I know it is hard to believe that the Dog Days of August are behind us. So what’s exciting to look forward to at the end of summer and the beginning of fall?
September is California Wine Month.
It is time for that road trip. Come see us at Locals and try some of our newly released wines like the 2010 Old Vine Zin and 2010 Port from Eric Ross, the new Cuvee Rose and Buzzard Red from Pendleton Winery, not to mention the whole line up of Kit Fox Winery that Locals recently added to our lineup.
We also have some recent award winners with Praxis Viognier and Lagrein as well. Harvest and Crush are just beginning, the smell of autumn is in the air and leaves are slowly beginning to move to the wonderful colors of fall. Take time to taste the wines. See you soon.
Locals Tasting Room
For those seafood lovers that follow the Locals Blog, I thought I would put out the idea that this is the perfect time of year to be Crabby. As you know we are nearing the end of the commercial crab season here in Northern California. It is still not too late to drive to Bodega Bay and buy crabs right off the dock as the fishermen come in from a day of crabbing in the cold waters or stop by your favorite supermarket and local markets to purchase fresh crab anywhere in Northern California.
Here at locals as you know we have a selection of over 53 great wines from ten award winning vintners, which will grow even more as we add Kitfox vineyards to our family in the coming weeks (keep your eyes out for more on that). A few of my favorites to pair with a fresh crab dinner are as follows.
Praxis Viognier is a steal at $19.00 a bottle retail and $16.50 or $15.20 for two bottle and six bottle club members respectively. Floral and citrus scents followed by honeysuckle, jasmine and pear notes with a hint of Ginger pair wonderfully with Crab. Next is a great Spanish varietal the Albarino from Eric Ross which imparts characters of lychee, apricot, peaches and tangerine with clean bright acidity. The Albarino sells for $25.00 retail and $21.25 or $20.00 respectively for the two bottle or three bottle club members. Try a bottle of Albarino with fresh cracked crab or with cold crab claws in a light Myer Lemon aioli. Last of my three but not least is
The Choir from Saracina vineyards which is a blend of 70% Roussanne grapes and 30% Viognier grapes that create complex notes of orange blossoms, Asian pear, ginger and jasmine. The Choir sells for $20.00 retail and $17.00 or $16.00 for two bottle and six bottle club members respectively. Sipping on The Choir will be music to your ears as you and friends feast on the last of the fresh crab this season while enjoying the best Sonoma County has to offer in foods and wines. The balance of each of these wines makes them very versatile at the table but especially great with Crab. Hey for those Locals faithful not in Northern California, we also can ship these wines to you, your friends and family to enjoy all over this great country of ours so enjoy and get crabby with the rest of us.
Here is a quick and easy appetizer that will go great with Praxis Viognier and is sure to please your friends. It is also easy on the Host of the event.
Photo courtesy of avlxyz
Once the prep work is done it takes about 3 minutes to prepare and serve to your guests. Plan on about 4 Prawns per guest as an appetizer, I usually use 25-30 count Prawns in the shell for the correct size. Rinse the Prawns and set on paper towels and pat dry, refrigerate for use when guests arrive. Peel and chop three cloves of garlic into small pieces set aside in a small bowl. Have a large skillet or Wok on the Stove and put in about ¼ cup of olive oil in the bottom of the pan. Wash then cut one lime in half (note Myer Lemon will work as well) set aside. Peel one medium root of ginger and chop or grate into small pieces and set aside.
Now you’re ready for your guests. Once they knock on the door and start arriving:
Heat the skillet or wok with the olive oil in it on med-high burner until the oil is hot, then turn down to Medium heat. Put in the chopped garlic and as soon as it starts to turn golden add the Prawns in the shell and the Ginger. The Prawns will turn start turning Pink cook over medium heat for about 3 minutes or until all the Prawns are a beautiful pink color.
2010 Praxis Viognier
Squeeze a Half Lime over the Prawns and stir, sprinkle about a teaspoon of Johnny’s Creole Seasoning Salt or a similar seasoning salt on the Prawns Slide Prawns onto a plate and serve with chilled glasses of Praxis Viognier. (have lots of napkins available and bowls for shells) The aroma of melon, honeysuckle, vanilla and pineapple from the Viognier will be repeated on the palate and pair magically with the ginger, lemon and prawns.
The peeling and eating of the Prawns is a great crowd pleaser that gives the guests an activity and gets people talking and mixing. The Praxis Viognier is fabulous and is available at Locals for $17.00 retail (Club Members get the wine at club price for additional savings)
Tod Hill – Locals Wine Club member….and friend
Climate change be damned, there is nothing like a drought-on-the-horizon mid December day in Sonoma County. Yesterday I awoke to brilliant sunshine, frost on my roof and all three dogs under the covers. By mid day, I was sweating in the garden pulling beets, clipping kale, picking the last of the serrano peppers, and wondering if I needed sun block. By sunset, I was lighting a fire and contemplating a stew for dinner. No time for slow-braised short ribs or coq au vin. A sea food stew would have to do. I remembered a fish stew served in a whole pumpkin that I had at a hole-in-the-wall Brazilian restaurant on Valencia & 24th back in the 80s. A tropical stew for a cold winter’s night that came hours after a what felt like a warm summer day. Here’s what I did:
- Slice the tops off of two sugar pie pumpkins (the small ones about the size of a softball or grapefruit)
- Scoop out the seeds
- Bake at 350 for one hour; then turn off the oven and allow the pumpkins to sit in the oven for up to an hour more
- Dice, separately:
- 2 red, ripe Serrano peppers
- 1 shallot
- 1/2 of a fennel bulb (about 1/2 cup)
- 1 leek
- 1 large carrots
- 1/2 lb Crimini or white mushrooms
- Heat a small amount of olive oil in a heavy bottomed pot
- Add the pepper, shallot, and fennel and saute for about 3-4 min until soft
- Add the leek and carrots and saute for about 3-4 min until soft
- Add the crimini mushrooms and 1 cup dry white wine, cover and let cook until the mushrooms have released their juices
- Chop into 1/2 inch cubes: approximately 8 oz. snapper or other flaky white fish
- Add the fish along with 1 cup water, cook until the fish dissolves
- In the mean time, rinse and mix together 1/2 lb selections of other seafood (I used bay scallops, tiger prawns and calamari). Squeeze the juice of one lime over the fish along with 1/2 cup white wine, salt & pepper, 1/2 cup chopped italian parsley and 1 one diced Serrano pepper. Let sit while the snapper dissolves.
- 10 min before serving, add the fish to the stew, bring to a simmer, lower the heat and let it simmer for 10 min
- Place the pumpkins into plates or soup bowls, ladle the stew into the pumpkins, sprinkle with chopped cilantro and enjoy.
So what wine should we pair with this creation? A Praxis Viognier to capture the tropical mood? A Saracina Sauvignon Blanc to meet the citrus notes? Nope, I chose the Eric Ross 2009 Pinot Noir. Red wine with fish? A Pinot with spicy sea food? No problem. The fennel and mushroom based stock met the earthy tones of the Pinot perfectly. And the fruitier notes mingled with the sweetness of the pumpkin and the shellfish provided a perfect counterpoint to the spice of the Serranos. Fish and white wine pairing orthodoxy be damned.
Praxis Cellars has been making Viognier for a decade, but the 2010 Praxis Viognier ($17) marks a move to sourcing fruit from the renowned Russian River Valley. Working on a cool-climate syrah wine prompted Winemaker Bill Arbios to switch to making a Rhone-inspired white wine from similarly farmed fruit.
The grapes chosen flourish on a rolling hillside, a southwest exposure that takes more sun than much other such coastal fruit, and resulting in some common threads to the hotter climate fruit used in previous Praxis Viogniers. As with all Praxis wines, the 2010 Viognier expresses the character of this single vineyard. All Praxis vineyards are are sustainably farmed…with care and passion that is ultimately expressed in the glass.
With this new fruit source, the wine is a little softer, and captures the rich fruit essence of its stellar viognier fruit. Still offered in a crisp European style, the wine is clean and full-bodied, with a lingering finish of ripe fruit. To retain the purest expression of the viognier grape, the wine was fermented in stainless steel tanks.
The wines’ color is pale straw yellow with green highlights. The aromas are fresh, complex and clean: melon, honeysuckle, vanilla, pineapple and especially freshly-sliced pear. These components carry across the palate, intensifying as you enjoy a sensory chorus of delight.