Harvest Has Begun!

25th Aug 2018 @ 10:11 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

Harvest has begun!

Winemaking is like the ultimate slow cooking. You only get to make one meal every year and Harvest is making sure your ingredients are ripe and ready for their journey! This is a time of year where preparation meets skill and intuition all at the same time. It is also a time when the winemaker must have his sous chef skills pretty sharp!

As a small boutique winery, Spicy Vines’ vineyard sites are well focused and lots are fairly small. We like them that way, as a lot of care and attention is given to each wine lot as they are brought in and begin their process of becoming finished wine.

We're gitty for that Pine Mountain fruit

This year at Spicy Vines, we are most excited about the fruit we bring in from Pine-Mountain. Pine-Mountain is a mountain that sits in the Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak AVA and spans both Alexander Valley and Mendocino County major appellations. This 3,000 ft. elevation mountain is home to some of our favorite mountain fruit that we pull in each year.

“The Petite Verdot and Cab Franc berries are full of flavor and tasting yummy-luscious,” says Doug Hackett, winemaker. The skins on these grapes are quite thick each year due to the extreme mountain temperatures that fruit is exposed to at such elevations. These thick skins later lend to full and complex flavors in the wines produced off the Pine Mountain vineyards. If you ever have an opportunity to try our Sunnydaze Sauvignon Blanc or Cabernet Franc, you will know this to be true!

Taste a piece of history from Burnett Vineyards

Burnett Vineyards is another favorite vineyard of ours. This 95-year old vineyard is dry farmed, meaning it is so old that the root stick literally taps into its own water source! This vineyard has quite a bit of history to it as well and remains one of the oldest planed vineyards in the Dry Creek Valley that has not been re-planted. If you have ever tasted our Violet Rose Rosé, 2015 EDGE Red Blend or newest release, 2015 Zin Master Zinfandel, you have had a wine from Burnett Vineyards.

Overall, we have seen a very warm summer in 2018. July was the hottest month on record ever recorded in California and with global warming, we can expect this to be more of a trend we are facing every year. Hot weather generally leads to grapes ripening faster and harvest coming earlier rather than later. It also means that crops are generally lower if they ripen too fast. This year however, we seem to project both a fair yield as well as concentrated flavors in our fruit. We are looking forward to what Mother Nature has to offer us in 2018!

For more information on the Spicy Vines 2018 harvest, follow us on Instagram and Facebook! We will be posting our latest harvest updates regularly, so stay tuned!

Until your next glass, peace and love….

Crystalyn, Doug & Team Spicy



I've Got Diamonds In My Glass!

24th Aug 2018 @ 17:37 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

Why do I have crystals on my cork and diamonds in my glass?

You may have popped open a bottle recently to find sediment crystals on the top of your cork. If so, DON’T THROW AWAY THE BOTTLE! Those crystals are actually called Tartrates. They are diamonds in our wine, and we are proud of them!

You may find these Tartrates in our newest wine releases such as the 2015 Edge Red Blend or 2015 Zin Master Zinfandel or have already discovered them in some of our past wines, such as the 2015 Peter’s Delight Pinot Noir or 2014 Madame Carignane. This is because these reds are unfiltered and you will find Tartrates in most of our unfiltered red wines.

You will be relieved to know that Tartrates are actually completely safe, and in fact, are recognized as a sign of quality in a wine and winemaking. Unfiltered wines reveal signs that little to no manipulation or human intervention occurred in the cellar. They are signatures of the old-world wine making style, where wine is allowed to do what it will do with guidance of the winemaker rather than intervention or scientific manipulation. Basically, non-filtered wines are seen as a mark of a quality product and some serious wine making chops!

What exactly are Tartrates?

Ok, let’s get scientific. Tartrates are tiny crystalline stars caused by potassium and tartaric acid that bind together in wine. When those elements combine, they create potassium bitrate, which to most people (especially bakers and Snicker Doodle aficionados) is known as Cream of Tartar…. and that is what “wine diamonds” are made of.

Tartrates are part of the sediment that wines throw as they age. This is where the whole notion that well-made wines throw off sediment and tartrates. “Throwing” is when the unfiltered solids in the wine separate themselves from the juice and turn into that sludgy wine stuff on the sides or bottoms of the bottles, or both, depending on how the wine was stored. If your bottles are stored upside down, the sediment will collect in the neck of the bottle and form a cap over the juice. If stored on their side, the Tartrates will settle in the shoulder of the bottle, just below the neck – this is also sometimes called a “Badge of Honor” in wine speak and means that your wine was correctly stored on its side!


Why are there Tartrates in Spicy Vines wines and not in some of my other wines?

We’re glad you asked. Let’s start with red wines.

Some of our reds are unfiltered, which causes them to “throw off” more sediment than other wines. We choose not to filter some of our reds to keep those delicious earthy textures and rich flavors in them, which often times get stripped out of wines through a filtration process.

You also may also notice that you only see Tartrates in our red wines, but never our whites. This is because; we also don’t cold stabilize red wines like we do our whites and Rosés. Most whites and rosés are filtered and also go through cold stabilization. They kind of have to, largely for appearance sake!

What is cold stabilization?

Before whites and rosés are bottled, they are cloudy because of the solids that they carry. That’s where winemaking magic coms in, since no one wants to drink a cloudy Rosé or murky Chardonnay! At Spicy Vines, we cold stabilize all of our whites and Rosés, which is why you will never find crystals in either.

Cold stabilization is the process of dropping the temperature of a wine to just below freezing and keeping it there for 10 days (+ or -) in stainless steel tanks. Cold stabilization speeds up the creation of Tartrates through the formation of solids in the wines when cooled. These solids bind and then simply “drop out” or separate themselves from the juice.

Cold stabilizing white wines can be a bit tricky though, as with reds, the solids in whites give off rich flavors and aromas to their wines. If cold stabilization is overdone (like it is with lower end and bulk type wines), the wines will be stripped of what gives them all those beautiful smells, tastes and finesse. This is where attention to detail, intuition, knowledge, and experience work respectfully with Mother Nature to clear up the clouds while extracting those beautiful flavors desired in these wines.

All whites and Rosés go through different refining, filtering, and cold stabilizing processes depending on the winemaker. You may find sediment in some of your whites of Rosés made by other winemakers, meaning they were not cold stabilized. Sometimes when whites or Rosés are stored in a refrigerator, they will get cold enough for potassium and tartaric acid remaining in the wine to bond forming Tartrates. This will also happen wines are stored for extended period of time in the refrigerator.

Dealing with tartrates and sediment is easy peasy!

If you can pull a wine that has been stored on its side or upside down out a couple days before drinking it, do so. Just stand it up on the counter and let gravity take over. When you open the bottle, wipe off the cork and the mouth so that sediment doesn’t get all over things. From there, gently pour the wine at an angle. This will keep the sediment on the side or bottom of the bottle, and that last bit can even be run through a coffee filter, specially one of the gold mesh ones or a very fine gauge strainer will do. You can also decant the wine. Or, just pour it.

You can avoid this by refrigerating your whites and Rosés as needed, and not leaving them in your kitchen fridge for several weeks. You can also get a mini-fridge or a wine fridge where you can control the temperature.

Hopefully, this clears things up. If it hasn’t, please give us a call or send us an email, and one of us will be happy to answer your questions.

As always, thank you for loving Spicy Vines!



Winter Wine Club Pickup Party

8th May 2018 @ 15:20 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com


We did it! Wine Wine Club Pick-Up Pairing Party was a blast, and worth all the long hours and hard work our team put into packing boxes, developing recipes and pairings, spending time with our AMAZING Club Members, and of course, making silly videos.

The pickup days were great, with lots of friends and family making it in to taste some wines, have snacks, including Miss Rita’s Moroccan Meatballs, and venture into the Barrel Room with Doug to see some works in progress in the making. (Did somebody say, “Grappa?”)

Featured Wines

The Spicy Spring offering was our 2014 Rhett’s Revenge Grenache, 2014 Dragon’s Kiss Syrah, and 2013 Edge, our Rhone style blend. The wines all come from the Kick Ranch, a hillside vineyard, in Sonoma County’s Rincon Valley, which we are happy and grateful to report, made it through the 2017 wildfires without damage.

The 2014 Rhett’s Revenge Grenache is that vintage’s answer to the 2013 Scarlett’s Flirtation, for all of you playing at home and trying to keep track. The 2014 Rhett’s Revenge is 93% Grenache and 7% Syrah. Rhett’s flavors area reminiscent of dried strawberries and cranberries, with blackberries, cocoa, and white pepper on the finish, with gentle oak rounding things out. Rhett’s is versatile and food friendly, pairing well with light red sauces, salmon, burgers, oyster po’ boys, and cranberry duck.

The 2014 Dragon’s Kiss Syrah is 91% Syrah and 9% Grenache. Dark berries dominate the palette and the mouthfeel is velvety with a subtle, creamy oak finish. Dragon’s Kiss pairs well with lamb, beef, red sauces, and hearty stews.

The 2013 Edge, named as such for the free-spirited notion that if you’re not living on The Edge, you’re taking up too much space, is 35% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane, and 2 % Counoise. It’s full of black cherry and blackberry with spiced oak on the finish, and pairs well with bleu cheeses, brie, game meats, and bratwurst.

But, the real hit pairing for all these wines, especially the Dragon’s Kiss Syrah, was Miss Rita’s Moroccan Meatballs.

Miss Rita’s Kitchen

We’d like to tell you that the wines were the stars of the Club Pick-up party, but based on your emails, we need to admit that Miss Rita, Crystalyn’s incredible mom, and her Spicy Moroccan Meatballs stole the show.

We had a wonderful weekend. Things were so fantastic we’re already planning our Spring Pick-up Party Weekend, May 12th and 13th, and have Miss Rita in the kitchen developing more recipes.

Thank you to all those who were able to make it out and contribute to the success of the weekend, and the continued support of our wine club.

See you all soon!



St. Patrick’s Day Festivities at Spicy Vines

8th May 2018 @ 15:00 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, the Spicy Vines team will be up and at it before sunrise opening the tasting room for the City of Healdsburg Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Weather permitting, we will set up our patio with tall tables and stools for prime parade viewing and serving a green St. Patrick’s Day version of our Fleur de Spice sangria for $5.00 a glass. I know, we said no green wine. This isn’t just wine….it’s sangria, and it’s fantastic no matter what the color. It also comes with a lollipop, so…

Fleur de Spice sangria will be flowing all day and we have live music in the tasting room from 7-10pm for our weekly Saturday Night Jive!

For those not ready to brave the early morning with lollipops and sangria, we will also be serving free hot green tea to cut the morning chill while you get your parade on.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend is also Healdsburg’s Sidewalk Sale weekend, and we will have our 2013 Zin Master offered at 50% off a case, as well as some other deals that you’ll just have to come by and take a look see for. (But, the inside scoop is that the sidewalk sale just may be the time to pick up you wines for that wedding you’re having soon or that graduation party you’re going to be throwing.)

Well, that’s the Spicy Report for all things St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re local and can come by, we’d love to see you. If you can only celebrate with us in spirit, we love that too, and will be celebrating with you in kind. But, no matter where you’re celebrating, we wish everyone a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Slainte and Erin Go Bragh!



Blog: The Spicy Mamas of Spicy Vines!

8th May 2018 @ 11:16 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

Spring, Rosé, and May...

Sonoma County Is Alive and Thriving! The vines are awake and covered in bright green new leaves, the mustard is up, and we are well into the cycle of balmy, sunny days and cool, crisp nights. Beautiful, spectacular, and the excitement and promise of a new growing season is upon us. We are grateful, especially after a winter of our community rebounding after the 2017 fires. Sonoma County is ready to visit!

We've bottled our 2017 Rosés!

Spring is also when we bottle our Rosés. The 2017 rosés are gorgeous. The colors of the Violet Rose Rosé and the Rosé of Syrah are brighter and deeper than the 2016’s, and both wines have incredible floral notes, with lovely strawberry, kiwi, raspberry and guava flavors. They are balanced between the delicate nuances of their flavors and their formidable, complex structures. They are the lovely ladies of the Spicy Vines portfolio, in their bright pink dresses, and we couldn’t be happier with how they turned out.


Don't Miss our Mother's Day Pickup Party!

This year our Spring Wine Club Pick Up Party will be on Mother's Day weekend, May 12th and 13th. So, bring Mom and join us as we celebrate her and our spicy mamas here at Spicy Vines!

We will have the usual homemade pairings for each wine in this club shipment. We can’t wait to see which will be the favorite! Will it be the Smoked Salmon Bruschetta with the 2016 Violet Rose? Maybe it will be the Lavender Lemon Crème Brûlée with the 2015 Joie de Vivre Chardonnay. Or, perhaps, the 2015 Dragon’s Kiss Syrah paired with beef brasato, pappardelle and pecorino?

The Spicy Mamas of Spicy Vines

Mother’s Day is a special time for us at Spicy Vines because we get to celebrate the incredible women that have inspired us, our wines, and the spirit of the winery.


Violet Rose Hackett

If it wasn’t for Sunday dinners, Manoshevitz and cards with the ladies from church, we wonder if our winemaker, Dough Hackett would ever have made his way to the wine industry.

Doug was raised by his grandmother, Violet Rose Hackett, who adopted him and his brother as young boys. Doug has lots of stories about Violet Rose, including how on Sundays, Violet Rose and the ladies from church would do a potluck dinner and play cards. The group, being the ladies that they were, sipped a little Manoshevitz and to keep Doug and his brother “hush” while playing cards, Violet Rose would give the boys a little of their Manoshevitz cut with water.

Besides possibly inspiring Doug’s winemaking career, Violet Rose, has also inspired the spirit of Spicy Vines through her wisdom and huge heart. Doug affectionately speaks of Violet Rose as a strong, generous woman with wonderful lessons like, “Every breath matters,” and, “Wealth has nothing to do with money.” She never complained, unless, maybe, if something caused her to miss an episode of Sanford and Son or The Lawrance Welk Show. She taught Doug the art of giving without want, as he would watch her endlessly give to others, even if it was her last dime.

It is no wonder the leading lady of our rosé program is a tribute Violet Rose. What else could capture the spirit of a lovely lady raising two boys alone on a summer camp cook’s salary in rural Upstate New York? Fun, bright, strong and spirited in her lovely pink dress. Happy Mother’s Day, Violet Rose.


Ms. Rita Hoffman

If you have been to the winery for a pickup party or Wine Road event, you have eaten the cuisine of Crystalyn’s mom, Miss Rita.

As Crystalyn admiringly describes her, Rita is creative, graceful, poised, authentic, and with “no frills,” who always puts family first. You always know where you stand with Rita, but never feel uncomfortable, unless, of course, you were that state trooper that recently pulled her over and gave her that “damn speeding ticket” for going 80 in a 65. But, that’s our Fiery Red Headed Rita.

Rita has had an incredible life. During the 1960’s and 1970’s, she was a pioneer in Women’s Movement and deeply involved Vietnam Era political seen. The Stanford educated, free spirited Rita has traveled all over the world and dabbled in the movie industry before raising two children, Eric and Crystalyn. Today, we are fortunate to have her with us, contributing to the winery with her catering via Miss Rita’s Kitchen, and jumping in with the energy of someone half her age to pick up and deliver wine, set up photo shoots, and lend her creativity to our themes for parties and special events. Lots of love to you this Mother’s Day, Miss Rita!


“Mama Bear” Toni Andrews

Our Spicy Mamas Mother’s Day blog would not be complete without a nod to our partner, Toni Andrews. Toni brings that “Mother Bear” spirit to the winery.

Toni, originally from Georgia, is mother to three great kids and a recent, new grandma. Toni is heavily involved in charitable work in her community in South Orange County, CA, especially Mission Hospital, as a Diamond level sponsor.

Toni brings to Spicy Vines, a feisty spirit, balanced with the grace and charm of the Southern Lady that she is. She is bold like the Rosé of Syrah and a lovely, vibrant lady like the Violet Rose Rosé. Happy Mother’ Day, Mama Bear!



Oh So Saucy... Red Wine, Cherry & Chocolate Sauce

8th May 2018 @ 11:04 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

YIELD: 10 cups
PAIRING: 2013 EDGE Red Blend

Ok, Mrs. Rita (Crystalyn's mom) did it again. This time, she's made a sauce that is to die for! Literally, we can't stop dipping our crostini in it (or fingers when no-one is looking).

All of you working in the wine industry know just how much wine goes to waste at the end of the day in the tasting room. What do you do with all of those almost empty bottles? You either take them home or dump them! We know, the later is total alcohol abuse, which is why we have never been able to actually dump our bottles.

Instead, we decided to give our collection of unporable wines (those, which we didn't drink ourselves) to Mrs. Rita with the challenge of making something fun...The result - the most scrumptiously delicious and velvety red wine reduction folded into a black cherry and chocolate sauce that you could possibly imagine. Yeah, we scored!

So in the spirit of using what you have and making the absolute best of it, you must try this recipe:


RED WINE REDUCTION

4 ¼ bottles (750 ML ea.) of any left over reds that you may have. **
2 Cups sugar

• Add 4 bottles wine and sugar together into a large pot
• Simmer together to approximately 2 cups. Stir often and do not let scorch
• Stir in the remaining ¼ bottle wine in last to freshen the flavor

**NOTE: Leftover wine that has been opened but not finished can be re-corked and saved in a cool, dark location and combined together to total of four 750 ML bottles. You will get an interesting flavor combination and zero waste.

CHOCOLATE SAUCE

3 LB Frozen black cherries with juice (3 LB bag from Costco)
2 TB butter
1 Cup powdered sugar
2 TB unsweetened cocoa
¼ TSP cayenne
24 oz semi-sweet good quality (Ghirardelli) chocolate chips
2 Cups heavy cream
2 Cups red wine reduction (from above recipe)

METHOD:

• In a large heavy pot, heat and simmer cherries, mashing to break down
• Strain out the fruit and reserve
• Return juice to ot and reduce to 1½ cups
• Add 2 TB butter to cherry juice
• Whisk together the powdered sugar, unsweetened cocoa and cayenne and add to cherry juice
• Place the semi-sweet chocolate chips in a mixing bowl
• Pour the heavy cream in a small pot, bring to a simmer and pour over the chocolate chips
• Stir the chocolate cream mixture until melted and smooth
• Add the mixture to the cherry juice and mix well
• Add back the reserved cherries to the mixture and mix well

WHIPPED CREAM TOPPING
(Fluffy and not too sweet)

4 Cups heavy cream
4 TB powdered sugar
7 oz marshmallow cream

• Whip the heavy cream and powdered sugar until soft peaks
• Whip in the marshmallow cream until stiff peaks


SERVING IDEAS:

  1. Spoon over ice cream or berries or use as a dipping sauce for crostini brushed in olive oil, rosemary and black pepper.
  2. Leftover sauce can be refrigerated for 3-4 weeks or frozen.

Developed by Mrs. Rita's Kitchen for Spicy Vines.



St. Patties Day with Spicy Vines

17th Mar 2018 @ 00:38 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com


Happy St. Patrick’s Day, everyone!

Now, let’s be honest, no one thinks, “Hmmmm, it’s St. Patrick’s Day. I think I will have my favorite St. Patrick’s Day wine.”

Yeah, um, no. Not even close. And, as much as we would like to think so, green wine just doesn’t sound quite right. Ever.

But, we all also know that thoughts like that are only Double Dog Dares for the creative minds at Spicy Vines. So, we have some ideas and recipes for how you can Spicy up your St. Patrick’s Day and still have your green beers and Irish Coffees (which, by the way, you could add a little Spicy Vines Spiced Red to for a little decadence). Just sayin’.

Sunny Daze Sauvignon Blanc and Corned Beef, Cabbage and Boiled Root Veg:

Wait, what did you say?

Yes, just read and play along. It’ll be fun.

St. Paddy’s is on a Saturday this year, and there’s a good chance your festivities are going to be an all-day thing.

And then, dinner… and cooking it… and that full feeling from a day of green beer.

NOW is the time to bring on the Sunnydaze Sauvignon Blanc.

It’s light, crisp, refreshing and just the right kind of acidic. A nice, well chilled bottle while standing around the steamy kitchen as your corned beef cooks… Doesn’t that sound great?

Then there’s the pairing, and while a little challenging at first, more-so because of perception than actual flavors, it really does kind of work. Most corned beef brines have a good dose of coriander in them, whose citrus notes work quite well with Sauvignon Blanc. There’s also the brininess of the meat itself that gets nicely broken up by crisp fruit flavors of the wine.

Root veg, especially turnips, if you add those to your boil, are a weird veg to match wine to, but Sauvignon Blanc brings out the sweetness and perfuminess of the turnips in a kind fun, even if a little weird, way.

And, the acidity of the Sauvignon Blanc helps cut through the brisket’s buttery fat, leaving a soft finish on the palate.

Never thought you’d ever hear turnips be described as “perfumey,” did you?

Admittedly, the pairing is a little weird, but if you’re not afraid to challenge your palate a little, and allow for a little weird, grab a bottle of Sunnydaze Sauvignon Blanc and try it out. If it doesn’t work for you, by the time you and your guests have a glass while cooking and another for the pairing experiment, you’ll have finished the bottle, and you can crack open a bottle of 2013 Zin Master Zinfandel, because, really, zin kind of goes with just about anything.

But, what about dessert?



Spicy Vines Twist on Guiness Cake

How about a Spicy Twist on traditional Guinness cake? In the interest of supporting local, we subbed out Guinness for some Bear Republic Brewing Company’s Peter Brown Porter. The porter has a little molasses in it, and when used for cooking, reduces down to add a nutty flavor to the recipe. Ryan at The Bear swears by the Peter Brown for cooking, backing, and sauces. The Guinness Cake we adapted came from simplyrecipes.com. So here we go:


INGREDIENTS:

1 cup Bear Republic Peter Brown Porter
10 tablespoons unsalted butter
3/4 cup unsweetened natural cocoa
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1/2 cups dark brown sugar
3/4 cup sour cream
2 eggs
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cream cheese frosting recipe

METHOD:

  1. Preheat oven, prepare pan: Preheat the oven to 350°F. Grease a 8 or 9-inch springform pan with butter and line the bottom with a round of parchment paper.

  2. Heat Peter Brown, butter, add cocoa and sugar: In a large saucepan place the stout and butter. Cook over medium-high heat until the butter has melted. Add the cocoa powder and sugars and whisk together. Take off heat and allow to come to room temperature.

  3. Beat sour cream, eggs, vanilla, then add to stout butter mixture: In another bowl beat together the sour cream, eggs, and vanilla extract until very, very well combined. Add to the butter-stout mixture and whisk together.

  4. Whisk flour, baking soda, salt, add to stout-butter mixture: In another bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt. Add to the stout-butter mixture and whisk together until it just comes together.

  5. Bake: Pour into the prepared pan and give the pan a few short drops onto the countertop to shake the air pockets in the batter to the surface and out of the cake. Bake at 350°F for 50-60 minutes.

  6. Cool: Allow to cool on a wire rack. Run a knife around the edge to separate the cake from the pan and pop the ring off the springform. 7 Frost: Spread frosting on the cooled cake and serve.

Modified from Simply Recipes ~ https://www.simplyrecipes.com/recipes/chocolate_guinness_cake/


INGREDIENTS:

1/2 cup of butter (1 stick, 4 ounces), room temperature
8 oz of Philadelphia cream cheese (1 package), room temperature
2 to 3 cups of powdered sugar (also known as confectioner's sugar), sifted
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

METHOD:

  1. Beat the cream cheese and butter together: Using an electric mixer, beat the cream cheese and butter together until completely smooth, about 3 minutes on medium speed. Use a rubber spatula to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl to ensure that the mixture is mixed evenly.

  2. Beat in vanilla extract and powdered sugar: Beat in the vanilla extract. With the mixer running, slowly add in the powdered sugar. Powdered sugar has cornstarch in it that will thicken the frosting as well as making it sweet. Keeping adding more powdered sugar to the frosting until you get your desired level of sweetness and thickness.

  3. Spread or pipe the frosting to decorate: Use a blunt knife or spatula to spread the frosting, or spoon the frosting into a piping bag to decorate your cupcake or cake.

Serve the cake with Spiced Red, of course.



Spiced Drunken Leprechaun

We found this recipe at sugarandcharm.com and fell in love. But of course we had to Spice it up, so we subbed in our new Spicy Vines whiskey. Yes, you read that correctly, whiskey. Inquiries welcome.

INGREDIENTS:

1 ounce Peter Brown Porter Reduction simple syrup (recipe below)
1 ounce fresh squeezed lemon juice
1½ ounces honey simple syrup (recipe below)
3 ounces SPICY VINES Whiskey
4 mint leaves
Peter Brown Porter Reduction Simple Syrup
2 bottles Bear Republic Brewing Company’s Peter Brown Porter
1 cup sugar
Honey Syrup:
2 cups water
½ cup honey

METHOD:

Cocktail Prepare the reduction sauce and honey simple syrup below and let them cool.
Shake all of the above ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice.
Strain into a coupe cocktail glass and garnish with a mint leaf!

Peter Brown Simple Syrup: Bring to a boil and then simmer on low heat until mixture becomes a thicker consistency and dissolved to about half the amount. This could take 30 minutes.
Let it cool and pour into a glass bottle to store.

Honey Syrup Bring to a boil until honey has dissolved.



St. Patrick’s Day Festivities at Spicy Vines

On the morning of St. Patrick’s Day, the Spicy Vines team will be up and at it before sunrise opening the tasting room for the City of Healdsburg Annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.

Weather permitting, we will set up our patio with tall tables and stools for prime parade viewing and serving a green St. Patrick’s Day version of our Fleur de Spice sangria for $5.00 a glass. I know, we said no green wine. This isn’t just wine….it’s sangria, and it’s fantastic no matter what the color. It also comes with a lollipop, so…

Fleur de Spice sangria will be flowing all day and we have live music in the tasting room from 7-10pm for our weekly Saturday Night Jive!

For those not ready to brave the early morning with lollipops and sangria, we will also be serving free hot green tea to cut the morning chill while you get your parade on.

St. Patrick’s Day weekend is also Healdsburg’s Sidewalk Sale weekend, and we will have our 2013 Zin Master offered at 50% off a case, as well as some other deals that you’ll just have to come by and take a look see for. (But, the inside scoop is that the sidewalk sale just may be the time to pick up you wines for that wedding you’re having soon or that graduation party you’re going to be throwing.)

Well, that’s the Spicy Report for all things St. Patrick’s Day. If you’re local and can come by, we’d love to see you. If you can only celebrate with us in spirit, we love that too, and will be celebrating with you in kind. But, no matter where you’re celebrating, we wish everyone a fun and safe St. Patrick’s Day.

Slainte and Erin Go Bragh!



Spicy Vines Chocolate Mousse

17th Nov 2017 @ 17:20 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

YIELD: Makes 8 servings
ACTIVE TIME: 45 min
TOTAL TIME: 7 hr

PAIRED WINES: Spicy Vines Original Blend and 2013 Zin Master: Russian River Zinfandel.

After popular demand, we are releasing what has always been a secret recipe of ours.


INGREDIENTS:

2 cups chilled heavy cream
4 large egg yolks
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
7 oz fine-quality bittersweet chocolate (not unsweetened), chopped
2 tbl espresso powder
1 bottle Spicy Vines Original Blend*
1/2 cup sugar
Garnish: lightly sweetened whipped cream


PREPARATION:

Reduce the bottle of Spicy Vines’ Original Blend red spiced wine and sugar in a small saucepan on high heat until slightly thick. Reduce the read to medium until the contents become a thick spiced wine reduction. Set aside.

Heat 3/4 cup cream in a 1-quart heavy saucepan until hot. Whisk together yolks, sugar, and a pinch of salt in a metal bowl until combined well, then add hot cream in a slow stream, whisking until combined. Transfer mixture to saucepan and cook over moderately low heat, stirring constantly, until it registers 160°F on thermometer. Pour custard through a fine-mesh sieve into a bowl and stir in vanilla.

Melt chocolate in a double boiler or a metal bowl set over a pan of simmering water (or in a glass bowl in a microwave at 50 percent power 3 to 5 minutes), stirring frequently. Whisk custard and spiced wine reduction into chocolate until smooth, then cool.

Beat remaining 1 1/4 cups cream in a bowl with an electric mixer until it just holds stiff peaks. Whisk one fourth of cream into chocolate custard to lighten, then fold in remaining cream gently but thoroughly.

Spoon mousse into 8 (6-ounce) stemmed glasses or ramekins and chill, covered, at least 6 hours. Let stand at room temperature about 20 minutes before serving.


COOK'S NOTES:

Mousse can be chilled up to 1 day.

To vary the flavor, you can replace the 1 teaspoon vanilla with 2 teaspoons instant-espresso powder (dissolve it in the hot cream) or 3 tablespoons Grand Marnier or 2 tablespoons Cognac (either one whisked into strained custard).



Spicy Vines Sultry Strawberry Jam

17th Nov 2017 @ 16:39 by crystalyn@spicyvines.com

Q: What did the strawberry say to the other strawberry?…

A: “If you weren't so fresh, we wouldn’t be in this jam.”

We’ve been busy little bees experimenting with a line of spicy preserves and jams. Our signature spiced wine reduction makes an excellent addition to to any jam or preserve recipe. Not digging strawberries these days? Improvise or blend with this recipe, a little fig, raspberry, blackberry, and so much more!


Sultry Strawberry Jam:

3 pounds strawberries
1 bottle Spicy Vines Original Blend
3 1/2 cups raw sugar
3 tbl fruit pectin
Juice of one lemon


Wash and slice the strawberries into large chunks, removing stems.

Mix all ingredients in medium pot and bring to gentle simmer. Simmer for forty minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in pectin and mix well. Jam should be set, but if it still contains too much liquid, simmer for longer and check every ten minutes.

Serve with bleu cheese, brie and crackers for easy and elegant h’ordeuvres. Don’t forget a glass of Spicy Vines!

*Recipe makes 6 half-pint jars



Interview with the Winemaker: Doug Hackett

24th Oct 2016 @ 13:34 by

Our winemaker Doug Hackett is a really interesting and innovative guy who uses his considerable skills to make dynamite wines. We thought you might like to learn a little more about his style and vision for Spicy Vines, and what we can expect to taste in the next few years.

As you may already know, before coming to us, Doug was a founder and winemaker for two boutique wine brands. He’s a true artisan who has received more than 100 medals and 90+ point ratings throughout his winemaking career.

Doug’s passion has always been producing small lot artisan wines, never “controlling them” but instead shepherding them through the process, allowing them to develop into the best wines they can be.

This year, he has a few new things for us—a 2015 Pinot Noir recently bottled that Doug says will be a “phenomenal Pinot,” a Cabernet Sauvignon (he’s always wanted to do a large Cab), a Cabernet Franc, and a Sauvignon Blanc, which will be available in 2017. The other wines will be available in 2019.

The Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and the Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from a small AVA at the northern end of the Alexander Valley—Pine Mountain/Cloverdale Peak. It’s all mountainous and ranges from an elevation of 2,000 feet to 2,800 feet. Given Doug’s history of working with mountainside fruit (Syrah in the Sierra Foothills and mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon in Mendocino) he’s excited about this opportunity.

The gentleman who owns the land loves Spicy Vines and Doug’s winemaking philosophy, which will make our three-year stint on the land a great pleasure. Signing agreements for a minimum of three years is something Doug feels strongly about because it lets him really get to know the vineyard—its microclimates, etc.—to make the best wines possible. And that produces the greatest benefit for the grower, the winemaker, and the customer, says Doug.

There’s just one thing… since Doug is making less than 100 cases of the Cabernet Franc, that particular wine will be offered to wine club members only. We get a kick out of making special wines that only wine club members can taste. Most wineries don’t do that and it’s a nice perk for our biggest fans. This year we did a Carignan. Next year will be a “funky blend” and the year after that, will be the Cab Franc. Join us to get all the spicy perks!

Speaking of perks, another happy byproduct of Doug’s obsession with seeking out small eclectic AVAs and vineyards is our ability to price wines affordably. Instead of following the popularity of a region, Doug goes to where the grape grows best and, in many cases, can outdo what comes out of those more popular regions. Since we pay less for wines sourced from regions that aren’t necessarily trendy, we can carry the value through to all of you.

As Doug will tell you,

“What I bring to the table is the ability to find eclectic, privately owned vineyards where the grapes are phenomenal at a great value. That allows us to sell our wines at reasonable prices.”

When Doug’s not in the vineyard or in the process of creating beautiful wines, you may find him in the tasting room. Come see us sometime and get to know him better!