We've been continuing to pick Leucadendron this month. There was a big push for Valentines bouquets, but now we are waiting a week or two before we start picking again.
All of the vineyards have been pruned.
Lorenzo, our resident pruning expert, shows us how it's done on the young, head pruned, Pinot Gris vines.
We are getting ready to graft some additional Pinot Noir onto some our Chardonnay vines. We have too much Chardonnay and we need more Pinot. In January, we took buds from our Pinot Noir vines and have been storing them in a cool place packed in sawdust. This month, Gary stumped the Chardonnay vines that we are going to graft on to. Next month, we will be grafting the buds onto the stumped vines. It's a really interesting procedure, so I'll take lots of pictures for next month's Newsletter.
In the pictures below you can see the stumped vines and Gary and Isaura removing the Cordons from the wires (not easy!)
Drought in the Vineyards...
This has been a very unusual (and not in a good way) winter here in Southern California. We were sunny, warm and dry most of January and then after a brief one week cold spell, we are back in the 80's with no rain in sight.
We, along with the other vineyards in the area, have been irrigating our vines. We've never done this. We usually don't water the vines from November through March or so, but we've had less than 2" of rain since July.
So, we're sitting at mid-February and already have young shoots. Way too early. One of the real possibilities is that we suddenly get a cold spell when the shoots are young and vulnerable. That could really impact production for 2014.
There have been some interesting articles about the impact of California drought on wine production recently. Our local paper featured comments from some prominent viticulturists here in Temecula.
We were just notified that our not-yet-released 2011 Pinot Noir has won a Gold Medal at the Pinot Summit. Not only did we win a Gold, but we are in the top 50 wineries and have been invited to pour at the Pinot Shootout on March 9 at the Presidio in San Francisco. 450 wineries submitted wines to this year's competition from all over the world. This is the fourth year we've been in the medals. We won Gold for our 2008 and 2010 Pinot Noirs and a Silver for the 2009 vintage.
Our son in law forwarded me an article last month about pairing wine with Girl Scout Cookies. Since then I've seen various pairing articles, each with a little different spin. Since these wonderful little cookies are not just for kids, I've provided my own spin to pairing.
Thin Mints: There are two types of Thin Mints made today, but both combine a wafer, chocolate, and peppermint flavoring. To truly experience the mint & chocolate combination, however, don't reach for the milk - try our 2009 Syrah instead.
Samoas (Caramel deLites): Banyuls is a red dessert wine from Southwestern France, which pairs amazingly with the dark chocolate stripes on Samoas. For a Plan B, pick up a Port. Sorry, we don't have one. Another, more unusual, option would be to try pairing this with the 2011 Luna de Luz sparkling
Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties): You're going to see a trend here: when the cookie has chocolate, grab a bottle of red wine. Tagalongs are no different - find a fruity red wine like our 2010 Wild Bandit. BTW, these are my favorite.
Trefoils (Shortbread): Light and refreshing, a Trefoil shortbread should be paired with our 2010 Pinot Noir or a sparkling like the 2011 Luna de Luz if the mood is right.
Lemonades: When snacking on these shortbread cookies with lemon-flavored icing, grab a 2012 Chardonnay
Thanks-A-Lot: Shortbread dipped in rich fudge. It's a tough one, as it combines the light shortbread with the chocolaty fudge, but I'll be enjoying mine with the 2010 Pinot Noiror 2010 Wild Bandit.
Chocolate Chip Shortbread: There is a lot of disagreement about what types of wine pair best with chocolate chip cookies in general. This one comes down to a matter of personal preference on white or red. You could either go with the 2008 Black Dog or the 2011 Luna de Luz
Savannah Smiles: These are a lemon-based cookie similar to the Lemonades but covered with powered sugar. Try the 2012 Sweet Sophie.
Unfortunately, we can only ship to California through Amazon. But, if you live in California and want to try our wines, it is a great way to go. Their shipping costs are way low. In fact, if you buy 6 bottles or more, they will ship for $.01. Yes, one penny!
Give it a try.
March Pick Up and Other Important Events...
~ March Wine Club Pick Up
We won't be having a 'pick up party' per se in March. However, the March shipment will be available at Crush & Brew beginningMarch 7. Come in anytime during the month of March to pick up your wines and enjoy one of C&B's great Cheese Plates, on us, with your complementary wine. If you come in on March 7 , Gary and I will be there enjoying the Rod Run Cruise and having dinner. Gary's cool yellow truck should be parked in front. We'll be leaving the next morning for the Pinot Shootout.
If you just can't make it to C&B in March, you can still pick up your wine up through June, but get it early if you can. If your wine is shipped, it will go out sometime the first week of March.
~ Blessing of the Vines
The 5th annual Blessing of the vines will be held on Sunday, May 18. Save that day in your calendar for a fun afternoon of wine, food, music and friends. Help us start the 2014 vintage right, with a Blessing. You'll be able to sign up beginning next month.
~ Singles Mixer at Crush & Brew
Gary and I will be hosting a 'Singles Mixer' at Crush & Brew in June. You may wonder , and rightly so, why we are doing a Singles Mixer when we've been married since the earth was cooling. Well....we have several young singles in our Wine Club dept that think it's a great idea and want to run with it. Who are we to stand in the way of potential true love?
It will be on a Thursday evening in June. The date hasn't been finalized, but will be soon, so watch for it. This could be where you meet 'the one'. Then you can have Woodworth wine at your wedding!
~ July Pick Up Party
This year we are going to have a BBQ and Potluck party here at our vineyards in De Luz. So, pencil in Saturday, July 19 for a fun afternoon with good BBQ, wine and live music. It's a potluck too, so be prepared to bring your favorite summer dish.
~ In the works
We are working with Temecula Cheese Co to schedule a Woodworth wine and cheese pairing evening. I'd like to do it in April, so we'll keep you posted. Also, this fall, we plan on a Harvest Dinner here in the vineyards. Not sure I can get the tables in the vineyard like this, but it does look cool. We'll send out information as soon as we finalize the dates.
This isn't our normal dog picture, but it's just so cute. Gary and I went camping at the river with some friends last month. These wild burros come to the road to have carrots fed to them. This year there were several Mommy/Baby pairs along the road. This silver pair were just wonderful looking and the Mom loved the carrots.
We hope you enjoyed this month's Newsletter. If you did, please forward to a friend.
It's been a ridiculously warm January. While the rest of America is freezing, we've been between 70 - 80 degrees and dry. While I'm sure that sounds great to our friends in Minnesota, we really need the rain. All the leaves are off the vines and we should be pruning in a week or so.
Here's a real short video that shows how the nets are collected.
The avocados are sizing up in the warm weather, so depending on the prices we may pick some of the larger ones (size pick) in a month or so. The trees are also starting to bloom for next year's fruit.
The Protea is blooming. Doesn't look like we'll have enough to pick and sell, but will have enough to pick and enjoy.
What is that on the cork? Yuck!....
Relax, it's harmless and perfectly natural.
Those unappealing crystals that you sometimes find on the bottom of a cork, or see in a glass are tartrates. They are the harmless crystalline deposits that separate from wines during fermentation and aging. The principal component of this deposit is potassium bitartrate, a potassium salt of tartatic acid.
Tartrates separate from new wines because they are less soluble in alcohol. Unfortunately, tartrates may remain in wine after bottling, only to crystallize at some unpredictable later time, usually with exposure to cold. The crystals, though harmless, may be mistaken for broken glass in white wine, or they can just look unappetizing in reds.
To prevent this, we do something called "cold stabilization", in which the wine is cooled to near its freezing point to provoke crystallization before bottling. This doesn't always work, however. So you may open a bottle of wine and find the crystals. Don't be alarmed, they are harmless and shouldn't impact the taste of the wine.
Add Avocado, it's good for you...
As most of you know, Gary and I also grow Avocados. So, since the grapes are dormant and a little boring right now, I thought I'd write a little about one of the healthiest fruits you can eat.
Loma Linda University just published a study on the nutritional benefits of Avocado. The study shows that when ½ of a fresh Avocado is added to a lunch meal, the participants felt more satisfied and had less desire to eat later in the afternoon than eating the same lunch without the Avocado. Now pay attention, here is the really interesting part, the instant rise in insulin levels after eating was lower when the Avocado was eaten than with no Avocado.
So, if you are going to get a burger, have it with Avocado. It won't make the burger a health food, but it will help.
It's Super Bowl/Guacamole season, so here is a really good 'guac' recipe. This one is not only Vegan, but also follows the principles of the Mediterranean diet. Therefore, completely guiltless.
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp olive oil
2 ripe California Avocados
1 ½ lime juice
½ tsp salt
1/8 tsp pepper
½ cup roasted corn (thawed if frozen)
1/3rd cup cherry tomatoes, quartered
¼ cup diced sweet Vidalia onion
Pre-heat oven to 350. Place garlic in a piece of foil and drizzle with olive oil. Wrap the garlic in the foil and roast in the oven for 30 min. Let cool and remove the cloves from the skins.
In a large bowl, mash together the avocado, roasted garlic, lime juice, salt and pepper until creamy.
Add the roasted corn, cherry tomatoes and Vidalia onions. Stir to combine. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.
Right now most of the Avocados in the stores are from Mexico, but in a month or you can start to find California Avocados. So always look for 'Hand Grown in California'.
Time to think about Valentine's Day...
Valentine's Day, or the Feast of Saint Valentine is celebrated in many countries around the world. It began as a religious celebration of Saint Valentine who was imprisoned for performing weddings for soldiers who were forbidden to marry under the Roman Empire. During his time in prison, it is said that he healed the daughter of his jailer. Legend states that before his execution he wrote her a letter signed 'Your Valentine' as a farewell.
Valentine's Day was associated with romantic love by Chaucer in the High Middle Ages and the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th century England it evolved into an occasion for lovers to express their love by giving flowers, candies and hand written notes.
Today the traditional Valentines gifts are Red Roses, Chocolates, and Wine. The two most popular wines for Valentines are sparkling Rose's, like our Luna de Luz Blanc de Noir, or a great red like our 2010 Pinot Noir.
There's plenty of time to pick up something special for your love.
It's been really cold (for SoCal) the last week or so. The vines have gone dormant, which is good. Hopefully we will be pruning them back next month The Sycamores are yellow and brown and loosing their leaves. Nothing much going on 'farming-wise', just getting ready for Christmas. You can tell when it's Christmas because the Nutcrackers come out to play.
Wine Pairings for Christmas Dinner...
Last month we talked about pairing wines with Thanksgiving dinner whether you roast, deep fry, BBQ or smoke your turkey. This month we're going to look at some Christmas Dinner favorites and talk about wines that will complement the main course...whatever it is.
We're only a couple of weeks away from Christmas (eesh!). Besides Turkey, there are several other classic Christmas Dinner dishes. (By the way, if you are serving Turkey, take a look at last months Newsletter for pairing ideas)
Duck & Goose...
... are both classic choices for big family Christmas dinners. Both of these birds are generally roasted, and when done correctly. have more fat and therefore moisture in the meat. Duck and goose are both darker and richer in flavor than a typical turkey. Pinot Noir is again the classic choice, but let's talk about a couple other great choices...
A 'non oaked' or lightly oaked Chardonnay will work well with Duck and Goose, so again, try the Woodworth Chardonnay. Tank fermenting and aging retains the softness and structure of a great Chardonnay, and therefore, contrast nicely with the more robust rich flavors of duck and goose. It allows the flavor of the meat to stand out while rounding it out with the rich and not too acidic notes in the wine.
Another great choice for Duck or Goose is Merlot. Our 2009 Merlot is big, layered with black cherries, soft vanilla, violets, and nice herbal notes. Because it has nice tannic structure it creates a wonderful taming and softening of the bold flavors in these birds. We don't have much of it left, so if you are a Merlot girl (or guy) like I am, you need to hurry.
Choose a red blend like 2008 Black Dog if you want a bolder red. The Woodworth Black Dog blend is amazingly full bodied and structured. It's bold profiles of dark fruit, spice, dried flowers, pepper, and licorice guarantee they won't be too weak to stand up to the flavors of these birds.
This is the ultimate spiced meat (yumm!), often studded with cloves and glazed with honey, brown sugar and spice. A classic choice is an 'off-dry' rose or blush wine like the 2012 Golden Maggie. Since this is 100% Pinot Noir and off-dry, it is equally as wonderful as the 2010 Pinot Noir with ham. Because ham is often prepared with spicy-sweetness, this wine compliments it perfectly. It's the perfect palate refresher guaranteeing the flavors of the ham will remain bold and explosive to the very end.
At our house, Christmas Dinner is Prime Rib. It's big, decadent and rich.This classic meal deserves a classic wine like a bold rich Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon or a Syrah.
It's almost impossible to imagine the 2009 Merlot NOT pairing perfectly with prime rib. They are total complements to each other. Nothing competes, everything harmonizes: The rich meat, the rich wine, the structure, the softness, the elegance all working together.
Unfortunately, we are all out of our 2008 Cabernet. So if you just have to have Cab with your Prime Rib, try picking up a bottle of Jordan Cabernet from the Alexander Valley. Wonderful!
Like the Merlot, you can't go wrong with the 2009 Syrah. The flavors of blackberry and black currant, with hints of earth and tobacco, make this a wonderful complementary wine with Prime Rib.
Merry Christmas & Bon Appetit!
Christmas Specials Online...
There is still time to get some great Woodworth wines for entertaining, gifts, or just to reward yourself for all of your hard work. You can get 30% of our 2009 Sidekick, an award winning Merlot/Syrah blend. If you are a dog lover, or someone on your gift list is, try our Vineyard Dog Six-Pack. A selection of six wines with the beautiful Vineyard Dog labels...15% off!
Through out the month of December enjoy free shipping when you purchase 4 or more bottles online.
It's been gorgeous this last few weeks. Bright blue skies and chilly nights. Most people don't think that Southern California has seasons, but we do. They are just more subtle than in other parts of the country. Here are some fall colors SoCal style.
Pairing Wine with Thanksgiving Dinner...
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I love the fact that the family gets together and we spend the day cooking, talking, watching football and, of course, eating.
At our house Gary makes the turkey and dressing (thank God!). I do what I'm told. He makes the classic roast turkey with bread dressing heavy with sage. It's wonderful. It's brined overnight in a combination of apple cider, kosher salt, oranges and a bunch of spices. He tells me he's thinking about doing something different, but I'm not sure what, so we'll just have to wait and see.
Picking the perfect wines for the holidays doesn't have to be difficult, but it does depend on how you prepare the meal. There are two main ways of determining how to pair wine with your dinner.
1) Complimentary: This means choosing a wine that has flavor profiles that complement the food. If it's bold, serve with bold food, spicy with spicy food. Does the dish use fruit, like a berry infused demi-glace for instance? Serve a wine that has those same berry notes.
2) Contrasting: Choose a wine with flavor profiles that work as a harmonious contrast to the food. If the food is spicy, serve a bright, slightly off-dry, wine to balance the spice. If the food is heavy with cream or butter, serve a wine that's dry with clean acidic notes to cleanse the palate between bites.
Classic Roast Turkey
Pinot Noir is the classic choice with a traditional roast Turkey dinner and the 2010 Pinot Noir is a great choices. Pinot has all the right combinations of flavors and aromoas to both compliment and contrast with the meal.
If you prefer a white wine, try a 'non-oaked', or lightly oaked Chardonnay. Fermenting and aging in Stainless Steel preserves the fruit components of Chardonnay. The Woodworth 2012 Chardonnay is tank fermented and aged and oaked slightly right before bottling. It offers the perfect clean profile to counter the richness of this meal.
In recent years, deep frying turkey has been a popular, not to mention sometimes exciting choice. Deep frying produces a spicy crispy skin with super succulent meat. This method of cooking a turkey has quickly migrated from its southern roots and is now done all over the country. The Pinot Noir is still a great choice, but you should also consider a Cabernet Sauvignon. Unfortunately, we are all out of Woodworth Cabernet, so if this is your choice, look for one with the classic Cabernet notes of black cherries, blackberries, green olive and spice. A good Woodworth alternative would be our 2007 Black Dog. A blend of 65% Cabernet, 25% Syrah and 10% Merlot, you will find layers of blackberry and boysenberry with hints of pepper and smoke.
This is a popular method, especially here in Southern California where November is usually mild and sunny. If it's done with lots of spicy rub and takes on the smokiness of the grill, Syrah is always a good choice. Most Syrahs have a smokey-savoriness that practically screams to be paired with any BBQ'd meat. Try the Woodworth 2009 Syrah. It matches the boldness of the meat while the berries and spice create an added layer of flavor.
Another great choice would be 2010 Wild Bandit, a blend of 56% Syrah and 44% Pinot Noir. It almost seems to have been made for this method of cooking. The Syrah brings out all the complementary elements with the smoke, and spice, and the Pinot Noir with it's cherries and earth creates an added layer of fun contrasts.
If you prefer a white wine, there's one more suggestion for the BBQ method...2012 Golden Maggie. This is an off-dry rosé wine made with 100% Pinot Noir. It's bursting with strawberries and candied cherries. It is bright and fresh; if you're a rosé lover it is the perfect contrast, keeping your palate refreshed between each spicy bite of this spicy. If you can't get a hold of our Golden Maggie, look for an off-dry (only very slightly sweet) rose or blush wine with good fruit characteristics.
This method is similar to BBQ but with added wood chips to get a deep rich smoky flavor in the bird. The classic 'complementary' choice would be the 2009 Syrah. For a 'contrasting' choice go with the 2012 Golden Maggie which will create the contrast needed to keep your palate clean and refreshed.
It's not Thanksgiving without Pumpkin Pie. A good Pumpkin Pie is rich and spicy. It needs a wine that is sweet enough to hold up, and yet not so sweet that it overpowers. You might look for a light, not too sweet Riesling or a white blend with slightly sweet elements.
The 2012 Sweet Sophie would be a great choice. This juicy blend of Chardonnay and Muscat is bright with a spicy sweetness that will complement the spice in the pie.
Luna de Luz is Released...
After our 'practice bottling' in October, we got everything fine tuned and did the final bottling a couple of days ago. It's now available on line at Luna de Luz or at Crush & Brew. It's a perfect holiday sparkling wine. Or, if you are like me and love a good sparkling, every day's a holiday.
Here is a short step by step video of the disgorging/corking/labeling process from this week.
Barrel Tasting & Pick Up Party
It's time for our annual Barrel Tasting. You don't want to miss this fun party. We'll be tasting our 2011 reds in barrel and some unreleased wines (along with some old favorites). There will be good food and Dave (from 'Dave and the Cousins) will be providing the music. We'll also be pouring our new 'Luna de Luz' Blanc de Noirs.
If you are a wine club member, you will be able to choose the wines you want for the November shipment. Whether or not you are a member, it's a great time to kick off the holidays and stock up with your favorite wines for entertaining and gifts.
Our 2009 Sidekick is on sale online for the holidays! Get a 30% discount.
The 2009 Sidekick is a delicious blend of 61% Merlot and 39% Syrah. You will find flavors and aromas of blackberry and cherry fruit with subtle earth and tobacco notes. Pairs wonderfully with the rich foods of the holidays.
This is a perfect time to stock up for the holiday entertaining and gift giving. While you are online ordering, check out this great recipe for Braised Short Ribs to go with your 2009 Sidekick.
Beef Tenderloin with Panko Crusted Hericot Verts, Crispy Roasted Fingerling Potatoes and Cherry Bourbon Sauce
Cherry Bourbon Sauce:
1 10 oz jar sour cherry preserves
¼ cup bourbon
Heat cherries and bourbon over low/medium heat until alcohol has cooked out. Keep warm on a low simmer until ready to plate.
16 Baby Fingerling Potatoes
1 Tablespoon Olive Oil (or as needed to brush potatoes
½ Teaspoon Smoked Paprika
½ Teaspoon Kosher Salt
Preheat oven to 420F. Slice potatoes thin, brush each side with olive oil. arrange flat on baking sheet and dust with paprika and salt. Roast in oven for about 12 minutes, or until starting to crisp on the edges, sprinkle with parmesan cheese and continue roasting until cheese is browned... about 3-4 more minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm for final plating.
6 oz Hericot Verts - blanched
2 tablespoons Olive Oil (or as needed to thinly coat roasting pan)
1 Egg - slightly beaten
½ cup Panko Bread Crumbs
½ Teaspoon Dried (or fresh if you have it) Tarragon
Heat oven to 420f, prepare roasting pan with olive oil. Dip blanched hericot verts in egg wash, roll in panko crumbs and arrange on roasting pan - dust with tarragon and kosher salt. Roast in oven until panko is starting to brown... about 8-10 minutes. Remove from oven and keep warm for final plating.
Beef Tenderloin Filets:
4 Filets trimmed of excess fat (room temperature)
Preheat oven to 420f. Rub each filet with olive oil and dust with cracked pepper and salt. Heat skillet to high. Sear steaks until nicely browned on each side (about 3 minutes per side). Place pan in oven and finish cooking to desired temp - 135-140 recommended for med-rare.
Crisscross stacks of 8 hericot verts per plate. Arrange four stacks of roasted potatoes - one in each corner of plate. Place filet on top of hericot verts and finish by drizzling with cherry bourbon sauce.
The 2010 Side Kick is an outstanding compliment with this dish. This is a rich, bold fruit forward wine with beautiful dark cherries and berries thanks to the blend of Merlot and Syrah. The robust flavors in the beef brings out the darker notes in the wine, and the cherry bourbon sauce makes the fruit in the wine open up and expand with each consecutive bite. The black pepper in the wine is in complete harmony with the pepper crusted beef. Together the dish and the wine create a lasting journey of expressive flavors that linger and linger.