The Sarah Jane English Newsletter:  133rd Edition
Autumn Issue

                                                                                                                                      Be fair, laugh often and eat your broccoli and blueberries." Sarah Jane English

                                                                                                                       CALIFORNIA 2015 HARVEST

                                                                                                             GRAND MARNIER Cordon Rouge Gift Pack

                                                                                             ICELANDIC GLACIAL Water

                                                                                                WINERY OF THE MONTH: MINER FAMILY WINERY

                                                                                                           AMERICA'S 35 Best Ribs Eaterie

WINERY OF THE MONTH: MINER FAMILY WINERY Miner is a dynamic family-owned winery tucked along the eastern hills of the Oakville appellation in the heart of Napa Valley. Founded in 1998 by Dave and Emily Miner, Miner Family Winery crafts reserve-style wines by sourcing fruit from Napa Valley and other specially selected California vineyards . Winemakers Gary Brookman and Stacy Vogel use a combination of old world winemaking techniques and modern technology to make wines that refect the unique characteristics of individual vineyards or “terrior” where specific varietals grow best. This fusion of superb vineyard sites and thoughthful winemaking allows Miner to deliver elegant, expressive wines.  Following a number of years spent working in the software industry, Dave Miner got his start in wine in 1993 as President of Oakville Ranch Vineyards, owned by his late uncle, Robert Miner. Having spent years as an enthusiastic wine consumer and collector, Dave had a natural affinity for the business.Emily Miner, a Minnesota transplant and graduate of Santa Clara University, packs up and heads to California. She joins Oakville Ranch as the Tasting Room Manager. It was there Dave and Emily met and fell in love.  The Miner Family Winery brand is born. Dave, working as President of Oakville Ranch, decides to become a custom crush client and start his own wine label.Gary Brookman joins as winemaker for Oakville Ranch and to establish Dave’s own label, Miner Family. A former Joseph Phelps alum, Gary is the perfect candidate to handle the wine portfolio, as well as expand their custom crush client business.  A 15-month process from start to finish, in 1999 the caves at Miner were complete. With a combination of digging machines and dynamite, the over 20k+ square feet of caves were carved into the hillside with walls six inches thick and sprayed with gunnite. These underground hallways are naturally cooled with the high humidity and low temperatures, creating perfect conditions for wine aging.  A year of celebrations; Dave and Emily Miner marry, purchase the winery building from his family and the first Miner Family wines are released. Miner’s vision to preserve the land and become powered by solar energy was realized in 2008, when Dave flipped the switch inaugurating Miner’s photovoltaic system. The Miner array is one of the largest projects to date installed in the Napa Valley that balances environmental respect and the aesthetics of the natural landscape. Miner runs exclusively on solar power.  After 17 years at Miner Family Winery, Winemaker, Gary Brookman is named General Manager & Director of Winemaking. Associate Winemaker, Stacy Vogel announced as Miner’s new winemaker, making her the only other winemaker in Miner history!

1.  MINER 2011 THE ORACLE, Napa Valley Red Wine $90: "Our flagship wine, a full-bodied, single vineyard red blend, grants a nod towards elegance for the 2011 vintage. Merlot-driven, with Cabernet Sauvignon in close second, this bordeaux-style blend is silky, reserved and supremely balanced. Lush aromatics of raspberry and dark cherry with a hint of eucalyptus, The Oracle is decandent, but with finesse. Earthiness and layers of dried flowers and cocoa integrate harmoniously into a finely balanced marriage between tannin and acid, providing the structure that ensures, like all impeccable beauties, this wine is sure to age gracefully. A cool vintage for Napa Valley, the 2011 growing season allowed moutain fruit to shine.  Sitting above the fog line, Stagecoach Vineyard, located in the eastern hills of Napa Valley, enjoyed the advantage of long sunlight hours. Additionally, the afternoon winds that reached the higher elevations kept berries dry after late summer rains. The result: focused fruit that is refected in the impecabbly refined mountain-side wines."

2.  MINER 2012 Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $75: "Our Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, with robust yet well-integrated tannins, has a complex structure with decadent dark berries and compelling odors and flavors.  It is an impressively elegant wine from this rugged mountain top vineyard on the eastern slopes of Napa Valley.  Bursting with black cherry and licorice flavors flanked by firm yet lush tannins; a wine as special as this undeniably unique vineyard.  Pair with grilled steaks and braised meat dishes.

3.  MINER 2012 Stagecoach Vineyard, Napa Valley Merlot $40:"Challenged by the rocky volcanic soils of this mountainous vineyard site, the vines at Stagecoach produce fruit of extraordinary quality and intensity. This meticulously farmed property is hand-picked according to our winemaker’s specifications.   Loaded with rich ripe fruit and spice notes with touches of tasty oak, our Merlot has a nice grip from fine tannins on the lengthy finish."

4.  MINER 2012 Gary's Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands $60:  "This 50-acre vineyard was planted in 1995 by friends and growers Gary Franscioni and Gary Pisoni along the terraces of the Santa Lucia mountain range, overlooking the Salinas River Valley.  The wine is a tapestry of ripe red berries, plum, mocha and clove spice.  The well-structured wine has a supple texture, creamy oak overtones and a loong, bright finish.  With plenty of lovely, rich tannins, this Pinot offers up flavors of dark red fruit, subtle oak, nutmeg-clove spice."

5.  MINER 2013 Napa Valley Chardonnay $34: "Sourced from select low-yielding vineyards, our Chardonnay is characterized by crisp apple, ripe melon and citrus flavors gently balanced with toasty French oak.  Our winemaker uses malolactic fermintation in moderation to retain the wine's bright acidity.  More than a decade after our Chardonnay put us on the map, this white remains a classic."

6.   MINER 2013 Napa Valley Wild Yeast Chardonnay $50: "Full-bodied and lush, yet never heavy, our Wild Yeast Chardonnay shows off flavors of ripe pear and melon with butterscotch and hazelnut notes balanced by oak spice and bright acidity. This is a wildly expressive wine that will reward a few years of patient cellaring, but can be enjoyed today, as well. The grapes are fermented using only indigenous or “wild” yeast cultures found on the skins of the grapes themselves, in the vineyards and within the walls of our winery."

 TOP PICKS OF THE MONTH (prices vary store to store) $Best Buy

NEWS  

____________________

The Daily Meal published America's 35 Best Ribs eateries for 2015.   The Southwest listed the most-named places with 11 mentions and Texas prospered with Smoke, Black’s Barbeque, The Salt Lick, Pecan Lodge, Smitty’s Market, Cooper’s Old Time Pit Bar-B-Que, City Market, Kreuz Market, Franklin Barbeque (third place), and Louie Mueller Barbecue (first place) on the list.

To give you an idea of how the ribs were ranked, The Daily Meal supplemented its editors’ personal rib-eating experiences and compiled three years of online reviews and best-of lists. Readers were then asked to give their recommendations while 40 rib experts were asked to weigh in and vote.

The best ribs featured were spread all throughout the country, with this year’s list featuring 13 states. You can see the full list of the best ribs locations at http://www.thedailymeal.com/americas-best-ribs

____________________

COCHON 555 Chef Lineup for 2nd Annual Heritage BBQ in Austin, Texas, at The Driskill, October 18, 2015.

HERITAGE BBQ by COCHON 555: Established (2012) to bridge the gap between family farms and all BBQ restaurants, Cochon's Heritage BBQ is the first national BBQ competition to expand the direction for heritage breed pigs to a global economy.  Heritage BBQ engages existing local BBQ restaurants in the sustainable food conversation nationwide while breaking ground on a hyper-local farm-supporting BBQ.  THE COCHON US Tour: The Tour involves a variety of local food events that intend to increase the support for family farms with the nose-to-tail pig competition--the world’s first such competition in the fine-dining community. Created to improve consumer education around “heritage breed pigs”, this pork feast visits 20 major cities in North America annually.  The US Tour also includes other festivals and events that feature top chefs preparing locally raised heritage breed proteins.  Together with winemakers, brewers, distillers and craft food champions, they create authentic culinary events celebrating the good food movement.  Since its launch, the tour has supported responsible family farming by sharing heritage breed pig experience with over 50,000, by donating more than $450,000 to charities and culinary schools, and buying more than $1,000,000 in food raised by local farmers. For more details about the events, visit www.cochon555.com or follow @cochon555 on Twitter.

____________________

Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge Gift Pack* –This end of year gift pack features a full size bottle of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, the original blend of Cognac and orange. The flagship of the House comes with a 50ml bottle of deliciously fresh Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach, which is a blend of European raspberries and rare red peaches from the South of France, combined with the Grand Marnier. Recipes are provided to create succulent Holiday cocktails. *Available in all markets except: NY, NJ, DE, DC, MD. For these markets, the gift pack comes with a 750ml bottle of Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge and two shot glasses to celebrate this festive season in style. MSRP $39.99 Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge, San Francisco World Spirits Competition, Gold Medal –  March 2015

About Grand Marnier Cordon Rouge: Grand Marnier is a remarkable combination of a premium blend of cognac and exotic oranges created in 1880 by founder Louis-Alexandre Marnier Lapostolle. The cognac is made from Ugni Blanc grapes from five of the best crus within the Cognac region in France, and is double-distilled in copper stills. Our bitter, exotic orange called ‘Citrus Bigaradia’ sourced from the Caribbean, is a rare variety which offers an intense and unique flavor profile and aroma. We blend the cognac with our orange essence, then mature the blend in specially made oak barrels to perfect smoothness. The Grand Marnier bottle, inspired by the shape of the Charentais copper stills used to make the cognac, has become an iconic symbol of a premium spirit.

About Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach: Grand Marnier Raspberry Peach is a blend of the natural flavors of succulent European raspberries and rare red peaches from Ardeche in the South of France, combined with the world-renowned Grand Marnier, made from our exceptionally smooth Cognac and wild tropical orange essence. The result, an alluring and mixable spirit that is enjoyable on the rocks and in delicious cocktails.

 ____________________

CALIFORNIA 2015 HARVEST:  California vintners and growers report another stellar vintage.  Despite a lighter crop—compared to last year—from one of the earliest seasons on record, wildfires during harvest in some regions and a fourth year of drought, quality is high across the board.  A mild winter causing early bud break, followed by protracted bloom and unseasonably cool weather in spring, contributed to smaller grape clusters and variable crop size.  An intense, compacted harvest began in July for sparkling wines and some still white wines, and was finished for most wineries by the end of September.  The crop is estimated to be nearly 3.8 million tons, according to industry experts.

“The quality of the 2015 vintage for California statewide is excellent,” said Robert P. (Bobby) Koch, president and CEO of Wine Institute.  “After three record harvests, a lighter vintage will not impact our supply of California wines for wine lovers nationwide and throughout the world.”

 

____________________

 

SANTIAGO NAMED “NEXT GREAT FOOD CITY”: Endowed with geographic and climatic conditions ideal for the production of high quality, fresh products, Chile has earned a reputation for being one of the world’s top food-producing countries. Recently, its capital, Santiago, was dubbed “The Next Great Food City” by Saveur’s 2015 “Good Taste Awards.” The nomination, which can be attributed to the boom of new conceptual restaurants –amongst them Boragó, one of the world’s 50 best–, also has underlying ties to the country’s commitment to the production of high-quality native ingredients. Chile has long been an important global food actor providing safe, traceable, sustainable food products to more than 100 destinations every year.

____________________ 

BANNER YEAR for PROSECCO, ITALY: Treviso, Italy – Carpenè Malvolti, the historical winery in the heart of Conegliano Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore DOCG, reports that the 2015 harvest was a banner year for the whole area of Prosecco and particularly for the DOCG.

The company reports that the 2015 vintage was characterized by a warm and mild summer. There was little rainfall early in the season, leading to a minor drought. This drought period, however, did not have a negative effect on the harvest. In fact, this dry period should lead to an even better harvest next year, as the minor stress to the vines leads to deeper root development.

____________________

 

KORBEL ANNOUNCES 133 YEARS: Like every day, the holidays are the right time for bubbles too!  After 133 years, KORBEL is still helping consumers toast occasions year-round. 

Here are a few facts that speak to the power of KORBEL:

1.  Every bottle of Korbel – whether a 3-Liter or 187ml – is méthode champenoise-produced.

2.  Korbel continues to lead the category with a 16% market share.

3.  Korbel sales are up 8.8% YOY.

4.  Korbel has advertised on TV for over 30 years and continues to do so with new commercials launching October 26th

5.  Korbel is also an always-on digital powerhouse through Facebook, Foursquare, Twitter, YouTube and Search. 

__________________

SAN DIEGO BAY WINE & FOOD FESTIVAL: The 12th Annual San Diego Bay Wine & Food Festival is an international showcase of the world's premier wine and spirits producers, chefs and culinary personalities, and gourmet foods. Held November 15-22, 2015 the event benefits culinary arts and enology scholarships awarded by The American Institute of Wine & Food and the Chaîne des Rôtisseurs. Over 200 wineries, breweries and spirit companies and 70 of San Diego's top fine dining restaurants will participate in the 2015 Festival. For more information visit www.sandiegowineclassic.com. Produced by World of Wine Events and Fast Forward Event Productions. For more information call 619-312-1212.

____________________

National Food Day (October 24th) "inspired Americans to celebrate and enjoy real food and to push for improved food policies. Resolve to make changes in your own diet by switching from sodas and juices to refreshing water instead, such as that from super premium and natural brand, Icelandic Glacial!  Icelandic Glacial is a premium, natural spring water that is bottled straight from the source of Iceland. Taking great care of the environment and majestic resource, Ölfus Spring, Icelandic Glacial runs a completely sustainable operation and sources less than 0.1% of the total water that naturally flows to the surface. Icelandic Glacial delivers the world’s first CarbonNeutral® bottled water that is 100% carbon neutral and recyclable, with a net-zero carbon footprint!  With exceptional balance from a naturally low, “sweet spot” mineral content and an uncommonly high and naturally occurring alkaline pH level of 8.4, Icelandic Glacial provides a clean fresh taste with the perfect healthy balance for the body".

____________________

 CHRISTIE'S TOP LOT: At the October 24, 2015 auction in New York, the top lot for the sale was Pétrus 1961, Pomerol, cru exceptionnel, 3 magnums per lot, which realized $67,375.00

____________________

NEW RELEASES (quotes are winemakers' comments, price varies store to store)

____________________

SANTA CRISTINA has three new releaases for your holiday celebrations.

1.    Santa Cristina 2013 Chianti Classico DOCG Superiore $16: Red fruit, spice and vanilla drive this supple and textured wine that pairs well with duck and mushroom dishes or get creative and serve up a Tuscan twist on the hamburger.

2.  Santa Cristina 2013 Le Maestrelle Toscana IGT $16: Chocolate, mint and intense red fruit combine with full-bodied, round tannins to accompany savory mushroom soup, herb and ricotta gnocchi or Ossobucco. Suggested Retail Price: $16

3.   Santa Cristina 2014 Bianco Umbria IGT $12: Balanced integration of floral and fruit notes make this bright, supple and savory wine of Grechetto and Procanico the perfect one to transition from fresh summer to sumptuous fall fare. Try Tagliatelle with fall vegetables, garlic and peppers

____________________

RODNEY STRONG 2013 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $28: "A powerful Cabernet from the hillsides of Alexander Valley, this wine is lush with blackberries, dark plum and dark chocolate. The notes of dried herbs, black pepper and minerality refl ect the terroir of the Alexander Valley. The soft, supple and mature tannins give this wine a strong backbone, while the 18 months of barrel aging have softened the wine enough to enjoy now. Pair this wine with braised short ribs, lamb shanks, beef ravioli or cellar for enjoyment over the next four to six years. 2013 was the kind of growing season that most would wish we could have every year: a dry, frost-free spring, a warm summer without heat spikes, and a warm rain free autumn that allowed for picking the grapes perfectly mature. Warm days with cool evenings prevailed in September which kept sugar accumulation at an even pace and left acidity in the fruit. We harvested the Cabernet Sauvignon to make this wine from September 16th through October 11th under ideal conditions.

RODNEY STRONG 2013 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $35: With this first bottling of Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, RODNEY STRONG ventures into a neighboring AVA.  I recommend you taste them side-by-by for an astute comparison.  "This deeply colored Cabernet is bursting with aromas of spicy dark plum and crushed blackberries with a hint of blueberry. The complex layers of spice and chocolate on the palate are framed in rich, velvety tannins with a long lingering finish. Enjoy this Cabernet now with grilled rib eye steak, a burger with gruyère cheese and sautéed mushrooms or cellar it to enjoy over the next 3 to 5 years..

____________________

DRY CREEK VALLEY, home to DRY CREEK WINERY, is located approximately 70 miles north of San Francisco Bay and 20 miles from the Pacific Ocean, lies the Dry Creek Valley. Without a doubt, our region combines the best of cool climate influences and warm California sunshine – the perfect climate for grape growing. It has been said that our region most closely mirrors the climate of Bordeaux – a comparison of little known fact.  Often sunnier and warmer up valley and cooler toward the Russian River, the daily heating and cooling cycles provide us grapes that are jammy, rich and ripe with a crisp, fruity and balanced finish. Bordeaux varietal wines, in particular, flourish in the Dry Creek Valley.  Yet another key influence is the soil. Dating back over 3 million years, the Dry Creek Valley is a product of uplifting and folding of Pacific tectonic plates, exposing old marine material. The patchwork quilt of soils and varied growing conditions create an environment that is unlike any other in California. The Bordeaux varietals, grown primarily on the Western slopes of the valley provide us with grapes that are small and intensely flavored. Without a doubt, our region is under the radar – a hidden gem just waiting to be found!

DRY CREEK VINEYARD 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley $25: "The 2012 vintage is a true standout. The even ripening conditions and near perfect sugar acid balance in the grapes was a winemaker’s dream. The Bordeaux varietals flourished unlike any vintage in recent memory. This impeccable wine displays wonderful aromatics of cherry, black currant and black olive notes. Additional airing reveals dried floral, allspice and hints of  nutmeg and juniper. The palate is full-bodied and fleshy with excellent tannin and structure. The wine is silky and smooth with superb balance - something we work tirelessly to achieve. The finish lingers on showing great texture and charm.

DRY CREEK VINEYARD 2012 The Mariner Dry Creek Valley $45: "This vintage of Mariner captures the incredible growing conditions we were afforded in the 2012 vintage. The grapes for this blend come from several of our most prized estate and hillside vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley. At first swirl, the wine displays high-toned perfume aromas of rose petal, cranberry, blueberry and oregano. Several more minutes reveal hints of wild sage, allspice and dark cherry characters. The palate is full and rich with mouthfilling complexity carrying notes of espresso, sweet vanilla, anise and dark fruit tones. The tannins are smooth and supple providing balance and sophistication. Charming and polished from start to finish, this is a wine that will age beautifully for years to come."

____________________

BESIEGED 2014 Sonoma County Red Wine, a blend of Old Vine Heritage Varietals $22: This blended wine combines Petite Sirah, Carignane, Zinfandel, Syrah, Alicante Bouschet, and Barbera.  It is dark, rich, full flavors ignite your senses with blackberry, black cherry, and baking spices, resolving into a delicious, smooth, satisfying finish. Full bodied with firm, but fine, tannins.  Primarily sourced from premium Sonoma County vineyards in:

Alexander Valley: Warm with gravelly soils
Dry Creek Valley: Stone-strewn soils with one of the longest winegrowing histories in California
Sonoma Valley: Cooled by north-south winds, a rarity in North Coast growing regions
Russian River Valley: Only a few miles from the Pacific, fog can drop temperatures 35-40 degrees in the evening
Knights Valley: Remote vineyards embraced by Mount St. Helena
Sonoma Mountain: High-altitude, steep-sloped vineyards with well-drained soil

 

 

© 2015 Sarah Jane English

Sarah Jane: sarahjaneenglish@sbcglobal.net

Webmaster:Texas Computer Technologies