native yeast fermentation. Bottled with minimum SO2.
Tasting Notes: This is a sparkling wine for serious wine lovers. Initial aromas of crushed rocks make way for citrus and white flowers. Medium-straw in color, it’s rich and electric on the palate. Assertive, linear, and bright – this wine will change the way you think about bubbles.
Food Pairing: Oysters, smoked fish, mountain cheeses, asparagus

Grace Wine Co. 2013 Rosé of Grenache
Winemaker: Angela Osborne
Bio: Born in New Zealand, Osborne moved to the US in 2006. Her intent was to make Grenache, a sun-loving grape that prefers a warmer climate. She ended up finding a unique high desert Grenache vineyard in the Santa Barbara Highlands of California, which had the perfect combination of sun exposure and heat. From this vineyard she began making her flagship wine, A Tribute to Grace Grenache – an homage to her beloved grandmother Grace.
Region: California>Santa Barbara County>Santa Barbara Highlands
Vineyard: SIP Certified. Santa Barbara Highlands vineyard. 3200′ elevation, high desert.
Blend: 100% Grenache
Aging: Stainless steel, on the lees.
Production Notes: A true single-vineyard rosé from a site that more closely resembles the moon than our earth. The grapes were picked on a fruit day with the moon in Libra. A 24 hour cold soak on the skins gave the juice a pale pink hue. Pressed whole cluster the next day. Aged on the lees in a stainless steel tank, with ambient temperatures around 50F. Sterile filtered to inhibit malolactic fermentation and bottled in March. 227 cases made.
Tasting Notes: Our favorite California rosé of the year. Fresh, ripe, red summer fruit and rosebuds dominate the nose, while on the palate it’s bright, fresh, delicate, and thirst-quenching. Pale pink in color, this wine embodies what California rosé should be.
Food Pairing: Strawberry, goat cheese, and bacon spinach salad with balsamic vinaigrette.

 

Wine of the Week: Domaine Belluard NV Ayse Brut

The wines of Domaine Belluard are some of the most intriguing we’ve encountered in a while. In particular, I’ve taken a shine to the $24 Ayse Brut, an affordable sparkling wine made from 100% Gringet – a nearly extinct grape from the Savoie. Belluard’s estate is located in the French alpine village of Ayse, near the border of Switzerland. The grapes are from the lower slopes of Belluard’s Biodynamic vineyards, planted in chalky, stony slopes, with Mont Blanc towering in the background. Gringet makes an exciting and unusual varietal wine, while still being approachable, versatile, and delicious.

These unique, rare vineyards produce a wine that’s mineral-dominant, with notes of yellow citrus and floral alpine air. Belluard only uses concrete eggs to raise his wines, which are neutral vessels that don’t impart any flavors into the wine. What you get with this exuberant bubbly is pure terroir – a beautiful, unadulterated expression of the grape, soil, and alpine air.

Buy now on Winelandia.com
(If you’re in our wine club, you’ll be receiving a bottle of this with your next wine club shipment)

belluard

Winemaker: Dominique Belluard
Bio: Deep in the eastern French Alps, near the Swiss border, the Belluard family has been making wine in the village of Ayse since 1947.  They started with vineyards of Gringet (a rare grape variety endemic to the region) and fruit orchards. They now own 12 of the 22 remaining hectares of this nearly extinct grape, and are doing their best to preserve it. Their vineyards are certified Biodynamic, and all of their wines are fermented and aged in concrete eggs instead of wood or stainless steel. Great care is taken in the production of these wines, utilizing only native yeasts, and even aging their own sparkling wines in the bottle (most producers outsource this).
Region: France>Savoie>Haute-Savoie
Vineyard: Biodynamically farmed. Southern exposure, chalky scree soils in the Chablais Alps. Soils of clay & limestone. 55hl/ha.
Blend: 100% Gringet
Aging: Concrete eggs
Production Notes: Native yeast fermentation. Methode traditionelle. Bottled with minimum SO2.
Tasting Notes: This is a sparkling wine for serious wine lovers. Initial aromas of crushed rocks make way for citrus and white flowers. Medium-straw in color, it’s rich and electric on the palate. Assertive, linear, and bright – this wine will change the way you think about bubbles.
Food Pairing: Oysters, smoked fish, mountain cheeses, asparagus

Buy now on Winelandia.com

Wine 101: Traveling with Wine

Wine often travels long distances before it makes it’s way into your home. Perhaps you purchased some wine on a weekend trip to wine country and drove it home in the trunk of your car. Maybe it was shipped to you from a wine club or online retailer, from many cities or states away. Imported wines also have to travel a long distance to get to the US, and they often make it onto a retailer’s shelves just a week or two after passing through customs.

Many wine professionals believe that you should let your wine “rest” after it spends any time on the road. A wine that has been exposed to the elements of long-distance travel often tastes different than the same wine that has not. There are a variety of mysterious reasons for this, but two factors are temperature fluctuations and vibration during travel. I’ve experienced “travel sickness” in wine many times first-hand, and it took me a few encounters to realize what was going on.

Travel sickness and heat damage are two different things. Travel sickness seems to resolve on it’s own with a little time, while there’s no cure for a wine that’s been overheated. You never want to let your wine get hot, or expose it to excessive temperature fluctuations. When wine gets warm, the liquid expands and pushes the air out of the bottle. When it cools back down, the liquid contracts, pulling oxygen into the bottle, and causing oxidation. This is one of the reasons wine collectors store their wine in climate-controlled warehouses with very specific, stable temperatures and humidity. Wine that was exposed to hot temperatures often tastes stewed, prune-y, high in alcohol, bitter, or astringent.

Wines that are simply “travel sick” often seem disjointed or out of balance. Perhaps the wine tastes more acidic than it usually does, or the oak is very pronounced. Maybe the nose is muted and closed, when the wine is typically very aromatic. Sometimes the tannin can seem abrasive and harsh, while under normal circumstances they are well-integrated and firm. Letting the wine sit in a cool, dark place for several days, weeks, or months, seems to cure it of this ailment.

Here are some basic guidelines for traveling with wine, or caring for wine that has traveled a long distance:

  • Don’t buy from retailers or wineries who ship during the hot summer months without taking extra precautions to ensure your wine won’t be exposed to extreme temperatures during shipping, or left on your porch on very hot or cold days.
  • If you do have wine shipped, let it sit in a cool, dark place for at least a week (preferably longer) before you drink it.
  • Never leave wine in your car on a warm day. Even a cool, sunny day can be enough to make your car inhospitable to wine. If you are planning on leaving wine in your car, bring a small cooler and some ice packs to keep it cool.
  • If you’re going on a far-away adventure on an airplane, remember that most airlines will allow you to check wine like luggage before the security checkpoint. Bring some of your favorite bottles to enjoy on your trip, or bring some discoveries back with you from your travels. Wine shipping boxes are a good idea for transport and can be purchased from most packaging supply stores. Check with your airline for specific policies for transporting wine.

It’s important to remember that wine is a living, breathing thing, as well as a food product. Care must be taken when moving it around if you want it to be as delicious as it was made to be. Do your yourself and your favorite winemakers a favor by following these simple guidelines.

Winelandia’s Tropical Adventure

Hi friends, blog followers, wine lovers…

After six straight months of pounding the pavement to find you the most delicious wines in the world, I am taking a much needed vacation. I am going to do my best to “disconnect” while I’m away (I’m going to Oahu, for those who are curious), but I’ll be back on Tuesday! Until then, the blog will be mostly quiet, and any orders placed between tomorrow and Monday will not ship until Tuesday, April 22nd.

Do you think there’s any good wine in Hawaii? I’m going to try and find a wine shop selling some “local” wines. Perhaps I will find something drinkable. Maybe there’s some pineapple, starfruit, or other country wines out there. Do you think wine in Hawaii comes with a little umbrella in it? I will report back!

When I get back, I will be preparing our next wine club shipment. All six of the wines are in, just getting a little rest from their travels before making their way into your homes. We’ve selected some really cool stuff – Lambrusco, Txakoli, sparkling Gringet, fantastic rosé, and a gulpable Spanish red wine. Want to get in on the action? Join the wine club.

Wine of the Week: La Clarine Farm “Josephine+Mariposa” Red Blend

If you’ve been following Winelandia for any length of time, you probably know that we are La Clarine Farm’s #1 fan. We love the holistic approach that winemaker Hank Beckmeyer has in his vineyards and winemaking methods. Hank consistently makes wines that we love; they have texture, minerality, character, longevity, and soul.

The La Clarine Farm 2012 “Josephine+Mariposa” red blend is no exception. This is a versatile and robust red wine that will satisfy the palate of any red wine lover. A blend of Grenache and Mourvèdre, the grapes are grown in yellow slate and gravelly loam (a soil type called the Josephine/Mariposa Complex). It has fresh and pure high toned fruit aromas, herbal qualities, and loads of minerality. On the palate, it’s rich and bold with balanced acidity and fine grained tannins.

THIS WINE IS SOLD OUT

P2130018

Winemaker:  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 lets each wine, each vintage, become whatever it might.
Region: US>California>Sierra Foothills
Vineyard: Josephine+Mariposa complex. Gravelly loam and yellow slate. Head-trained vines.
Blend: 72% Grenache, 28% Mourvèdre
Aging: 15 months in stainless steel and 600L puncheons
Production Notes: Foot-stomped grapes. Native yeast fermentation. Grenache & mourvèdre fermented separately. Pressed into puncheons after 8 or 9 days. Beckmeyer aimed to capture the essence of the vineyard by creating this vineyard-specific blend.
Tasting Notes: Bouquet of high toned tropical fruit & dried herbs. Mouthwatering acidity, stony minerality, and fine-grained tannins.  Well-structured and full-bodied without being heavy. Give this wine plenty of air, and experience it’s transformation in your glass.
Food Pairings: Cassoulet, braised meat, roasted lamb, grilled sausages

Wine 101: Native Yeast Fermentation

An important topic of discussion regarding natural wine is “native”, “spontaneous”, or “indigenous” yeast fermentation. Perhaps you’ve heard these terms mentioned at your local wine shop, or seen them in marketing materials from a winery you like. Like most topics wine-related, it’s subject to lots of opinions and debate.

Yeasts are what ferment the sugar in grape juice into alcohol, transforming it into wine. Yeasts exist everywhere in our environment, and certain strains are indigenous to certain places. This is why San Francisco sourdough is so unique – we have our own strain of wild yeast that lives in the foggy San Francisco air, giving our bread it’s own unique flavor.

Many wineries use commercially-sold yeasts to ferment their wines. These yeasts are selectively bred or genetically altered by laboratories to enhance “favorable” flavor profiles in a wine (such as spiciness or fruit flavor), to tolerate heat extremes (cold and hot), to limit malodor in fermentations, and to produce wines with consistent flavor profiles year after year. These yeasts are also resistant to SO2, the chemical additive used in wine to prevent unfavorable microbal growth and oxidation. There are many labs out there making hundreds of yeast strains available in freeze-dried or liquid form for wineries, and each strain comes with it’s own name and marketing materials explaining it’s virtues. These commercially-sold yeasts are strong and hearty; pitch some into your grape must and they will quickly overpower any wild yeasts living in it.

Commercial yeast strains are a relatively new development in the business of winemaking. People have been making wine for thousands of years, where commercial yeasts have only existed in modern times. Grapes don’t always need help from commercial labs to turn into wine – the vineyard is full of flora that will happily do the job for free.

“Native” or “indigenous” yeast fermentations are started by wild yeasts occurring naturally on the grapes, in the winery, and in the vineyard. Pick the grapes, crush or press them, and the fermentation should just start on it’s own. These wild yeasts are usually capable of fully fermenting the wine, but at times the fermentation may seem to slow down or get “stuck”, requiring the winemaker to wait it out and see if it restarts later in the season, or to pitch a strong commercial yeast to finish the job quickly. The other issues with indigenous yeasts are that the wines may taste different from year to year, and they are more prone to producing malodor during fermentation. It’s a risk for any winemaker to choose a spontaneous fermentation over inoculating with commercial yeasts, but those who know how to do it well create (in my opinion) MUCH more interesting, complex, and soulful wines.

Some winemakers believe that there’s no such thing as a truly “native” or “indigenous” yeast fermentation, since many wineries have been using commercial yeasts for years. Those commercial yeasts get into the air and equipment in the winemaking facility, and can take up permanent residence. It’s possible that any future “spontaneous” yeast fermentation happening in that facility would be because of the commercial yeasts used in the past.

Who’s to say which yeast fermented a wine? You would have to be a scientist to figure it out. My belief is that “less is more”, and I would rather sell a wine fermented spontaneously, even if that means the fermentation started with a commercial yeast that just happens to be part of the landscape. So many new winemakers are making wine in shared “custom crush” facilities and co-ops, it’s hard to say anymore. Unless your wine came from a centuries-old chateau in France that has never seen a commercial yeast, it’s hard to say for sure whether or not your wine is truly “indigenous” or “native” yeast fermented.

It would be naïve for us to be dogmatic about this topic, insisting that we only sell “native yeast” wine, so instead we only offer wines that are fermented “spontaneously”, and never through direct inoculation with commercial yeasts. We simply feel that these wines are better – they are more interesting, delicious, and unique.

Wine of the Week: Two Shepherds Grenache Gris Rosé

This wine is SOLD OUT. Thanks for the interest!

There’s no question about it – two of the things I love most in life are rosé wine and weird grapes. Make a rosé wine out of a weird grape and chances are I will love it. This week’s Wine of the Week is a rosé from one of our favorite producers, Two Shepherds. Not only is it a fantastic wine, but it’s made from the noteworthy weird grape Grenache Gris – a grape that is genetically identical to Grenache Noir, but mutated so that the skins of the grapes are pinkish-gray.

This is a true old-vine wine, as the grapes are produced by 100 year old grapevines up in Mendocino County. It’s a very special and historic vineyard called Gibson Ranch, where these very old vines are dry-farmed (not irrigated) and head trained. The grapes were harvested in mid-September of 2013 and left to soak on the skins for 7 days prior to fermentation. This process allowed the wine to extract a ton of texture and complexity, which produced a rosé wine that is not just thirst-quenching and delicious, but also rich and nuanced.

There were only 33 cases of this delicious rosé produced, so she’s a rare bird indeed. Quantities are extremely limited, so get yours before it’s gone!

Two Shepherds 2013 Grenache Gris Rosé

P3230004
Winemaker: 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 low­intervention 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: California>Mendocino County

Vineyard: Gibson Ranch, a historical section of McDowell Valley Vineyard. 100+ year old, dry farmed, head-trained vines.

Blend: 100% Grenache Gris, a mutation of Grenache Noir – the skins are orangey-gray in color.

Aging: 5 months in stainless steel, 4 of which were sur-lie.

Production Notes: Harvested in mid-September at 21.5 Brix. Grapes were crushed and left on the skins to cold soak for 7 days, then pressed into neutral French oak and fermented with indigenous yeasts. After 2 weeks, the wine (which was not finished fermenting) was transferred to stainless steel tanks, where it spent the next 4 months fermenting at a temperature of 56F. The wine wanted to start malolactic fermentation, so it was allowed to do so and was then bottled unfined and unfiltered. 33 cases made.

Tasting Notes: Expressive aromas of citrus rind, tomato vine, and white peach. On the palate, it has balanced texture and weight, with a wonderful savory element from the extended skin contact, delivering tangy citrus, red grapefruit, and peach, with a lingering finish. Serve at a proper temperature of 52-56F, not directly from the refrigerator.

Food Pairings: Grilled or roasted vegetables, poached salmon with seared morels, arugula salad with bacon-shallot vinaigrette.

 

Recipe: Asparagus with Morels, Green Garlic & Egg

asparagus

By now, you may have seen the mountains of asparagus at the Farmer’s Market. Asparagus is at the peak of it’s season, and you can buy fat, tender, delicious spears for a reasonable price. Sure, you might be able to find asparagus at the grocery store any time of the year, but if it’s not spring, it has traveled thousands of miles and usually tastes like cardboard. This is why I choose to eat seasonally – things just taste better.

When choosing your asparagus, go for the fatter spears, not the skinny ones. They tend to be more tender and flavorful. Choose bunches with tightly closed, firm tips, free of any rot. Once you get your asparagus home, don’t cut the ends off – instead just bend the bottom third of the spear and let it snap where it will – this will remove any fibrous or woody bits.

One of my favorite flavors to compliment asparagus with is spring morels, fresh from the forest. Their umami flavor is a wonderful enhancement to the sweet, tender asparagus. Green garlic is another springtime favorite of mine, which has a natural affinity for all things Spring. I wanted to combine these ingredients to make a healthy, delicious, seasonal meal – and so I did. This dish was so fantastic, I wanted to share it with all of you.

Wine pairing: Asparagus is notoriously difficult to pair with wine. For best results, go for an unoaked, aromatic white wine such as sparkling Vouvray, dry German riesling, Gruner Veltliner, or Sauvignon Blanc.

Asparagus with Morels, Green Garlic, & Egg
Author: Tala Drzewiecki
Cooking time: 35 minutes

Serves 2

Ingredients:
1 bunch fat, fresh asparagus spears, preferably organic, tough ends snapped off
2 very fresh eggs
2 oz. fresh Morel mushrooms (or any wild mushroom you can find), sliced
1 stalk green garlic, halved lengthwise and sliced thin
1 small head frisée
1 oz. fresh goat cheese (optional)
1 tbsp. unsalted butter
Freshly grated Parmesan, to taste
Olive oil
2 tbsp. white vinegar
Salt & Pepper, to taste

for the salad dressing:
2 tbsp. Champagne or white wine vinegar
2 tbsp. olive oil
Salt & pepper, to taste

Method:

  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. In a small pan, heat the butter over medium heat until it foams. Add the morels and green garlic to the pan with a little salt, and sautée until the garlic is soft and the mushrooms begin to brown. Remove from heat and set aside.
  3. Heat a pan of water until it simmers (not boiling) for poaching your eggs, then add 2 tbsp. white vinegar to the poaching water.
  4. Toss the asparagus in olive oil and season with salt. Place on a cookie sheet lined with foil and roast in the preheated oven for 10-12 minutes, until cooked but still crisp.
  5. Divide the frisée between two plates.
  6. Combine the salad dressing ingredients in a small bowl, whisk, and drizzle a small amount over the plated frisée.
  7. Crumble a little goat cheese over the frisée.
  8. Start poaching your eggs. Don’t let the water boil; keep it at a simmer. Poach the eggs for about 3 minutes, until cooked soft or medium.
  9. While the eggs are poaching, divide the roasted asparagus between the two plates, laying the spears neatly on top of the dressed frisée.
  10. Remove the poached eggs with a slotted spoon and place on top of the plated asparagus.
  11. Shave some Parmesan over the hot eggs and asparagus, to taste.
  12. Top the poached egg with the sautéed morels and green garlic, then season with fresh ground black pepper.