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.
Well "hammer" may be a bit excessive but we island hopped last week sharing a vertical selection of the Meteor Vineyard wines with both sommeliers and collectors.
I have really enjoyed watching the food and wine scene explode here over the last couple of years.
On Maui restaurants like Spago at the Four Seasons Wailea, the Lahaina Grill (ask for Richard Olson - one of my favorite sommeliers anywhere in the US) and Merriman's (which has one of the world's most spectucular views) continue to carry the banner of fine dining, with local fish and produce offering a taste of the Island. Oahu's standard bearers like Alan Wong's and La Mer at the Halekulani continue to wow and soon to open Vintage Cave promises to make the high end dining scene even better. Round that out with places like Wolfgang's Steakhouse, BLT Steak and Michel's and you have enough serious food and wine to pack in a week!
And you absoutley CANNOT go to Oahu without delving into both local food (Ono Hawaiian Foods) and poke (Ono Seafood - different place but right accross the street from Oho Hawaiin - will change your life) as well as the incredible range of Japanese food that surpasses anything else in the US. Gaku, Nanzan Giro Giro, Khanatori absoutley kill it.
In terms of wine retail stores - a couple that I love; Wailea Wine in Maui, which our friend Ed Mikesh just purchased from longtime owners Alan and Diane Beaurline, and HASR Wines in Honolulu - one of the greatest collections of Premier Napa Valley wines anywhere!
We have already received great acclaim for the 2010 vintage. After nearly 2 years in barrel (65% new french oak - as usual) the wines are finally headed into bottle to rest for the next 11 months (16 months for the Reserve). Look for the release in the fall of 2013!
2010 Meteor Vineyard Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon
“Good bright, medium ruby. Lovely aromatic nose features blackberry lifted by violet and spices. Darker than the 2009 version and more muscular too, offering an impressive combination of power and finesse. Very ripe black fruit flavors are perked up by juicy acidity. Finishes with terrific grip and lingering sweetness. Dawnine Dyer notes that 2010 produced bigger wines. Yes, there were heat spikes in late August and late September, she said, but the harvest here didn't even start until October 10.” Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar
2010 Meteor Vineyard Special Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
“Good dark ruby-red. Very pure aromas of cassis, violet, licorice and minerals. Powerful and primary, with a strong mineral quality to the rich, sweet dark berry flavors. Easier to taste today than the Perseid owing to its sheer lushness and sweetness. But very powerful for this bottling. The clone 7 is the source of the minerality in this wine, notes winemaker Dyer. A great California cabernet in the making.” Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar
It doesn't matter where you are in Napa Valley at the moment - everyone is talking about the 2012 vintage. A bountiful fruit set in the spring was followed by even temperatures throughout the summer leading to perfectly proportioned fruit. Winemakers and vineyard managers are almost giddy with excitement.
I walked the vineyard this morning and noted just a couple of rows of fruit remaining from a vineyard client taking advantage of a couple more days of warm temperatures for a tiny burst of increased ripeness.
Here is some Clone 337 still hanging...
Can't wait to taste the wines post fermentation!
Meteor Vineyard Perseid Cabernet Sauvignon marries the elements of our clonally diverse planting in one singularly expressive wine. Meteor Vineyard is a collaborative project of vineyard proprietors Barry and Tracy Schuler and longtime Napa Valley winemakers Bill and Dawnine Dyer. Located on a knoll in Napa Valley’s Coombsville appellation, our unique combination of elevation, aspect and stony, rich volcanic soil produces some of Napa Valley’s most distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon. The seamless combination of richness coupled with balance, purity combined with structure makes 2009 truly distinctive.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
40% clone 7, 39% clone 4, 21% clone 337
100% French Cooperage, 65% New (Blend of D &J, Fouquet and Taransaud)
From the Vineyard – 2009 was a low rainfall year with most precipitation coming in the spring. This pattern was perfect for the vineyard and provided ample moisture for the growing season. Bloom and set were a little late but dodged the spring rains. Overall 2009 was a mild growing season. Some concern for a late harvest prompted extra care in thinning and multiple passes were made. The end of the season was punctuated by 10 days of welcome heat in early October and the fruit came in mid October under excellent conditions. Mike Wolf, Vineyard Manager
From the Winemaker – Our 2009 Perseid is deep garnet in color with a saturated opaque blue rim. Complex and exuberant aromas of ripe blackberry, violet and cloves meld with sweet tobacco and currant leaves. The palate explodes with a combination of red and black fruit, dark chocolate and spice leading to a finely balanced finish. Powerful and silky. Dawnine Dyer, Winemaker
From the Sommelier – The magic of the 2009 vintage lies in its combination of concentration and balance. The long cool growing season allowed for slow ripening and intense flavor development while retaining acidity and mature silky tannins. This vintage will reward cellaring. Jason Alexander, Sommelier and General Manager
With a near perfect summer the 2012 growing season is promising to be a great one. Dawnine Dyer talking about the vintage thus far.
With a near perfect spring the 2012 growing season is promising to be a great one. We caught up with Vineyard Manager Mike Wolf this afternoon to discuss the vintage.