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March 16, 2012

Often considered a holiday for beer drinkers, we of course prefer to pair wine with our Irish themed feast. And tomorrow, we’ll be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day with corned beef and Three Coins Syrah.

 

This got me to thinking about where to find delicious corned beef dishes in wine country. Here are a few spots to ensure you’ll eat well tomorrow while celebrating the Irish holiday, I may have to extend the celebration to satisfy my fix:

·      Head to Café Sarafornia in Calistoga for their corned beef hash. We’ve mentioned our love for their breakfast and hamburger Wednesdays on this blog before, but their Irish themed dish offers yet another reason to dine in.

·      Make it a brunch date at the Medowood Grill for their corned beef hash with potatoes, caramelized onions and smoked tomatoes.

·      Got a big appetite? Drop into the Soscol Café in Napa for their corned beef hash and poached eggs. You won’t find minced corned beef there, but rather bigger chunks of meat to satisfy your appetite.

·      While you’re in Napa, create a Five Dot Ranch corned beef tasting progression. They sell their seasonal corned beef brisket inside the Oxbow Public Market, while the Fatted Calf sells a corned beef brisket and the Kitchen Door serves up a hash – both with Five Dot Ranch beef.

·      And if you’re still hungry on Sunday, don’t miss the corned beef hash for brunch at Zazu in Sonoma. It’s Iron Chef worthy.

 

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! Eat local, and eat well.

 

Picture of the corned beef hash at the Kitchen Door courtesy of Emmy.

 

 
March 13, 2012

We finished fertilizing our cork trees at the vineyard last week. I’m still astonished that they exist, so we’re doing what we can to keep them around. In fact, we spread 80 pounds of fertilizer on our cork oaks in preparation of the rainy weather this week.

 

In the spirit of cork, I sought out to learn a bit more. Did you know that a cork oak must be at least 25 years old before its bark can be harvested? It takes another 8-14 years thereafter for each successive harvest, and the bark itself is not suitable for wine corks until the third harvest. I find it amazing that they can be actively harvested for over 200 years, yielding about 13-18 harvests over a lifetime!

 

Thanks to the article, “Where does cork come from?,” I learned a bit more.

·      Cork is actually made of water-resistant cells that separate the outer bark from the delicate interior bark.

·      Cork is also rot resistant, fire resistant, termite resistant, impermeable to gas and liquid, soft and buoyant, making it ideal for stopping wine bottles. And with cork’s cell-like structure, there are about 800 million cells in a single wine cork.

·      Harvest time for cork is during June, July and August.

 

After all, cork oaks are considered to be soil builders and their fruits have been shown to have useful insecticidal properties. And given our working vineyard, we’ll keep them around for a while longer.

 

 
March 9, 2012

It’s pruning time at the vineyard, which means that it’s officially spring. We prune our vineyard later than others as it is subject to more frost, that way the cold weather doesn’t preemptively take siege our precious buds.

 

With the Manzanita trees flowering and the leaves unfolding, a new season has definitely begun!

 

 
March 6, 2012

We’ve just finished fertilizing the olive trees at our vineyard. And after converting this old horse pasture to an olive grove, we’re looking forward to even more liquid gold later this year! (Of course the beautiful oak tree stayed put.)

 

With olive oil top of mind, here are a few tips to distinguish rancidity in olive oil by Olive Oil Times, “Good Oils Gone Bad: Recognizing Rancidity and Other Defects.”

 

 
March 5, 2012

A little over two years ago, the Calistoga Amercian Viticultural Area (AVA) was born. But it was just recently that the Calistoga Winegrowers organization installed its first Board of Directors to market the AVA as a distinct source of wine. Our estate vineyard in Knights Valley lies within Sonoma, but our new Napa Cabernet vineyard is well within the Calistoga AVA – and we’re thrilled that it has this recognition and notoriety. (The above picture highlights the new site for our Napa Cabernet, and a view from our Retreat On The Knoll rental property.) We too believe that the Calistoga AVA terroir and wines are distinguishable, not just from other domestic and international regions, but from the immediately nearby region of the Napa Valley floor.

 

The Calistoga AVA has notable terroir characteristics of volcanic soil, cooler hillside climates, and distinct flat warmer pockets in between. Calistoga AVA wines also showcase an intensity and minerality as a result of this environment. Though our new Cabernet vineyard still has a few years until the vines are ready to produce quality winemaking fruit, we’ll be watching its growth and tasting each harvest intently to see how similar our vineyard matches the realm of the AVA.

 

We're looking forward to what the Calistoga Winegrowers Board of Directors have up their sleeves for marketing this AVA. Located at the north end of the Napa Valley, the Calistoga AVA has long been home to a number of standout wineries, even before it had an official classification. Though a hidden secret no more, Calistoga's small-town charm is a sleepy giant in the hierarchy of wine. Get in on the ground floor and cheers to a good time ahead for the region!

 

 
 
LAWER FAMILY WINES, ST. HELENA, CA MAIL: P.O. Box 1105 Calistoga, California 94515   Telephone: 707-331-3728   E-Mail: info@lawerfamilywines.com
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