2012 Cotes de Paso Blanc and Brunch Casserole

Brunch - Halter Ranch Vineyard

Feeling Brunchy?


In the spirit of summertime and the phenomenon that is Brunch, we offer this recipe and pairing suggestion for the opening of June.  The recipe will require:

8 (preferably farm fresh) eggs, 1/4 pound black forest ham or a similar quantity of marinated artichokes hearts (or an even split!), 8 slices of thick country bread, 8 oz. Mild (or as you like) Cheddar, 4 cups of milk, 8 slices of thick country bread, 1 teaspoon mustard powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper

Slice the bread into 1 inch chunks and place at the bottom of an oiled 9 x 13 x 2 inch baking pan.  Grate the cheese and slice the ham or artichoke hearts and layer them on top of the bread.  Then, in a large mixing bowl, vigorously mix eggs, salt, pepper, mustard, and milk until they are smooth before pouring the entire mixture into the pan.  Cover the casserole and let it sit refrigerated 8 hours.  When you are ready to experience brunch bliss, preheat your oven to 350 degrees and bake the casserole for 1 hour.  Serve with a chilled glass of 2012 Cotes de Paso Blanc for immediate nirvana.  (more…)

Barrel Tastes – Spelunking of a Sort


Barrel Experiment Alcove - Barrel

Barrel Experiment and Special Cabernet Alcove


Each year Kevin and the winemaking team compile a barrel experiment to assist in the ongoing effort toward improving our wines while being fair and balanced with regard to the various cooperages courting us yearly to purchase their barrels.  You may recall a previous post about the initial tasting for the 2011 Barrel Experiment.  This week Kevin took a few of us into the caves to revisit a select group of wines that may be included if we begin offering barrel tastings as part of the cave tour program in the future.  (more…)

Pairings Indeed – A Meal With Cabernet Sauvignon

Pieces of Soup and Cabernet Sauvignon


Inspired in part by cool winter weather and in other part by the success of a past pairing experience, we decided to cook an experimental meal with a hearty soup as the centerpiece alongside the 2010 Halter Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon.  The ingrained impulse when considering a food pairing for Cabernet Sauvignon is generally to think: ‘Steak!’.  While we would not necessarily disagree, steak being a perfectly acceptable compliment to a hearty wine, in this instance we’ve decided to stray from the norm.  Keeping in mind that taste is subjective, we created a salad, a vegetarian soup modified from a recipe in this book, and a variation on Pissaladière with the intention of showcasing the versatility of 2010 Cabernet.  (more…)

Just Photos: Big Skies, Delicious Scents, and Harvest 2012

Oak in 52


Picking by Moonlight – An Exercise in Humility


An angular standoff between moonlight and floodlight


The world looks entirely different when travelling Vineyard Drive by moonlight.  Blue lit trees stretch their weird limbs in arches above the roadway while night creatures go casually about their daily business.


Lucas kicking off the pick


Halter Ranch is all blue hue and shadow punctuated by the harvest lighting arrays and the near full moon.  There is excitement in the air as we embark on the evening’s harvest activities and a certain spell is cast in the knowledge that most of the world is asleep while our seasoned harvest crew kickstarts the harvest ritual. (more…)

Cabernet Day Reflections – Wine and Music in Concert

2003 Halter Ranch Cab opened in prelude to Cabernet Day


In preparation for Cabernet Day 2012, a friend and I drove via the coast route from Paso Robles to Santa Cruz. Securely stowed in our air conditioned vehicle were a few bottles each of Halter Ranch 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve. These two special wines represent the entirety of our first foray into the variety at Halter Ranch.   (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.

In the Vineyard – May 2011


Initial buds, pruned to preferred positions during winter 2010/2011, were lost due to frost in late March. The vines have reacted to this by enthusiastically sending out new buds and shoots in random locations on the cordon and trunk.  Thus, instead of simply thinning fruit from those preferred positions, as we would in a normal year, the team must focus primarily on pruning back the overabundance of new growth.

Initially we send a large crew (about 12 people) through each Block to pre-prune back to 8 buds per vine, leaving a larger number of buds in this manner functions as a means of protecting select buds against another late frost.  Currently a small follow-up crew of 2-3 people is thinning to 2 buds per vine on Block 4 and 5 Syrah while the larger crew prepares to shoot thin Block 22 Syrah and Block 41 Cabernet Sauvignon. Tomorrow we will update this post with some photos of the process in action!

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