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.
We recommend using Caspar Estate Extra Virgin Olive Oil
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!
About Karista Bennett:
Chef, Food Writer & Author | Girl Mama and Cattle Dog Wrangler | Creating fresh ingredient recipes
"I’ve always had a poetic view of food. Hunger-enticing aromas swirling about my place at the table and causing a most soul-filled joy. With the first bite, I pause, relishing the beauty of the flavors dancing on my tongue. Food is the element that brings us to the table, where life is lived and memories are made. " Karista Bennett
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!
Harvest came to our gorgeous sauvignon blanc vineyard at Caspar Estate on August 21st, 2020. As is usual, the fruit was hand-picked in the cool, early-morning hours, then quickly transported to Fayard Winemaking on the south end of Napa Valley, where our delicate fruit continued a journey that started nearly a hundred and forty years ago.
It was back in the 1880's when Charles Wetmore, founder of Cresta Blanca Winery, brought the first Sauvignon Blanc vines to California from the Sauternes vineyards of Château d'Yquem. Though they were initially planted in the Livermore Valley, the new vintners of Napa quickly got their hands on the new vines, knowing that the soil and climate in their valley closely matched the conditions in Bordeaux, France. The Sauvignon Blanc vines at Caspar Estate - distant relatives of these first immigrants - have their "roots" in this Old World tradition.
Another way that we pay homage to the Old World ways is the method we use when our grapes first arrive at our winemaking facility. Under the supervision of winemaker Julien Fayard - himself a first-generation French immigrant - the grapes are sorted in whole clusters and sent directly to the press. This year, we picked 4.9 tons of grapes: a small number indeed, since we only plant one acre of sauvignon blanc on our estate.
The press only holds room for about four tons of grapes, so we fill the press, do a quick run, then fit the remaining grapes into the press. This extra "press" also extracts just the right amount of tannin from the skins - not enough to become part of the flavor profile, but enough to give the acid just a little kick, making the Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc an excellent complement to shellfish and light pastas.
"This wine practically makes itself," says Fayard. "By closely tending to the vines throughout the growing season, we know that the fruit is going to be gorgeous when we harvest it. Beautiful wines depend on beautiful fruit."
Originally from Provence, Julien Fayard is one of Napa Valley’s most respected winemakers, with a knack for producing California varietals with French finesse. Formerly of Chateau Lafite Rothschild, he brings two decades of winemaking expertise Caspar Estate's Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. Fayard believes that the character of our Sauvignon Blanc, like the fruit grown in Bordeaux, is a result of terroir. "The citrus qualities come from the unique soils of our Estate, from its position above the Rutherford Bench. You cannot manufacture this. This is pure fruit expression."
Once the juice is pressed, it's placed in stainless steel tanks for its primary fermentation. Later, the wine will be transferred to French oak barrels, which gives the wine even more complex flavors. "We use oak to draw flavors out of the wine, not to draw flavors out of the oak," says Fayard. More than anything, our oak treatment is designed to give the wine a round, balanced mouthfeel and a lush but clean finish.
2020 is shaping up to be another excellent vintage in Napa, with a cooler than normal summer despite the heat wave that hit right before the harvest. Our 2019 Caspar Estate Sauvignon Blanc - only our second bottling of this limited-availability wine - was released this month to rave reviews. If you'd like to be among the few who are allocated the 2020 vintage in early spring of next year, sign up on our Allocation List and we'll let you know how.
Southern California friends,
Please join us at the Fall Wine Walk to support the Environmental Nature Center. Richard Phoenix will be pouring for Caspar Estate 2018 Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.
Online event registration and ticketing powered by Event Espresso
November 2, 2019
4:00 pm - 7:00 pm
Join us for a fabulous afternoon of wine tasting, while helping to raise funds for environmental education in our community. Walk the trails and stop at 9 stations to taste wines from 9 different (mostly) California Wineries. Enjoy small bites. Bid on fabulous silent auction prizes. End your walk on the patio and enjoy sweets and Kean coffee by the fire.
You can purchase wines that evening for the holidays and a percentage of wine sales will help support environmental education at the ENC!
$125/per person or $200 per couple.
100% of ticket sales will support environmental education at the ENC!
Winery representatives from the below wineries will be here to pour for you….
1. Abigail Adams Wines adirose.com
2. Caspar Estate casparestate.com
3. Cavus Vineyards cavusvineyards.com
4.Cultivar Wine cultivarwine.com
5.Crown Point crownpointvineyards.com
6. Gentleman Farmer gentlemanfarmerwines.com
7. Pedras pedraswine.com
8. Vintage Imports casadevalor.com
9. Maze Winery
ENVIRONMENTAL NATURE CENTER, 2016 | 1601 E. 16th Street, Newport Beach, CA | 949-645-8489
On March 5th, Cultivar Wine proudly partnered with San Francisco Magazine and Saks Fifth Avenue for the Saks Fifth Avenue Men of Style event. VIP guests enjoyed our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc that we donated
while enjoying passed appetizers and waiting in suspense as to who would be the 2015 Man of Style and which charity would receive a $5,000 donation.
San Francisco Magazine readers and fans of Saks Fifth Avenue and Cultivar Wine had a tough job, choosing between the 2015 Men of Style nominees:
All nominees were well deserving, but there could be just one 2015 Men of Style winner.
Congratulations Geoffrey De Sousa and Ronald McDonald House at Stanford! Not only did Ronald McDonald House receive the $5,000 award, but Geoffrey generously matched the award with a $5,000 donation of his own.
Photography Credits: The third and fifth photos were taken by Rachel Bussières for Drew Altizer Photography and used with permission. The other photos were taken by Cultivar.
TheFiftyBest.com is an award-winning online guide to fine living, featuring rated listings from unbiased surveys and proprietary tastings judged by wine/spirits journalists, wine/spirits professionals, sommeliers, retailers, restaurateurs, and connoisseurs.
For this tasting of recent release California Sauvignon Blancs, they assembled a pre-qualified panel of judges. Judges blind-tasted the wines and rated them individually on a 1-5 point scoring system, with 5 being the best. After tallying the scores, The Fifty Best awarded medals based on the judges' impressions.
2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc Tasting Notes
We crafted our 2013 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc to be approachable and the perfect treat after a hard day. The grapes we selected for our 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and Musque clone come from three vineyards, two in St. Helena and one in Napa. This mix of grapes creates a crisp, refreshing wine with peach and nectarine on the tongue with just a hint of the grassy notes Sauvignon Blanc is famous for.
Individual bottles are $20 (Case Price $204 / Cultivar Wine Club $192). Cultivar Wine Club members enjoy 20% off. If you're not yet in our club, learn more about the benefits of membership.
Order your Sauvignon Blanc now.
Wondering what to pair Sauvignon Blanc with? Check out our tips for crafting the perfect seasonal cheese, salami, and apple platter. Sauvignon Blanc also pairs beautifully with turkey and sweet potatoes and would make a great addition to your Thanksgiving celebration.
To ensure your wine arrives in time for Thanksgiving, place your order no later than Friday, November 14.
The secret to a perfect pairing is balance, not just of flavors, but of texture and acid as well. For a perfect cheese and salami platter to serve with your Cultivar Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc, you’re looking for some creaminess and just a hint of sweetness or spice. You want to select foods that will complement or amplify the notes in your wine and not overpower it.
Because Sauvignon Blanc has grassy notes, it’s a great wine to pair with goat’s and sheep’s milk cheeses. Cow’s milk cheeses are trickier to pair with Sauvignon Blanc as they are fairly acidic. You want to select a mix of unaged cheeses with light flavor, such as Idiazabal Raw Sheep Milk Cheese, Petite Basque Sheep’s Milk Cheese, and Goat Milk Cheddar Cheese.
For that hint of sweetness, choose in season apples that are a little more tart and have a bit of crunch, like Fuji or Gold Rush. Chili-dusted candied pecans are also delicious, delivering both sweetness and spice.
Similar to cow’s milk cheeses, salami can be challenging to pair with Sauvignon Blanc. Look for meats that are lower in salt and milder in flavor, such as Olli Organic Norcino Salami or have a little kick, such as Fra Mani Salametto Piccante.
What better way to spend a Saturday than being surrounded by our wine club members and friends enjoying delicious food and drinking fabulous Cultivar wines? And a couple of Saturdays ago, that's exactly what we did!
After a quick headcount, we left overcast San Francisco in search of the sun, which we found just on the north side of the Rainbow Tunnel in Marin County. While on the bus, guests enjoyed our 2013 Cultivar Napa Valley Rose (currently sold out in bottles, but still available in kegs).
At Balboa Cafe, situated in downtown historic Mill Valley, we introduced our September 2014 wine club selections. There on the outside patio while sampling our wines, we enjoyed light bites styled by executive chef, Rick Edge, and live music by Tom Rhodes.
The light bites provided by PlumpJack Catering that we enjoyed were:
To learn more about the pairings, some classic and some others daring, check out our Food Pairings for Our September 2014 Wine Club Selections where we break the matches down for you.
Be sure to check out our Facebook page for more photos from the event. Also, if you'd like to hear about further upcoming events in San Francisco and Wine Country, be sure to like our page. In addition to news about events, you'll get behind the scenes peeks into how we make our wines along with recipes and pairing tips for entertaining in your home.
For those of you who made it to our ‘Cultivar Wine Club & Friends’ happy hour event last week, I’m sure you can agree that it was a fun evening of wine, food and great conversation. More photos from the Mikkeller Bar are below, along with what we served to pair with our wines on tap. See which wines worked with certain menu items and why!
Even if you didn’t make it, you can still grab a bottle of your favorite Cultivar wine and test out your own food and wine pairings. You never know what perfect pairing you might find. And be sure to look out for details on our next event later this week on the blog.
Endive Cups with pine nuts, blue cheese and apples
Salt Cod Croquets with dill, parsley and lemon garnish
Why it worked: Sauv Blanc is a light-to-medium bodied white with green and citrusy notes. A natural pairing for salads, herbs (like dill and parsley) as well as lemony flavors, it also goes well with oily foods (like the herb/oil marinated olives). Yum!
2013 Rosé -
Salt Cod Croquets with dill, parsley and lemon garnish
Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon with Smoky BBQ
Why it worked: Rosé is one of those awesome wines that work with a lot of foods. Ours is crisp, minerally and delicate enough to pair with light foods yet big enough in body to withstand bolder foods like bacon and fried food. A tiny hint of sweetness helps cut through the smoky flavors of the bacon and bbq sauce as well as the saltiness of the cod.
Lil’ Smokies wrapped in bacon with Smoky BBQ
Why it worked: Cab Franc and pork work well together, because both are more medium in weight (as opposed to a hefty Cab paired with a giant steak). Our 2012 Cab Franc has notes of pepper, tobacco and spice, which complemented the smoked, spicy flavors of the Lil’ Smokies.
Pork & Garlic sausage in puff pastry
Why it worked: Full-bodied and big on tannins, Cabernet can withstand bigger, fattier meats and sausages. The rich pastry and garlic-y pork sausage seemed to pair nicely with our rich and structured Cabernet. With wines big on tannins, it’s best to avoid spicy foods - so the Lil’ Smokies would work with the Cab if you omitted the spicy BBQ sauce.
You've heard of beer in kegs, but have you heard of the newer trend of wine in kegs? Wines on tap seem to be popping up in wine bars all over the nation, but is this a trend that will last? I bet so. Cultivar has actually been producing several varietals in kegs since its start, as the wines were originally targeted for by-the-glass programs in restaurants and bars. A keg of wine actually holds 26 ½ bottles - more than two cases! - think of how many bottles of wine are saved right there. And, since the kegs are reusable, they’re cost effective and ‘green,’ creating less waste. Just like wineries are tending to gravitate toward screw caps to eliminate cork taint or oxidation, kegs preserve the wine, allowing consumers to get a better glass of wine at a restaurant every time (no 3 day old opened bottle for you!).
Of course, making wine for a steel keg will change the way a wine is made in most cases. Wine on tap is designed to be consumed within roughly 90 days of being ‘packaged,’ so the winemaker may produce the wine with more fruit-forward characteristics and less structure (aka less tannins since the wines will not be aged).
So which wines can you find of Cultivar’s on tap? The 2013 Rosé, 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, the 2011 and 2012 Napa Cabernet! I recently enjoyed the Sauv Blanc on tap at a wine bar in Southern California… refreshing and perfect for summer!
Don’t you think it’s time to forget the beers on tap and head straight for a freshly poured glass of wine? I'm in! Cheers.
Find Cultivar near you by clicking here.