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!
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!
What does it take to produce a truly world class Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon? First of all, it takes fruit: grapes grown in that special region that winds around only 2% of the earth's surface and includes the Napa Valley. But just as important, it takes the expert touch of a master winemaker, someone who can combine artistry, chemistry and a little bit of magic into their craft. For Caspar Estate, that winemaker is Julien Fayard.
Julien is a firm believer that the wine is made in the vineyard. He frequently walks the vineyards and checking on the fruit. Our vineyards have several microclimates because of the row layout and the pockets of the hills and valleys. Julien is very selective, starting with the fruit that is ripe - it can be mid row but often it starts at the end of the row on the western side since it gets the most late afternoon sunlight.
On September 23rd, 2020, Julien supervised the harvest of several tons of our estate cabernet sauvignon, grown on slopes located above the Rutherford Bench in Napa. It was a gorgeous day, producing equally gorgeous fruit.
The fruit was quickly transported to Fayard Winemaking, Julien's custom winemaking facility at the south end of the valley. This is where the first, critical steps of the process will occur, though as Julien says, it's not the most important part: "Winemaking begins in the vineyard." Julien’s wines are a pure expression of Caspar Estate terroir, highlighting the characteristics of the fruit, vineyard management, soil and climate.