Saturday, April 25, 2009

An aching back, sore feet and purple hands....what a wonderful day!

Today we bottled a new Bordeaux blend at Amalthea; Europa VII, 33% Cab Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 33% Cab Franc.  This has been in the barrel since 2007 - Licorice,  plum and black cherry on the nose, it will be a powerhouse.  We bottled 130 cases - give or take.   Because we're such a small winery, everything is done by hand. Basically, we form a line, hook up the pump to a dispensing mechanism that fills 4 bottles at a time, and corking machine, (both of which have wonderful French names and writing on them, but don't ask me). The dispenser is calibrated by the bottle size.  One person hands over 4 empty bottles for hooking up on the dispenser, and as they are filled, they are handed to the person manning the corker, then over to the wipers who wipe off any excess wine and pack them in the cases.  I was a wiper today.  By the end of the tasks, my hands were purple! 

It was hot as Hades today and I was glad to be in the cellar where its always cool.  What I really liked best was being part of something that will eventually become a work of art to be enjoyed with friends over a wonderful dinner.  We took turns figuring out what this wine will eventually pair well with. 

BTW - we got a profile in the Newark Star Ledger!1

Upstairs in the tasting room, it's been so much fun to see how the current vintages are evolving.  The Merlot is just perfect, forming nice, spicy notes and a little leather and clove in the bouquet.  The Cab Franc is at the mellow stage, nice balance of spice and strawberry. The Cab Franc Reserve continues to mature into one of the best Francs I've had....tons of strawberry and rhubarb with a slight spice just starting to develop (and this one is still a baby, only two months in the bottle - just wait until next year!).  The Cab Sauvignon is all red raspberry, bright and fruit forward, but subtle.   The Europa IV - 66% Cab Franc and 34% - has turned the corner and is ripening into what will be a wonderful vintage.  

I was so beat when I got home, it was all I could do to throw together dinner, but I managed to grill steaks.  I took Cindy's suggestion at Figs, Lavender and Cheese and put a smoked paprika rub on a couple of T-bones and grilled them, serving them with brown rice and steamed green beans.  I paired it with a 2002 Llewelling Cab...perfect age, and mellow, raspberry, black cherry and tobacco......yum. 

I'm catching up on old movies on TMC - a good night :)

Friday, April 10, 2009

Lazy Friday Night...and Shrimp Mediterranean

The kids are at their father's, my brain was full from a hectic week from work, so when Friday rolled around, I knew I needed a quiet night and a little cooking to chill me out.   I poured a sherry fino (Thanks to my friend Paul for turning me back on to this wonderful stuff!) and started to make dinner.  I had seen a recipe for Baked Shrimp with Feta on, and knew that was what I had to have.   I opened a lovely Pinot Grigio (small Italian vineyard) and cut a slice of crusty Italian bread - it was heaven!



Tuesday, April 7, 2009

I Have NOT Fallen Off The Face Of The Earth.....(it just looks that way)

I work in a business that is a quarter by quarter race and our end of quarter was just insane.  This quarter is off with a bang, so the daily pace hasn't slowed a bit.  The winery has been super busy as well - I was in the fields stripping vines, which entails following the winemaker as he prunes the vines and pulling all of the cuttings off the wires so that they can be picked up by the tractor.  If not there, then pouring tastings, stacking glasses and preparing to bottle.  Forget about picking up a golf club, or even getting to the gym. I need a weekend to sleep and better calendar management ;-)

More when I have time...I have LOTS of recipes to share...