Saturday, October 27, 2012

On Wine and Food...

The past couple of weekends we found ourselves amongst the changing fall foliage away from the bustle of city dwelling.  It was open hunting season for deer in Washington for a brief window of time spanning about a week and a half.  My brother, father, and I drove seven hours to join my uncle at his hunt camp set up near the northeastern border of the state.  The scenery was quite beautiful and much thicker than I had expected the vegetation in that part of the state to be (not counting the controlled logging areas).  I had never seen conifer trees change color like that before, and my father informed me that they are deciduous Tamarack trees which are actually a species of larch native to Canada (we were only a fifteen minute drive from the border).  It was a great backdrop for our outing this year, but we may not find ourselves hunting in that locale again any time soon.  The does were abundant (we saw one field with about sixty does feeding at dusk), but the bucks were shy and scant.  We were only allowed to hunt for bucks in the area, so we returned home with only a few grouse to show for it.  It was a great time with family regardless. 

I wanted to share a great marinade that I normally use for venison steaks, but it also goes great with beef if your freezer is as lacking in venison supply as our own.

Wine Marinade for Venison Steaks

1 1/2 cups red wine (we used our Eclipse '08)
1 rosemary sprig rough chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves of crushed garlic
Couple dashes of worcestershire
Pinch or two of red pepper flakes
Salt & ground pepper to taste

Makes enough marinade for 2 to 3 steaks (beef can be substituted for venison).

Combine all ingredients in a ziploc bag, take out as much air as possible, and leave it the fridge for a few hours to marinate.  (Six hours is ideal, and you can even leave it in overnight if you have the foresight for tomorrow's meal). Also, be sure to pour a glass of wine for the chef!

We paired our grilled steaks with some garden carrots roasted will dill and honey and some pan roasted banana fingerling potatoes that we grew as well.  All in all, in was a good meal that paired nicely with a glass (or two) of some great wine.

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Put a Cork in it!

This week has been all about bottling!  It is the final stage of the wine making process after 2 years of aging in our oak barrels.  Everyone is a little sore from all the corking, but that is nothing a little wine drinking can't cure.  Each barrel gives us about 24 to 25 cases of wine, but only if you don't have too many taste tests.  (You'll notice the glass of wine close to our bottling station.)  The wine tastes quite promising now, but it should benefit from resting in its bottle for yet another 6 months.

Last Saturday my husband, parents, and I bottled a barrel of the Cabernet (a.k.a. Red Moon) and two barrels of the Malbec Syrah (Just Plain Red) with the help of all four of my grandparents.  It was a rare treat to have them all together in one room enjoying the "fruit" of our labor.  Tuesday was yet another family affair with my brother, cousin, and mother bottling two barrels of our Cab Merlot blend (a.k.a. Eclipse) and two barrels of the Cab Malbec Syrah (Summer Solstice Red).  Our last two barrels of Eclipse will be bottled tomorrow.  This will conclude the 2010 vintage, the last wine we will bottle privately.  If I am doing my math right, that is over 2,600 bottles of wine!   Surely our private reserves will be set for some time.  Our 2011 vintage will be the first wine available to the public at our 2013 summer opening.  It is kind of sad to think that our home wine making days have come to an end, but it is also exciting to enter a new chapter in our passion for making wine.  Cheers!

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