We hope you had a great Thanksgiving holiday with family, friends and copious amounts of food, wine and good cheer. Here at Meteor Vineyard, this years convergence of Thanksgiving and Hannukah offered a unique opportunity for Barry to innovate on what is always a spectacular meal. His recipe for "epic latkes" is a must!
To help celebrate this holiday season we're opening up our cellar for you to "build your own vertical" of our award-winning Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon. Select your favorite three vintages from 2005-2010 to fill the vacancies in your collection or send an impressive holiday gift to a colleague, friend or family member.
But our cellar isn't limitless! Only a select number of Meteor Vineyard Perseid vertical packs are available and all will be packaged in a custom wood box. Order by Sunday December for holiday delivery.
The entire Meteor Vineyard team wishes you and your family the happiest of holidays!
Chef Tony talking to guests about the art of dough and topping combinations while they sip Meteor cabernet (look at all of those options!)
There is no doubt Chef Tony is a ten-time world-champion pizza acrobat after seeing this:
Pizza and Meteor Vineyard cabernet: a Saturday well spent at Meteor
A perfect late Autumn day for Thanksgiving 2012.
The day always starts with baking. Everything I make for Thanksgiving is strictly from scratch - is there any other way?
The menu is planned and iterated throughout the week. I actually start cooking on Monday. to get a jump.
This year will feature two Heritage House birds around 18 lbs. They are very flavorful but require special care in cooking. One will be braised lightly. The other spatchcocked and grilled. Both brined and rubbed. One spicy. One hot.
The whole bird in its sauna-like braise.
The Spatchcocked Turkey was amazing.
A sampling of the dishes and wines.
A happy crowd.
Me striking my best Iron Chef pose.
And the best part of Thanksgiving: the next day. I bake a special rustic country white bread for this.
When people ask me who the greatest chef in the Bay Area is, it is always a loaded question. Clearly there is an incredible amount of culinary talent, from the foundational Alice Waters to the cutting edge Daniel Patterson to the mainstays Michael Minna and Gary Danko; however, my answer is immediate and unwavering – Stuart Brioza. There are few chefs working anywhere in the world as passionate about ingredients (ask him about hearts of palm from his guy in Hawaii), as driven about creativity while maintaining the integrity of those ingredients, and, perhaps most importantly, as ardent in his pursuit of pairing the perfect wine with each dish.
We are incredibly excited about the upcoming opening of his new restaurant State Bird Provisions on Fillmore Street in San Francisco. Think dim sum with an upscale twist, and every bite distinctive and near perfection.
In thinking about the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday and the sharp shift towards fall ingredients, we asked Stuart for his thoughts on a great autumnal dish that would work well with our 2008 Perseid. We hope you enjoy!
Roasted Aromatic Rack of Lamb
Lamb & Pork Sausage Fried Farro & Grapes
From the Kitchen of Stuart Brioza & ‘State Bird Provisions’
For Meteor Vineyard
For the Marinade
1 each Rack of Lamb
2 ounces each of: Olive Oil, Soy Sauce, Honey, Red Wine
1 teaspoon Chili Flakes
1 Tablespoon Toasted Fennel Seed, crushed in a mortar
3 cloves Garlic, minced
1” chunk Ginger, minced
As needed Salt & Pepper
Lamb & Pork Sausage
8 ounces Lamb Leg Meat
4 ounces Pork Shoulder Meat
2 ounces Pork Fat Back
1 ounce Red Wine
2 tsp each of Salt, Chili Flakes, Toasted Cumin Seed
½ Pound Fresh Lamb & Pork Sausage
1 cup Fennel, small dice
½ cup Onion, small dice
3 cloves Garlic, crushed
1 large branch Rosemary
2 Tablespoons Whole Butter
2 cups Cooked Farro
As needed Salt & Pepper
1 pound Small Red Grape Clusters
As needed Smoked Sea Salt
For the Lamb Pre-Heat an oven to 400 degrees Farenheit. Evenly disperse the marinade for the lamb with all of the above ingredients for up to 24 hours. Remove lamb from the marinade (reserve excess) & season well with salt & pepper for about 20 minutes prior to roasting. Roast with the fat side up for about 20-30 minutes basting with the remainder of the marinade. Roast the grape clusters in the lamb pan renderings for about the last five minutes of cooking the rack. Remove lamb & grapes from the oven and rest for 10-15 minutes before slicing & serving.
For the Lamb & Pork Sausage Dice each of the meats in approximately 1” cubes, keep all the meats very cold & season with the red wine & seasonings. This can marinate up to 24 hours. Separate the meat into 2 batches. Grind the first batch through a Kitchen Aide meat grinder into the bowl using the largest dye & follow with the second batch through the smallest dye. Remove the grinder attachment & use the paddle attachment to whip the meat for about 15 seconds. The sausage meat should feel tacky to the touch.
For the Farro In a large sauté pan, place the butter, crushed garlic & rosemary branch in the pan and turn the heat on high. When the butter begins to brown, the pan will be hot, and the rosemary aromatic. Add the sausage, diced fennel & onion together, render & brown the sausage crushing as you go. When the sausage is cooked and starts caramelizing on the bottom of the pan add the cooked farro, and fry as you would to fry rice. Brown and toast the farro for a few minutes on high heat stirring continuously until nutty! Season as needed.
To Plate On a large platter, set the fried farro as a base, place the lamb chops & grapes on top & drizzle over the reserved pan juices. Sprinkle a bit of smoked sea salt over the meat & serve.
I woke up in a cold sweat the other night. Perhaps remnants of the graphic pictures in Nathan Myrhvold’s epic Modernist Cuisine were etched in my psyche. But my hand was clenched around my 25-year-old boning knife. Bits of flesh were everywhere.
Is it possible in anyway that another Thanksgiving is here already? Time is flying like so many Tweets, and it seems we just can’t deny another holiday season is looming. Perhaps the late harvest has thrown off our sense of timing. Happily the fruit (very small, but beautiful crop) is safely in the tank.
With a wrap on the 2011 growing season we can indeed turn attention to the most wonderful time of the year. Not that we can avoid the rum-pum-pum-pum that advertisers already have drumming in our ears, but the aroma of Turkey, the sounds of family, and the nose of some great wines loom large. What to make this year? Can I top last years’ extravaganza?
We were sad to hear that fellow Vinter and artisanal farmer/rancher Lee Hudson was not breeding his heritage Turkeys this year. They were very special. However it was understandable, since he endured great losses to his flock in the last two seasons. But the local area is rich in sources of free range, organic and humanely raised heritage birds, so two freshly killed await.
Our sourdough “mother” created from the natural yeast bloom on our cabernet is percolating away ready to play its role in the fresh baked goods. Carbs be damned (at least for a few days).
Frankly, the best part of the Thanksgiving feast is the classic “Friday” Sandwich of Turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, and mayo all piled on very moist home-baked sourdough white bread. Yum. (Save the whole grain for Monday).
I am contemplating little molecular gastronomy this year, most likely as garnishes and accompaniments.
Last year I played Mr. Wizard and banged out a dessert of spherized mango on a thickened crème anglaise, composed to look like a sunny-side up egg. It looked pretty but I found it to be a bit of a disconnect between the eyes and the taste buds.
Preparing the dish was far more like a chemistry project than cooking. How it can be integrated into a traditional meal is some real food for thought. But it’s new and some fun culinary experiences are being created by the likes of Chef’s Grant Gachatz and Ferran Adrian. Wonder how they are preparing their Turkeys? Myhrvold recommends removing the skin, immersing in liquid nitrogen, then deep frying. Once crisped, it is reapplied to the finished bird with Activa meat glue. (sigh)
On second thought, maybe we will stick to the good old-fashioned basics.
As families gather around the country to take a little break from the white noise of life, we’d like to say thanks to those who are supporters of our wine project. The 2005’s are drinking spectacularly right now and would be a great accompaniment to any part of your Thanksgiving feast.
Peace and best from Barry and the rest of the Meteor Vineyard gang.
Oh PS – here is a special treat: A spectacular new restaurant will be opening soon in San Francisco called State Bird Provisions. We asked celebrated chef Stuart Brioza, the genius behind the State Bird Provisions if he would share a special recipe. Enjoy!
The recent Battle of the Chefs event at the CIA saw competition between two of Napa Valley’s best chefs. Though both “contestants” walked away with a winning dish in the final judgment, I walked away reminded how easily and intuitively wine country chefs work with wine. And I mean this in both senses of the word, both by integrating wine into the dishes themselves and (perhaps most importantly)by preparing dishes that are transformed, highlighted and benefit from a glass (or 4) of wine.
The following recipe from Micheal Chiarello represents a nearly perfect pairing with the elegant style of cabernet sauvignon produced at Meteor Vineyard.
Michael Chiarello for Battle of the Chefs
Grilled Lamb Loin, cabernet potato gnocchi, mustard greens, cabernet smoke and lamb jus
1 boneless lamb loin (reserve bones and trimmed meat for sauce)
1 quart mustard greens (washed and trimmed)
1 teaspoon chopped garlic
2 pints cabernet potato gnocchi
1 pint cabernet wine
1 pint veal stock (reduced by half)
Cabernet vines for burning
Poly Science smoking gun
Small bundle thyme
1 bay leaf
Grey salt and freshly ground black pepper
Start by making sure your grill is very hot. While the grill is heating roast off your bones and any meat from trimming the lamb loin, then deglaze this pan with cabarnet wine. Add your thyme and bay leaf and reduce the wine till almost all the liquid has been cooked off and the pan is almost dry. Add your veal stock and cook until the sauce has a nice consistency and enough lamb flavor in it. Strain through a very fine mesh colander. Rub your lamb loin with EVOO and season with salt and pepper. Place on a hot part of the grill, watch out for flair ups that may burn the lamb, and let cook 1 minute before turning 90 degrees to create a crossed marking on the grill. Cook 1 minute more and flip the lamb over and repeat these steps on the other side. After the lamb has cooked for 4-5 minutes pull it off the grill and let it rest for 3 minutes. While the lamb is resting drop your potato gnocchi into boiling salted water until hot all the way through. Add some EVOO to a medium sized hot sauté pan, add garlic and cook until the garlic is lightly golden but not burned, add the mustard greens and season with salt and pepper. The greens should start to sweat , if they are too hot and begin to caramelize add a teaspoon of your hot water to the pan to help them steam. Once your greens and gnocchi are cooked you can slice your lamb, against the grain and in even sized slices. On one side of the plate arrange your gnocchi in a circle and on the other side place your sliced lamb. Place your mustard greens amongst the gnocchi and spread them artfully in the center of the plate as well. Spoon some of your lamb jus around the lamb and the gnocchi. Load the smoking gun with cabernet vines, light them and turn the smoker on, place a cabernet glass over the lamb and begin to pump smoke under the glass and place it down quickly to trap the smoke inside the glass.
There have been some heated exchanges recently between sommeliers in San Francisco and winemakers from the surrounding regions. Although nearly every chef in San Francisco embraces the concept of buying local products, wine buyers have shown little such interest, creating wine lists that are largely based on imported wines from both classic and emerging regions from the far corners of the globe while ignoring the innovations of myriad winemakers in California. A recent blog post from New York Times wine and spirits writer Eric Asimov ignited debate, with San Francisco Chronicle’s Jon Bonne following on his heals with an article of his own.
As a longtime sommelier and lover of wine from around the world who now manages a small winery in Napa Valley, I was approached repeatedly about weighing in – but thought it best to let the dust settle. Recent rains have settled that.
My first true wine trip took place nearly 15 years ago when I boarded a plane to Malpensa in November and made my way to the town of Alba. Anyone who has spent time in Alba in November knows that the streets are perfumed with the beguiling musk of white truffles. The streets are full of revelers and seekers, those who make the yearly pilgrimage to this famed northwestern region of Italy to secure and consume one of the worlds most beguiling products.
Aside from white truffles, the other defining product is wine. From the famed nebbiolo based wines of Barolo and Barbaresco, to the more approachable dolcetto and barbera (and cortese), the bars and restaurants of Alba, and Nieve and every other town in the region, are full of locals and visitors alike enjoying the fruits of the nearby land. Order a plate of tajarin with butter and white truffle along with a pristine bottle of 1978 Barbaresco (ok, there are probably very few left in the cellars) and you are in heaven.
For many who travel to the worlds great wine growing regions, one of primary reasons for the trip is to taste the wines of the area. When I am traveling around the Willamette Valley, I am not likely to order a bottle of Angelus. If there is Coche-Dury on the menu at a reasonable price, I may HAVE to buy it, otherwise I, and most everyone else traveling in the region, is going to order pinot gris, chardonnay or pinot noir grown in the surrounding vineyards. Wine lists are full of the new as well as the established, the iconic and the eccentric. This is as true in Champagne as it is Bordeaux, in Rioja as it is in Mendoza.
Lovers of wine in all of these regions (simply living in a famed wine region doesn’t immediately qualify you as a true lover of wine) seek out compelling examples from around the world and well chosen restaurant lists highlight the local while looking outside the immediate evirons for compelling expressions of far flung varieties. THERE IS GREAT WINE MADE IN NEARLY EVERY WINE GROWING REGION IN THE WORLD. As a lover of fine wine you would be doing yourself and your customers a disservice NOT finding the best examples. Coercing the Burgundians to pull the cork on a bottle of Bordeaux is no small feat, and yet if you are truly compelled by the potential for myriad expressions of grapes, you seek them out, ask around. At Cyrus, in the heart of the Sonoma wine country, I was DEDICATED to finding the best examples of wines from throughout the region while paying homage to the greats from around the world. The local wine lovers asked after Burgundy and Piedmont, the visitors after Ceritas and Copain.
So why the allegations that the Bay Area, long home to one of the worlds most progressive and locally sourced food scenes, takes a dim view of its winemaking neighbors to the north and south?
The reasons raised are predictable, if more complex than understandable by a cursory glance.
Buyers are accused of romanticizing the foreign, of coercing their customers into trying wines that fit their preferences and not those of their guests, of simply being too busy or lazy to fully understand the wines and winemakers that work diligently in their own backyards. There is an aura of eccentricity for the sake of eccentricity, with Gruner Veltliner posing as the poster child for a whole era of copycat consumption where suddenly every restaurant in the larger Bay Area was pouring it by the glass (I include myself in this criticism, at Gary Danko I had 2 full pages of Gruner Veltliner…).
Winemakers, also predictably, are accused of making wines that taste the same whether pinot noir or cabernet, of slanting production methods towards the palate of reviewer, or worse, of planting grapes in places that should have remained apple orchards or grazing land. Most damning is the accusation that the local wines simply don’t go with food – all of the ripe rich fruit and wood morphing into some indistinguishable reduction of sweetness and cooking spice.
There is truth to all of these accusations; however, to delve so superficially into the debate is ludicrous. Are there overripe wines that declare themselves the primary point of the meal? Yes. Are buyers wary of preparing lists that are identical to the restaurant down the street? Absolutely. But if we in the Bay Area are devoted to the idea of localization, then buyers need to work harder finding the unheralded gems and innovative winemakers and winemakers need to continue to evolve their approach beyond one that is purely score based and more soul based.
Wines like Lioco are embracing old school methods of non intervention (including un-oaked chardonnays) and seeking out compelling sites that produce wines of balance and individuality. Parr selections is picking fruit early to preserve freshness and balance and demonstrating that wines from California and Oregon can have a sense of place. There is Peay and Corison, Dyer and Melville, Hirsch and Von Strasser – there is Meteor making distinctive site specific wines with structure, balance and elegance that rival (and often transcend) any of the worlds greatest wines!
Asimov and Bonne are right to question and buyers are not wrong to question, but to make grandious statements about an entire industry and declare yourself a supporter of “local” agriculture is hypocritical at best and naive and lazy at worst.
I have been an avid bread baker since my college days. For me Autumn launches bread baking season and there will be dough rising every weekend. Over the years I have obsessed over great sourdough and have gone through various phases of creating and keeping starter.
Last fall I got inspired by Peter Reinhardt’s (arguably the absolute guru of bread authors) latest book “Whole Grain Breads” to get some sourdough starter going again, but this time with a unique twist – innoculating the starter with the natural yeast that grows on our very own Meteor Vineyard Cabernet.
The whitish “blush” that is common to smooth skinned fruit like grapes or plums is actually a natural yeast bloom which can be put to work for a natural sourdough starter. I was very interested to see what kind of terrior could be infused into a “mother” starter.
I soaked the grapes for two days and used the water as the liquid in the starter. All starters gain more character with age and after 12 months of feeding the started has really come into it’s own, producing robust rising power (without the addition of granulated yeast) and a mellow tang to the breads produced.
If interested I can “clone” some starter for our Meteor Vineyard friends. Write me at Barry@meteorvineyard.com.