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The Society BLOG

Together, wine, food, and travel make up three of life's greatest offerings. The Society Blog will feature expert experiences and opinions relating to these delicious topics. Here, we will freely discuss the diverse flavors of food, the inviting culture of wine, the vast nature of travel, and the ultimate experience you get when you combine the three!

The Society
 
April 4, 2016 | The Society

Seasonal Edible Flowers

Brad Agerter, Chalk Hill Estate’s Garden Guru, collected a sample of blossoms from the garden for us to try – from the photo starting with the bowl on the left and moving clockwise, we have the white blossoms of the Fava Bean plant as well as the purple flowers from the plant, commonly known as Society Garlic.

Fava Blossom
The flavor profile of the Fava Blossom mirrors that of the fava bean itself, making it an excellent addition to a salad mix.

Society Garlic Flower
The Society Garlic Flower has an aroma and taste comparable to garlic and makes an appealing garnish to any dish.

Arugula
Moving on to the right is one of Brad’s favorites, the white flowers of the Arugula plant. Though not widely known, these flowers are edible, similar to their leafy counterparts.  They share the same nutty and peppery flavors contribute extra flavor and flair to a dish.  

Viola Flowers
Next up, we have the Viola Flowers, otherwise known as Johnny Jump Ups. These delightful little flowers add colorful garnish to any dish and make a charming addition to cocktails.

Periwinkle Borage Blossom
Finally, we have the Periwinkle Borage Blossom. Traditionally cultivated for culinary and medicinal uses, the Borage flower is now commonly used to produce oilseed.  With its zesty cucumber-melon flavor, Borage can be used to flavor and embellish water on warm spring days.

As you see the flowers begin to bloom, remember there are so many edible flower options out there to decorate your plate and excite your taste buds.

Time Posted: Apr 4, 2016 at 8:59 AM
The Society
 
July 2, 2015 | The Society

Roth Caves Grand Opening

Thank you to everyone that attended the grand opening of our new Cave at Roth Estate! We celebrated in style with Roth wines and delicious fare prepared by Chef Shane McAnelly of Chalkboard Restaurant! Bill and Carol Foley were in attendance and cut the ribbon to welcome everyone into the Cave. If you didn't make it to the event, we would like to invite you to come by and experience it for yourself!

 

Time Posted: Jul 2, 2015 at 12:53 PM
The Society
 
August 4, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma: Post-Race Recap from Dave Lattin

Race day finally arrived on Sunday, July 20th as team captain Dave Lattin and the rest of our Foley Dream arrived at Cuvaison Carneros Winery (Courtney was unfortunately called to a last minute Pinot conference in Oregon). The excitement in the atmosphere was contagious as we were surrounded by roughly 3,500 other participants and warmed up along the scenic rolling vineyards at Cuvaison. We couldn’t have asked for more perfect weather as the morning brought cool temperatures, cloud coverage and a slight breeze. Water stations accompanied the incredible scenery and general good mood from fellow racers carried our spirits to the finish line at Historic Sonoma Plaza where we were greeted with a rare summer shower and cheers from hundreds of supporters. After the Race we enjoyed the Wine and Music Festival and recovered at the VIP tent with massages, sparkling wine and delicious food!


As for the run, I felt reasonably prepared the day of the race.  I ate at 4 am to be fully digested before start time, and I only really felt hungry at about mile 10.  I started in a mob of orange-jerseyed Crones and Colitis runners near the 3.0 hour pace runner thinking this is where I needed to be.  For the first seven miles, I passed (albeit very slowly) more people than passed me.  At around 7-8 miles, I held constant with those around me. When I saw the final turn, came to it, and looked up the long last mile, I wanted to stop but kept pace. Even when I was just a few feet from crossing the finish, my only thought was 'please don't let me trip over the timing bars!'. 

The champagne and VIP massage was a great touch and much needed.  I ate and rehydrated fully from what was offered in the VIP area.  After relaxing at home and two bowls of fried rice later, I felt pretty good for having run almost twice as far as I'd ever run.  Even my cross-country training 17 year old son was impressed!

Cheers,
Dave

Time Posted: Aug 4, 2014 at 1:53 PM
The Society
 
July 19, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon Training Update: David Lattin

The last couple of weeks I have been experiencing some ankle pain due to all the training I’ve been putting in preparation for race day. To combat this, I have been integrating cycling into my workouts so I can keep up my cardio and build muscle strength in my legs. In addition to incorporating other methods of exercise, I have been icing regularly and taking Advil to reduce swelling. With the race date rapidly approaching, I have been taking it easy this week in an effort to conserve my energy for Sunday!

Here’s a salad recipe for when I don’t want any bulk from carbs but need some protein – I like to enjoy it with a slightly chilled Zinfandel, Sangiovese, or other fresh red wine.

Cheers!
- David

 

FLANK STEAK, ARUGULA, AND GRILLED ONION SALAD

INGREDIENTS:
½ lb flank steak
2 very large handfuls of arugula
1 red onion
Sugar
1 tbsp Olive oil
Balsamic vinegar
Salt
Pepper
Parmesan cheese

DIRECTIONS:
1. Sprinkle flank steak with sea salt 30 at least 30 minutes before cooking and set aside at room temp (covered loosely w/plastic wrap).

2. Wash arugula and set aside in refrigerator.

3. Cut ends and remove skin from red onion.  Slice across into 4 thick slices keeping the rings together.  Sprinkle onion slices with sugar, a grind or two of sea salt, and the same of black pepper.

4. Heat olive oil to medium and lay 4 onion slices carefully into oil.  Reduce heat to low and ‘sweat’ onion on one side for 15 minutes.

5. Turn onion slices over, add a couple of liberal dashes of balsamic vinegar over the slices and continue sweating for another 15 minutes.

6. When onions are slightly caramelized on both sides, turn off heat.

7. Heat grill to medium high and grill flank steak for 7 minutes on one side, 5 minutes on the other (or longer if you don’t want medium rare).  Set aside on cutting board for 10 minutes.

8. Slice flank steak across the grain in ¼-1/2 inch slices and separate into 4 even portions.

9. Divide arugula between two plates.

10. Put one portion of the steak on the arugula, lay an onion slice on top, add the second portion of steak and the last onion slice.

11. Pour the juices from the onion pan onto both salads.

12. Use a cheese slicer to cut 2 wide strips of parmesan on top of each salad and serve.

Time Posted: Jul 19, 2014 at 12:29 PM
The Society
 
July 10, 2014 | The Society

Napa to Sonoma Update: Courtney Foley

My training progress is pretty minimal – I have developed plantar fasciitis – an inflammation of a band of tissue, called the plantar fascia, which runs under your foot and connects your heel bone to your toes. This inflammation results in a deep, stabbing pain on the bottom of the heel, making it difficult for me to run. As a result of this, I’ve had to scale back my mileage and have had to stay in shape through other modes of exercise – mostly by riding my bike. I’ve found that switching to cycling while dealing with a running injury has been helpful because it helps strengthen the complementary muscles in my legs, and helps to increase leg turnover. Both of these things are crucial to being primed and ready for an upcoming race, and it is the next best thing to actually being able to run. Hopefully, with diligent attention to my aches and pains, and supplementing my normal running schedule with cycling, I'll still be able to finish the race, and with any luck, run it at pace!

In the meantime, to fuel my bike training I have been enjoying these homemade cherry-almond granola bars – these are incredibly easy to make, healthy and provide lasting energy for long rides.

Cheers!
- Courtney

 

CHERRY-ALMOND GRANOLA BARS

Adapted from PowWow.com

MAKES 12 BARS
START TO FINISH: 25 MINUTES

INGREDIENTS:
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 cups quick oats
1½ cups almonds, coarsely chopped
1 cup dried cherries
3 tablespoons brown sugar
⅓ cup honey
1½ cups almond butter
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
1. Line a 9-by-13-inch baking pan with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on both sides.

2. Melt the butter in a large sauté pan over medium heat. Add the oats and toast until fragrant, 1 to 2 minutes.

3. In a large bowl, combine the oats with the remaining ingredients and mix well to combine. (This can be done by hand, but it’s especially quick in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment.)

4. Press the oat mixture evenly into the prepared pan. Pop the pan into the refrigerator or freezer to let the mixture set for 5 to 10 minutes. Cut into 12 evenly sized bars and serve. The bars will keep in an airtight container or wrapped in plastic for up to five days.

Time Posted: Jul 10, 2014 at 11:46 AM
The Society
 
June 4, 2014 | The Society

Lifestyle Series - Updates from Dave

The last few weeks I have been on the road, traveling to North Carolina, Las Vegas and Chicago to visit distributors and host Winemaker dinners and it has been a challenge to fit training into my schedule. I’ve managed to squeeze my runs in the early mornings on the hotel treadmills at least three times a week, averaging  4 ½ -5 miles per run. During these sales trips, I intentionally eat light in the morning—mostly fruit, yogurt and granola, especially since I know winemaker dinners have a tendency to rack up calories! Recently, I replaced my old Asics as they wore big holes through the top and have replaced them with two pairs of Brooks; each pair has a different heel height to alter running styles during training. As I am increasing my mileage, my goal for June is to run five miles twice a week with an eight mile run on the weekend and to be eight pounds lighter before race day (to ease the impact on the ankles and knees!).

When not on the road, my schedule is a little bit more flexible and I have been integrating evening runs, walks with my dog, as well as dynamic dumbbell workouts into my training. The dumbbell training includes squats, rows, twisting militaries, amongst other exercises that increase the overall strength and endurance of my muscles, which in turn improves my ability to build up to longer distances.

On a general note, I was a sprinter in high school and have always had an aversion to distance running.  My furthest distance was a 10K when I was in graduate school, when I was 25 pounds lighter and 33 years younger and so I am enjoying the challenge. I’m counting on the excitement of running in a crowd to keep me moving!

I have chosen this particular recipe to share because it is one of my go-to recovery meals—it satisfies a big hunger with texture and complex flavors without inducing a protein ‘coma’ that a burger or steak might cause.

Enjoy!

-Dave

Whole Wheat Pasta with Kale and Pancetta

Ingredients:
For the Pasta:
1 cup finely milled whole wheat flour, sifted
1 large egg, lightly beaten with 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp cold water

For the ‘Sauce’:
4 thin slices of pancetta, minced
1 bunch Lacinito (Dinosaur) kale, rinsed, ribs removed
1 large pinch hot red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

Preparation:
Mound the flour on a large cutting board (big enough for rolling out the pasta). Make a well in the center of the mound and pour in the beaten egg. Use your fingers to mix the egg and flour together to make a dough that just sticks together, adding the cold water as necessary. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.  It should be difficult, firm, but evenly smooth by the end. Roll in plastic wrap and set aside for at least 30 minutes. Bring a large stockpot of water to boil. Add a large pinch of sea salt. Throw in the kale leaves and blanch for 1-2 minutes to set color and soften slightly. Lift kale into a colander, rinse with cold water to stop cooking, and drain thoroughly. Leave water in stockpot for cooking pasta. Ball up the kale, squeeze the water from it, cut in narrow strips (julienne), and set aside. In a large frying pan, sauté the pancetta until almost crisp, rendering much of the fat. Turn heat off, drain half the fat from the pancetta and add the olive oil to the pan. Cut the pasta dough into four pieces. Lightly flour the board and a rolling pin and roll to fettuccini thickness. Use a knife to cut into ¼” noodles and set aside. Bring the kale water to a boil again. Turn the frying pan with the pancetta and olive oil to medium high and add the kale and red pepper flakes.  Stir for several minutes and lower heat to medium low. Boil the pasta until it floats up and for another 2-3 minutes or until no longer grainy tasting. Drain the pasta but save 1 cup of the pasta water. Add the pasta to the frying pan with kale, etc., mix ingredients, and add any pasta water to make the ingredients coat the pasta nicely. Season with salt and pepper as desired. Serve with grated parmesan if desired.

--

Cheer Dave on at the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Wine Country Half Marathon on July 20, 2014!

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The Society
 
June 4, 2014 | The Society

Roth Estate - Cellar Updates

Updates from Enologist Brian Menconi

Having recently completed racking for the 2012 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Heritage along with the 2013 Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, the winemaking team is preparing for bottling in late June to early July.  A necessary stage during winemaking, racking is the process of moving wine from one barrel to another and in effect clarifying wine by separating the sediment from the liquid. By using gravity in lieu of a filter or pump which can be disruptive, this practice assists in the stabilization of wine. Once racking is completed, the team will be turning their attention the 2013 vintage as they prepare pre-blends for the Bordeaux varietals which will still have another year to age in barrels before they are bottled.

In addition to the opening of the new tasting room, there is plenty to look forward to this year at Roth. Foley Family Wines is excited to announce that Leslie Mead Renaud has joined the Roth team as Director of Winemaking and will be overseeing the launch of a new wine program featuring small lot (150-200 cases) of single vineyard concept wines to be exclusively sold in the tasting room. Construction on the cave system has already broken ground and will span 10,000 square feet, increasing Roth’s wine storage capacity by 930 barrels upon completion in early 2015. When finished, guests can look forward to cave tours and intimate sit down tastings in the alcoves. 

In other exciting Roth news, four of our wines won gold medals at the 2014 Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. Be sure to taste these award-winning wines at the grand opening of the new Roth tasting room. Mark your calendars for June 28th, 2014 and we will see you at the Roth Grand Opening!

96 Points - 2010 Roth Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley – “Powerful, precise, perfection, dark rich full bodied, provocative”

95 Points 2012 Roth Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast – “Clean fruit, pear, green apple, long creamy finish”

94 Points2011 Roth Estate Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast – “Floral, spicy, deep, even, rich and fleshy”

92 Points 2012 Roth Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley – “Approachable, easy to drink”

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The Society
 
June 4, 2014 | The Society

Lifestyle Series - Updates from Courtney

As the race date approaches, I have been getting out and working up my mileage each week and it has been gratifying to see some results, however I still have a long way to go before July. The longer days and warmer evenings have made my training much more enjoyable and in addition to increasing my miles, I have started to look into different yoga studios to help stretch out on my off days from running. Yoga is great for me because I usually forget to stretch after running, and notice that I have an easier stride when I am feeling loose. It helps to get me centered and relaxed, which not only improves my running but also eases everyday stress.

Because I haven't maintained a regular running schedule over the years, it takes a while for me to get back into the swing of things, and I am still struggling with that. While I have always enjoyed running, there are times when I don’t feel like going for a run and have to remind myself how much better I feel after I have done it. But, when you have a labrador who has endless energy and can never run long enough or fast enough, it makes it easier to pick up the leash and put on my running shoes. 

Although I eat seafood when I go out, I generally eat vegetarian most days of the week and have decided to share a recipe for a gnocchi, lentil and escarole soup. I love this recipe because it is incredibly easy to make, is very tasty, and is one of my favorite flavor profiles. Lentils have always been a favorite of mine because they are relatively high in protein and do not weigh me down. Not to mention that it refrigerates really well, and makes for a good lunch option for the rest of the week!

Enjoy!

- Courtney

Gnocchi, Lentil, and Escarole Soup
Adapted from VegetarianTimes.com

Ingredients
1 Tbsp olive oil
1 large yellow onion, chopped (2 cups)
3 cups low sodium vegetable broth
3/4 cups French lentils
4 cups chopped escarole
1 1/2  cups prepared potato gnocchi
6 oil packed sun dried tomatoes, drained and chopped
1 tbs. prepared pesto

Preparation
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add onion and cool for 5 minutes. Add broth, 3 cups of water, and lentils and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium low, and simmer 10 minutes until lentils are almost tender. Add escarole, gnocchi and sundried tomatoes, cover, and cook 5 minutes more, or until gnocchi are cooked through and escarole has wilted. Remove from heat and stir in pesto.

--

Cheer Courtney on at the Destination Races Napa to Sonoma Half Marathon on July 20, 2014!

Time Posted: Jun 4, 2014 at 4:00 PM
The Society
 
May 31, 2014 | The Society

Meet our Garden Guru – Brad Agerter

Though he did not originally consider a career in farming, Brad developed a keen interest in the environment at an early age, which led him to study Environmental Sciences at University of Oregon. After college, Brad was experimenting with a vegetarian lifestyle when he discovered that the majority of store-bought produce was lacking in flavor, which effectively made vegetarianism more difficult. By a happy accident, he was introduced to Shone Farm, an organic farm run by the Santa Rosa Junior College where he learned the secret to growing flavorful produce was organic practices. Brad spent four years at Shone Farm, building on his educational foundation, gaining valuable experience, and developing a passion for sustainable farming before a position opened up at Chalk Hill Estate. Eight years later, Brad can be found in the upper or lower gardens, eager to share his newest produce with us."

FFWS – What is in season right now?
Right now we have been harvesting beets carrots, broccoli, fennel, leaks, and spinach amongst other leafy greens. We have also been exclusively harvesting young Fava beans for Chalkboard. These beans are unique because they grow two shells which means they need to be double peeled when they reach maturity. Generally Fava beans are harvested in the fall, but we picked them early for Chef Shane because the beans have a unique flavor profile at this stage that compliments a few of the new dishes at Chalkboard.  

FFWS – What kinds of projects are you currently working on?
Currently, we are in the middle of planting new seeds and transplanting herbs. The new vegetables we have been seeding include eggplant, cucumbers, beets, carrots, turnips lettuces, beans and peas. We’ve been transplanting a few types of herbs into smaller containers that get sent over to Chalkboard. This is farm to table in the most basic form – Chef and his team are able to pick the herbs directly from the plant and include them in the dishes. This way, they are able to use the freshest ingredients and the without sacrificing flavors in transit from the garden to the plate.

FFWS – Are you growing anything new and exciting for 2014?
One of our most exciting projects for 2014 are the beehives we have introduced into the upper and lower gardens. We are in the experimental stages right now, but we are hoping that within a year, the hives will provide us with honey for Chef Didier as well as Chef Shane. If this project goes well, we will bring more hives in and hopefully start producing enough honey to sell in the tasting room.

FFWS – How has supplying produce to Chalkboard Restaurant affected the Culinary Gardens?
Our output volumes have increased quite a bit over the last year and we harvest more frequently, but the restaurant is still small enough that the change of pace is not overwhelming. I have really enjoyed working with Chef Shane and providing for Chalkboard Restaurant – he has a great team and they do an amazing job of using all of the produce we supply to them. The mentality at Chalkboard is very experimental and less traditional, so it’s fun to see how their innovation translates to new and fresh recipes. On the flipside at the gardens, we have gotten to seed new plants that we wouldn’t have otherwise worked with, and so it’s fun for me because I get to experiment as well.

FFWS – What do you like best about the Culinary Garden?
My favorite part about working with in gardens is entertaining our tour guests. I like being able to share the newest produce and plants from the garden in addition to showing guests how much we have grown over the past three years. It’s exciting to educate guests on key sustainable practices and inspire them to grow and care for gardens of their own. 

I have also really enjoyed working with Chef Didier and Chef Shane because we customize the garden based on the dishes they create in kitchen. It’s interesting to experience the produce that we have grown and see the chefs translate it into a culinary masterpiece that showcases the flavors to the fullest extent. The beauty about working here is that the pressure of a conventional farm doesn’t exist – the focus isn’t on turning yields into sales and so that gives us more freedom to experiment with different kinds of plants, sustainable practices and learn what works and what doesn’t.

Time Posted: May 31, 2014 at 2:33 PM
The Society
 
May 19, 2014 | The Society

The Chardonnay Obsession

Chardonnay— this grape is grown in almost every well-known growing appellation in the world. In California alone, the state crushed 735,777 tons of fruit and produced of 53 million cases for the 2012 vintage according to the Wine Institute. With consumer popularity at over 13%, it has dominated the market and holds ranking as the most popular white wine variety in the United States.

Why are we so passionate about this grape? What makes our mouths water we when see the name? Chardonnay was not always this famous in the US; the grape gained market traction after the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976. Referred to as the Judgment of Paris, a Napa Valley Chardonnay producer outscored the French, thus upsetting years of tradition and the view that only quality Chardonnays were produced in the Burgundy region.

As interest for Chardonnay grew, winemakers started experimenting with various styles. One in particular, became the poster child for the American market. Wineries began to implement an optional fermentation process called malo-lactic fermentation for white wines. This secondary fermentation is known to give wine a rich flavor especially when paired along with new barrel aging and heavy toasting.  Before long, California Chardonnays became notorious for their vanilla and buttery notes and as more drinkers relished in this distinct style, wineries started to scramble in order to produce enough to meet demand.

Some American winemakers prefer to take a more traditional approach and focus more on Chardonnay’s heritage when producing the wine. In contrast to the buttery, oaky style, the French tradition prohibits malo-lactic from occurring during the fermentation process.  While utilizing the natural acidity found in the grape to help build structure, the winemaker balances the acidity by aging the wine in oak barrels to enhance the creamy mouth feel. This timeless practice was applied when American producers found their Chardonnays could be incredibly complex without overwhelming the palette.

As people continued to thirst for more Chardonnay, a new style was introduced and adapted by producers around the world— the use of stainless steel tanks in lieu of oak barrels. These wines do not spend time in barrel at all and rarely go through malo-lactic fermentation. Rather than focus on a creamy, rich palette, these wines are bright, acidic and crisp. They make for a wondering food pairing option, for simply relaxing by the pool, and have become a style of Chardonnay for any occasion. As a result of its popularity, many winemakers have adopted the stainless steel technique as an option for their consumers.

To answer the question from above— why are we so crazy for Chardonnay? 

Maybe we’ll find the answer in the many stylistic differences that have led to the profound appreciation for this grape. With so many options, consumers can pick a Chardonnay based on their unique palette. Here at Foley Family, we pride ourselves on having one of the best portfolios for the Chardonnay advocate. Whether you love the big and buttery flavors of the Chalk Hill Russian River Chardonnay, the silky and creamy palette of the Kuleto Estate Napa Valley or the bright and citrusy style of Lincourt’s Steel Chardonnay from Santa Rita Hills, there’s Chardonnay just for you. 

Time Posted: May 19, 2014 at 12:10 PM

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