2011 Evohe Tempranillo & Glass

Guest Post – 2011 Evohe Tempranillo

Today I’m happy to introduce guest poster The Desert Wine Guy.  He contacted me a few weeks ago to inquire about doing a blog post exchange.  If you came here by way of The Desert Wine Guy blog then welcome!  Take it away Marc.

In today’s article you will all be let in on on a little secret as well as a little discovery I made, a hidden treasure in the form of a wine I discovered. The discovery I am going to let you in on is that of a grape. You say “so what Desert Wine Guy, that’s why we read your blog anyway“. That is true but this is not just about just any grape or for that matter, just any wine.

Let’s first start with the the Treasure. This treasure I speak of is the 2011 Evohe Tempranillo. To make this treasure a little more precious, I am talking about a wine that sells for $10-$12. You say you’ve never heard of this Vineyard/Winery well that’s O.K. that is one of the reasons it is a treasure and also why we are here. I am here, to expose you to new wines, ideas and news of the wine world and hopefully you are here, discover and to learn from this information.

Now we are on to the the discovery, or a secret. The discovery or secret we are going to discover is the varietal named the Tempranillo. Here is a short run down on this beautiful grape. The Tempranillo, nicknamed “little one” due to it’s early flowering, budding & ripening is actually a Black grape and is Spain’s most popular and famous native grapes. This is a grape that is normally used for blending in deep reds and “Jug Wine”. Don’t let the “Jug Wine thing throw you. This is a grape that, in my opinion people have simply just overlooked. When I first tasted this varietal I was at South Coast Winery in Temecula (Southern) California. I was doing a tasting and this wine was poured along with Cabs and other reds. I was in Heaven quickly and even though the wine was not inexpensive I simply had to buy a bottle. If you are a deep, peppery, spicy red then you have hit pay dirt here. You can take your secret and discovery, to the store and  buy a bottle of the 2011 Evohe Tempranillo today and impress your friends tomorrow.

The idea of Evohe Winery began in 2006 when three wine lovers Ricardo Mosteo, Henrik Heikel and Alfonso Mort got together and decided to “share the wisdom of generations of winemakers”. The Vineyard/Winery is located in Aragon, Spain. The winery itself was actually built in 1912 and uses the fact that there are natural concrete deposits to keep the wine cool while fermentation to it’s advantage by making a great wine. The wine also uses wild yeasts that occur naturally in the grapes. The weather in Aragon is very dry and therefore gets very little rain. According to Evohe Vineyards this along with the big temperature swings ensure that the vines that do survive are strong and produce only the best grapes for wine. Evohe Vineyards makes three varietals of wine such as a Grenache, a Tempranillo and a Sparkling (brut) Wine.

Now for the moment you have been waiting for, the review. Let’s begin at the beginning with the pour. This wine is a dark purplish in color but seems to darken around the edges of the wine while it rests in the glass and tends to become a deep, rich looking enticing red. It was both visually appealing to see the deep red and at the same time made it even more appetizing. Unlike most deep, rich red wines there is no oak used in making this wine. A deep red without oak, interesting. The bouquet of the wine was peppery and did have the aroma of oak even though, as I said there is none that touches the wine. Let’s step deeper into this wine by getting to the heart of this review which, of course is how it tastes in your mouth. Happily this is a classic Tempranillo, spicy peppery, black current, cocoa. The first flavor that came to my palate was that of blackberry which was followed closely on the heels of a moderate amount of black current. If that isn’t a great combination there is more to follow. How about a touch of pepper with some cranberry thrown is for good measure? If this isn’t sounding like a complex wine that should be costing more that $10 you are right. Tasting this wine is like tasting a nice, dark, red  powerhouse of a wine that comes across as if it were in your cellar for years, aging and becoming nearly perfect. The black current mixing in with the spice really, I think sets this wine off. The wine is simply smooth, elegant and delicious. Hold on though this review isn’t over just yet, no this wine is not done. The wine also opens up a little and brings a little cocoa along with it for good measure. The cocoa doesn’t linger too long but it’s presence is definitely felt in the wine. I think it might even add to a sense of softening of the wine just before you swallow. If you are starting to feel as if you are in need of a glass of this wine as you read this article don’t feel bad you are not alone. I am wishing I had a bottle with me right now, or at least one in the cellar along with one to put away. There is most definitely a lot going on in this wine and you would think that there is so much going on that it would be overpowering but you would be wrong. This is what a good Tempranillo should taste like and the reason I fell in love with the grape in the first place. I am so infatuated with this grape that if I wasn’t growing two different varietals (Cabernet Sauvignon & Sauvignon Blanc) right now or if I had room for a third I would be purchasing some vines come springtime. This grape is known to be a challenge to grow but the way the 2011 Evohe Tempranillo expresses this varietal so wonderfully makes you just want to go out and want to at the very least grow the grape. I think the 2011 Evohe Tempranillo has done a lot to advance this grape as a standalone grape. I highly recommend that if you have never had a Tempranillo that you start off with this wine so that you get a feel of what the varietal is supposed to, or can taste like like if time is taken with it. Before ending this review there is one last thing I wanted to throw out there that makes this wine unique. As I stated earlier, Tempranillo has been used as a blending grape but was rarely ever attempted as a standalone wine, at least in this country. Lately there are two wines that I have tasted that are 100% Tempranillo this happens to be one of them, the second being the 2011 ST AMANT Tempranillo that I have a review pending on.

To sum this all up in a nutshell. The 2011 Evohe Tempranillo represents the varietal very well. The wine is put together very well and makes for a wonderful wine to enjoy a great porterhouse or rib eye steak with special company.  Then again you might just want to keep this wine our little secret.

On The Desert Wine Guy rating scale I give this wine 93 points.

The Desert Wine Guy

www.desertwineguy.blogspot.com/
www.facebook.com/DesertWineGuy?fref=nf

https://twitter.com/DesertWineGuyLV

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCgCUb3w1n2S_UGU2yYRkFYQ/videos

This is a special review for me because this is my first guest blog I’ve ever been part of and I am very grateful to Michelle Leonardson the owner of WineDineDIY.com who was adventurous enough to take up me up on the invite of actually doing a guest blog. Michelle is going to send me an article she will write for her own site (WineDineDIY.com) and I will put it up on my Blog. I have to say, Michelle is one of the few Bloggers that I have contacted with this invite who is confident enough in her ability and online presence to branch out of her comfort zone and open her world up to other wine lovers. There have been a few wine writers who have websites whom I have contacted who rejected the idea of swapping articles for whatever reason. Perhaps they forgot that they started small at one time as well and they were given opportunities to expand by people who were also adventures and were able to “think outside the box” so to speak as Michelle is. Once again thanks Michelle.

grapes close up in pot

How to Make Grape Juice

I almost titled this post “If I Never See a Grape Again….”

Grapes are tiny and time consuming and when you have nearly 15 gallons of them you should carve out a couple of weeks for the preserving process.

You may recall that my buckets looked like this after all the vines were picked:

grapes in buckets

Bucket by bucket I dumped my harvest into the kitchen sink, then went to work separating the good grapes from the bad.  The bad ones were tossed out while the good ones were destemmed in preparation for washing.

grapes in sink

A few people have told me they skip washing and destemming because they find it unnecessary. Here’s why I do it: tannins.  I’m trying to create the sweetest and purest grape flavor.  This excerpt on tannins is from a post a few weeks ago:

Tannins are a natural compound contained in many plants, including grapevines.  They are extracted from grape skins, seeds and stems, and the strength of the tannin increases as the grape ages.  They are also categorized as an astringent, meaning they constrict body tissue (like taste buds) on contact.  If you have ever taken a sip that left your mouth feeling dry and puckered, you were probably drinking a wine made with mature grapes.

I washed them because they were capital D – DIRTY and I have a thing about dirt.  When cooking grapes, dirt foams up and must be skimmed off, so in my opinion, a quick rinse after destemming is an easy and worthwhile step as it lessens the foamage.

What I’m saying is that it’s a matter of personal preference.

Back to juice making.  Once the washing was done I measured out two 3lb “bundles” of grapes and emptied them one after the other into a large pot, then poured in water until the topmost layer of grapes were just barely submerged.

weighing grapes

grapes in pot

grapes with just enough water to cover

I brought the water to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally.  I could see the grapes begin to split and soften.

grapes split

grapes simmering

After about fifteen minutes I removed them from the heat and mashed them gently in the pot.

mashing grapes in pot

Next came some elbow grease.  First I used a mesh colander to strain the grapes with water (“grape water”).  My colander allowed for 2 cups of grape water at a time.

scooping grapes from pot

Then I used a potato masher to begin smushing the grapes through the colander.

mashing grapes in colander

When that was no longer effective, I grabbed a small 4oz jelly jar and used it like a mini wine press to extract the remaining juice (a method I learned from my great-grandma).  I had to really put my back into it!

mashing with jar

I discarded the pulverized grapes into a small colander to collect any remaining droplets.

discarded pulp

At this point I strained the juice through cheesecloth to fine the pulp.

pulp  on cheesecloth

Then I repeated the process with the next 6lbs of grapes.

Again.

And again.

And again.

grape juice before cooking

Believe me, this was just the tip of the iceberg.

Now I had all this lovely juice.  But I wasn’t done.

I added a gallon of juice to the large pot and brought it to a simmer, skimming the foam as it heated up.

foam on juice

Then I added 2 cups of sugar, stirring continuously until the granules dissipated.  I let that simmer for a good 5 minutes and removed it from the heat.

MEANWHILE.

I filled my largest stock pot with water on high heat.  Once boiling, I began submerging 16oz mason jars (lids included) into the water until the pot was packed tight.

boiling jars

After the jars boiled for 10 minutes, I was ready to start the actual canning:

canning prep

As you might imagine, it’s a bit of a dance learning how to best synchronize the timing between straining the juice and boiling the mason jars.

Using towels to handle the very hot glass, I transferred the fresh juice into as many jars as possible, twisted their lids tightly closed, and placed them upside down.

juice in jars

jars upside down

After 10-15 minutes I began hearing popping sounds, indicating the successful formation of a vacuum seal in the affected jars.  I manually checked the internal pressure by poking my finger against the top of the lid.

pressing the lid

NOTE:  If I had been able to push the lids inward, I would have given them another 10-15 minutes upside down, long enough for most to seal.  Then the stragglers would go back into boiling water for 5 minutes.  The “failures” thereafter would go into the fridge to be enjoyed over the next few days since the juice within could no longer be preserved.

So.  Cook, strain, mash, skim, stir, boil, fill, pop.  Repeat.  Ad nauseam.

Guess what everyone I know is getting for Christmas? Spoiler alert!

Happy canning!  What are you preserving right now? Come back next week and I’ll show you how to make grape jelly.

Jessica teaching

Snake River Valley Harvest Festival

The Ste. Chapelle Snake River Valley Harvest Festival was held last weekend, and as you may recall from this post (LINK) I was a vendor alongside Jessica Wyman to promote our new collaboration Vino & Vinyasa.

Vino and Vinyasa signs

Vino and Vinyasa table

All in all the event was a success.  The crowd wasn’t as large as we’d hoped, maybe because there were approximately one million events in the Treasure Valley that day.  However, we still met quite a few people, had some great conversations, shared our blogs, our stories and did a little yoga!

yoga in the Snake River Valley

yoga in the park

A lot of people entered to win our gift baskets and congratulations to Velinda and Lynn! The baskets  included goodies such as Jessica’s cookbook Girlfriends Organic Kitchen, wine charms, a bottle of wine donated by Ste. Chapelle, and more!

Vino

Vinyasa

I also had some of the grape juice and jelly from my backyard grapes for sale.

Juice and Jelly

Jessica was busy promoting her soon-to-be-released book Finding Your Foxy Feeling Frumpy and Unfit is so Last Season and handing out flyers for her upcoming event Sisterhood Session 2014.

The best part of the day was spending quality time with my new partner in wine and since we survived the day without driving each other nuts, I’d say we’re at the beginning of something beautiful!

Speaking of beautiful check out these park views:

park view 1

park view 2

park view 3

If you are interested in inviting Vino & Vinyasa to your winery or event, contact me at winedinediy dot com for more information.

Taste Wine Like A Pro!

When it comes to wine tasting, here are a few tips I’ve learned along the way.

To begin, try to learn a little something about the wine even before it touches your lips.  If you’re dining out, wine notes may be found in the menu; most wine tasting events will supply you with a laminated card describing in detail the wine being served.  Depending on the event, additional brochures and pamphlets may also be available.  Making time to read the available literature can truly enhance the experience.  While reading, take mental notes regarding which fruits, spices, and aromas the wine is said to display, as well as any other characteristics that might influence its taste.  Was the wine aged in wood barrels, and if so, what type of wood?  How long was it aged?  In what kind of soil were the grapes harvested?

Your server or steward will pour a small amount of wine into your glass.  Note the color and composition of the wine.  Is it faint or bold?  Thick or watery?  Based on appearance alone, how do you expect it to taste?

Holding the base of the glass flat against the countertop, swirl quickly for at least ten seconds.  This allows the wine to oxygenate, which helps draw out aromas and flavors.

Swirl

After you’ve swirled to your heart’s content, dive in nose first and smell.

SmellRemember those mental notes you made?  Now is the time to start recalling them… what do you smell?  Try to identify at least one scent. Cherry? Pepper?  Honeysuckle? Does it smell fruity at all? Can you smell any alcohol?

Give it one more big whiff, then take that first sip!

Sip

Keep the wine in your mouth and let it roll around on your tongue.  Play the same game… what do you taste? Is it spicy or sweet? What fruit flavors are present?  If it hasn’t been aged in oak, it should be crisp with a lot of fruity components. If it has, then the flavor might be smokier, even buttery or reminiscent of vanilla.

Now, for the swallow.  Gulp and then immediately exhale deeply through your nose, let those nostrils flare! Can you still taste it on your palate? This is the finish!  The longer the taste lasts, the better the finish.

Swallow

Finally savor the wine you just tasted.  Reflect on it and enjoy any lingering flavors.

Savor(2)

Have a cracker or a bite of food to cleanse the palate, then on to the next!  Now you can taste like a pro!

*Artist is Sidonia Om Dunia

In the Kitchen with Nicole

In the Kitchen with Nicole!

In the Kitchen with Nicole!

You may remember Nicole from my post about the egg nog cookie disaster of 2013.  She is also a close friend and was our wedding coordinator!

She’s also the mother of a sweet Little Elfin Princess (who acts as her sous chef).

Little Elfin Princess

I have been looking forward to watching Nicole do her thing in the kitchen as I have long admired her culinary skills and tasty treats.  When the time came she suggested doing brunch as it is her habit of making a nice hot breakfast/brunch on the weekends.

And can we talk about this kitchen island for a minute?

island

Swoon.

*ahem*

The Q&A!

How would you describe your cooking style? I think my cooking style depends on the time of year for me. I enjoy using fresh ingredients when I can.  During the spring and summer there is so much more variety of fresh produce in season that I tend to prepare meals that consist of more whole foods during those two seasons.  When late fall and winter is here I prepare more comfort meals that bring warmth and relaxation to my dining room. Overall, I would say my style is simple and elegant as I not only want what I cook or bake to taste good, but I want the appearance to be appealing as well.

Who are your cooking influences? I was fortunate enough to have both my grandmothers and my mother as an influence.  Though growing up I was resistive to being in the kitchen and I dug my heels in every holiday when I was asked to help prepare one of the dishes.  Now, that I have my own space and can cook my way I have much more enjoyment from it.  In fact, I really enjoy playing soft music, drinking a glass of wine (when I’m not pregnant), and preparing dinner.  My kitchen is one of my happy places and somewhere I can retreat to at the end of the day to find some peace and sanity.

Tell me about your eating habits.  Have they changed over the years? My eating habits have changed drastically over the years. I use a lot more fresh and whole ingredients when I am cooking compared to five years ago. I rarely use salt when I cook and recipes that call for a lot of salt I won’t usually prepare.  With my daughter having food sensitivities it has resulted in a decrease in dairy products. For dairy alternatives I use almond milk, coconut milk yogurt, and though I still use cheese it is significantly less. I also prepare more gluten free recipes which I have found to be more challenging to satisfy all three sets of taste buds in my household.

What would have for your last meal? Turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and gravy (lots of it), sweet potatoes, homemade rolls, fudge pecan pie, and wine.

Nicole’s Menu
Veggie Quiche
Blueberry Muffins
Mixed Berries
Tangelo Juice

Nicole got started right away on the quiche by pouring about ¼ cup of olive oil into a large pan on the stove set to medium heat.

Olive oil

Then she added 2 minced garlic cloves, cooked them for a couple of minutes, added ½ cup of minced onions and cooked them together for about 5 minutes.

garlic and onions

Next she threw ½ cup of mushrooms into the pan and sautéed until tender.

Mushrooms

Meanwhile she boiled up a small head of broccoli, cut into florets, until it was soft enough to stick a fork straight through, at which point she put it under cold water to stop the cooking process.

ice bath for broccoli

It was at about this time that the little ankle biter in the family showed up to get in on the cooking action.

Boomer

Nicole returned to the pan and added a handful of spinach (1 cup) and continually stirred as it cooked down.

Spinach

The pan was then removed from heat and ½ cup of feta was added.

Feta

Nicole finely chopped the broccoli and Little E acted as a taste tester to make sure the broccoli passed muster.

taste tester

The broccoli was added to the pan and left to cool while Nicole preheated the oven to 375˚ and produced a premade pie crust, which she then baked for 6 minutes to keep from getting soggy over the next several steps.

The egg mixture for the quiche consisted of 1 cup of almond milk and 4 eggs (well to be precise it was 3 egg whites and 2 whole eggs because that’s what she had on hand – but she assures me that normally 4 eggs gets the job done).  She also added a little pepper to the eggs to taste.

eggs

She filled the pie crust with the veggie mix.

Veggie mixture in pie crust

Sprinkled ¼ cup of grated cheese over the vegetables and added the eggs.

Pouring the quiche

More cheese was sprinkled on top.

The quiche was put it in the oven and Nicole got poked in the rear.

Poke

That sous chef is sassy!

Up to this point Little E had been observing and asking questions as well as posing and using improved toys to take pictures of the process and of me.

E taking a picture with her camera

But she finally started to earn her keep as she and Nicole got started on the muffins (you can find the recipe they are based are here).

Together they added 1/3 cup of almond milk, 1 egg and ½ tsp of vanilla bean paste, and a stick of softened butter into the mixer.

wet ingredients

In a new bowl they added ¾ cup of flour, ½ cup sugar and 3 ¼ tsp baking powder.

dry ingredients

Little E stirred that together nicely and it was added to the wet ingredients in the mixer.

Mixing

Nicole brought out some delicious-looking blueberries and dusted them with flour so they wouldn’t sink to the bottom of the muffins.

blueberries in flour

Then she gently added them to the muffin batter.

mixing in blueberries

And then added a little more milk because the batter was really thick.

adding a little more milk

At this point the quiche had been baking for 15 minutes.  Nicole sprinkled a little more cheese over it and put it back in the oven to keep on baking for another 35 minutes.

Sprinkling more cheese on quiche

And we’re back to the muffins!  For the muffin crumb topping she used a different recipe (which is the topping for cheesecake cupcakes you can find here).

The crumb topping consists of dry ingredients including ½ cup of flour, ½ cup of brown sugar and ½ tsp cinnamon which were stirred together.

making the crumb topping

3 tbsp of softened butter was added and stirred with a fork.

crumbly

The muffin batter was poured into cups and then the crumble was added on top and given a soft pat down.

E placing cups in tin

muffin batter in tin

crum topping

In the oven the muffins went side by side with the quiche and perfectly timed with 20 minutes remaining.

Once time was up, the muffins were taken out of the tin and placed on a cooking rack to cool.

Muffins

Muffins

The quiche came out looking (and smelling!) amazing.

Baked quiche

Nicole had prepared some mixed berries and tangelo juice prior to my arrival to compliment the quiche and muffins.

Mixed berries and tangelo juice

I eagerly prepared a plate.

Quiche and Muffins

Plated brunch

So here is what I didn’t tell Nicole that day: I don’t really like broccoli.  I may have told her a little white lie and said I did because I wanted her to cook authentically for her family.  The amazing part?  It actually tasted pretty good in that quiche! I won’t lie now when I tell ya that I was surprised I liked it. Happily so!

And I could have eaten about 10 of those muffins. YUM.

Thanks so much for inviting me into your kitchen Nicole – your baking improvisation and modifications were impressive and inspirational. I had a blast with you and the Little Elfin Princess!