Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Culinary and Wine Trends

By Robert M. Parker, Jr.

" The revolution in wine quality has coincided with an extraordinary revolution in the restaurants of the world. Although France and Italy clearly dominated culinary circles 30 years ago, today the finest restaurants are often found in such unlikely places as Las Vegas, Tokyo and San Sebastián, Spain.

When I first began writing about wine 30 years ago, there may have been five or six great restaurants in Washington, DC, and virtually none in my hometown of Baltimore. Today, there are 30 or 40 top restaurants in DC, and even Baltimore now has at least a dozen top restaurants.

Meanwhile, New York City is arguably one of the greatest dining destinations in the world, equaled only, and somewhat surreally, by Las Vegas. (Who in the world could have predicted that?)

One of the biggest myths in wine today, constructed on half-truths, inaccurate observations and journalistic manipulation, is that the wine market has become so globalized that international companies are producing oceans of monochromatic wines from a limited number of grapes that all taste the same. This radical and profoundly false point of view holds that individuality and artisanal winemaking have been replaced by oceans of vapid wines made with little taste or character. This is appallingly untrue. "


Friday, July 24, 2009

Leaves of Grape

Perfect Summer Activity: Making Stuffed Grape Leaves

Grape Leaves, Rice, Ground Beef, Allspice, Cinnamon, Salt and Lemon Juice; Made while drinking a glass of Kinton Syrah and listening to The Splendid Table on NPR. What could be better?

1 1/4 lb Beef or Lamb
1 cup basmati rice
1/4 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon salt
100 grape leaves (blanch fresh ones or buy in a jar)
Juice from one lemon

Put a plate in the bottom of a sauce pan to keep the grape leaves from burning.
Combine Beef, Rice (rinsed, not cooked), Spices and salt and mix
Set a leaf vein side up and place 1 tablespoon of the mixture onto a leaf and roll
Place into a sauce pan (repeat until the beef mixture is gone)
Place several plates on top of the grape leaves to hold everything together
Fill with water and bring to a boil.
Cover and simmer for 1 hour
Add the lemon juice and let simmer for 10 minutes
Drain and eat.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

EWE not EW

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

At Alpine Lakes Dairy, it all started with a taste for good cheese, which Catha, the cheese maker, acquired while growing up in Vermont. Catha and her sister knew 100 cows by name back then. Sheep produce much less milk than cows or goats, but their milk is higher in fat and nutrients, making richer cheeses with a mild flavor of the milk.

photo credit: Ben

Dairy products made from sheep's milk are more easily digested than either cow or goat products, and are gaining a loyal following in the United States. It may sound strange to milk a sheep, but most people don't realize they've already eaten imported sheep cheeses like Pecorino Romano or Roquefort Blue.

If you enjoy raw milk dairy and the special richness of sheep milk cheese, you're in for a treat. Alpine Lakes makes four unpasteurized raw milk cheeses: Mountain Tomme, Creamy Bleu, Camembert, and Ottonese.

Monday, July 13, 2009

High End Wine Production down

image courtesy of KENT PORTER/ PD

With the bad economy affecting every area of life ... High End wines producers are concerned that the current "chic to be cheap" mentality is here to stay for some time. That said, what's YOUR favorite inexpensive wine?

Read the Press-Democrat story here.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Lambchopper, by Cypress Grove

Born to be mild, this sheep milk cheese is buttery in color and flavor with a long, complex finish. The texture is smooth and soft-firm, making Lamb Chopper™ an enchanting table or cooking cheese. The wheel is finished in natural wax. Made in Europe exclusively for Cypress Grove.

Situated where the giant redwoods kiss the Pacific Ocean in the rugged northernmost reaches of Humboldt County, California, Cypress Grove Creamery gets unique inspiration from the salt-etched voluminous fog that coolly rolls in nearly every day.

In Holland, Mary discovered a gouda maker who works with sheep milk and Cypress Grove Lamb Chopper was born. This sheep milk gouda is a smooth, almost buttery, organic cheese with a light and fruity aroma. One taste will not satisfy you as the surprising sweetness of this cheese lingers on your palate. Though it might be mild in intensity, this thoroughly addicting cheese has great depth of flavor.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Dining and Wining

The New York Times is running a really interesting multimedia exhibit online. Go see it here.
They asked readers to send in photos of their wedding meals that they planned themselves.

Which begs the question, what wines were served to celebrate the happy couples and their extraordinary menus? If you have an upcoming wedding, consider Syrah.

Here's Why:

An incredibly food-friendly wine, Syrah strikes a balance between power and finesse. Syrah is rarely as tannic as Cabernet, but has an equally deep color and a similar degree of flavor complexity. This combination gives Syrah a food-friendliness akin to Pinot Noir's, thus Syrah can match beautifully with rich seafood dishes as well as robust meats.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Fleur du Maquis is made in Corsica from the milk of the Lacaune ewes. Its name means "Flower of the Maquis," the maquis being the local term for the typical thickets of rough underbrush where highway robbers and guerrilla fighters used to hang out. This cheese is quite similar to Brin d'Amour, meaning "a breath of love." During production, the smallish wheels are encrusted with rosemary, fennel seeds, juniper berries, and the occasional bird's eye chile. It will pair well with Cotes-du-Rhone and Syrah.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

First Washington Syrah - Red Willow Vineyard

“In farming there is no substitute for the soil, water, and hard work. Inherently, the nature of farming brings a spiritual dimension to our efforts. There is a connection of past, present, and future generations.

For us wine brings the soil, the site, the season, and the efforts of many people together into a single vintage. Later that vintage becomes a cherished memory of that year.” –Mike Sauer

Wine News: David Lake & Mike Sauer wanted to plant syrah in their pet vineyard, Red Willow. It was 1985 - long before that colorful cast of California characters known as the Rhône Rangers had banded together, and all the arguments about heritage and origin had made Syrah a sexy varietal.

What does it all mean? Why celebrate? Whats the big deal? We are just simply honoring the 20th bottling of Washington State Syrah. We are just honoring Red Willow Vineyard. And of course, we are honoring two guys & one dream: Stupendous, Sexy, Sensual, Lip Smackin' Syrah.

Cheers Fellas. Keep Crafting Excellent Wines.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Kinton Sponsors Underground Dinner in Brooklyn

"Brooklyn, especially Williamsburg, is the epitome of cool and then it leaches out into the world." - Chris, co-chef at Homunculus

So what exactly IS an underground dinner? It's not a new concept at least not on either coast. Outstanding In The Field and Ghetto Gourmet made the concept famous. Guerrilla Gourmet continues the tradition. Bringing together people, chefs, fresh ingrediants for avante garde dining situations in warehouses, art galleries, private homes and outdoor spaces.

But the idea that just about anyone with a passion for food and a tolerance for hard work can spread the word and bring together communities ... is relatively new in our media-driven-freak-everyone-out-society. You're taking a chance by attending an underground dinner.

A chance you'll meet new friends. Try new foods. Go somewhere new. Let down your guard. Be adventurous. Team Sip.Snap.Savor was lusciously rewarded. Kinton Wines laced our table (the dinner was BYOB/BYOW) along with candles and lively conversation.

"Anything you can get in a store, you chould be able to make. I'm making my own sweater from washing, carding and knitting. The whole shebang. I've made my own sake, too" - Cale, Homunculus

Complete Menu:
Bread - Currant and toasted fennel seed white bread

Soup - Cold Celery soup

Beast plate - Cajuned pork, pistachio, thyme soaked veal pate on crostini
Sherry and Cassis chicken liver mousse on a house cracker
Maple candied bacon with almond butter
Foie gras bon bon on shortbread

Appetizer - Red curry and peanut souffle

Palate cleanser - Strawberry and thyme sorbet

Entree - Beef in Barolo, parsnip puree

Salad - Endive salad with fennel shavings, walnuts, chevre, loft dressing

Dessert - Three Layer Tart - Candied bananas, chocolate and cognac custard, black berries. Side of cardamom ice cream

Care to attend a dinner yourself? Email the fellas in Brooklyn and ask to reserve a spot. $40/BYOW

Mason Jar Butter

Take a clean, Quart Sized Mason Jar with a lid and pour into it Room Temperature Whole Milk or (even better) Cream. Screw on lid. Begin shaking at the jar. At 4-6 minutes you'll notice the milk is thickening. At about 9 minutes of shaking, the cream will start to separate from the sides of the glass. When you get to the half point at 14-16 minutes you'll notice serious solids. At 27-30 minutes it's time to stop shaking and start draining off the excess liquid from your butter. Use cheesecloth to solidly drain your butter and then salt it if you wish. Serve with warm bread.

Currant & Toasted Fennel Seed Bread
3 Cups Artisan Bread Flour
2 Cups Water, 1/2 Cup extra water (reserve)
1 pat of butter
handful of anise seeds
2 handfuls of currants
4 tsp salt
1/2 oz. dry activated yeast
5 tblsp evoo

Activate the yeast in 1/2 cup of water (water should be lukewarm/room temperature). Let stand for 15 minutes. Meanwhile toast anise seeds in a pat of butter, in a pan on stove, over medium heat. Continue toasting until browned.

Mix flour and salt together in a bowl. Imprint a dimple into the center of the dry goods. Add water, oil and yeast mixture s l o w l y and incorporate all ingredients together.

On a floured surface, knead the dough until elastic and no longer sticky. Grease a bowl with a touch of evoo and put the dough in the bowl and cover with a floured dish towel.

Let rise for 2 hours.

Gently remove dough from the bowl and fold it to remove all air bubbles. Return to bowl and cover with floured kitchen towel. Let rise once again.

After 30 minutes, remove from bowl, place on greased cookie sheet (in desired shape), in 350 degree oven for 35 minutes.

Serve piping hot with cool, homemade butter.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Syrah Trilogy Finale!

Here it is, the video you've been waiting for. The Kinton Finale!

This is a wrap up of everything covered in the first two videos, put into use at Eos Wine Bar in San Francisco.

Again, thanks to the guys at French Press Films for putting this together.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Urban Opportunistic Cooking

Photo by: Noah Berger for The New York Times

The NY Times recently posted up this story, all about the collection of fruit from trees that would otherwise drop all over public grounds and go to waste. You can find out what trees in your neighborhood are currently spilling over with fresh, local, in-season fruit HERE.

What do you think? In these harsh economic times, is pilfering otherwsie wasted fruit a crime?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

By Candlelight

Dinner, even if it's from a box or a bag, seems more romantic if you eat by candlelight. A meal shouldn't be a "fast refueling" but a slow re-energizing.

Meal time is an experience to share with others and yourself. There is great pleasure to be found in the tastes and textures on your plate. Share words and feelings. Discuss what's in your glass; what's in your world; what's in your mind.

Eat by candlelight tonite and feel the rhythm of your meal change!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

slow down

Instead of cursing the slow tractor driving in front of you on an ancient vineyard road. Praise the road. Praise the tractor. Notice the wildflowers that grow between the vines. Smell the fresh cut mustard grasses. See the sun winking between trees. Ponder where the tractor is headed and what it's accomplished already.

Instead of flying through 4 or 5 wineries in a single day. Why not just head to two and really taste through the wines. Picnic. Walk the vineyards. Examine the grapes growing. Decipher what direction the vineyard is facing and make guesses about the sun, the wind, the rain's impact.

Take pictures of the minutiae.

Smile alot. Why not. You ARE in wine country after all.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Racheal Ray Debate

Cathy at The Noble Pig
brings up a valid point ... she penned an entry about people either loving or hating Racheal Ray. I think the point is moot.

Photo Courtesy of jjdtx61

As long as people are cooking. Playing in their kitchens. Hitting the grocery store instead of Carls Jr or Wendy's. Preparing vegetables, meats and sauces at home. Preferably in front of their children and showing them how much fun it is to cook. Then who cares where they get recipes and ideas?


Sunday, May 31, 2009

Jasmine Rae deLung
Jasmine Rae Bakery

Blowing minds since 2005. Jasmine Rae, just 27 years old, started very young without any formal training; nevertheless she’s transformed the San Francisco baking scene. She takes wasabi and transcribes it into savory butter cream frosting. Walking into her kitchen you are lambasted with creamy wafts of marzipan, spicy ginger, sweet sugar and you feel like you’ve been transported into a retro Willy Wonka scene.

There are cookies and muffins everywhere and large bowls of frosting jam-pack the counters. Loaves of bread are quietly steaming up their plastic bags in the corner. Jasmine Rae relies on a small team of confidantes and fellow (small, local) entrepreneurs to provide support and inspiration. Operating out of a third floor warehouse space converted into kitchen she has plans to open her own retail space before 2009 finishes.

1. Would you rather star in your own TV show or have your own cookbook series? Cookbook series – it’d be more like a novel that demonstrates my life experiences in relation to food.

2. Who are your heroes? My artist friend Catherine Mackey for her strong sense of self. My partner Rob for his fearless encouragement. My best friend Elsa for her comfort and vulnerability.

3. What are your food policy rules? Not too sweet, use fresh fruits and everything should be homemade.

4. What inspired your sweet path in life? Proving to myself that I can be bold and ballsy. I don’t have formal training and I want to expose people to food experiences that maybe aren’t familiar. Y’know – challenging the concept that basil is a savory herb. Oh! The smiles from my cupcakes.

5. How do you gauge success? By a lack of anxiety! (Laughs). By feeling happy and pleased with what I’m putting out into the world.

6. If someone gave you 1 million dollars for a Small Business loan, how would you use it? I’d open a few bakeries to ultimately fund an alternative school education school. A K-12 school – it’s been a lifelong dream of mine. I’d give the school my bakery so it could be self-sufficient.

7. What’s your favorite dessert? Well my dream dessert would be a manifestation of creamy, crunchy, Meyer lemon, burnt caramel and some kind of herb. Creative combinations.

8. Besides bold syrah, what’s your favorite style of wine? Dessert wines! You need things that sing well together. I used to hate scallops until I had them done really well. Just because you don’t like, say Merlot, doesn’t mean you will hate ALL merlots.

9. What is happy? What’s your happy place? Music is a very happy thing. It could be just driving down the freeway listening to Sly and The Family Stone.

10. What are 3 things you’ve learned on the job?
a. Education comes in all forms b. My time is more valuable than I think it is c. It’s important to work toward happy results above everything else

11. Last meal on earth? My Aunt Julie’s Christmas Dinner! Roast beast, white wine gravy, Yorkshire pudding, creamed onions…vee-rrry New England. Also the meal is very Syrah friendly. Aunt Juli sounds like an amazing cook! .
12. Favorite Travel Destination? Italy! It’s so vibrant.

13. Of all of San Francisco’s quirky holidays and celebrations what’s your favorite? I don’t really go out and do that stuff. But I believe San Franciscans are primed to receive art. Everyone in LA is an actor and everyone in San Francisco is an artist. When it’s hot outside, and you’re in the Mission, and everyone’s out and about around. Nothing is shocking. That is what is great!

14. Obsessed with any flavors these days? Meyer Lemons, definitely obsessed with Meyer Lemons.

Jasmine Rae can be contacted through her website:

Thursday, May 28, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Nancy's Hudson Valley Camembert is a creamy, soft-ripened cheese made from the milk of the Old Chatham Shepherding Company's herd of 100 East Fresian sheep combined with hormone-free cow's milk from a neighbor's farm. A gold medal recipient at the 2007 World Cheese Awards, Nancy's Camembert is meltingly smooth and buttery with the texture of a triple-crème and pairs beautifully with Champagne as well as Syrah.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Chez Daniel

Grilling gives food a more assertive flavor, so the wine you drink needs to be equally assertive, with lots of fruit. This isn't the time for a delicate older wine that would be overwhelmed. Wines with lots of fruit also hold their own against any sweetish sauces, like many barbecue sauces.

SYRAH: Syrah has become my go-to wine for grilled meat and poultry. The wine's ripe fruit, accented by spicy, sometimes peppery notes, makes syrah the perfect companion. Plus, you can find good examples at a range of prices.

-Laurie Daniel

Laurie Daniel has been a journalist for nearly 30 years and has written about wine since 1993.

photographs by Philip Wartena

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Be Bold

Jasmine Rae deLong is an artisanal baker in Potrero Hill in San Francisco. She combines savory herbs and spicy components into her cupcakes, breads and cakes. She likes surprising people with her illicit combinations like wasabi frosting or raspberry basil filling.

I really enjoyed meeting her in a warehouse space on Bryant Street. She showed me these aprons she makes by hand with leftover fabric from an old upholstry company.

When I asked her how she gauges success she replied "By being as bold as I can be everyday."

Stay tuned for her Culinary Profiles interview, next month. In the meantime her website is:

Monday, May 11, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Abbaye De Belloc

Provenance: Pyrenees, France
Type: Pasteurized Sheeps Milk

Abbaye de Bel'loc is still made in the traditional manner by Benedictine Monks at the abbey of Notre-Dame de Belloc. A French Pyrenees sheep's milk cheese, Abbaye has a fine, dense texture and is high in fat. The milk comes from the red-nosed Manech ewes (an old local breed) whose milk is brought into the monastery from neighboring farms. Abbaye de Belloc has a true Basque character, and it is believed that many centuries ago the monks from the Belloc Monastery first taught the Basque shepherds how to make cheese. Proper care in the right maturing conditions will accentuate the rich, caramelized flavors that make this cheese so addictive. Pair Abbaye de Bel'loc with Zinfandel

Wednesday, May 6, 2009


A faux "President Obama" responded to us on Twitter that he likes Beaujolais best.
Some people have the time to not only be themselves but other people as well. If I had a fake Twitter account I think I'd be Regis Philbin. Because that's funny...

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Camp Drinkalottawinee

What are people's preferred Syrah/Rhone style?

We've come to the conclusion that there really are only two Syrah camps.

1. Features Producers like: Alban, L'Aventure, SAXUM, Mollydooker, Torbreck, Red Car and Rhone Valley producers as Cuilleron and Domaine Marcoux. Think of this camp as the thick, dense, VERRRRY fruit forward, ripe and lavishly oaked kids.
THINK: The big kids, sometimes the bullies, the kids who were strong and really good at sports, football quarterbacks and head cheerleaders who usually had the BEST fake i.d.'s.

2. This second camp is smoothly acidic, more edgy, aimed at spice, earthy, leaner, hints of smoke and wood. This camp includes such producers as Peay, Radio-Coteau, Wind Gap, Shane, Sanguis, Lagier-Meredith, Failla, Samsara. This group also includes the Rhone Valley traditionalists such as Chave (JL), Beaucastel, Graillot and Guigal.
THINK: The debate team, the artists, the all star long distance track stars, the kids who could figure out intense math problems but still rock out the school dance.

So we ask YOU. Our readers.

What style do you prefer and why? What is your favorite Syrah?

Sunday, May 3, 2009

You're the rhone that i want, ooh ooh ooh

Paso Robles, California
Hospice Du Rhone

Hospice is the wine festival celebrating Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Roussanne, Viognier and the other 17 varietals from the Rhone. Whole cluster fermentation, de-stemming completely, barrel programs, vineyard designates and vineyard block designates, cheese pairings, swirling, aromatics, terroir expression.

The key take aways are endless, and surely Winemaker Pete will have more technical information for you.

My take away? What did I learn?

I learned that I need to travel with secret weapon Ginger more often. She's 4 years old and is already planning to be a "scary minnie mouse" for halloween. She is sassy and gorgeously cute. She's also the daughter of one of the wine wizards behind the curtain. She's pretty much a mini-wizard. Pure magic.

She loves to dance. We danced to fast songs, slow songs, 50s songs and hip hop. And she owns a dancefloor like a supreme Vegas Showgirl meets Burlesque Pussy Cat. Her signature dance move is the floor slap and she means it. When she slaps the floor you best move out of her way. She is about to unleash a hurricane of twirls that generate enough wind to make your bouffant blow.

She helped me sniper all the pop rocks, pixie sticks, candy lipgloss and candy matchsticks from all the tables. And she did it with sashay style.

Wine events come and go. Vintages wow and disapoint.

But I am pretty sure this Hospice Du Rhone was my most favorite and will stand out for years to come.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Lauren Danziger
Lauren’s Gluten Free Kitchen

A tough as nails New Yorker producing sweet, sweet treats that are good for your mind, body and soul? Only Lauren Danziger could make such juxtaposition possible. A seamless chef and artful food culturist - Danziger has immersed herself in food for the past ten years.
After serving as a corporate drone for many years, Danziger was laid off and decided to turn the frown upside down. Starting her own enterprise was the best decision of her life and makes her life full and fulfilling.
Her current project, Lauren’s Kitchen is a gluten free-baked goods operation inspired by her own diagnosis of Celiac Disease. She still wanted to appreciate and eat good food and decided to do it the right way with incredible ingredients and a labor-intensive recipe practice.
" Gluten is a protein found in wheat, rye and barley -- and any derivative of
them. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans suffer from celiac disease, an
Autoimmune disease triggered by eating gluten. A growing number of people
are discovering wheat allergies and are eliminating gluten as a treatment
for autoimmune diseases and to improve general health. Lauren's Kitchen
baked goods are 100% gluten free. "

1. What are your favorite flavors? Anise & Licorice (I love licorice, but it’s not gluten free), Garlic (I use it like its going out of style) and Ginger (Obsessed!).

2. How do you stay focused and upbeat? The economy makes it difficult right now, but food is like air for me. I love food so it’s easy to stay focused. I enjoy what I’m dong and that makes it easy to get up in the morning. Loving what you do is so important.

3. Where will you visit for your next inspiration? Charleston, South Carolina for Southern Cuisine. My parents live there now and I’m really excited to start delving into that style of food. Also, I’ve re-connected with some of my Brooklyn family. I am really getting into 1940’s Italian Jewish Brooklyn Food Culture.

4. Past, Present or Future who would you invite over for dinner? Ayan Hirsi Ali, Ayn Rand, Julia Child, Michael J. Fox (Sooo Inspirational) and lets seeee... a man, a music man probably.

5. How many versions of a recipe do you make before you consider it yours? It’s only mine if I’ve spun it around and changed it and made it least 10 times. You’ve got to add your own ingredient changes and really practice it.

6. What is your favorite food & wine pairing? A nice, dry Tuscan (Italian) white wine and pears with pecorino. I love the crunch of pears with the pecorino cheese. Only in summer time. It reminds me of being a girl living in Italy. When I was just a hopeful kid living in Italy.

7. What’s the most frustrating thing about baking? *Laughs* Baking is scientific and specific as an art form. Cooking is liberal. I almost failed my baking section in culinary school. Baking is so detailed and creative. Its’ both. But you have to WATCH IT.

8. Why Gluten Free? I have Celiac Disease. I can’t eat anything with gluten in it. I love food and I missed eating pizza, pasta and sweets. I had to find a way to enjoy food again.

9. How does Syrah marry well with your style of cooking? Did you taste my meat sauce?!?! We’re both hearty, bold and vibrant. My food is deep and soulful. Just like Syrah it’s a gooey, fulfilling experience.

10. What is your favorite scent? Most of my memories are based on scent. My favorites are fresh, clean laundry and Spring Days when the scent of bud break and fresh, cut grass permeate the air.

11. Where do you see gluten free cooking and baking going? Up and Out. It’s one of the largest growing populations in the world. There’s very little you can’t do gluten free. It’s healthier, too.

12. You’re stranded on a desert island with magic growing trees that can grow anything. What are your magic trees growing? Hmmm. Magic Trees, eh? They’d be growing these cookies that my great-great-grandmother used to make in the old country. My mother used to make them. I can never have them again and on my desert island I’d eat the cookies and I’d gluten again. Those cookies were so amazing.

Rose Bud, indeed.

Lauren Danziger can be contacted through her website
and she encourages you to test out gluten free baking at home.

Syrah Sweeties
(Gluten Free Dark Chocolate Syrah Sandwich Cookies with Mascarpone Frosting)

Set oven at 350F

7 Tbsp, dark chocolate cocoa powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1 Cup, gluten free flour (I use Pamela's)
5 tblsps butter, melted
2/3 cup sugar, white granulated
1/3 cup, light brown sugar
1/2 cup, low fat, plain yogurt or sour cream
1/2 cup, Kinton Syrah
1 1/2, tsp gluten free vanilla

Combine the flour, salt, cinnamon and baking soda in a bowl and sift
together evenly. In a small saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter.
Once melted, remove from heat and add the cocoa powder and sugars to the
butter creating a sand-like mixture. Alternating the yogurt and the wine,
mix into the cocoa/butter mixture; half the yogurt followed by half the
wine. Repeat. Stir in the vanilla. Add the dry ingredients to the wet
and stir until combined - do not over stir or dough will become tough. On a cookie pan sprayed with gluten free cooking spray, bake the cookies off for 8 mins.
Makes 30 cookies.

Place cookies on a cooling rack and make sure they are thoroughly cooled
before filling them with frosting.

For the frosting
Mascarpone cheese, 1 8oz container
1 Cup, confectioners sugar (you can add more if you want it sweeter and
2 tsp gluten free vanilla
1/4 tsp, cinnamon

Using an electric mixer, combine the mascarpone with the sugar, vanilla and
cinnamon, whipping until just combined - DO NOT over whip! Frosting can be
made ahead and kept for several days.

Take one cookie and using a small offset spatula, smear the cookie with the
frosting. Top the filling with another cookie to make a sandwich. Continue until you have iced two cookies together, using all cookies. Refrigerate the sandwiches to set for an hour. Serve chilled.

Monday, April 27, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

The idea to make sheep milk yogurt was borne out of necessity for Willow Hill Farm. They started at home, making it for their dogs who were fed a homemade diet. Soon they began to bring some to local farmer's markets and it was a hit! Thick, tangy, creamy and rich.
Shortly thereafter we had chefs knocking on the door to find out more about this decadent treat. In fact, sheep milk has some very interesting characteristics that make it a natural for yogurt production:

Sheep Milk has more of the vitamins A, B, C, and E than cow's milk.
Sheep milk has twice the calcium and higher levels of the minerals phosphorus, potassium and magnesium than cow's milk.
Sheep's milk has less sodium than cow's milk.
Sheep's milk has more protein than cow's milk.
Due to its inherently smaller fat globules, it is easier to digest than cow's milk for some people.
Sheep milk's make up of short chain fatty acids has also been found to have little effect on human cholesterol levels.
Gluten Free
No trans fats
see for additional benefits of grass-fed dairy products

The live cultures in our sheep yogurt allow many lactose-intolerant people to digest the lactose in yogurt. One culture in particular, lactobacillus acidophilus, has been credited with improving intestinal health. However, sheep don't give as much milk as cows and perhaps this is mother nature's way of leveling the field! All this extra nutrition in a much smaller package. Good for ewe too!

Go completely Med and serve slow-roasted lamb with mint & garlic tzakiki using sheep's milk yogurt. YUM!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What the S?

S cents
S yrah
S exy
S ilky
S erving a purpose

Deconstructing what you put in your mouth is pretty important. It helps you define the flavor and aroma and texture elements that are most appealing for your very own palate. 

Our Syrah gives us aromatics and tastes of cinnamon sticks, bay leaves, fresh blackberries, cloves, dried star anise, black licorice, cocoa, vanilla beans, roasted almonds, coffee and pepper (black & white)

Deconstruct something and share with us what you found...

Friday, April 24, 2009

Syrah 102 Video

Here's part two in the three part series where Peter and the gang discuss delicious Kinton syrah in all its glory.

Big ups to the fellas over at French Press Films ( for putting this together!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Violet! violet

Purple is a general term for the range of shades of color occurring between red and blue.

The word 'purple' comes from the Old English word purpul which originates from the Latin purpura. This in turn is derived from the
Koine Greek πορφύρα (porphyra), name of the dye manufactured in Classical antiquity from the mucus-secretion of the hypobranchial gland of a marine snail known as the Murex brandaris or the spiny dye-murex.[5]

The first recorded use of the word 'purple' in English was in the year AD 975.[6]

What shades of Purple
are your favorite?


Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ewe not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Roquefort: is a French style of cheesemaking made exclusively from sheep's milk. The cheese is white, crumbly and slightly moist, with distinctive veins of green mold. It has characteristic odor and flavor with a notable taste of butyric acid; the green veins provide a sharp tang.

The overall flavor sensation begins slightly mild, then waxes sweet, then smoky, and fades to a salty finish. It has no rind; the exterior is edible and slightly salty. A typical wheel of Roquefort weighs between 2.5 and 3 kilograms, and is about 10 cm thick. As each kilogram of finished cheese requires about 4.5 litres of milk, Roquefort is high in protein and minerals, notably calcium and sodium (salt).

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Yangarra 2009 Shiraz progress tasting

(Me on left, Michael Lane - Vineyard Manager, Shelley Thompson - Winemaker)

On Wednesday myself and Shelley put together all our Shiraz from the 2009 harvest.

From 10 Blocks of Shiraz we produced 69 individual batches of Shiraz, with included micro cru's of blocks, different treatments such as extended cold soaks, 30% whole bunch ferments, early picks and late picks, pressings and extended drainings and co-fermentation of Roussanne. It took us 2 days of on and off tastings to start piecing together our blending and tagging what could be some very special "Small Pot" releases

Our Block 15 seems to always top the tasting, and it did again this year. Block 15 is in Ironstone gravels and will defintely go into our yet to be released flagship Shiraz called "Ironheart". There is is some wholebunch ferment in it this year, i am really excited about the whole bunch ferments this year. (even less intervention... don't even have to crush those ones! well 30% at least...)

We trialled picking a couple of blocks quite early, to make a very elegant style yet still full bodied, that can have great longevity. The results were stunning, and block 12 was earmarked for this "small pot" release.

We also trialled some co-fermentation with Roussanne, wow so aromatic, so far really quince like aromas added to the berry concentration of the Shiraz, block 10 was the stand out. What's interesting, is these wines are more tannic, in a nice way though.

We also trialled 30% whole bunch fermentation on all our favourite blocks, and wow, we were blown away how exciting these wines are, the tannins are bigger but with an amazing fury texture. This could be a very exciting single release, probably from blocks 10, 12, 17 and 19.

Now we are shuffling the oak regimes, fine tuning how much new french oak each has, how much lees stirring a batch might get. Now the fun of watching them evolve, and in a couple of years you can join us to taste them and watch them evolve too...

Rangers, thats the Rhone Rangers, pal

Syrah belongs to the Rhone, along with Mourvedre, Petite Sirah and Grenache (to name a few). It's probably a good idea to familiarize yourself with the organization known as The Rhone Rangers.

The Rhone Rangers dedicate themselves to the grapes whose ancestral home is in France's Rhone Valley. The French government recognizes 22 varieties in the various appellations that comprise this large and diverse wine-growing region. Rhone Appellations (including Cote Rotie, Hermitage, Condrieu, Chateuneuf du Pape, Gigondas, Bandol, Cotes du Rhone and several others) each choose a different subset from the collection of grapes known (from their place of origin) as Rhone varietals. For a wine to be considered a “Rhone Ranger” wine, and poured at an official Rhone Rangers tasting, the 22 recognized accepted varieties must comprise at least 75% of the blend.

Want to host your own Rhone Party? The Rangers will send you a FREE STARTER kit. Just click here.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

EWE not EW

photo credit: Ben

Sheep's Milk Cheeses are incredibly earthy, creamy and mouth-coatingly rich. They set the perfect stage for Syrah. Especially Santa Barbara Syrah, in all its bold, bright purple gem beauty.

Try Bellwether Farms, for some local California Sheep's Milk Cheeses. The milk for these cheeses comes courtesy of their own flock of sheep. Bellwether Farms is California’s original sheep dairy, and was its only sheep dairy until 2004.

San Andreas
This raw milk farmstead cheese is a Bellwether original. It is smooth and full-flavored and is a delicious table cheese. San Andreas is terrific with an aged red wine. Enjoy it as a table cheese with bread and olives.

San Andreas
This raw milk farmstead cheese is a Bellwether original. Smooth and full-flavored, it’s a delicious table cheese. Try it with an aged red wine, bread and olives.

This raw semi-soft sheep cheese is aged two to three months with whole peppercorns throughout. It’s a great addition for a cheeseboard, or shaved on salad or pasta. It’s also quite scrumptious in ravioli or gnocchi. A good Pinot Noir brings out the best in Pepato.