Together, wine, food, and travel make up three of life's greatest offerings. The Society Blog will feature expert experiences and opinions relating to these delicious topics. Here, we will freely discuss the diverse flavors of food, the inviting culture of wine, the vast nature of travel, and the ultimate experience you get when you combine the three!
Updates from Enologist Brian Menconi
Having recently completed racking for the 2012 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Heritage along with the 2013 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the winemaking team is preparing for bottling in late June to early July. A necessary stage during winemaking, racking is the process of moving wine from one barrel to another and in effect clarifying wine by separating the sediment from the liquid. By using gravity in lieu of a filter or pump which can be disruptive, this practice assists in the stabilization of wine. Once racking is completed, the team will be turning their attention the 2013 vintage as they prepare pre-blends for the Bordeaux varietals which will still have another year to age in barrels before they are bottled.
In addition to the opening of the new tasting room, there is plenty to look forward to this year at Roth. Foley Family Wines is excited to announce that Leslie Mead Renaud has joined the Roth team as Director of Winemaking and will be overseeing the launch of a new wine program featuring small lot (150-200 cases) of single vineyard concept wines to be exclusively sold in the tasting room. Construction on the cave system has already broken ground and will span 10,000 square feet, increasing Roth’s wine storage capacity by 930 barrels upon completion in early 2015. When finished, guests can look forward to cave tours and intimate sit down tastings in the alcoves.
In other exciting Roth news, four of our wines won gold medals at the 2014 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. Be sure to taste these award-winning wines at the grand opening of the new Roth tasting room. Mark your calendars for June 28th, 2014 and we will see you at the Roth Grand Opening!
96 Points - 2010 Roth Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley – “Powerful, precise, perfection, dark rich full bodied, provocative”
95 Points – 2012 Roth Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast – “Clean fruit, pear, green apple, long creamy finish”
94 Points – 2011 Roth Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – “Floral, spicy, deep, even, rich and fleshy”
92 Points – 2012 Roth Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley – “Approachable, easy to drink”
As the race date approaches, I have been getting out and working up my mileage each week and it has been gratifying to see some results, however I still have a long way to go before July. The longer days and warmer evenings have made my training much more enjoyable and in addition to increasing my miles, I have started to look into different yoga studios to help stretch out on my off days from running. Yoga is great for me because I usually forget to stretch after running, and notice that I have an easier stride when I am feeling loose. It helps to get me centered and relaxed, which not only improves my running but also eases everyday stress.
Because I haven't maintained a regular running schedule over the years, it takes a while for me to get back into the swing of things, and I am still struggling with that. While I have always enjoyed running, there are times when I don’t feel like going for a run and have to remind myself how much better I feel after I have done it. But, when you have a labrador who has endless energy and can never run long enough or fast enough, it makes it easier to pick up the leash and put on my running shoes.
Although I eat seafood when I go out, I generally eat vegetarian most days of the week and have decided to share a recipe for a gnocchi, lentil and escarole soup. I love this recipe because it is incredibly easy to make, is very tasty, and is one of my favorite flavor profiles. Lentils have always been a favorite of mine because they are relatively high in protein and do not weigh me down. Not to mention that it refrigerates really well, and makes for a good lunch option for the rest of the week!
Gnocchi, Lentil, and Escarole Soup
Adapted from VegetarianTimes.com
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (2 cups)
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cups French lentils
4 cups chopped escarole
1 1/2 cups prepared potato gnocchi
6 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tbs. prepared pesto
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cool for 5 minutes. Add broth, 3 cups of water, and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes until lentils are almost tender. Add escarole, gnocchi and sundried tomatoes, cover, and cook 5 minutes more, or until gnocchi are cooked through and escarole has wilted. Remove from heat and stir in pesto.
Cheer Courtney on at the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 20, 2014!
The last few weeks I have been on the road, traveling to North Carolina, Las Vegas and Chicago to visit distributors and host Winemaker dinners and it has been a challenge to fit training into my schedule. I’ve managed to squeeze my runs in the early mornings on the hotel treadmills at least three times a week, averaging 4 ½ -5 miles per run. During these sales trips, I intentionally eat light in the morning—mostly fruit, yogurt and granola, especially since I know winemaker dinners have a tendency to rack up calories! Recently, I replaced my old Asics as they wore big holes through the top and have replaced them with two pairs of Brooks; each pair has a different heel height to alter running styles during training. As I am increasing my mileage, my goal for June is to run five miles twice a week with an eight mile run on the weekend and to be eight pounds lighter before race day (to ease the impact on the ankles and knees!).
When not on the road, my schedule is a little bit more flexible and I have been integrating evening runs, walks with my dog, as well as dynamic dumbbell workouts into my training. The dumbbell training includes squats, rows, twisting militaries, amongst other exercises that increase the overall strength and endurance of my muscles, which in turn improves my ability to build up to longer distances.
On a general note, I was a sprinter in high school and have always had an aversion to distance running. My furthest distance was a 10K when I was in graduate school, when I was 25 pounds lighter and 33 years younger and so I am enjoying the challenge. I’m counting on the excitement of running in a crowd to keep me moving!
I have chosen this particular recipe to share because it is one of my go-to recovery meals—it satisfies a big hunger with texture and complex flavors without inducing a protein ‘coma’ that a burger or steak might cause.
Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Pancetta
For the Pasta:
1 cup finely milled whole wheat flour, sifted
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cold water
For the ‘Sauce’:
4 thin slices of pancetta, minced
1 bunch Lacinito (Dinosaur) kale, rinsed, ribs removed
1 large pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
Mound the flour on a large cutting board (big enough for rolling out the pasta). Make a well in the center of the mound and pour in the beaten egg. Use your fingers to mix the egg and flour together to make a dough that just sticks together, adding the cold water as necessary. Knead the dough for 5 minutes. It should be difficult, firm, but evenly smooth by the end. Roll in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add a large pinch of sea salt. Throw in the kale leaves and blanch for 1-2 minutes to set color and soften slightly. Lift kale into a colander, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and drain thoroughly. Leave water in stockpot for cooking pasta. Ball up the kale, squeeze the water from it, cut in narrow strips (julienne), and set aside. In a large frying pan, sauté the pancetta until almost crisp, rendering much of the fat. Turn heat off, drain half the fat from the pancetta and add the olive oil to the pan. Cut the pasta dough into four pieces. Lightly flour the board and a rolling pin and roll to fettuccini thickness. Use a knife to cut into ¼” noodles and set aside. Bring the kale water to a boil again. Turn the frying pan with the pancetta and olive oil to medium high and add the kale and red pepper flakes. Stir for several minutes and lower heat to medium low. Boil the pasta until it floats up and for another 2-3 minutes or until no longer grainy tasting. Drain the pasta but save 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the frying pan with kale, etc., mix ingredients, and add any pasta water to make the ingredients coat the pasta nicely. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve with grated parmesan if desired.
Cheer Dave on at the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20, 2014!