Monthly Archives: November 2012
Like us, you’re passionate about single-vineyard wines. Well, we’re excited to announce that in December we will be kicking off a series of Nickel & Nickel vineyard profiles, going “in depth” behind your favorite wines–and maybe wines you haven’t enjoyed yet. We’ll dedicate each month to a vineyard, with several posts focusing on different aspects: geography, viticulture and characteristics of the wine produced. Perhaps you’ll be inspired to taste some of the wines resting in your cellar–or maybe you’ll branch out and try something new!
First up, our home vineyard: John C. Sullenger Vineyard, which surrounds the Nickel & Nickel winery, pictured below.
I thought I would use this blog as an opportunity to explain what a winery chef does. Not that I want to burst anyone’s bubble, but we don’t have a restaurant at the winery–though I wish we did. My job as Executive Chef is to pair food to the wonderful single-vineyard wines we produce. I take extensive notes while tasting through different wines and vintages with the winemaker, and I use that knowledge to construct locally focused, seasonal dishes that highlight particular flavors and aromas in each wine.
Every year, we add dishes to our master cookbook and then share a few of these with you throughout the year in our newsletter and on our website. Who, you ask, gets to enjoy this wonderful harmony of food and wine? All of the food for the wine club events is prepared by our in-house culinary team. Food and wine pairings, or lunch, can be arranged for private parties instead of the traditional tastings. We also support the winery with charities, promotions and sales.
I look forward to seeing you at of our wine club events (stay tuned for our 2013 event calendar), and I wish you happy holidays.
A behind-the-scenes snapshot of a video shoot I participated in this week. Look for the video–and a recipe and wine pairing–in our December newsletter!
After 2012’s bountiful harvest, we are counting our blessings and looking forward to spending some quality time with the people nearest and dearest to us.
From everyone at Nickel & Nickel, we wish you and yours a wonderful Thanksgiving—we hope our wines will have a place at your table!
This creamy, autumn soup warms you from head to toe. At the winery, we roast our butternut squash in the wood-fired oven nearly to the point of burning the outside of the squash, which imparts a delectable, caramelized characteristic that pairs beautifully with Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. This soup makes a charming “shooter” appetizer or is perfect for a first course.
Pair with 2010 Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay, Carneros, Napa Valley
Click here for a pdf version of this recipe.
Butternut Squash with Cinnamon Crème Fraîche
1 medium butternut squash
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 quarts chicken stock
2-3 tablespoons kosher salt
Freshly ground pepper, to taste
2 teaspoons ground ginger
2 teaspoons Chinese five spice
1 bay leaf
2 cups heavy cream
apple cider vinegar
⅓ cup crème fraîche, with
additional for garnish
⅛ teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 375˚F and cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise.
Scoop out seeds with a large spoon. Rub the squash with olive oil and
place flesh side down in a baking dish. Cover with foil and cook for 45
minutes or until very soft. Remove from oven and let cool.
Scoop out the flesh into a large soup pot. Cover with 2 quarts
of chicken stock. Add salt, pepper, ginger, Chinese five spice and
bay leaf. Bring to a simmer, stirring occasionally for 15 minutes.
Add 2 cups of heavy cream and allow the mixture to return to a simmer
for 1 minute. Shut off heat.
Puree soup in a blender, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar. Fill the blender
only half way and start it on low then slowly bring it up to high speed.
Use caution as the hot mixture will expand in the blender. Once the
first batch is blended, empty the blender and blend the next batch.
Continue this process until all the soup is pureed, then pass it through
a fine-meshed sieve. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt or vinegar.
For the cinnamon crème fraîche, add a third of a cup crème fraîche
to a small bowl.
Add cinnamon and whisk until well mixed. For an appetizer portion,
pour the hot soup into a small pitcher. Line up shot glasses, then pour
soup into glasses. Top with a tiny amount of the crème fraîche and
serve. For a first course, pour soup into bowls and top with a dollop
of crème fraîche.
Serves 20 appetizer portions or 10 first course portions
Click here for a pdf version of this recipe.
Across Napa Valley, vintners are breathing a sigh of relief and planning well-deserved vacations. The grapes are in, and not only that–the harvested fruit is spectacular. Each year, Winemaker Darice Spinelli and her team take on not only what Mother Nature sends their way, they tackle a number of vineyards (21 this year!) and the unique challenges presented by each. With a beautiful growing season, near ideal ripening and rain that held off until the latter part of October, the Nickel & Nickel team has a lot to be thankful for.
2012 Nickel & Nickel Dragonfly Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley
We’re looking forward to tasting this vintage as expressed through each of the our single-vineyard wines made this year. And guess what? You will have the opportunity to do just that at our annual Cabernet Futures event in spring 2013. In December we will announce the date for this fantastic event. We look forward to sharing the vintage with you!