Côtes de Paso Blanc and Rosé are Buzzing – Get them while you can!

 

Two pressing thoughts have come to the minds (or the mind) of the Halter Ranch collective over the past month.

Thought Number 1:  Beyond being stellar overall, our summer line up (ie Rosé and Côtes Blanc) has been performing excellently in both print media and competitions (see below for specifics).

Thought Number 2: Remaining quantities of Côtes de Paso Blanc and Rosé are rapidly depleting.

Conclusion: The time is ripe to secure these wines for your summer table, porch, barbecue, or cellar.    (more…)


“Je me concentre dans le domaine du tourisme du vin”

Eglantine and Fancy Door

 

It may be evident from previous posts that our tasting room is currently graced with the presence of a miraculous French intern.

Eglantine: A sweet aromatic rose variety native to Europe and West Asia.  Also known as Sweet Briar

Eglantine hails from Bordeaux (yep, the town of Bordeaux, more accurately, from smack in the middle of the town of Bordeaux).  She has approximately two years of University (studying Tourism) remaining at Lycee de Gascogne.  Her intention is to hone her concentration in on Wine Tourism during those final years before transplanting to the United States more permanently as a wine specialist and guide.

The post today is devoted to Eglantine’s favorite Halter Ranch wines and the French style dishes she would pair them with.  We have taken the liberty of scouring the web for recipes, linking them where appropriate.   (more…)


Halter Ranch in New York City

Lindsey B inadvertently posing.

 

The following is an account from our blog’s editor, Lindsey Burrell, as he explores wine (Halter Ranch and overall) in the big apple.

Over the past week I had the opportunity to visit and explore New York City. While there, my wife and I took the time to seek out a few restaurants in Manhattan that serve Halter Ranch wines while surveilling the state of wine on the island.  Below I recount a few of our experiences along the way:

After perusing the list of restaurants in Manhattan that offer Halter Ranch wine, we arrived in front of the Knickerbocker Bar & Grill at 33 University Place, Greenwich Village The Knickerbocker felt as if it had been lifted directly out of Jazz’s golden era and planted in 2012 New York.  The staff were gussed up in pressed formalwear and the atmosphere in the spacious room gave an impression, figuratively and literally, of warm, sturdy hardwood.  In the evening, we were told, a jazz combo will often materialize to entertain. 

 

Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

 

This outing offered a rare opportunity to reconnect with old friends over Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon 2,928 miles from home.  After pouring the wine we ordered French Onion Soup, field greens, a mixed green salad with bacon, and the goat-cheese omelet.  Our server was politely taken aback by the decision to embark on Cabernet among a plethora of greens and lighter (beefless) dishes. Acknowledging his concern, we made the decision to forge ahead.  Conventional pairing ‘rules’ notwithstanding the acidity and spiciness of the Halter Ranch Cab complimented the herb qualities of the greens and the oil in the dressing quite well.  

 

What we thought of the food.

 

A discovery made while perusing the Knickerbocker wine list with more precision:  they offer a unique opportunity to experience one of our library whites.  The 2009 Cotes de Paso Blanc is on their list at a remarkably reasonable price given the fact it has been sold out at the winery for over a year (to the sorrow of staff, club members, and Halter Blanc fans alike!).  If you’re interested in a treat and have a taste for cellared whites don’t miss out on the opportunity to get your hands on a bottle of this delectable Rhone blend.

 

Where once there was French Onion Soup

 

We greatly enjoyed eats, atmosphere, and wine (of course) at the Knickerbocker, it is always amazing to taste a glimpse of home in a faraway place.  If you’re seeking a calming atmosphere after a long loud walk or a bumpy ride on the New York Metro system this is a destination to consider.

A few alternate locations serving Halter Ranch in New York:

Henry’s, Porter House, Nicholas James Bistro

Other notable wine sights not directly related to Halter Ranch we found exciting, inspiring, amazing:

For the enthusiast: Bar Jamon.  This (seriously!) tiny tapas bar is a purveyor of exclusively Spanish wine and cuisine.  Pours are generous, the staff is knowledgeable, and the fare is mindblowingly tasty.

For prestige: Gramercy Tavern.  A James Beard Award winning watering hole with an intimidatingly vast, diverse cellar, and professionalism with a smile.  Wear something nice ‘ )

For the refined:  The Burgundy Wine Co.  To find choice selections from Burgundy, the Rhone Valley, Oregon, small production Champagne, and Rose accept no substitute. Tastings and live music every Wednesday.


The Garden Party

In keeping with our annual tradition winery and tasting room staff arrived just behind Block 15 Mourvedre at 8:30 this morning to plant the Halter Ranch summer garden.   (more…)


The Narrative

Halter Ranch is in the midst of change.  Like the vines we grow and the wines we produce we are vitally, necessarily, and wonderfully alive.  We are growing roots, maturing in the bottle, breathing through our corks; just itching to be freed from our glass and poured into yours.

Intentions here have always developed with an eye toward the future.  We carefully dole out water and nutrients to our vineyard in the interest of extending its life.   The property itself is nothing if not a beautiful legacy we steward for innumerable generations to come. Each new vintage of Halter Ranch wine expresses very directly the flavor, history, and progress of this beautiful site and all these aspects contribute to the overall narrative we seek to share with you.

Toward that end…

…updates:

-Rumor from the winery is that the caves (passive cooling and barrel storage) will be completed in approximately six months (Just in time for Harvest 2012)!

-In the vineyard we are placing end posts on the last few new blocks to be planted over the next month or so.

-Pruning on our 200,000 grape producing rock stars is nearing completion as we prepare for budbreak (hopefully toward the end of April and safely beyond the risk of a late frost).

-In the tasting room we are gearing up for ZinFest next weekend!

Thanks for reading!  Check back later this week for a discussion of Syrah’s many faces.

P.S.  A fun fact for those of you who enjoy sparkling wine:

Though it likely cropped up throughout history as an accidental result of cold weather during the winemaking process, sparkling wine appeared in Britain as an intentionally produced consumable good prior to its appearance in France.  This is the result of two technological developments in Britain during the mid 1600?s:  First-The British rediscovered cork (the practice of using corks to seal liquids in jars disappeared during the dark ages) before the French who continued to use simple wooden bungs as stoppers until the early 1700?s.  Second-The British also developed reinforced glass that was structurally able to contain the natural exuberance of sparkling wine.  Today’s fact was sourced from this excellent book by Tom Stevenson.


Early March Update

In the Vineyard: Pruning is nearly complete throughout the vineyard.  As of this afternoon Block 2 Grenache (dry farmed, head trained) was looking clean and ready for bud break.  That said…we’d much prefer the buds (and this warm weather) hold off to get us through the last few weeks of frost season. (more…)


Gioconda in the Kitchen

These photos are from our cooking event in the Halter Ranch Victorian Farmhouse this past weekend.  Our neighbor and baker extraordinaire Ciro Pasciutto arranged this very special opportunity for a few lucky guests to take a crash course in Traditional Italian Cooking from his mother Gioconda.

The food was a smashing success –no surprise here!–and word is that the overall experience was wonderful and unique as well.  We’ve included a gallery below in the hope of conveying, via web-mosis, an echo of the past weekend’s delectible joy.  The dishes were paired with our current series of wines and it is dangerously pavlovian experience imagine our current series complemented by zesty Italian cuisine!


Vineyard Views

The morning’s rain made for more stunning views in the vineyard and around the new facility.  It is amazing to see the weekly change as it happens among the vines and on our various construction projects!

Monday looks to be big in regard to progress on the area surrounding the new tasting room.  We will be pressure washing the patio and letting it dry out before sealing it on Tuesday or Wednesday.  All this will take place as we prepare for Wine Festival next weekend!

In the new winery just 7 of the tank pads remain empty and the reverse osmosis system, a fundamental component of the winemaking process, is waiting on its last few pipe connections.

The Vineyard Drive entry gate is essentially complete but for the last bit of fencing immediately around it and the automatic mechanism for the gate!  Looking out the window every few minutes, the beauty of the day seems–miraculously!–to be increasing.


Pruning Continues at Halter Ranch

Pruning will be ongoing through early to mid-summer, depending upon the grape in question, until we begin seeing the first signs of Veraison.  Veraison is essentially the transition in the grapes from hard green berries to, again depending on the particular variety in question, plump black, purple, red, light green, yellow, or brown spheroids of juicy joy.

We focused our efforts this morning on Block 22B Syrah, grafted over from Cabernet Sauvignon in 2004.  22A and B are both Syrah (22A: Clone 383, 22B: Clone 174) and the two Syrah plantings that most consistently appear in our own bottlings.  We will be focusing on our top performing hillsides first as we work our way through the entire vineyard to open up areas on each vine that are becoming clogged with new growth.  It is a truly exciting and rewarding time to be among the vines!


Fresh Tasting Notes from the Halter Ranch Staff


2010 Sauvignon Blanc-True to form, the 2010 is bright and crisp with nice acidity, perfect for the season.  The character this time around tends a bit more toward the grapefruit end of the Sauvignon Blanc spectrum.

2010 Rose-One of the most popular wines on our list among staff and customers alike! Bright red fruit bursts through the nose on this reliable beauty.  Everything about it is pleasing!

2010 Cotes de Paso Blanc-Within our list, the Cotes Blanc expresses perhaps most directly the stony characteristics of our vineyard’s soil.  It begs for cucumbers, goat cheese, or possibly a little more time in the cellar to truly blossom.

2008 Cotes de Paso-The wonderful aromatics of our Grenache based blend reach the nose before the wine is even poured!  Its perfect melding of fruit and spice is liable to induce a Pavlovian salivation effect.  CdP 2008 drinks wonderfully immediately as it is poured from the bottle, no decanting or aerating necessary!

2008 Syrah-A little fuller than Cotes de Paso red, the 08 Syrah walks many paths.  It is great now with wonderful dark berry fruit and a little tannin.  It will age well for 10 years if cellaring is your game. Or, if you have a hearty dish in need of a deep purple companion this gorgeous wine is eager to oblige.

2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-Though it will reward some time lying down in your cellar, C.S. 2007 is perfectly drinkable immediately if you love some hearty dark fruit and tannin. Another wine that expresses itself enthusiastically when in the company of hearty meats and stews, the 07 among all Cabernet we’ve produced shows most excellently a blend of fruit oriented Paso style and Old-world spice.

2006 Ancestor-For being so young, the 2006  is potentially the most palate friendly Ancestor yet released.  Where its siblings of previous vintages have expressed their tannic structure very directly, the current release is more subtle, earthy, and drinkable on its own.  Don’t be fooled however, there is enough tannin on the back end to keep 06 on the shelf next to 2004 and 2005.

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