Thursday, September 21, 2017

Pink Lady Champagne Cocktail - Recipe


The Bouldin Creek Cafe in South Austin inspired this drink. I had their version a couple of weeks ago and guessed at the ingredients and proportions.

Pink Lady Champagne Cocktail

Ingredients
  • 1 T rose syrup 
  • 4 to 6 oz Champagne or sparkling wine 

Instructions

  1. Pour the syrup into the bottom of a glass. 
  2. Fill the lass with about 4 to 6 ounces of Champagne or sparkling wine. 
  3. Adjust according to your own preferences. 

Enjoy!


Microwave Popcorn in a Brown Paper Bag - Recipe



A while back I stopped making popcorn this way because my microwave kept overheating. However, in order to save the hubs from having to wash yet another pot, I thought I'd modify the recipe and try this again. It turned out great with no overheating of the microwave!


Ingredients
  • 1/3 cup organic popcorn kernels
  • 1 T organic olive oil or butter (optional)
  • Seasoning to taste -  extra fine organic sea salt, finely ground black pepper, truffle salt, etc.

Instructions
  1. If using oil, toss the kernels in oil in a small bowl (I omit the oil altogether).
  2. Place the kernels in an unused brown paper lunch bag and fold the top of the bag over twice.
  3. Turn the bag onto its front or back and shake gently to distribute the kernels.
  4. Microwave on high for 2 to 3 minutes, stopping it when the pops begin slowing to around 1 pop every 1 to 2 seconds. Stopping sooner is better than later to prevent burnt popcorn.
  5. Pour the popcorn into a large bowl and season to taste. I like a light sprinkling of truffle salt.

Enjoy!


Thursday, June 29, 2017

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch, St. Helena - Restaurant Review


This place is so cute! Modern farmhouse - so my style. Apparently, the restaurant is located on a working ranch. We sat outside at a communal table and everything was just lovely!

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch

Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch 

Long Meadow Ranch Pinot Noir Rosé 2016, Anderson Valley, California     

This Long Meadow Ranch Pinot Noir Rosé 2016 is from Anderson Valley, California, and retails for $54 a bottle at the restaurant. We all really enjoyed it!



Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - Warm Burrata
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - Warm Burrata
To start, we shared Warm Burrata with whole roasted garlic, estate olive oil, and grilled bread - $16.50. So yummy, and very rich!


Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - Grilled Wild King Salmon
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - Grilled Wild King Salmon
Grilled Wild King Salmon with summer squash, eggplant, Jimmy Nardello peppers, and bulgur wheat $34. Everything was perfectly cooked and absolutely delicious!


Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - "Big Easy" Beignets
Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch - "Big Easy" Beignets
“Big Easy” Beignets with bourbon caramel sauce - $10. These were simply heavenly - light and fluffy with a fun sauce!



And such a pretty drive on the way back to our hotel!

Thanks to Sauce Culinary Travel for this recommendation! Such a fantastic place to dine!




Merryvale Vineyards - St. Helena, CA


After visiting Provenance Vineyards, we still had a bit of time to kill before our dinner at Farmstead at Long Meadow Ranch. Luckily, right next door to the restaurant is Merryvale. Scott hosted us for the Reserve Tasting, which was $50 for five wines.

Merryvale Vineyards Silhouette Chardonnay 2014
Merryvale Vineyards Silhouette Chardonnay 2014
First was the Merryvale Vineyards Silhouette Chardonnay 2014, which retails for $65 a bottle. It tasted of exotic fruits and butter - too buttery for my taste.


Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Malbec 2013
Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Malbec 2013
Next we tasted the Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Malbec 2013, and to my surprise, I really loved it! It tasted of dark fruit and was dry with soft tannins. Yum! It retails for $75 a bottle.

Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2013
Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2013
This Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Franc 2013 was also extremely yummy! It was chocolaty and dry, but unexpectedly devoid of any vegetal flavors. I really liked it! It retails for $90 a bottle.

Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Chairman's Selection 2013
Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Chairman's Selection 2013
The Merryvale Vineyards Napa Valley Chairman's Selection 2013 is a Bordeaux blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a touch of Cab Franc and Merlot. It is super dry and chocolaty, and retails for $75 a bottle.

Merryvale Vineyards St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
Merryvale Vineyards St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2013
The Merryvale Vineyards St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 2013 is super dry and chocolaty and retails for $110 per bottle. I didn't purchase any.

The staff at this winery is extremely accommodating. Even though we ventured in just as they were closing, they still allowed us to do a tasting and were very sweet throughout.


Provenance Vineyards - St. Helena, CA


As we drove into the property, we weren't actually sure that Provenance was open. Yellow caution tape was everywhere in front of the building. However, we saw a handful of cars in the parking lot so we entered.

Provenance Vineyards Tasting Room

Provenance Vineyards Tasting Room

Provenance Vineyards Tasting Room
Provenance Vineyards Tasting Room
Luckily, the tasting room was open! It was modern, cozy, and charming. I really liked the decor.

Provenance Vineyards Classic Tasting Menu
Provenance Vineyards Classic Tasting Menu
I chose the Classic Tasting, which was $25 for four wines. Our host's name was Eva, and she was a knowledgeable resource. She explained that the wines are made in a French Bordeaux style. Awesome - I love French Bordeaux!

Provenance Vineyards Malbec 2014
Provenance Vineyards Malbec 2014
The 2014 Malbec was chocolaty and dry with no tannins, and retails for $50 a bottle (or $40 for wine club members). It was fine.

Provenance Vineyards Malbec Rosé 2016
Provenance Vineyards Malbec Rosé 2016
I definitely wanted to try the Malbec Rosé as well - it was fruity and dry, and retails for $32 a bottle (or $25.60 for wine club members). It was good and I ended up purchasing a bottle of it.

Provenance Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2014
Provenance Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2014
Next was one my favorite varietals, Cabernet Franc. The Provenance Vineyards Cabernet Franc 2014 was chocolaty and dry with a black tea finish. It was good, and retails for $50 a bottle (or $40 for wine club members). It was nice, but I didn't purchase any here.

Provenance Vineyards Wine Maker's Reserve 2013
Provenance Vineyards Wine Maker's Reserve 2013
Next was my favorite red of the tasting, the Provenance Vineyards Wine Maker's Reserve 2013. It retails for $65 a bottle but is offered at $52 a bottle to wine club members. It tasted of dark fruit and was so smooth. We purchased a bottle of this as well.

Lastly, we tasted a bottle of the Provenance Vineyards Barrel Select Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, which also retails for $65 a bottle to the general public, but is only $52 a bottle for wine club members. It was dry, chocolaty, and surprisingly tart. Okay, but not my favorite - I never prefer for my Cab Sauvs to be tart.

Visiting Provenance was nice but did leave something to be desired. The wines were okay, but most of them tasted really high in alcohol. Additionally, the yellow caution tape wasn't welcoming and was a little confusing. Hopefully they will work that out soon!


Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fire and Water Tour and Tasting


Stag's Leap Wine Cellars sends my heart aflutter like no other winery in Napa. Joseph Phelps comes in a close second, but when taken into consideration with their 1976 Judgement of Paris Cabernet Sauvignon win, SLWC has no competition.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Vineyards
The Vineyards
This is the gorgeous view walking in from the parking lot. The Artemis Wine Club members have this view during their patio tastings. I actually prefer this setting to the Cask 23 Wine Club member terrace, which is where we have our tastings and where there is no view.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Caves Entrance
Wine Caves Entrance
The tours always start at the reception desk with a glass of Sauvignon Blanc, then proceed to the wine caves. The stone on the right is the type of stone that had to be blasted through in order to create the caves - it took several years and tons of dynamite to create the caves.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Caves Art
Wine Caves Art

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Caves Sconces - Comet Tails
Wine Caves Sconces - Inspired by Halley's Comet
The founder of SLWC is really into astronomy, so he had these sconces custom-made for the winery. They were inspired by Halley's Comet.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Barrel
Wine Barrel

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Barrel
Wine Barrel Label

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Wine Caves
Wine Caves
I LOVE wine caves! I love wandering through them thinking about all of the artistry that goes into creating each bottle of wine. I love the smell of the caves and the barrels. I love the discipline and order required for winemaking. I love reading the labels on the barrels and imagining the wine that will eventually come out of them. I love it all.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fire and Water Tasting
Fire and Water Tasting Food Pairings
From left to right: house-made sour pickle mustard seeds and Cypress Grove Midnight Moon Goat's Milk Gouda,
macerated local strawberries and Nicasio Valley Cheese Company Organic Nicasio Square,
Beehive Cheese Co. Barely Buzzed Cheddar-style cheese with a coating of roasted coffee beans and lavender and house-made anise meringues,
pickled local cherries and Il Forteto Bigio Sottecenere Pecorino covered in a later of vegetable and spice ash on house-made porcini shortbread biscuits
The Fire and Water tasting is truly magnificent, and costs $95 a person. In addition to four wines on the menu and a couple more that our host added at the end, we were also treated to these wonderful food pairings.

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fire and Water Tasting Menu
Fire and Water Tasting Menu

Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Fire and Water Tasting
Fire and Water Tasting
Front Row: Arcadia Vineyard Chardonnay 2015, Fay Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014,
S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Cast 23 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2014
Back Row: Heart of Fay (Blocks 4 & 6) Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, S.L.V. Block 1 Cabernet Sauvignon 2012
The Arcadia Vineyard Chardonnay 2015 retails for $65 at the winery. It tasted nutty and buttery with a caramel finish. Very oaky, and definitely not for my palate.

The Fay Vineyard Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on the alluvial side of the property, which means that it receives a lot of water. The 2014 is chocolaty with smooth tannins, and I really love it! It retails for $145 a bottle at the winery.

The S.L.V. Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is grown on the volcanic side of the property in rocky soil without much water. The 2014 is powerful with a hint of tobacco and a smooth finish. It retails for $145 a bottle at the winery.

The Cask 23 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of specially selected fruit from the Fay and S.L.V. Vineyards. It is leathery with strong tannins and retails for $275 a bottle at the winery.

The Heart of Fay is created from grapes from the Fay Vineyards Blocks 4 and 6. The 2014 tastes young and is silkier than the Fay Vineyard Estate Cab 2014. It retails for $145 a bottle at the winery. This might be my favorite wine from this winery.

The S.L.V. Block 1 Cabernet Sauvignon is made from grapes exclusively from Block 1 of the S.L.V. Vineyard. The 2012 tastes of tobacco with smooth tannins. It retails for $145 a bottle at the winery.


Stag's Leap Wine Cellars 1976 Judgement of Paris Cabernet Sauvignon Winner
1976 Judgement of Paris Cabernet Sauvignon Winner
The quality of the wines and the wine-tasting experience at Stag's Leap is simply superb! Walk-in tastings are $45 for four wines. Tastings and tours range from $75 to $125 a person. Highly recommended!


Robert Sinskey Vineyards - Stag's Leap District, Napa, CA


Robert Sinskey Vineyards is located on the Silverado Trail in Napa Valley a few minutes north of Stag's Leap Wine Cellars. You know a winery is worth visiting when the views from the parking lot and front entrance look like this! A fabulous bonus - the wines are organic!

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Exterior/Parking Lot
View from the Parking Lot
Robert Sinskey Vineyards Exterior/View of Hills from front entrance
View of hills from front entrance
Robert Sinskey Vineyards Exterior/Koi pond
Koi pond at entrance
Robert Sinskey Vineyards Front Door
Front Door
The tasting room itself is also stunning, with a tasting bar, kitchen, and and great hall all leading to the wine caves. The building is fairly new and feels warm and welcoming.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Entryway and Tasting Bar
Entryway and Tasting Bar

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Vineyard Kitchen
Vineyard Kitchen

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Great Hall
Great Hall

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Wine Caves
Wine Caves
I'd love to come back and do a terrace tasting when we have more time - the price is $70 a person and the wine is accompanied by seasonal pairings.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Tasting Terrace
Tasting Terrace
The bar tasting, called the Flight of Five, is $40 per tasting. It is accompanied by seasonal bites from the kitchen, including cheeses, crackers, and nuts.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Blanc 2013, Los Carneros
Pinot Blanc 2013, Los Carneros
Our host told us that Pinot Blanc is a mutation of the Pinot Noir grape. RSV's 2013 Pinot Blanc is tart and oaky - not my favorite. It retails for $22 for a half-bottle at the winery.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Abraxas, Vin de Terroir 2014, Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard, Los Carneros
Abraxas, Vin de Terroir 2014, Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard, Los Carneros
The Abraxas 2014 is lovely and crisp. I really liked it! It retails for $36 a bottle at the winery.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
Pinot Noir 2013, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
The Pinot Noir 2013 is spicy and dry - really nice! It retails for $40 a bottle at the winery.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013, Four Vineyards, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
Pinot Noir 2013, Four Vineyards, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
The Four Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013 is dry. It's also softer and rounder than the first Pinot Noir. I love it! It retails for $70 a bottle at RSV.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards POV 2012, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
POV 2012, Los Carneros, Napa Valley
The label of this wine is very special - it features the work of the winery's owner, Robert Sinskey, who is a professional photographer. It's a Bordeaux blend that is dry and tastes of leather and tobacco. It is sold for $40 a bottle.

Robert Sinskey Vineyards Cold Climate Merlot 2012, Carneros
Cold Climate Merlot 2012, Carneros
Our host offered us an extra taste. Their Cold Climate Merlot 2012 was very nice - not a typical merlot.

I would highly recommend a visit to this winery. It is beautiful and such a delight to visit. The wines are also pretty nice, with the Four Vineyards Pinot Noir being my absolute favorite!

A huge thanks to our friends at Northwest Food & Wine Festival for recommending a visit to Robert Sinskey Vineyards!