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.

Friday, April 10, 2009

going old-school

This post is inspired by my grandmother who wrote the book on "how to be fancy without being spendy" ... and in this economy, chicken livers are priced just right!

Buddy's Chicken Livers, originally uploaded by rustyrabbit.

Chicken Liver Pate

2 tablespoons of vegetable oil
2 tablespoons of butter
1 onion, coarsely chopped
1 Granny smith apple, peeled, cored and chopped
1/2 teaspoon of thyme
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 teaspoon of dry mustard
1 pound of chicken livers, fat removed
4 tablespoons of apple brandy
1 stick of butter, softened

Heat the vegetable oil and 2 tablespoons of butter in a heavy saucepan. Add onions, apples and seasonings and sauté until lightly brown. Cover and simmer for 3 minutes until apples are soft. Remove mixture from pan and set aside. In same pan, sauté the chicken livers, adding a little more butter if necessary. But do not overcook them. Heat the brandy, set aflame and pour over the chicken livers. when flame dies out, add the onion and apple mixture. Mix well and let cool. Then put mixture into food processor, add the stick of soft butter, a little at a time, and puree until smooth. Put it into a dish or an oiled 2 cup mold. Chill for several hours or overnight. It would keep for 4 days in the refrigerator and it could be frozen. It is much better made a day ahead.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Anthony Bourdain, Maple Bacon Camp & Twitter

San Francisco played host to Anthony Bourdain the other week. He put in face time the same weekend as Bacon Camp. And some bacon campers, met up with him and even made him a special Maple Bacon Latte.

Tom his producer is a boozer. And a fun time. Bourdain was traveling with wife and kid. He even put in some face time in Oakland.

How do we know all this? How'd we get the scoop?


Monday, April 6, 2009

green bottle glassware

Stumbled upon this site and fell in love.

About the Artist & Re-Purposer
I am a self-taught artist born and raised in upstate New York. There, I was surrounded by the rolling hills and vineyards of wine country in the Finger Lakes region. Growing up, my interest in art became entwined with philosophy and psychology. I recognized the power of art to forge a new mentality within us all.

Green Wine Bottles is inspired by my advanced degree in psychology, interest in art made from found objects and the point at which they intersect. Both the recycling artist and the therapist have as their central intention the goal of renewal and expanding perspective. So it is with the word “green” that I celebrate not only ecological conservation but psychological inspiration towards balance and health. Green Wine Bottles began in Seattle, Washington where they debuted at the historic Pike Place Market. The following year, my fiancée, Sophi, and I moved to the Midwest to get married and start a family. Today, I am at home near Madison, Wisconsin practicing psychotherapy and celebrating the process of renewal through my art.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Jerry Lee
Restaurant Wine Buyer & Manager Extraordinaire

Born in Taiwan, Lee came to the U.S. when he was just 7 years old. His grandparents had Chinese restaurants all over the country. Eventually his dad worked in the kitchen and his mom worked in the front of the house at one of these restaurants. The Lee Family worked very hard because their dream was to open their own restaurant. In 1985 his parents dream came true.

After moving to San Luis Obispo to open their own place -- Jerry became very excited about the wines of Arroyo Grande Valley since it was in his own backyard. Throughout his adulthood, Lee would take weekend trips to wineries and taste what Santa Ynez had to offer.
After graduating high school Lee moved to Santa Barbara and landed a great job at Michel Richard’s CITRONELLE.
After 9 years at CITRONELLE, in 2006 the famous dining spot closed its doors. Lee accepted a Restaurant Manager position with San Ysidro Ranch. You might say restaurants are in his blood.

“When I came on board there was not one single lick of juice and they wanted me to build this world class wine list. I was like a kid in a candy store. NO budget and taste every day. As of today I have build this list at the ranch of 1100 selections with wines focusing on local and Europe. I LOVE Syrah, especially local Santa Barbara Syrahs. I have won The Best of Award of Excellence for 2007 and 2008 my goal is to get the Grand Award before I leave.”

1. What has proven to be your biggest obstacle? Traveling the world, finding the wines & seeing where they come from. I am a very visual person, reading books isn’t enough. I have to SEE it for myself.

2. How has wine changed your life? Because of wine I never finished college…{laughs}. It’s changed my life tremendously, I wasn’t big into school, but I grew up in a restaurant world. I’m infatuated with wine, I can relate to it. Constantly evolving, nuanced, changing, different to different people.

3. Do you believe in fate or serendipity? I have to make things happen. Ultimately. I do to a point, believe in fate, but I go back and forth all the time. That’s a grey area in life. I think things come to be, its not a miracle, you have to work for everything. Ya gotta WORK.

4. What’s your favorite place to relax with a bottle of Syrah, say Kinton Santa Barbara Syrah? At my house, with friends, with my barbecue on high and closest friends around. Can’t beat it, good wine and cooking.

5. Living or dead – what 5 people would you like to invite over for dinner? Bruce Lee, Marilyn Monroe, My great-great grandfather (heard so many stories), Thomas Jefferson and Kermit Lynch.

6. What motivates you to get up in the morning? Sunshine and a good cup of coffee

7. What makes you proud? To see the closest people I have around. To see how far I’ve come in life.

8. Where would you like to visit/travel next? Italy & Germany

9. You have the worlds crankiest person send back dish after dish – what do you do when they finally leave your restaurant? CALL them an ASSHOLE! Or, laugh at them.

10. How do you gauge happiness? Smiling, I’m a smiler. When happiness is around me, I’m constantly moving. I’m an agenda guy. The busier the happier.

11. Besides Syrah, what are the other popular bottlings on your list? Pinot Noir (hands down). But everyone should be learning their Spanish wines (Tempranillo, Grenacha) they offer great prices and are great gems.

12. Do manners matter? Yes, it does matter! Formal or informal – the way you present yourself is reactionary to and for the people around you.
13. Why do you work so hard? Because I don’t want to work later on, I work now so I can travel later. I want to see what the world has to offer, seeing everything….

14. Describe a typical Tuesday Night meal at your house… Grilled or seared pork chops with a red wine demiglace, baby bok choy, potatoes and a hearty red wine.

Jerry Lee encourages you to come visit him at his resort, which was just named by Forbes Traveler as the best hotel in America.