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Sunday, July 5, 2015

Vermentino - out now!

We are proud to release our first vintage of Vermentino! 10 days of skin contact, made much like a red wine, yielding some tannin with a profound citrus and ocean breeze character that is truly unique.
Only 44 cases made - check it out here

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Vineyard update - vintage 2014

Yup, 17 days of 100F or above in July, so in conjunction with a little water nervousness it has been toasty here in Kelseyville.We are running 10-14 days ahead of last year like most folks, canes are well lignified, and veraison is nearly complete for the Dolcetto which is usually our first pick. The heat has been helpful in pushing veraison along quickly which is a positive feature in creating a solid shift into the ripening phase. Since we don't believe in VSP we do not have any sunburn issues either.
As far as maturity goes the Aglianico is dead last and just barely starting as it always is with the Nebbiolo just behind. I took pictures that are on this blog of the Aglianico on September 5, 2011 without a hint of veraison starting, so it is a month ahead of that year!
Just finished fruit thinning and it was quite mixed. There were blocks of Barbera that were nearly untouched while some vines needed half their fruit dropped. Nebbiolo was fairly heavy as was Refosco. Sangiovese and Primitivo crop was fairly light with the Primi having extreme hens and chicks this year - always a good omen for the wine. Aglianico was heavy, Cab Franc crop quite light - a real mix. All bunches are open and nicely loose though, with the usual exceptions of Aglianico and our bit of Petite Sirah. And those Negroamaro bunches sure are tiny...

All in all things are looking quite good if this hot month is behind us, which it seems to be. Unfortunately it required a little more water than we would have liked and a little earlier than hoped but it still looks to be a very good vintage with the possibility of being excellent on the horizon.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Lake County Wine Adventure 2014

2014 10th Annual Wine Adventure

2014 10th Annual Wine Adventure

Lake County Winery Association

Saturday, July 26, 2014 at 11:00 AM - Sunday, July 27, 2014 at 5:00 PM (PDT)

Kelseyville, CA

Ticket Information

Wine Adventure PassportJul 26, 2014$45.00$0.00
Wine Adventure Sunday Only Passport
Enjoy a one-day Lake County Wine Adventure on Sunday, July 27th. Visit one or all of the participating wineries for wine, food and fun!
Jul 26, 2014$35.00$0.00
Wine Adventure Designated DriverJul 26, 2014$0.00$0.00

Who's Going

Connect to see which of your Facebook friends are going to 2014 10th Annual Wine Adventure.
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Event Details

 AD-VEN-TURE (n) daring and exciting activity
Experience Lake County and discover your favorite wines at the 10th Annual Lake County Wine Adventure
25+ wineries open their doors with wine, food, local art, music and more for this two day Passport Adventure.
Raffle for instant wine cellar to benefit Relay for Life.
July 26th & 27th, 11 AM – 5 PM   $45 per person for both days
New one-day passport for Sunday, July 27th $35 per person

Starting Winery Locations
 South County:
    • Twin Pine "Off the Vine", Middletown
    • Langtry Estate & Vineyard, Middletown
    • Six Sigma Ranch. Lower Lake
  • West County:
    • Steele Wines, Kelseyville
    • Chacewater Wine & Olive Mill, Kelseyville
  • North County:
    • Lake County Wine Studio, Upper Lake
  • East County:
    • Brassfield Estate Winery, Clearlake Oaks
    • Cache Creek Vineyards, Highway 20 and New Long Valley Road

Special Concierge Service
Pick up your passport, wristband, and glass at Twin Pine Hotel & Casino on Friday the 26thfrom 3-7PM.
All members of your party must be present for this service!
For more information and updates, visit
Must be 21 years or older to participate.
Have questions about 2014 10th Annual Wine Adventure? Contact Lake County Winery Association

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Sangiovese and Nebbiolo - Vineyard Video 6/17/2014

We made a quick vineyard video yesterday of our Nebbiolo and Sangiovese on Kelsey Bench in Lake County, California. The season is shaping up nicely so far!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

New Refosco release!

Visit the Refosco page on our website

After missing several vintages we are finally releasing our third bottling of Refosco. With only 60 cases, please refrain from pushing or shoving. A bit of history first:

Refosco is grown primarily in Friuli, it is also found in Slovenia, Istria, and Greece. Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso is regarded as being the superior strain, but Refosco Nostrano, d'Istria and del Terrano are recognized, as well as the possibly related Cagnina in Romagna. The big story though is that DNA testing has refuted the claim that it is related to Mondeuse Noir in the Savoie region of France (however, it has been linked to the infamously mediocre Marzemino - and it has that feel). The most promising zone is Colli Orientali in Friuli, and now, Rosa d'Oro Vineyards. It also has the strongest, most aggressive tendrils I have ever fought, and even the young vines are prodigious producers, probably amping up the ample acidity this grape is famous for in cool climates. 1 bunch per cane will likely become the rule here.

At the turn of the century, Refosco was well known to California. Famed To-Kalon vineyard was half planted to Refosco (though this may have actually been Mondeuse Noir). It was a major part of Beaulieu Vineyards "Black Burgundy" wine after Prohibition. In 1971 there were 396 acres recorded in California, and in 1985 it disappeared from the radar. The true heritage of Californian Refosco is certainly in question. There are a few growers, one in Paso Robles, Matthiason of course in Napa, and our few rows on Kelsey Bench are the only dedicated bits I know of.

For me it has a Syrah sensibility often leaning into the plum/violet side of the spectrum. Grown in our warm climate it has low-ish acid which works well with the chunky, somewhat gritty Petite Sirah-like tannin that lends a sense of dark depth to balance the higher floral tones. This one is a blend of Yolo County and our estate fruit, but what we have in barrel for 2013 will be 100% estate and I think we are in for a real treat with what the Lake County elevation and climate will do with this cultivar. 

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake recipe

This recipe is based half on Pierre Hermé and half on David Everitt-Matthias recipes for a similar cake. It spent some time on and off menus when I was in kitchens and is to date probably our most requested recipe. I like taking the Sicilian approach and pairing with Prickly Pear sorbet or something bright and tart to counteract the rich, alkaline nature of the cake. This ratio of butter to EVOO yields a fairly round richness, but you can raise the the EVOO percentage and use a peppery Tuscan or Nuovo oil to yield a much more phenolic and spicy cake.

Pistachio Olive Oil Cake
(Wishing I had taken a picture
of the cake...)

3 oz. coarse grain rice flour
8 oz. unsalted shelled pistachios – skins removed as much as possible. I like to use about      half-and-half untoasted bright green for color and half toasted for flavor
3 oz. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
good pinch salt

6 oz. extra virgin olive oil
4 oz. barely melted butter

4 whole eggs
9 oz. sugar

zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange, plus juice of one half lemon

9” springform pan, placed on baking sheet

Bake at 300F for approximately 70 minutes. Cake will remain soft and a toothpick may not come out completely clean, but it will firmly set. 200F is a good temperature target. Use the jiggle test primarily. Do not remove from pan until completely cool, at least 2 hours.

Combine rice flour, pistachios, flour, baking powder, and salt in food processor and process until finely textured but still about chunky.

Mix barely melted unbroken butter with olive oil.

Whip eggs in kitchen mixer with a balloon whisk, gradually reaching high speed while slowly adding sugar. Whip on high for three minutes to ribbon stage. Turn speed to medium and very slowly add oil/butter mixture as if making aioli – be sure to maintain the emulsion, but it may collapse depending on the butter, but that is ok. Add juice, zest, and then gently fold in pistachio mixture from food processor. Pour into well buttered springform pan and bake as indicated above.