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Family News: The Rocca Family Vineyards Newsletter

John Taylor
 
August 13, 2013 | John Taylor

Volume V: August 2013

Harvest Is Coming!

Dear friends,

What a summer this has been: Beautiful weather here in Napa, lots going on to finish up our tasting room project and some fun travel encompassing both work and play.  If the County of Napa will stop adding hoops for us to jump through, we will finish up our remodeling project and be ready to open within another 60 days or so. 

Whew! As my husband likes to say, we got into growing grapes and making wine by vastly overestimating our cash flow. It reminds me of this project: I vastly Underestimated how much time and money it would take to open our doors!! Once we get there, it is going to be great, and we want you to plan on coming to see us!  

After graduating last summer from Duke University with a Global MBA, my husband Eric and I looked at each other and said, "What are we going to do with all of this extra time now that we don't have to study?" We decided to focus on improving our tennis games, so this year I have really been pushing myself to get out and play as much as possible - I've taken beaucoup lessons and rigorously read hours of tennis instruction in order to improve my game. With all that, I may improve my rating by moving up one level.  

What does that have to do with fine wine? Not much, but the same principles apply: The harder you work the luckier you get. So we work really hard all year long on our farming, so that by the time we harvest, we have the darned finest grapes around. This year is no exception. Sergio and his team have put in the hours, and the vineyards and grapes are looking beautiful! We'll have some available to try fresh as they get close to being harvested, so call and come by if you want a taste treat that will make your mouth water  Fresh wine grapes bear no resemblance to table grapes, so if you haven't ever tried them you sure need to! 

Cheers! ~ Mary

Chef Bob Hurley's Exclusive Recipe For Rocca Family Vineyards:

Roasted Venison & Wild Blackberry Sauce with Porcini Polenta and a Valrhona Chocolate Almond Torte.

Inspired by Rocca Family Vineyards' 2009 Collinetta Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (a 93-point Cellar Selection in August's Wine Enthusiast magazine), one of Napa's premiere chefs, Bob Hurley, has created an exquisite pairing just for you!

In the summer of 1988 Chef Bob Hurley planted his roots firmly in the California Wine Country, first as a chef at Domaine Chandon, then later as Executive Chef at the Napa Valley Grille.

In November 2002 he opened his own restaurant, Hurley's Restaurant, in Yountville, California.  Chef Hurley describes his menu as local California cuisine high in flavor and influenced by the Mediterranean so that it fits very well with wine. The regular menu offers a wide array of options.  The “Wine Country” theme allows diversity so that it is not tied down to a particular style or ethnicity. 

Click Here for the recipe! Enjoy!

Notes From The Winemaker...

As it does every August, the excitement is building quickly in Napa Valley!  Three months from now, we'll all be too exhausted to be excited.  Or at least, too exhausted for anyone to tell that we're excited.  But right now we're charged up for harvest 2013, and it's just around the corner!  Technically, it has already started: Our dear "bubblehead" friends have already begun picking the first grapes for sparkling wine production.  At Rocca we're still several weeks away from perfectly ripe grapes, but there's lots of work to do between now and then. 

Sergio and his crew are making multiple passes through both of our vineyards, making sure that we live up to every bit of the exciting potential of this gorgeous growing season.  Each cluster is individually manicured, by hand.  Any remaining wings or shoulders are cut off; any leaves that are causing excess shading or restricting optimal air circulation are pulled, especially on the side of each row that gets less of the hot afternoon sun; thousands of clusters are dropped on the ground to ensure that only those of the very highest quality are left to receive the ripening energy of the vines, and to prevent any crowding or unwanted shading.  We're watering the vines just enough to keep them alive and healthy, while leaving the individual grapes as small and concentrated as possible.  It's a delicate balancing act, but it's one that Sergio accomplishes with the great mastery that comes from decades of experience.  The quality and quantity of the crop look terrific so far, but our optimism is always tempered with a bit of caution.  As this year has shown in very dramatic fashion, both in Bordeaux and in Burgundy, things can change very quickly in the life of a farmer.

In the cellar, there's not much need for an update on the wines from 2012.  They're still absurdly good, and they're only getting better with time.  It's going to be a thrill to share them with all of you.  On another note, the first of the 97 new barrels we ordered for this year have just begun to arrive, with the rest due from France into our nearby port of Oakland in the very near future.  We can't wait to start filling them with delicious juice from the 2013 harvest! ~ Paul Colantuoni

New Feature On Our Website: Find Wines

Have you been wondering where to find Rocca wines in your neighborhood? Let us help! We've added a new page to our website that will help you locate the nearest store or restaurant to your home that serves our wine. Simply click on Find Wines and you can search by city, state or zip code within a ten to fifty mile radius of your home.

Currently, the wines of Rocca Family Vineyards can be found in California, Virginia, Louisiana, Tennessee, Nevada and Kentucky. Next month, we'll be adding Texas, Florida and Kansas, with New York, New Jersey and Colorado bringing wines in by year-end. We're constantly updating with new locations, so check back often! If you can't find a wine near you, simply order online and we'll ship directly to you!

Here & There...

Construction on the Tasting Room has entered it's final phase: Landscaping! Work on the back deck, 2nd bathroom and expanded Wine Closet is complete, and with a little luck, the whole project should be completed by Fall...Low Inventory Alert! There are only 20 cases left of the 2008 Vespera Proprietary Red Blend available for sale to the public. Once those are gone, the remaining inventory will only be available to members of the Wine Club. Get it while it lasts by clicking here...Our 2009 Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon was recently named Best Cabernet Sauvignon at the prestigious San Francisco International Wine Competition. We took this honor over 500 other Cabernets submitted this year...We are proud to announce that Chef Thomas Keller recently added our 2008 Merlot to the wine list at The French Laundry in Napa. It is the only Yountville Merlot represented at what is widely regarded as the best restaurant in the world.

'Till next time - Cheers! ~JT

John Taylor
 
August 5, 2013 | John Taylor

Chef Bob Hurley's Original Recipe Pairing for the 2009 Collinetta Cabernet

Roasted Venison & Wild Blackberry Sauce with Porcini Polenta

Valrhona Chocolate Almond Torte

Inspired by Rocca Family Vineyards' 2009 Collinetta Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon (a 93-point Cellar Selection in August's Wine Enthusiast magazine), one of Napa's premiere chefs, Bob Hurley, has created an exquisite pairing just for you!

In the summer of 1988 Chef Bob Hurley planted his roots firmly in the California Wine Country, first as a chef at Domaine Chandon, then later as Executive Chef at the Napa Valley Grille.

In November 2002 he opened his own restaurant, Hurley's Restaurant, in Yountville, California.  Chef Hurley describes his menu as local California cuisine high in flavor and influenced by the Mediterranean so that it fits very well with wine. The regular menu offers a wide array of options.  The “Wine Country” theme allows diversity so that it is not tied down to a particular style or ethnicity.  

Enjoy!

Ingredients:

3 pounds venison loin or leg (sinew and connective tissue removed)
2 tablespoons olive oil
salt & pepper

For the marinade:
10  each juniper berries (crushed)
2 each bay leaves (crumbled)
10 each fresh sage leaves (chopped)
15 each black peppercorns
1 cup olive oil (pure)

Blackberry Sauce:
1 teaspoon unsalted butter
1 each shallot (peeled, finely diced)
½ teaspoon sugar
1 ounce raspberry vinegar
3 cups good veal stock
1 pint fresh blackberries

Porcini Polenta:
2 cups polenta
8 cups water
2 pounds assorted wild or exotic mushrooms (shitake, chanterelle, portobello, etc., sliced)
2 ounces olive oil
4 tablespoons shallots (chopped)
2 cups chicken stock
1 ounce dried porcini mushrooms
½ cup assorted fresh herbs (thyme, sage, tarragon, Italian parsley, chopped)
1 cup fresh parmesan cheese (grated)
salt & pepper

Preparation:

Combine all ingredients of marinade.  Allow venison to marinade for 12-24 hours, turning once or twice.

Blackberry Sauce:

Melt butter in a small sauce pan over low heat.  Add shallots and cook until translucent (about 3-4 minutes).  Add sugar and cook until it begins to caramelize.  Add vinegar and reduce by half.

Add veal stock and ½ pint of blackberries.  Bring to a boil then simmer, skimming off the impurities that rise to the top during this process.  Reduce to 1 cup and strain.  Put sauce back on the fire, test for seasoning and add the remaining ½ pint of berries.  Let cook for 2 minutes, then take off the heat and reserve.

Venison:

Preheat oven to 350°.

In a sauté pan on high heat, add olive oil and marinated venison.  Brown venison well on all sides and place in oven.  Cook until rare to medium rare (about 8-10 minutes).  Be sure not to overcook the meat or it will become dry.  Take out of oven and let rest in a warm place for 10 minutes

Porcini Polenta:
Add polenta in a steady stream to boiling water, continually stirring.  Return to a boil stirring constantly until polenta begins to dissolve and does not stick to the bottom of the pan.  Turn heat on low, simmer and cook for approximately 20-30 minutes.  During this time you may need to add more water to maintain a very thick consistency that pours.

Heat olive oil in a sauté pan and add the assorted wild mushrooms.  Cook on high heat until they start to give off moisture, add chopped herbs and shallots and sauté for one minute.  Add chicken stock and dried porcini mushrooms.  Cook until all liquid has evaporated.  Set aside.

When polenta is smooth and creamy add mushroom mixture, parmesan cheese and butter.  Season with salt & pepper to taste.  Pour into a pan that will allow a thickness of ¾ inch or greater.  Refrigerate for 4 hours or overnight.  Unmold and cut into shapes.

To finish the cooked polenta, you can either grill it or bake it.

To grill:
Lightly dust polenta pieces with flour to absorb any moisture that may have accumulated.  Rub pieces with olive oil and place on a hot CLEAN oiled grill.  After acquiring nice grill marks, set aside in a warm place.

To bake:
Preheat oven to 350°.
Lightly dust polenta pieces with flour and sauté in olive oil until browned.  Finish in oven for approximately ten minutes and set aside in warm place.

Valrhona Chocolate Almond Torte:

Ingredients:

5 ounces butter
6½ ounces almond paste
2½ ounces sugar
3½   each large eggs (beaten)
2 ounces coco powder
4½ ounces Valrhona chocolate pieces (chopped)
1½ ounces Guinette cherries (brandy soaked cherries)    
whipped cream
toasted almonds

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350°.

Using a beater attachment on a hand mixer beat the butter until soft and fluffy.  Slowly add almond paste until thoroughly mixed.  Then add sugar.  After sugar is thoroughly incorporated, add beaten egg a little at a time.  On low speed add in coco powder.  Fold in by hand the chocolate pieces and cherries.

Portion mixture in 4 to 5 ounce baking cups and bake for 20 minutes.  Let cool before removing from cups.

Garnish with whipped cream and toasted almonds.

Serves 10

Time Posted: Aug 5, 2013 at 11:05 AM