Are you starting off 2021 with a resolution to eat healthier? One terrific way to start building healthy habits into your weekly regimine is to practice Meatless Monday. Meatless Monday is a global movement that encourages people to reduce meat in their diet, not only for their health but for the health of the planet. The campaign was started in 2003 by Sid Lerner, the Founder of The Monday Campaigns, in association with the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future.
Foregoing meat one day a week doesn't have to mean dull dinners with a side order of deprevation. And most importantly, it doesn't mean you have to go without the wine (unless you're doing Dry January, and after the events of last year, believe me, we're not). To prove the point, we turned to our good friend, food writer Karista Bennett. She's the chef behind the wildly-popular food blog and the author of The Oregon Farm Table Cookbook: 101 Homegrown Recipes From The Pacific Wonderland.
"Meat doesn't have to be the center of every meal," Karista told us. "There are so many amazing flavors and textures to explore, and so many delicious ways to eat healthier!"
Karista shared with us three of her favorite meatless recipes from her new cookbook, and it's our pleasure to present them to you, paired with three of the most delicious varietals Cultivar Wine has to offer:
In a soup pot over low heat, add the chicken broth, fresh thyme, bay leaf and parmesan cheese rind. Heat the broth to a very slow simmer.
Prepare the mushrooms. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the 2 tablespoons of olive oil. When the oil is hot add the mushrooms and sauté until slightly browned and a little crispy. Then stir in the minced garlic, fresh chopped herbs and squeeze of lemon. Take the skillet off the heat and season lightly with a bit of salt and pepper. Reserve.
In a Dutch oven or large pot over medium heat add 2 tablespoons of olive oil or butter. Then stir in the diced onion and cook until slightly wilted. Stir in the garlic and rice and cook for 1-2 minutes longer.
Add the wine and stir until the wine is almost absorbed. Next stir in about 1 cup of the simmering chicken broth (don’t add the herbs or parmesan) and continue to stir constantly until the liquid is almost absorbed.
Continue to repeat this process with ½ cup of broth at a time, stirring consistently and allowing each addition of broth to be absorbed before adding the next ½ cup. This process should take about 20-30 minutes or until the rice is almost tender, al dente.
When the risotto is done, take it off the heat and stir in the grated parmesan cheese, 2 tablespoons butter and lemon zest. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Divide the risotto into four bowls and top each bowl with the crispy mushrooms and herbs. Serve immediately.
Pair it with: 2018 Cultivar Wine Chardonnay, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley.
Sprinkled with notes of ginger, toast, honey, and butter-baked apples, this Chardonnay with the rich, cheesy texture of the risotto.
Serves 6-8 as an appetizer or 4 as an entrée
Preheat the oven to 425F.
Whisk together the ricotta, lemon zest, fresh thyme leaves, garlic and parmesan. Season with salt and pepper. Reserve.
Trim the root ends of the leeks but be sure not to cut the ends completely off as we want the leeks to stay together during cooking. Then trim the leeks just at the point where the leeks turn to pale green. Slice each leek in half lengthwise.
Heat a skillet with 2 tablespoons of butter and 1 tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Just as the butter melts and the butter/oil mixture is hot, add the leeks cut side down. Place a lid over the skillet, turning the heat to medium low if needed and cook for about 2-3 minutes. With tongs, gently turn the leeks once and let them cook another 2-3 minutes until soft and wilted.
Take the pan off the heat and reserve. Next, line a baking sheet with parchment and brush the parchment with a little oil. Unfold the puff pastry and place it on the parchment. Roll it out just a bit, to smooth out the seams, but not too much as puff pastry needs to be ¼” to 1/3” thick to puff. Pierce the puff pastry with a fork several times in all corners and the middle of the pastry.
Spread the ricotta evenly over the pastry, leaving a one-inch border on all sides. Place the butter braised leeks evenly over the ricotta.
Whisk together the egg and cold water to make an egg wash. Brush the edges of the pastry with the egg wash and then place the baking pan in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the pastry is golden brown.
Remove the pastry from the oven and let it cool slightly before slicing.
Garnish with a handful of lemon juice and olive oil dressed pea shoots, watercress, arugula, carrot swirls or edible flowers. Serve warm.
Pair it with: The 2019 Cultivar Wine Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley.
Leeks, puff pastry and ricotta call for a wine with a bright acid to bring out the flavors and clear the pallate. With its notes of citrus fruit and melon, our Sauvignon Blanc make the perfect accompanyment to this delicious, savory tart.
Got a Meatless Monday recipe you love? Share it with us on our Facebook page!
We are full of enthusiasm and excitement for 2021! Our plan is to kick off New Years Day with the first epic brunch of the year. To start the day, we'll take a brisk walk in the morning to get motivated and think about what the perfect kickoff brunch of 2021 will look like!
At Cultivar SF, our San Francisco restaurant, we're big fans of brunch, so we'd love to share with you some of our favorite dishes to help get your creative juices flowing. As the name suggests, brunch is like a combination of breakfast and lunch, using a mixture of ingredients we traditionally associate with one or the other. We look at brunch as a combination of light & heavy and sweet & savory. It doesn't have to be super fancy: a Farmers Market Omelette and Applewood-Smoked Bacon with Challuah French Toast is the perfect example of something simple you can make at home.
But wait - every good brunch starts with Bellinis or mimosas! We love a delicious, seasonal Pomegranate Mimosa like the one pictured above, but we think our new Sparkling Wine makes an amazing Pear Mimosa. Just add 3/4-cup pear nectar to 1 bottle Cultivar Wine's Blanc de Noirs Sparkling Wine and you have a slightly-sweet, delicious spin on the mimosa. And who can say no to the classic Peach Bellini? We like to make a peach puree by scratch simply peel & pit your peaches, toss them in a blender and blend until smooth (at this time of year you can use frozen peach slices) and add the chilled puree to our Sparkling Wine.
Here's another example of how simple can blend with imaginative. A classic plate of Fried Eggs, Bacon and Rustic Bread paired with Polenta, Poached Egg and Shrimp. And if you're looking for a brunch entree that warm you up and fill you up at the same time, try a Croque Madame or Huevos Rancheros. Pair that with a bottle of 2019 Cultivar Wine Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, and you're on your way to one happy 2021!
Pasta is also a perfect dish for brunch. It's filling, it's easy and above all, it's versatile. Try a simple angel hair tossed with roma tomatoes, Caspar Estate Olive Oil, basil, capers and top it with shaved Parmesean cheese. If you're feeling more daring, try something like this Wild Mushroom Raviloi we created at Cultivar SF. Pasta is also a perfect dish to serve for your friends who love a lighter red wine, like our Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir or even our Oak Knoll Cabernet Franc.
And don't forget the salad! Salads can even be the main course in a brunch. We think a great salad should be inspired by the seasonal fruits and vegetables available in your area. One of our favorites is this Pomegranate and Persimmon Salad with Avocado and Bleu Cheese. Mix greens, goat cheese, candied walnuts and champagne vinagrette. Candied walnuts give it an added touch of sweetness, and our 2018 Cultivar Oak Knoll Chardonnay compliments all the flavors at once.
We'd like to wish everyone a safe and happy 2021, and we hope that the New Year brings you fun, travel and more days spent with the ones you love!
The Holiday Season calls for sparkling wine! Whether it’s a French Champagne, an Italian Prosecco or a delicious Napa Valley Sparkling Wine, bubbles are the go-to pour for parties, dinners and the big toast on New Year’s Eve.
As a small, sibling-owned winery, Cultivar Wine cherishes the times when our family can be together, and we’ve been proud to have our wines be a part of Holiday celebrations. That’s why it only made sense that we create a sparkling wine for the holidays. The Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs, Coombsville, Napa Valley, is now available in our online store in time for your celebrations!
To create our very first sparkling wine, we sourced pinot noir from vines planted in the early 1960’s in Coombsville, a beautiful sub-appellation on the southern tip of Napa cooled by the San Pablo Bay. We crafted this sparkling wine from 100% pinot noir using traditional champagne production methods. It was aged on yeast for two years and then spent another year aging in the bottle.
The result? A delightful, fine-bubbled sparkler that embraces its pinot noir heritage. The woodsy notes of earth, mushroom and fresh baked bread mingle with subtle tones of rosemary, maple and elderberry to create a wine with distinct character. We believe this makes our sparkling wine not only perfect for parties, toasts and celebrations, but to pair with your Holiday entrees as well.
In fact, a great sparkling wine may be the most versatile wine for the Holidays. Hearty, winter dishes call for a wine with enough brightness and acid to cleanse the palate, yet be light enough to enjoy through the whole meal and the whole evening. Sparkling wine is perfect for this, and makes a great accompaniment to turkey, chicken and crab (it’s crab season!) along with a wide assortment of side dishes.
And don’t forget, sparkling wine can be the foundation of some amazing and delicious Holiday cocktails! After our team tasted our new Blanc de Noirs, we decided that these four cocktails would be perfect with our new sparkling wine:
This fun take on the classic Mimosa is a perfect complement to the earthy notes of our Blanc de Noirs:
• 4 oz. Cultivar Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine
• 2 oz. all-natural apple cider
• 1 oz. cinnamon whiskey
• 1 slice of apple, for garnish
Mix cider and cinnamon whiskey in a champagne flute. Top with Cultivar Blanc de Noirs, then stir lightly until incorporated. Garnish with an apple slice.
Sweet & savory mingle with this one, and it’s perfect with our Caspar Estate Wildflower Honey.
• 2 oz. golden rum
• 1/2 oz. lime juice
• 1 tsp. Caspar Estate honey
• 5 oz. Cultivar Blanc de Noirs sparkling wine
Mix rum, lime juice, and honey thoroughly with cracked ice in a chilled cocktail shaker, then pour unstrained into a Collins glass. Fill with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs.
Rosemary simple syrup brings out the woodsy & herbaceous notes of the pinot noir grapes in this delicious recipe.
• 1 tbl. Rosemary Simple Syrup
• 3 oz. gin
• 3 oz. grapefruit juice
Make the simple syrup by combining ½ cup sugar, ½ cup water and a small bunch or rosemary in a saucepan over medium heat. Stir until sugar dissolves and then let cool. Combine a tablespoon of syrup, the gin and grapefruit juice and stir. Top with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs and garnish with a rosemary sprig.
Cognac, Grand Marnier and Cultivar Blanc de Noirs? Now that’s a Holiday cocktail!
• 1/2 oz. cognac
• 1 tsp. Grand Marnier
• 4 oz. sparkling wine
Pour cognac (or another brandy) and Grand Marnier into a champagne flute. Top up with Cultivar Wine Blanc de Noirs.
However you choose to celebrate, we’re hope you’re able to do so with family, friends and loved ones, and that your New Year is happy, safe and joyous. Cheers!
Photo credits, by order: Bob McClenahan, Quinten Rude, Nora Schlesinger, ioan-f.
Holiday gatherings this year are going to be a little different especially depending on where you live. We’re in San Francisco, and since March 2020 we’ve been sheltering in place. With a vaccine for COVID-19 still under development, we’ll be celebrating Chanukah with just our immediate family. And we’ll be enjoying a mouthwatering brisket that’s perfectly sized for our family of 3.
There are tons of recipes for entertaining hordes on the Internet. Few explain how one might make a brisket for themselves and their partner. This recipe is for an intimate Chanukah dinner—a couple, two roommates, a parent and a teen, a parent and two littles.
This recipe is the result of years of research, experimentation, and troubleshooting. So, rather than simply modifying another recipe - a hit or miss proposition at best - give this stress-free recipe a try.
Four Tips for a Mouthwatering Brisket
I’ve found there are four things that increase your odds of serving a mouthwatering meal your family will reminisce fondly about for years to come...and none of them involve browning your brisket before tossing it into the slow cooker. Browning your brisket won’t save your meal if you make one of the following rookie errors:
1. Don’t even proceed with this recipe if your well-meaning butcher trims the fat off your brisket. (It won’t work so don’t even try it; make a lovey beef stew instead.
2. If you can’t find brisket, don’t blindly toss a different cut of meat into your slow cooker. Brisket is the toughest of cuts, so the length of time in the slow cooker is too long for other more expensive cuts like Prime Rib.
3. Cooking on HIGH for half the time will not save you from poor time management skills or lack of planning. Wake up early if you want to eat it the same day you make it; start it the night before to rest when you rise and finish in the oven later; or just make it the day before, let it rest overnight, and finish in the morning.
4. Make sure you have the same size brisket as the recipe. Your liquid-to-meat ratio as well as cooking time won’t be the same if you’re using more or less than 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds of beef brisket. Also, you need one cut that’s 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pounds. If your portion is less than a pound, chop up and make beef stew.
And now...the recipe!
The Ultimate Brisket
This slow cooker recipe doesn’t require you to use your oven or stovetop. You’ll chop your vegetables and toss them, the brisket, and sauces into your slow cooker and basically forget it for a few hours.
Note: Because you’ll flip the brisket halfway through the cooking process, this isn’t a good recipe to start before you go to bed. If you’re planning on eating Chanukah dinner earlier in the day, you can leave it to cook overnight, just flip the brisket in the morning and cook on slow for an additional hour.
Before you start assembling ingredients, we need to chat about cooking with wine. To save money you may be tempted to select a bottle of “cooking wine” from your grocery aisle. Don’t do that. My cousin, a chef, chastised me for doing this years ago. “If you wouldn’t drink a wine, you shouldn’t cook with it.”
Now, this doesn’t mean if you’re serving an expensive bottle that you need to use it for cooking. He recommends choosing the same varietal of wine or in a pinch same color. We enjoyed our brisket with 2016 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Leaky Lake Vineyard ($98) and added Merlot to our brisket in the slow cooker.
Ingredients (Serves 2):
3 yellow gold potatoes, quartered
A bunch of baby carrots, cut in thirds
1 1/4 to 1 1/2 pound beef brisket, flat cut
2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
1 Tablespoon soy or tamari sauce
1 1/2 cups beef or mushroom broth
1/2 cup Merlot, Pinot Noir, or Cabernet Sauvignon (if you don’t have wine, substitute with broth)
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 large yellow or red onion, sliced in half moons
1/2 pound mushrooms, sliced
Instructions (cooking time: 8-9 hours)
Red wine lovers will rejoice when you bring out this brisket. Because of the subtle flavors in this dish, you can easily serve it with Pinot Noir, a well-balanced Cabernet Sauvignon, or even a Merlot.
Which of the three reds you pair your Chanukah brisket with will come down to personal tastes (and your side dishes). For me, mashed potatoes with mushroom gravy screams Pinot Noir. My husband is partial to Cabernets with beef, so I swapped the mashed potatoes with latkes and delicata squash. We chose the 2016 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Leaky Lake Vineyard over the 2018 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County to avoid having tannins overwhelm the apple sauce and squash. Don’t fret: the 2018 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County had its moment in the spotlight when we served our Vegetarian Harvest meal (coming to the blog soon).
Eden Hensley Silverstein is a third-generation Californian, who has been feeding her family, friends, and soon-to-be friends around her kitchen table since she was in third grade. Along with her husband, 8.5 year old daughter, and Maine Coon/Ragamuffin rescue cat, she makes 849 sq ft a welcoming home in The Mission. They share recipes and misadventures on The Road to the Good Life.
Golf Classic to Benefit The Culinary Institute of America
Thomas Keller’s culinary career is an inspiration to all culinary students. Thomas's passion for food and mentorship is matched only by his enthusiasm for golf. The CIA created the Thomas Keller Golf Classic to Benefit The Culinary Institute of America, a fun-filled event in the Napa Valley to raise scholarship funds for CIA students.
The one-day event kicks off on Monday morning with the golf outing at Silverado Resort and Spa, in a scramble format with a shotgun start, followed by dinner reservations at The Grove at The CIA at Copia. Last year’s event was a tremendous success. Festive and fun—with a healthy dose of friendly competition thrown in—the two days raised over $500,000 in student scholarships!
This year the tournament was moved to November 9th due to Covid. It was a beautiful fall day, sunny and warm. When we caught up with the golfers everyone was in great spirits, lots of laughs all around.
Chef Thomas Keller with Caspar Estate's new gift box and Deborah Evans. Inside our Caspar Estate gift box is our Caspar Estate 2019 Sauvignon Blanc, Olive Oil and Honey, a perfect gift for all occasions. Want to see inside this Caspar Estate gift box?
This is the 3rd year that Caspar Estate has partnered with Thomas Keller and Silverado Resort. We are proud to give this gift to the golf players as they are raising money and supporting the students at the CIA.
Deborah, Gingy and Dr. Ryan from the Culinary Institute of America, Austin. Richard Phoenix and Byron of Cultivar Wine and Caspar Estate were among the players.
Dianne Jones and Deborah Evans went out on the course after the golfers came in. Clearly a good time was had by all!
This is the first Merlot we've created since the 2012 vintage, but we felt that the fruit was so gorgeous this vintage that we couldn't pass it up. Merlot, one of the six Noble Grapes and one of the five Bordeaux varietals, is known for it's lucious character of red fruits, its easy tannins and soft finish. At Cultivar, we think these "easy drinking" qualities make Merlot one of the best wines to pair with a wide variety of dishes.
So, we caught up with our own Chef David and Nick Barker of Cultivar SF to ask them about the dishes they think our Merlot would compliment the best.
You may not think at first that an Autumn Salad would pair with Merlot, but we love the combination. Featuring spinach, Granny Smith apples, Bosc pears, Cultivar bacon, pepitas, dried cranberries, and golden balsamic dressing, it's a perfect combination of sweet and savory.
Our Ricotta Dip is another suprising choice: Caspar Estate Vegetables, peccorino romano, and melted mozzarella & ricotta give this dish a gooey decadence that punctuates the bright acids in our merlot. Chef David comments that the earthiness of the chanterelle mushrooms and the spinach pair make it a natural for Merlot. Nick loves this hearty, warm, winter dish and that it balances the medium body of merlot with a touch of fruit.
Chicken Mole? Yes, please! Chicken, homemade mole, polenta, cilantro cream, micro oregano and cotija cheese create an explosion of flavors. Our Napa Valley Merlot refreshes the pallate and brings alll the incredible flavors to the fore. Chef David particularly likes the spices of the mole with the Napa Valley Merlot.
Come in to Cultivar SF on Sunday, November 15th to celebrate the public release of the Napa Valley Merlot and taste these pairings for yourself. When you order a glass of our 2017 Merlot you will receive a surprise paired bite.
Fall has to be one of our most favorite seasons here at Cultivar Wine. Not only does the Fall mean that harvest is coming, but that the Holidays are just around the corner...and with them, new wines created specifically to pair with food.
This Fall is no exception, as we have recently released two wines that are not only begging to be paired with your favorite dishes, but come from regions known to be home to some of the best wines on Earth. We specifically picked these areas to source wines for our Fall wine releases, knowing that we'd be able to create something really special.
The 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley, is something special indeed. One glance at the deep red wine in your glass and you know you’re sipping the very best Napa has to offer. Bold tones of tobacco, mocha, black currant jam, and cardamom hit the nose, while the palate explodes with layers of new oak, peat, salted caramel, cedar, nutmeg and juicy purple fruits. Complexity rules the finish here, with simultaneous waves of cappuccino, Lemon rind and leather carried on waves of youthful tannins. This wine begs you to order a lamb burger with blue cheese or rib eye Philadelphia Style if you’ve got the nerve. We paired it here with mission figs, we grow fig trees at Caspar Estate and they have always been a favorite for us, add goat cheese, and enjoy! Photo credit Eric Zepeda Studio.
St. Helena is a smaller - and quite varried - sub-appellation in Napa Valley. Its vineyards stretch from the valley floor up to the foothills of the Mayacamas Mountain Range, providing for growing conditions that can encompass warm and cool regions simultaneously. The soil is a mixture of extremes: ancient riverbed and volcanic rock, a uniqueness that's apparent in every wine that comes from this northern Napa Valley gem. We hand-crafted less than 75 cases of our St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon, and after our Wine Club received their allocation, only a few dozen cases remain.
Our second release for Fall 2020 is one of our most exciting: the 2019 Cultivar Wine Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. Our first-ever pinot from the cool, Burgundy-like slopes of the Santa Lucia Highlands is a beauty and a wonder. With notes of plums, black licorice, fennel and hints of earthiness, one quickly discovers this will be a rich, lush, creamy pinot noir. Dark fruit layers give way to tomato pureé and vegetal tones with a playful herbaceous quality. On the finish, the pure balance gives clues to a subtle oak treatment, revealing caramel, root beer and the promise of even more complexity with age. Grab a bottle along with some herbed goat cheese, fig crostini and blueberries. A very versatile wine, pair it with meats with tomatoes and potatoes cooked in a Finex cast iron skillet. We even love a delicate pinot like this to accompany Thanksgiving turkey.
The Santa Lucia Highlands wine growing region in western Monterey County achieved formal American Viticulture Appellation recognition in 1991. Since then, it has emerged as one of the premiere cool-climate growing regions for pinto noir on the west coast. The small but mighty appellation is home to multi-generation farmers and revered winemakers who craft award-wining and highly-acclaimed wines.
Want to try our new releases? Click here and see for yourself why terroir makes all the difference in Cultivar Wine.