Monday, September 11, 2017

Pacific Rim Salmon with Kenneth Volk 2014 Verdelho

1/2 cup unsweetened pineapple juice               5 teaspoons sesame oil, divided

1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce                  2 teaspoons honey

2 tablespoons prepared horseradish                1/2 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper

2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley                5 green onions, coarsely chopped

8 salmon fillets (6 ounces each)                     
In a small bowl, combine the pineapple juice, soy sauce, horseradish, parsley, 3 teaspoons sesame oil, honey and pepper. Pour 2/3 cup marinade into a large resealable plastic bag; add salmon and green onions. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate for 1 to 1-1/2 hours, turning occasionally. Add remaining sesame oil to remaining marinade. Cover and refrigerate for basting.

Drain and discard marinade. Using long-handled tongs, moisten a paper towel with cooking oil and lightly coat the grill rack. Grill salmon, skin side down, covered, over medium heat or broil 4 in. from the heat for 8-12 minutes or until fish flakes easily with a fork, basting frequently with reserved marinade. Yield: 8 servings.

Originally published as Pacific Rim Salmon in Taste of Home August/September 2008, p4

Balsamic Braised Beef Short Ribs with Dark Star Cellars ~ 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Prep time 10 mins Cook time 6 hours Total time 6 hours 10 mins

Serves: 4-6 servings
2-3 lbs. of bone-in beef short ribs
1 tablespoon of coconut oil
15 oz. can of tomato sauce
½ cup of balsamic vinegar
4 whole dried dates
6 garlic cloves, smashed
1 teaspoon of black pepper

Spice Blend:
2 tablespoons of course sea salt
1 tablespoon of dried rosemary
1 tablespoon of dried sage
1 tablespoon of garlic powder
1 tablespoon of onion powder
1 tablespoon of paprika

1. In a small bowl, mix together course sea salt, dried rosemary, dried sage, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and black pepper.
2. Pat dry bone-in beef short ribs. Rub spice blend into both sides of the short ribs.
3. Heat a large skillet to medium high heat. Add coconut oil to pan and sear the short ribs for 2-3 minutes per side or until slightly browned.
4. Put the short ribs in a slow cooker with a tomato sauce, balsamic vinegar, whole dried dates, and smashed garlic cloves.
5. Cook for 4-6 hours on low or until beef is tender.
6. Serve with Honey Roasted Carrots Notes: Recipe from Practical Paleo

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Risotto with Snow Peas and Shrimp with Seven Oxen 2014 Mourvedre

2 (8-ounce) bottles clam juice                                   
1 cup (1/2 inch) diagonally sliced snow peas
3 cups water         
1 cup shelled green peas (about ¾ pound unshelled)
1 tablespoon olive oil
¼ cup (1 ounce) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
¼ cup minced shallots

1 ½ teaspoons chopped fresh or ½ teaspoon dried thyme
½ cups Arborio rice or other short-grain rice

1 teaspoon grated lemon rind
1 1/3 cup dry white wine or dry vermouth

¼ teaspoon black pepper
¾ pound medium shrimp, peeled and deveined


1.       Bring clam juice and water to a simmer in a medium saucepan (do not boil). Keep warm over low heat.
2.      Heat oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, add shallots, and cook 1 minute. Add rice, cook 1 minute, stirring constantly. Add remaining juice mixture, ½ cup juice at a time, stirring constantly until each portion of juice mixture is absorbed before adding the next (about 20 minutes total). Stir in shrimp, snow peas, and green peas; cook 4 minutes or until shrimp are done, stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in cheese and remaining ingredients. Yield: 6 servings (serving size: 1 cup)

Note: Substitute frozen peas for fresh, if desired

Monday, May 15, 2017

The 11 Distinct Wine Regions of Paso Robles

Original Article Appeared:

When the Paso Robles American Viticultural Area was established in 1983, it contained just five bonded wineries and 5,000 acres of vines. Now home to more than 200 wineries and 32,000 vineyard acres, it was divided into 11 smaller AVAs in 2014:

Adelaida District

Rugged terrain spanning Santa Lucia slopes and foothills with lots of limestone-rich, calcareous soils, modest marine influence and high average annual rainfall of 25 inches. Wineries/vineyards: Tablas Creek Vineyard, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Justin Vineyards and Winery, Adelaida Vineyards & Winery, Daou Vineyards.

Creston District

A warmer region with less rain, about 11 inches per year, spanning a plateau at the base of the La Panza Range with fertile alluvial soils, granite and sedimentary rock. Wineries/vineyards: Chateau Margene, August Ridge Vineyards, Shadow Run Vineyards & Winery.

El Pomar District

Old terraces and hills with rich, loamy soils, some calcareous rock and sandstone, moderate rainfall and strong marine breezes with heavy fog. Wineries/vineyards: Pomar Junction Vineyard & Winery, AmByth Estate, Still Waters Vineyards.

Estrella District

Rolling plains in the Estrella River Valley with deep, mineral-rich alluvial soils and high day-to-night temperature variations of up to 40 degrees. Wineries/vineyards: J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines, Le Vigne Winery, Villa San-Juliette Vineyard & Winery.

Geneseo District

A warmer area of upfaulted hills along the Huerhuero-La Panza fault with low rainfall featuring alluvial soils along with older granite and gravel cementation. Wineries/vineyards: Eberle Winery, Robert Hall Winery, Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery, Cass Winery.

Highlands District

The warmest district in the region, with diurnal temperature swings over 50 degrees, at the base of the La Panza range with deep alluvial soil. Wineries/vineyards: Shell Creek Vineyards, French Camp Vineyards.

San Juan Creek

A younger river valley with sand and clay loam soils in a warm, low-rain area with high temperature swings. Wineries/vineyards: Red Cedar Vineyard (which crosses into the Estrella district).

San Miguel District

The footslope of the Santa Lucia range, covering Salinas and Estrella river terraces, with a moderate climate, deep sandy loam and some clay loam. Wineries/vineyards: San Marcos Creek Vineyard, Locatelli Vineyards & Winery, Caparone Winery.

Santa Margarita Ranch

Spanning high mountain slopes of the ancient Salinas River bed and its current path, with a mix of alluvial soils and the highest rainfall in the region, at 29 inches. Wineries/vineyards: Ancient Peaks Winery.

Templeton Gap District

Rolling slopes and broad terraces with a pronounced marine influence from ocean breezes and fog, decent rainfall and loamy soil with spots of calcareous rock. Wineries/vineyards: Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards, Castoro Cellars, Peachy Canyon Winery, Zenaida Cellars.

Willow Creek District

A hilly region with a strong marine influence, rain between 24 and 30 inches a year, and lots of limestone-rich calcareous and loamy soil. Wineries/vineyards: L’Aventure Winery, Opolo Vineyards, Denner Vineyards, Rotta Winery, Niner Wine Estates.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Blue Cheese-Pepper Steak Wraps with Hammersky Merlot

12 ounces boned top round steak
2 tablespoons Water
2 teaspoons dry mustard
1 ½ tablespoons red wine vinegar
½ teaspoon black pepper
½ cup (2 ounces) crumbled blue cheese
¼ teaspoon garlic powder
4 (8-inch) fat-free tortillas
Cooking Spray
2 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups sliced mushrooms

1 onion cut into ¼-inch thick wedges

1 medium red pepper cut into ¼ inch strips

  1.  Trim fat from beer; slice into ¼-inch strips. Set aside.
  2.  Combine the mustard, black pepper, garlic, and salt in a large bowl. Add beef, tossing to coat.
  3.  Place a large nonstick skillet coated with cooking spray over medium-high heat until hot. Add beef mixture; sauté 4 minutes until done. Remove from pan; keep warm. Add mushrooms, onion, and bell pepper to pan; sauté 2 minutes. Add water; cover and cook 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Stir in beef mixture and vinegar. Remove from heat; stir in cheese.
  4.  Warm tortillas according to package instructions. Spoon 1 cup mixture onto each tortilla; to each serving with ½ cup lettuce, and roll up.  

Yield: 4 servings (serving size: 1 wrap)

Friday, March 17, 2017

Recipe: Shrimp with Avocado paired with J. Dusi Pinot Grigio

Spring has sprung here in Paso Robles. The trees are in bloom and the sun is shining. We thought this recipe would make a great treat to share with a friend or two on the patio. 

Shrimp with Avocado Salad

1/4 cup of white wine vinegar
1/4 cup grape-seed oil
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lb medium shrimp, cooked, peeled, and deveined
2 ripe avocados
Lettuce - preferably butter lettuce or red leaf lettuce
Lemon slices for garnish
As and Option - 2 Tbsp chopped roasted walnuts or pistachios
1 Tbsp chopped cilantro

Combine oil, vinegar, and garlic in a bowl. Chop shrimp into 1/2 inch pieces and add to oil mixture. Arrange leaves of lettuce on individual plates. Cut avocados in half and remove pits. Remove some of the avocado around the pit area and mix in with the shrimp. With a spoon, carefully scoop out avocado halves from their skins in one piece. Place avocado half on plate with lettuce, spoon shrimp mixture on to avocado. Sprinkle with walnuts and cilantro (optional). Serve with lemon slices for garnish. You can serve this along with vegetables or cottage cheese. 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

The Art of Blending Wines

Blending has become a highly-respected part of the process of winemaking in Paso Robles. Winemakers view blending as a highly-evolved art form. The basic idea of blending is to mix different varietals of grapes (or years of the same grape) in order to create a final wine that possesses a quality that is superior to that of each of the different components singularly.

Today in Paso Robles, one of the most common types of blends is called a “GSM” and involves the blending of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. In Paso Robles, blending has become so popular that winemakers now plant their vineyards just for the purpose of blending. Blending can also be done with white wines as well, such as all our highly acclaimed White Rhone Blends that have been popping up in many tasting rooms.  

Another way to blend wines is to blend wines that are from different vintages or years. When blending wines from different vintages commonly the bottle will have a printed "NV" which means non-vintage. These wines are not associated with a specific year.

When properly handled, blending can help to balance the flavors as well as the levels of tannins and acids. It should be pointed out that blending can help to improve the quality of wines that already at least somewhat good on their own. If you have a okay or average wine that you wish to improve, consider mixing; a process that can take away an off flavor. I have personally done this in a restaurant and was much happier with the outcome! Plus,my friends were quite impressed that I was able to “kick my wine up a notch"!

If you have never tried to blend wines before, but want to give it a shot, it’s best to start with just two wines. Blending gives you the ability to select the best characteristics of multiple wines and then blend them together to achieve a far better flavor. While the process may seem complicated, even the most novice home winemakers can create a good blend at home.

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

5 Reasons Why Every Wine Drinker Should Visit Paso Robles Wine Country

Do you enjoy drinking wine?  Do you consider yourself to be a wine enthusiast?  If so, have you ever visited Paso Robles wine country?  If  not, you will want to consider adding it to your to do list.  After all, Paso Robles wine country is most well-known for its large number of wineries and all of the great activities they hold.

There are many reasons to visit Paso Robles wine country, if your looking for a a few good reasons, we can help. However, you may be content with sipping your favorite wine from the comfort of your own home (which we can arrange at the Paso Robles Wine Club).  Even if this is your preferred method of drinking wine, there are still a number of reasons why you should make the trip to wine country.  Just a few of those reasons are touched on below.

1 – Your Options
Your options are unlimited, literally, when visiting Paso Robles wine country.  Did you know that Paso Robles has over three hundred vineyards and wineries?  They do and many are open to the public, often all year round.  What does this mean for you?  It means that you can have the vacation of your dreams, as you are able to hand pick just about every step you take.

2 – Winery Activities
The biggest draw to Paso Robles wine country is the wineries.  As previously stated, you have a large number of wineries and vineyards to choose from.  Those aren’t your only options either.  Paso Robles wine country has so many wine related activities for you to enjoy that you may not even know where to start.

Although you will find some variations, depending on the public winery in question, many offer a variety activities.  These activities may include wine tours, individual winery ground tours, wine tasting, educational classes with a focus on wine, wine and food pairings, annual wine festivals, and much more.  

3 – Easy to Plan
Whether you live in New York State or in California, planning a trip to Paso Robles' wine country is relatively easy to do.  Did you know that many vacation packages are available to you?  These vacation packages may include a stay at a hotel, your airline reservations, as well as a car rental.  Vacation packages are a nice way to make travel arrangements, as they are quick, easy, and convenient.

As for wine tours, they are also easy to plan.  Tourists have the option of touring local wineries on their own, independently, or they can book reservations for a guided wine tour.  Guided wine tours are often the simplest option, as every aspect of your tour is already planned out for you. Our personal recommendation is The Wine Wrangler, one of the best in the area!

4 – Other Fun Activities for You to Enjoy
As if the above-mentioned wine themed activities that you can in enjoy in Paso Robles' wine country weren’t enough, there is so much for you to do and see.  If you are interested in planning a vacation, you can make visiting and touring wine country just a portion of your vacation.  However, we recommend spending at least two days touring the area and local wineries.  Many other fun vacation activities in Paso Robles include driving to the coast and enjoying a day at the beach, hiking, boating, shopping, and much more.

5 – An Experience You Will Never Forget

Perhaps, the greatest reason why you should consider planning a trip to Paso Robles wine country is because it is something you will remember for years to come.  Even those who aren’t wine drinkers, report having a memorable experience.  The beauty of California wine country is breathtaking.  With that said, you are more likely to enjoy at trip to wine country if you are a wine drinker yourself.  This is because, as previously stated, most of the activities you gain access to have a wine theme, such as winery tours and wine tasting.