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.
Food & Wine For The Holidays: Our Best Red Meat & Red Wine Pairings
It’s a pairing as traditional as the Holidays: red meat and red wine. During the season, this classic combination is celebrated as friends and family gather to create feasts from time-honored family recipes: traditional dishes like Standing Rib Roast au Jus, Prime Rib, Lamb Chops Provencal and Slow-Smoked Tri Tip.
As a family-owned winery, we’re thankful to have our wines be a part of these meals. And as a Napa-based winery, we’re blessed to be able to grow some of the finest cabernet sauvignon, pinot noir and cabernet franc in the world. Here are our recommendations for red meat and red wine pairings that will make your Holiday dinners memorable and delicious.
Red Wine and Rib Roast and Prime Rib
Nothing quite says Christmas Dinner like a classic Standing Rib Roast aus Jus. Whether you go bone-in or bone-out, rib roast is one of the most tender and flavorful cuts you can cook. For this rich meal, we recommend our 2016 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Leaky Lake Vineyard, Napa Valley. Grown just up the hill from Caspar Estate, it is perhaps our boldest cabernet, with a long, lingering finish and tannins that compliment prime rib.
And speaking of Caspar Estate, Christmas is a great time to go all-out on our Estate wines. The 2018 Caspar Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a stellar pairing with prime rib and rib roast. This wine is sold only by allocation - if you’d like to get on the list, click here.
Finally, another great pairing with a rib roast is our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena, Napa Valley. Though still young, it’s powerful yet balanced - it has all the structure of a classic Napa cabernet, but perhaps a little more refinement than the Leaky Lake.
Red Wine and Lamb
Another traditional Holiday staple, lamb is a meat with delicious versatility but certainty more subtlety than a rib roast. Our favorite pairing with lamb is our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Franc, Oak Knoll, Napa Valley. With its fruit-forward profile, bright acid and soft tannins, it pairs beautifully with any style, from Mustard-Crusted Lamb Chops to Rosemary Leg of Lamb.
If you’re as much a fan of 100% cabernet franc as we are, get on the allocation list for the Caspar Estate Cabernet Franc. We recently opened the cellar and re-released the 2014 vintage of this spectacular wine to our wine club!
Of course, fans of cabernet will tell you lamb pairs wonderfully with a good cab. We suggest our 2018 Cultivar Wine Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa County. Perhaps the softest of our cabernets, it won’t overwhelm your more delicate lamb entrees.
Red Wine and Tri Tip
The tri-tip is a cut that was born in our home state of California, where butchers in Santa Maria (along the central coast) carved this 5-pound cut from the subprimal sirloin. The tri-tip has since gained popularity nationwide. You can prepare it seared for a few minutes on each side, then into a 350-degree oven for about 20 minutes for medium-rare perfection. Or you may prefer it smoked for about 6 hours.
If you need the perfect pairing with a smokey meat, you can’t go wrong with a wine like our 2019 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir. Pinot’s have an inherent earthiness that brings out the flavor of smoked meats. Some might think that a pinot noir isn’t bold enough to stand up to a fatty sirloin cut like a tri-tip, but the cold, moist air blown in from the sea near Santa Lucia (on the central coast of California, by the way) creates a pinot noir that’s both lucious and powerful.
If you’re grilling that tri-tip instead, pair it with the Cultivar Wine 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley. This vintage falls right in the middle between our most subtle and most bold cabernets.
Gift Boxes for The Holidays
If you’re looking for these wines or perhaps some white wines for your Holiday meals and to give as gifts, we invite you to shop our Holiday Gift Collection at our Online Store. Whether you’re looking for the perfect selection for the wine lover in your family or for delightful stocking stuffers, we have a little something for everybody. If you want to take advantage of our flat rate ground shipping, please order by December 15th. For last minute gift selections, we offer 2-Day shipping for orders placed by December 20th. We can also offer Cultivar Wine Gift Cards in a variety of denominations that you can send or download anytime online!
Whether you’re enjoying the Holidays with your whole family, or you find yourself keeping the party more intimate this year, all of here at Cultivar Wine & Caspar Estate wish you and yours a joyous Holiday Season and a very Happy New Year!
Ready for the holidays? This year, who isn’t? Unlike past years, 2020’s holiday season will be more intimate with less extended family and less celebrations with friends. But that’s no reason to skimp!
We’ll be celebrating Chanukah with flair. That means lots of hearty, comfort food; Cultivar wine; and treats! Chanukah this year is before Christmas: December 10 through December 17, 2020. (If you celebrate both holidays you have a month of non-stop celebration from Thanksgiving through to Christmas!)
Jewish holidays start at sundown. So, the first night you light your Chanukah menorah is at sundown on the first day. For 2020, you’ll light the candle for the first night (rightmost candle from the center candle—the Shammash or helper candle in your menorah) on December 10th.
Traditional Chanukah Foods
Chanukah celebrates the reconsecration of the Temple in Jerusalem after the Macabees expelled the Greeks. When they went to light the menorah on the new altar, they found only enough oil for one day. They used the oil they found, and the menorah stayed illuminated for not one, but eight days.
To commemorate the miracle of the oil, we eat lots of fried foods. The most popular of these foods are latkes or potato pancakes and sufganiyot or jelly-filled donuts. Luckily, latkes make a great side dish for brisket.
Pairing Wines with Chanukah Brisket
Brisket, in my opinion, is one of the best Jewish holiday staples. It’s filling. It looks harder to cook than it really is. And best of all? It pairs with so many Cultivar wines.
Our favorite Cultivar reds for our Slow Cooker Chanukah Brisket, which we typically eat for the night of Chanukah that falls on Shabbat (December 11th this year) are:
If you like savoring your wine and have some left for your dessert, you can even enjoy some 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Leaky Lake Vineyard with Graham Cracker Toffee Treats. When preparing your treats be sure to use a 1:1 mix of bittersweet, dark chocolate with your chocolate chips when coating your caramel-soaked graham crackers. This gives your treats a little bite and doesn’t overwhelm your wine.
Pairing Wines with a Cheesy Repast
Because Chanukah lasts eight nights there are lots of opportunities to eat good food and drink great wine. One another night we celebrate Judith, who according to lore was either the aunt or daughter of Judah Maccabee, the hero of the Chanukah oil story.
During the siege of her town of Bethulia in Israel, Judith met with the Assyrians’ general, Holofernes. She served him food—cheese—to make him thirsty and drink more wine. After he drank a lot and passed out, Judith took his sword and cut off his head. The Israelites inspired by his severed head attacked and the Assyrians fled.
We’re not Kosher, but for holidays we like to observe some of the basic guidelines: no pork; no shellfish; and no mixing of dairy and meat. Rather than make sure we have an hour between when we nibble on cheesy goodness before diving into our brisket, we just celebrate Judith on a different night.
As Judith probably served cheeses made from either goat or sheep’s milk, we put together a cheese plate with Goat Gouda, Goat Cheese, and Goat Brie. Along with the cheese plate are fresh from the oven Pomegranate Pips, Pecan with Goat Cheese and Persimmon with Goat Brie stuffed dates. For our main, we typically enjoy Pecorino Romano, Panko Crusted Baked Eggplant.
The best part of this meal? Both white wine and red wine drinkers will be happy.
Our favorite Cultivar wines for our celebration of Judith are:
2019 Cultivar Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley
2018 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County
2019 Cultivar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands
We serve our eggplant with lemon slices, puttanesca, goat cheese crumbles, and fig balsamic vinegar on the side. Depending on which Cultivar wine our guests are enjoying they can finish the main to match.
We recommend freshly squeezed lemon with the 2019 Cultivar Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley; puttanesca with either the 2018 Cultivar Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County or 2019 Cultivar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands; goat cheese crumbles with drizzled fig balsamic vinegar with the 2019 Cultivar Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands.
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.
DISCLAIMER: I was provided with the Cultivar wines for free by Cultivar SF for tasting and pairing. All opinions are my own. The links in this post are not affiliate links. I simply like the wines and wanted to make it easy for you to learn more about Cultivar and the wines. Some of the wines are only available through the Cultivar Wine Club. If you’re in SF, I highly recommend considering it as you can pick up your wines at Cultivar SF and enjoy tasty bites at their release parties.