For Winemaker Darice Spinelli, the holidays are all about family, with great food, wine and a few lively games thrown in for FUN! That FUN – with a Capital F – starts on Christmas Eve with oyster stew, apple salad, and Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. This year, there may be some library vintages of Suscol Ranch Merlot on the table, too.
As for Christmas Day, Darice shares a snapshot of her Napa Valley Holiday, by the hour, below. Read on…
Time to make coffee and take him on a Christmas walk.
About the size of a kiwi, they are Danish, a bit like pancakes, but filled with fruit. My favorites are apple, blueberry or raisin filled. My dad’s been perfecting the recipe for years, and everyone in my family has a “seasoned” Aebleskiver pan. On Christmas, we make about 120 for breakfast and serve them with lemon sauce. One Aebleskiver has an almond tucked inside of it, and whoever gets the one with the almond wins a prize. Of course, you have to show the evidence so you can’t eat the almond! It’s lots of fun.
State Ranch Vineyard, Yountville, Napa Valley
Nickel & Nickel Harvest 2015 in Seven Words or Less: Early, High-Speed, Small Yields, Intense Flavors.
On September 3rd, we picked our first Napa Valley blocks of Truchard Chardonnay and C.C. Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon. In addition to making this one of the earliest harvests on record for us, Mother Nature decided this would also be one of the rare years when we brought both Chardonnay and Cabernet into the winery on the same day. We pick our fruit when the vineyard demands it! (more…)
For Nickel & Nickel Winemaker Darice Spinelli, Chardonnay is her hot weather go-to, “although with Chardonnay, I often find I’ve enjoyed my wine before a plate of food hits the table.”
On summer Friday nights, Darice loves to invite friends to join her around the fire pit for wine and super-simple small plates. “Anything too long or complicated isn’t going to happen.” Time is a precious commodity for Darice. Her days in the vineyard often start before sunrise (and end after office hours). She’s also Mom to two energetic boys, which means that arriving home, getting dinner on the table for the kids, then prepping an elaborate meal for her guests, well, “there simply aren’t enough hours in a day. Especially because I actually want to be present and enjoy the company of my family and my friends.”
To ensure she spends more time fireside than she does in the kitchen, Chef Trevor Eliason offers his suggestions for easy 30-minute (or less) appetizers that pair beautifully with Nickel & Nickel’s Single Vineyard Chardonnays from the Russian River and Napa Valleys.
Burrata and Heirloom Tomato Bruschetta + Nickel & Nickel Stiling Vineyard Chardonnay. Whether you daydream about classic Brandywines, geek out over tangy Northern Lights or prize the hearty Cherokee purple as the perfect slicing tomato, tomato season is hitting its stride, making it the ideal time to indulge your heirloom obsessions. We love to toss just-picked varieties with olive oil, sea salt and cracked pepper. We let the flavors marry for half an hour before spooning fragrant, “sweating” heaps of them over creamy burrata on toasted baguette. Top with fresh basil.
Prosciutto-wrapped Marinated Galia Melon + Nickel & Nickel Medina Vineyard Chardonnay. Exactly what should you use as a marinade? There are a variety of options, however, Chef Trevor favors simplicity, with nice olive oil, balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper. “Just a hint of fennel pollen really elevates it, but isn’t required,” he says.
Smoked Salmon Rillettes + Nickel & Nickel Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay. Technically, this takes longer than 30 minutes, but the fragrant smoky-fish and butter flavors of really good salmon rillettes are the ultimate Friday night showstopper, especially when paired alongside whites on the creamier, more textured side. The good news, one of our favorite versions, here, can be prepared up to three days in advance.
Drink some wine. Talk with friends. Throw some fresh summer corn on the grill, which, BTW, always tastes great with all three of our Nickel & Nickel Chardonnays. Discover more recipes that pair beautifully with our Single-Vineyard Whites, and make this your #BestChardonnay summer ever.
Today with our first bins of Truchard Vineyard Chardonnay we kicked off Harvest 2014! This vineyard, located in the Carneros region of Napa Valley, benefits from cool, often foggy, mornings and evenings, and sunny days. Winemaker Darice Spinelli says they are picking the west-facing hillsides first, which get the full benefit of the afternoon sun, and crews will continue to harvest over a period of several days (perhaps weeks) as different areas of the vineyard ripen fully.
As with each start to harvest, the team at Nickel & Nickel gathered for a blessing from Father Charles (from the nearby Carmelite monastery) and a toast. Join us in wishing for a safe, successful Harvest 2014!
For a few more photos, visit our Facebook page.