Sunset Inspired Rosé Soirée at Halter Ranch

The Components


Inspired by the recent Sunset magazine “Vacation in a Glass” article by wine editor Sara Schneider, we took it upon ourselves last Wednesday to present 8 Rosés from the article paired with the suggested recipe for Provençal pissaladiére, cheese, fresh fruit, and delicate meat. The event was affectionately, and appropriately, dubbed the Rosé Soirée.  What began as an educational exercise in the spirit of enlightening our palates and gaining perspective on the diversity of Rosé from California, became a model experience for casual evening events to come.

We decided to cook the Onion Tart in the two styles Sunset suggests (Tuna and Anchovie) along with a de-Tunaed vegetarian version.  The key in getting the tarts correct is cooking the onions until they are deep brown and limp without burning them to a crisp.  This task was undertaken by Lindsey B. (who undercooks onions out of burning paranoia) and Sarah Forstner (who kept Lindsey’s paranoia in check long enough to get the onions cooked). 


18 Organic Sweet Yellow Onions


Katie and Lindsay in thyme time


Thyme is the final touch on the dish so Lindsay P and Katie took on the task of separating leaves from stems.  T lent his own…special…talent to this task.


T offers his…assistance


The most troublesome ingredient in our Tart efforts was the puff pastry.  The process of making it from scratch takes about 36 hours so we took Sunset’s advice and located some pre-made packages.  The only brand we were able to locate within the bounds of San Luis County was Pepperidge Farm (which is fine except that the pastries are 9″ by 9″ as opposed to the desired 12″ by 15″).  We exhausted 6 grocery stores before finding adequate quantity between 2 of the larger chains.  Once located, the pastries worked swimmingly, puffing and browning like champs!


Lindsey gets caught smiling between batches (photo courtesy of Katie)



Though more difficult than expected, we made the attempt to remain in the mindset covered in last week’s post.  The impulse to judge yes or no right off the bat without allowing the wines time to develop is still strong in us.  The thought was there however, and we were pleasantly surprised by a few wines that opened up a bit reduced but developed into pleasant beauties as the evening progressed.


Pink on Ice


We were pleased and excited to have the Wine Editor from Sunset, Sara Schneider (who wrote the article that inspired this endeavor) and wine writer Roger Morris in attendance.  Both very pleasantly and politely partook in the festivities, as ever we were eager to show off both our property and our wines.


Ready to be served


The salty-sweet tarts paired absolutely delectably with the rosé line-up, coaxing secondary characteristics to the surface without overwhelming the wines.  When attendees were cornered and asked about personal taste, it seemed that each of the 8 wines: Anglim, Bonny Doon, Halter Ranch Vineyard, Ojai Vineyard, Tablas Creek Vineyard, Unti Vineyard, Verdad, Wind Gap, had a dedicated following.  Between the foods pictured below and a few bottles of each wine we were able to comfortably host the approximately 45 people in attendance.


The Completed Spread


So in the end, as the evening wound down hosts and guests alike seemed to experience a pleasant euphoria in the wake of the Rosé Soirée.  We are left with a sense of accomplishment in presenting a fun and creative (though the initial idea was lifted!) to a dynamic group of people.  In its wake we are left with an impulse to present afternoon food and wine pairing events more often…

For more photos from the event check out our Tumblr, Facebook, and Instagram (HalterRanch) feeds (you may have to be signed in to view).

As always, thank you for reading.  If you have queries comments or suggestions don’t hesitate to offer them below!

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