Pinot, Pinot, Pinot Noir

It’s that time of year! Football, sweaters, fireplaces and roasted dishes wafting through the air. I love the fall season. The leaves gliding across the road as I drive the canyon, the chipmunks frantically stashing their wares in our house (that’s what happens when you don’t have any screens on your doors). The steam rising off my coffee in the early morning out in the yard, it all just has a magical feel. I love thinking about using my oven again, and the bounty coming out of the gardens and into our meals. And no wine signifies fall more eloquently than Pinot Noir. With it’s bursting cherry flavors, subtle wood smoke, and autumn spice-box finish, it’s the perfect wine for fall meals.

This Club shipment is going to be all Pinot. I think with the 2013 High Ground coming along so beautifully, I really wanted our club members to be able to do a vertical tasting of all three vintages. Remember that these wines are the same grower, basically the same rows in the vineyard, and the major difference is the growing season and the winemaker’s experience level :)

The 2011 Pinot, which is our most masculine in style, is almost gone. I didn’t want anyone to not have tried this, our first Pinot, so we’re sending the last of it out to the Wine Club. The 2012 is so beautiful in bottle right now, with that extra year of age to just make the flavors cohesive. This is the vintage that we added the other clone, the 115 to give it that cranberry, rhubarb lift. The other 2 clones, the 667 and the 777 are the traditional darker notes, more boysenberry, dark cherry, and truffle. The 2013 is the newest, so the fruit is the brightest, and it had that unsupervised 6 days of skin contact due to the floods and our inability to reach the grapes. It’s just a juicy, spicy, huge mouthful of Pinot, and my very favorite, and I like the balance of 30% new oak, and 17 months in the barrel. With 6 months of bottle age behind it, the flavors have come together seamlessly.

What I might suggest you do, is invite your friends, family, neighbors, other wine lovers over, and open the three bottles, ’11, ’12, and ’13 and do a vertical tasting. And what you’ll find is pretty educational. You’ll see what happens to wines after they’ve been aged, and how different they taste when new. You’ll also see the stylistic difference in your winemaker as she finds her niche. I’m including some recipe suggestions if you are making a dinner party out of it, and why not? The best use of wine involves friends and food, and making memories that last a lifetime.

The latest editions

I was thinking perhaps the new wines would go out, but I’m a stickler for bottle age. The newest Gris needs it far less than the Zin. Wines are finicky after being bottled, they don’t like it at all, and they let you know. Disjointed, argumentative, angry, you name it, they do it. So, the new wines will come in the winter shipment, just in time for those dark December days (ugghh! let’s not think about that now!). Until then, some bad news….. WE ARE ALMOST OUT OF THE 2011 PINOT, THE 2012 CHARDONNAY, AND THE 2012 ZINFANDEL!!!! And I’m not kidding. We’ve got 20 cases of Chard left, 5 cases of 2011 Pinot (after this shipment), and 30 of the Zin. I don’t want to not have these wines for our club members, so if you love any of those, you can upgrade your wine club order to a case instead of 6 bottles and we’ll give you 25% off the whole thing. Don’t miss out, these wines will cellar for a long time, so you don’t have to drink them now. With proper storage, they’ll all last another 3-5 years. The cost of the fall shipment (6 bottles) is 176.06 (includes tax, but not shipping). We’ll be processing orders the last week of September, let me know if you have changes to your CC or mailing addresses. If you haven’t told me if you’re picking up or shipping, please advise which you’d like in the next week or so.

Also, a reminder the Pick-up party is October 3rd, 2015. From 1-4, come by the winery, grab your wines, and try some fall food pairings. Bring wine loving friends or meet some of ours. Please RSVP by Sept 30th so I can plan how much food we’ll need.

And I wanted to send a special thank you out to all of our club members. Trying to make wine in a small, artisinal, intimate way is not easy. Wine requires a huge influx of cash to start, and the return is many, many, years down the road, meanwhile we still continue to invest in new equipment, fruit, bottling, ect.. Which is super expensive. And I’m not a sales person. And I don’t want to be. I just want to craft wonderful wines for people who appreciate the passion I have for it, and who give me the opportunity to create this magic on my own time, with my own vision, and in my own way. And I know that we don’t have every type of wine you drink, and we’ll not be the only wine in your cellars. And that’s just fine. I so appreciate the opportunities given me to be a part of your lives and that you are willing to invest in a small producer with a vision like myself. If I can host your group of friends or family, or share pairing suggestions, or give you any insight into wine in any way, please let me know. Without you, the people who believe in this, I would be without purpose. So thank you for your continued support, patience, and for sharing our story with likeminded individuals so that we may continue to produce wines with love at our own pace, in our own time.

Much love to our friends, Molly, Don, Lucy and Roxanne

Recipes to pair with Pinot Noir

Parmesan Portobello Risotto


  • 12 oz (1 2/3 cups) Arborio rice
  • 4 cups beef stock (plus 1 cup more, if needed)
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 8 oz Portobello mushrooms, chopped (hen of the woods or trumpet royals)
  • 2 tablespoons bu/er (or olive oil)
  • ½ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 4 oz dry red wine (Pinot, of course!)
  • 2 oz cream (your choice of whipping cream or half & half)
  • salt & pepper to taste


In a heavy, large saucepan, sauté the onion in bu/er (or olive oil) until golden, then add the rice and stir until well coated. Add mushrooms, wine and 1 cup of beef stock. Cook down slowly, keeping pot covered (no stirring required). When the liquid is absorbed, add another cup of beef stock and continue until all of the stock has been used. Add salt & pepper to taste. Stir in the cheese until melted, followed by the cream. Remove from heat, cover and set aside for 2 minutes before serving with remaining wine.

Duck Meatballs with a Pancetta cream sauce


3 pounds duck meat (1.5 pounds skinless breasts, 1.5 pounds skin-­‐‑on breasts) 7 cloves garlic, minced 7 shallots, minced 3 eggs 4 cups bread crumbs 1 teaspoon salt ½ tablespoon mustard powder ½ tablespoon paprika ½ teaspoon cayenne pepper ½ teaspoon allspice ½ teaspoon white pepper 1 teaspoon fresh thyme 2 cups Pinot Noir or dry red wine milk


Cut the duck into large chunks; chill well. While the duck is chilling, heat 3 tablespoons olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add minced shallots and garlic; sauté until shallots are translucent (3-­‐‑5 minutes). Add Pinot Noir and stir in thyme, cayenne, mustard, paprika, cayenne pepper, white pepper and allspice. Reduce until the liquid is nearly gone, then transfer mix into a bowl and place in the refrigerator to chill. Slice up French bread loaf and place in food processor to make bread crumbs. Soak 2 cups of the bread crumbs in milk and squeeze them dry. Reserve 2 cups of bread crumbs dry.

Take duck out of the refrigerator and put through meat grinder. Add in chilled shallot/garlic mixture, salt, eggs and all bread crumbs; mix thoroughly by hand and put mixture back into the refrigerator to chill.

Heat duck fat in the skillet over medium heat and remove skins once all of the fat melts off. Form meatballs roughly 2-­‐‑3 inches in diameter, and sauté in duck fat for 2-­‐‑3 minutes, then flip. The fat should be up to the middle of the meatballs … too li/le fat, and the meatballs will square up in the pan. Make sure to maintain the heat at a moderate temperature so the meatballs cook through without browning too quickly. (It’s a good idea to do a couple trial meatballs to get things dialed in.) Remove the meatballs and let rest for a minute, then serve.

Pancetta Mushroom Cream Sauce


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 6 ounces pance/a, diced
  • 2 cups cremini mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 green onions, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/3 cup mascarpone cheese
  • 1/3 cup rico/a cheese
  • 1 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • ½ cup white wine
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: crushed, roasted pistachios


Heat olive oil in a sauce pan or skillet over medium heat, then add diced pance/a. Cook for 3-­‐‑5 minutes until pance/a is golden brown, then add mushrooms and green onions. Continue to cook another 3-­‐‑5 minutes, until moisture has evaporated out of mushrooms and they are tender. Add white wine, bring to a boil and reduce until liquid is nearly gone. Add the cream, reduce the heat to medium low, and cook until texture is thick and creamy. Stir in chopped parsley and pepper flakes, then remove from heat. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over duck meatballs. Optional: sprinkle crushed roasted pistachios over the top of sauced meatballs.

Roasted pork belly with bourbon brown sugar glaze


This recipe is based on a 2.5-­‐‑ to 3.5-­‐‑pound pork belly. Increase or decrease marinade and sauce as needed. 8-­‐‑12 cloves of garlic, depending on size of cloves and personal taste

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup cider or wine vinegar (Pedro Ximenez is especially good)
  • 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • Optional: red pepper flakes or diced hot pepper of your choice, to taste.


Place ingredients in food processor and combine. Place pork belly in 1-­‐‑gallon freezer bag, add marinade to fully cover belly. Refrigerate overnight, occasionally flipping the freezer bag.

Next day:

Preheat oven to 275 degrees. Place pork belly in a dutch oven along with marinade, add water if needed to cover and a knob of bu/er (about two tablespoons). Cover with lid and cook for six hours. Remove from oven and let sit one hour, until cool.

At this point, you can refrigerate the marinated pork belly for up to two days or place in a vacuum-­‐‑sealed freezer bag and freeze.

Bourbon Sauce


  • 1/2 cup bourbon
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon butter


Combine and simmer in a small pan to cook off alcohol. Set aside.

Place pork belly, which will be very tender and ready to fall apart, in a grill basket. Place skin side down over a medium flame for about 15 minutes or until the skin is crispy. Flip and coat skin with bourbon sauce. Flip again in 7-­‐‑10 minutes and coat again with bourbon sauce. Grill five more minutes and cover with remaining bourbon sauce. Cut into serving-­‐‑size pieces.

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