Bison Burgers with Cabernet Onions

Recipe Date: February 17th, 2017
Difficulty: Easy
Serving Size: 4
Cook Time: 00:45
Measurements: Imperial (US)

Bison Burgers with Cabernet Onions

Ingredients

  • 1 tbsp grapeseed oil
  • 3 cups sliced onions (roughly 2 onions)
  • 3/4 cup dry red wine
  • 1 lb ground bison
  • 2 tbsps chopped onions
  • 1/4 tsp coarse kosher salt
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 4 brioche buns or soft rolls
  • 6 ozs cheese
  • dijon mustard
  • romaine lettuce or escarole

Directions

Heat grapeseed oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add onions, sprinkle with salt, and sautée for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to medium, add wine, and sautée another 15 minutes, stirring occasionally until liquid has absorbed and onions are tender. Remove from heat and set aside (can be made a day ahead and chilled).

Combine ground bison, oregano, diced onions, salt, pepper, and garlic powder (if you have any leftover liquid from the sautéed onions, you can add a splash in as well). Divide into four portions and shape into 1/2 inch thick patties. Sprinkle burgers with salt and place on a grill that has been sprayed with non-cook spray or oil, cook until desired doneness (roughly 150°F for medium). Burgers can also be cooked in an oiled large, heavy skillet over high heat, roughly two minutes per side.

Preheat broiler. Open buns and arrange, cut side up, on rimmed baking sheet. Place cheese slices on bun tops. Broil until cheese melts and bottom halves are lightly toasted, about 1 minute. Spread bottom halves with mustard. Top each with a few lettuce or escarole leaves, then the burger. Spoon onions on top of burgers, dividing equally. Cover with bun tops; press lightly.

Serve with french fries and a glass of your favorite medium to full bodied red wine, such as our Il Brigante or Napa Valley Merlot.

Recipe adapted from Epicurious



Cedar Plank Salmon

Recipe Date: May 10th, 2016
Difficulty: Easy
Serving Size: 4
Cook Time: 00:30
Measurements: Imperial (US)

Grilled Cedar Plank Salmon

From Cait Straight Up Cooking

Ingredients

  • 1 large filet of salmon
  • 1 cedar plank
  • 1 tbsp olive or grapeseed oil
  • sea salt and pepper
  • sprinkle of garlic powder, parsley and dry mustard
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice

Directions

  1. Soak the cedar plank in water or dry white wine for 1 hour prior to grilling.
  2. While plank is soaking rub olive oil over salmon then add all spices.
  3. Allow salmon to sit for 30-45 in refrigerator.
  4. Once cedar board is done soaking grill on each side for about 3-5 minutes.
  5. Add salmon to the cedar board skin side down.
  6. Place the board on the grill for 15-20 minutes on a 350 degree grill until salmon flakes easily.
  7. Remove the remaining skin and serve!



Concrete Egg Fermentation

Alison Cochrane Hernandez

December 12th, 2013

Concrete Egg Fermentation

If you have been lucky enough to explore our Grand Barrel Room on a tour and tasting recently at the Castello, you may have noticed a few new additions to the stunning 12,000 square foot room. Right next to where our guests have the chance to taste wine straight from the barrel, there sit several large, concrete, egg-shaped containers. These are fermentation tanks, and they are used to ferment a special selection of the Castello’s award-winning wines.

Concrete? You might ask. What can concrete do for wine? Well as it turns out, concrete is a fantastic alternative to oak or stainless steel in winemaking. Without the “oaky” impact on a wine from barrel aging, the concrete allows the wine to retain its fruity characteristics and the inherent characteristics of the grapes are allowed to shine, making it an especially useful fermentation method for showcasing the terroir of single vineyard wines.

Concrete eggs are an interesting mix of ancient and ultra-modern winemaking techniques, since the first wines were actually fermented in pottery jars called amphorae. The egg shape is a newer modification, which allows the wines inside to have a natural convection current as the carbon dioxide released during fermentation helps to naturally stir the wine and mix in the sediment, or lees.

“Graeco-Italic” Wine Amphora, 2nd century B.C.

We originally had two concrete eggs in our Grand Barrel Room, and focused on several single vineyard wines, including our Ferrington Vineyard Dry Gewürztraminer and Tyla’s Point Pinot Bianco. These aromatic varietals work especially well with this fermentation method, because the concrete enhances the floral aromas and even increases the mineral characteristics in these wines. The elegant complexity of these wines from their fermentation in the eggs has led to them both winning high praise from tasting panels and our guests.

Our 2011 Ferrington Dry Gewurztraminer

This past year we have also produced a limited amount of Chardonnay, called “La Rocca” or “the fortress.” Our Winemaker, Peter Velleno, explains that “the reason for the Chardonnay is that the use of concrete (or more specifically the lack of oak barrels) allows the flavor of the vineyard to be the star. Chardonnay needs to have a rich mouthfeel, so it makes sense to try it in concrete, where there will be no oak flavors or aroma, but still the benefits of aging on the lees.” Aging wine on the lees, or the yeast and sediment that settles to the bottom of the barrel during fermentation, imparts a creaminess and complexity that can’t be found in stainless steel. This year we are excited to be fermenting some of the Chardonnay fruit from the Bien Nacido vineyard in one of our eggs.

So keep an eye out the next time you visit the Castello, and if you take a tour down into the Grand Barrel Room you’ll be able to check out this unique fermentation technique that helps to make our Italian-style wines even more incredible!



Red Wine Barrel Fermentation

Alison Cochrane Hernandez

October 4th, 2013

Red Wine Barrel Fermentation

During the Harvest season, there are always exciting things going on around the Castello, and today on the Crush Pad was no exception. Today, for the first time at the Castello, our winemaking team reserved a small lot of our Don Thomas Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon for fermentation directly in French Oak Barrels.

Traditionally, the fermentation process takes place in stainless steel tanks, where the must (skins and seeds of the grapes) are cold soaked with the juice before yeast is added. The cap, or layer of skins and seeds that get pushed to the top of the tanks from the activity taking place during fermentation, is broken up by either the punch-down or pump-over method, both of which ensure an even distribution of the color and flavors we wish to impart into our red wines. After five to eight days in these fermentation tanks, the juice is pressed from the skins and seeds and pumped into French Oak barrels for aging in the Castello’s extensive underground cave and cellar system.

Barrel fermentation means that the freshly destemmed grapes and their juices are pumped directly into French Oak barrels whose heads have been removed. Dry ice is added to cool the berries before the barrel heads are secured to seal in the must. The barrels are then laid on a rack that allows them to be rolled back and forth daily to ensure the cap stays moist and the oak is evenly introduced to the fermenting must and juice. Typically, two full barrels of must and juice will amount to one barrel of wine. The process of fermenting the juice in oak barrels helps to impart an added silkiness to the tannins and a rounder, more lush mouthfeel, especially to Bordeaux varietals. This extremely labor-intensive method of fermentation is typically reserved for only the most exclusive of wines, and the highly-acclaimed Cabernet Sauvignon from the Don Thomas Vineyard is an exceptional example of the quality of grapes deserving of such treatment.

The Don Thomas Cabernet Sauvinon clusters are conveyed into the berry sorter/ destemmer as a lucky tour group watches

The new French Oak barrels are filled directly from the destemmer

Our Cellar Supervisor, Chema, overseeing the juice and must being pumped into a special French Oak barrel that has a door in place to make filling and emptying easier

The deconstructed barrel waiting to be resealed with the juice and must inside

Dry ice is added to the must before the barrels are resealed to help cool off the berries

Resealing the barrel heads before they are sent into the cellars to begin the fermentation process

The barrels are stored in a special temperature-controlled room in the Castello’s cellars during the fermentation process.



Sangiovese-Braised Short Ribs

Recipe Date: February 16th, 2012
Difficulty: Easy
Serving Size: 2
Cook Time: 03:30
Measurements: Imperial (US)

Sangiovese-Braised Short Ribs with Cranberries and Brown Onions

From Chef Alejandra Schrader

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 lbs 4 Bone-in short ribs
  • 1 tbsp Grapeseed Oil
  • 1 tbsp Coarse Sea Salt
  • 1 tsp Cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp ground ancho chili
  • 1 tbsp grape seed flour
  • 1 cup brown onions, thinly sliced
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 2 cups Sangiovese wine
  • 1/4 cup aged balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 cup water

Directions

Preheat oven at 375°F

Season short ribs with cocoa powder, paprika, ancho chili, salt, and pepper; rub all over using your hands and let stand at room temperature for 20-30 minutes.

Heat 2 tbsp of grape seed oil over medium-high heat in a Dutch oven; sear ribs until golden and crispy, about 4 minutes on each side. Transfer to a plate and set aside.

Return pot to heat and sauté onions for a couple of minutes, then add cranberries and sauté for 1 more minute. Sprinkle grape seed flour and stir with wooden spoon. Return ribs to pot and add wine, balsamic vinegar, and water.  Stir and make sure to scrape any bits from the bottom of the pot. Cover and transfer to oven; cook for 3 hours. Remove from oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes, uncovered, before serving.

Serve two short ribs on each plate and top with cranberries and onions. Spoon some of the sangiovese sauce and garnish with green onions.