Snow Days at Shadow Ranch
Sitting at an elevation of 2300 ft, Shadow Ranch will occasionally get some snow, but this past weekend was something else! Grapevines are dormant this time of year, so we do not expect much of an effect from the snow on our vines. We have well-draining sandy soils, so we can also avoid the worry of drowning out the root zone. However we do hope that all this precipitation will be good for our water table and for California's overall water supply. We can certainly hope that the many feet of snow the Sierras are receiving will continue to melt into our reservoirs through the summer. In meantime, we get to enjoy a rare snow day in the Sierra Foothills!
If you weren't able to make it out to the tasting room during the storm, never fear! Tracey, one of our incredible Tasting Room Hosts, was able to capture some beautiful images before the snow began to melt away. Tracey is not only a great photographer, but an artist of many disciplines! If you would like to see more of her work, check out @traceysirbellopetportraits on Instagram!
We feel so lucky to be able to experience nature's beauty right outside the door of the tasting room. Winter, spring, summer and fall all have their own beauty and we love sharing that with you. Join us during any season to see what beauty we have in store!
February 2023 Food Pairing
February 2023 Food Pairing
This past weekend we got to enjoy yet another incredible food pairing! The club release this weekend was a 'choose your own adventure', meaning that club members could choose any two bottles as their wine club shipment. This gave Kimari and Tricia free reign as far as food pairings were concerned. Our guests were able to enjoy some excellent pairings with the 2020 Estate Tempranillo and 2020 Estate Zinfandel. These are both great wines to pair with food, but the pairings we offered may not be what you might expect! Below I've shared the recipes so that you can try them with your Shadow Ranch wine at home!
2020 Estate Tempranillo paired with Smoked Gouda Pimiento Cheese and Root Vegetable Chips
This crowd pleaser is easy to make and to serve! A great option for a slightly elevated Super Bowl dip or as an appetizer at any dinner party. The combination of smokiness and fattiness of the smoked gouda were the key to the pairing with Tempranillo. Tempranillo is a naturally more tannic wine, so the fats in the cheese help to mellow out that astringency. The smokiness of the cheese helps bring out the rich oak flavors in this wine, which was aged in french oak for 18 months. We chose to use colorful root vegetable chips as the vehicle for this cheese, but you can use any chips you like or even vegetable sticks!
1 cup mayonnaise
8oz block cream cheese room temperature
1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
½ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp salt
½ tsp pepper
¼ tap cayenne
7oz jar of pimientos
8oz shredded Cheddar
16oz shredded Gouda
Mix all ingredients together and refrigerate. It’s that easy.
Enjoy with your favorite chips, crackers, or veggies!
2020 Estate Zinfandel paired with Mini Chicken and Waffles with a drizzle of Habanero Honey
Now this pairing really surprised me! Our 2020 Estate Zinfandel has an oakier characteristic than many of the foothill zinfandels available in our area. The hint of spice in the habanero honey really brought out the oaky spices in the zinfandel, making for a great pairing. With mini waffles and chicken tenders this normally large and heavy dish is transformed into an adorable and elegant appetizer!
20oz frozen popcorn chicken
1 ¾ cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp baking soda
3 Tbs sugar
½ tsp salt
1 ½ cups buttermilk
1 stick of butter melted
Chives finely chopped
Air fry the chicken according to the directions on the package.
For the waffles:
Wisk together all dry ingredients in a large bowl.
Wisk together eggs and buttermilk. Slowly add the melted and cooled butter.
Add dry mixture one scoop at a time until well mixed.
Batter should be thick and a little lumpy.
Using a little more melted butter brush your heated mini waffle maker and start cooking up the waffles.
Assemble and dress with honey and chives.
December 2022 Food Pairing
December 2022 Food Pairing
We always have so much fun hosting our club release events. It's an opportunity for us to catch up with our longtime club members and some of our more recent additions to the Wine Club as well! This past December Club Release was especially fun with everyone already getting into the holiday spirit. As always, Kimari and Tricia amazed us with their culinary skills, creating perfect pairings for our new releases, the 2020 Estate Grenache and 2020 Petit Verdot. We were asked by several guests for the recipes so we happily share them with you below.
2020 Estate Grenache paired with Warm Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Salad
This dish is an excellent one for holiday parties, with the creamy goat cheese and bright pops of color from the pomegranate seeds. We were delighted with how this paired with the 2020 Estate Grenache. We chose a mild goat cheese for this dish, not wanting too much tanginess to distract from the other flavors. The 2020 Estate Grenache is a light to medium bodied red with notes of ripe cherry, strawberry and raspberry, with bright hints of white pepper and a subtle earthiness of hay. The tannins in this wine are moderate and it has a gentle oak finish.
Warm Goat Cheese and Pomegranate Salad
1 Chevre goat cheese log cut into 8 equal discs
1 cup panko bread crumbs
1 package spring salad mix
1/2 cup pomegranate seeds
bottled raspberry vinaigrette of your choice
Whisk egg to make an egg wash. Dip each goat cheese disc into the egg then into the panko to be covered.
Fry up each disc in olive oil. Turn and brown on both sides.
Meanwhile, dress the spring mix with the raspberry vinaigrette and add pomegranate seeds.
Finally Plate the each salad and top with 1 warm goat cheese disc.
Add a few more pomegranate seeds and a drizzle of the dressing.
2020 Petit Verdot paired with Steak Bites with Plum Sauce
These bites paired so well with our 2020 Petit Verdot. The flavors of the plum sauce married beautifully with the plum and berry aromas present in the Petit Verdot, and the steak allows this dish to hold up to Petit Verdot's higher tannins. We served these with the steak thinly sliced and folded onto skewers, making this a great finger food for passed appetizers.
Plum Sauce Marinade
1/2 cup plum sauce
2 T fresh lemon juice
2 T soy sauce
2 T ketchup
2 T minced shallots
1 T minced garlic
1 T ground ginger
2 tsp smoked paprika
2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 T Brown Sugar
Combine all ingredients in a small saucepan. Heat to medium constantly stirring so it does not burn, 3-4 mins. Let cool completely before pouring over choice cut of beef strips. Tri-tip, top round, chuck, or flanks steak. Marinate overnight up to 24 hours.
NEXT TIME YOU VISIT TAKE HOME OUR BARBERA!
Did you know that Barbera is an Italian wine grape variety that as of the year 2000 was the third most planted red grape variety planted in Italy. California is one of the central regions in the world that has planted more than 7000 acres. Babera is known for its acid structure and smooth tannins, therefore making it a great food wine.
Barbera boasts brighter flavors of tart cherry, raspberry, and spice balckberry and vanilla, great layers of texture and will age nicely. Taste our Barbera, take it home and pair it with; rich dark meats, mushrooms, herbaceous cheeses like blue, braised lamb dishes, Italian sausage and lentils, pastas with tomatoes and meat sauces, meatloaf, rabbit with olives or braised duck....many delicious dishes to choose from when drinking a Barbera. Cheers!
Shadow Ranch Barbera is a 2022 Gold Medal winnner at the San Francisco Chronical Wine Competition.
2019 Tempranillo and 2019 Zinfandel Food Pairings
A beef stew braised in red wine, often Burgundy and beef stock, typically flavored with carrots, onions garlic and a bouquet garni and garnished with pearl onions mushrooms and bacon. A perfect pairing with our 2019 Tempranillo boasts dark cherry red in color. Aromas of plum, balckberry and jam with varied spicy notes of vanilla cacao, the excellent balance of fruit alcohol , acidit and tannins. Smooth complex and long finish.
We hope you will enjoy this recipe at home with our Shadow Ranch 2019 Tempranillo.
1 tablespoon good olive oil
8 ounces dry cured center cut applewood smoked bacon, diced
2 1/2 pounds chuck beef cut into 1-inch cubes
Freshly ground black pepper
1 pound carrots, sliced diagonally into 1-inch chunks
2 yellow onions, sliced
2 teaspoons chopped garlic (2 cloves)
1/2 cup Cognac
1 (750 ml.) bottle good dry red wine such as Cote du Rhone or Pinot Noir
1 can (2 cups) beef broth
1 tablespoon tomato paste
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves (1/2 teaspoon dried)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter at room temperature, divided
3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 pound frozen whole onions
1 pound fresh mushrooms stems discarded, caps thickly sliced
Country bread or Sour Dough, toasted or grilled and rubbed with garlic clove
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.
Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven. Add the bacon and cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the bacon is lightly browned. Remove the bacon with a slotted spoon to a large plate.
Dry the beef cubes with paper towels and then sprinkle them with salt and pepper. In batches in single layers, sear the beef in the hot oil for 3 to 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Remove the seared cubes to the plate with the bacon and continue searing until all the beef is browned. Set aside.
Toss the carrots, and onions, 1 tablespoon of salt and 2 teaspoons of pepper in the fat in the pan and cook for 10 to 15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the onions are lightly browned. Add the garlic and cook for 1 more minute. Add the Cognac, stand back, and ignite with a match to burn off the alcohol. Put the meat and bacon back into the pot with the juices. Add the bottle of wine plus enough beef broth to almost cover the meat. Add the tomato paste and thyme. Bring to a simmer, cover the pot with a tight-fitting lid and place it in the oven for about 1 1/4 hours or until the meat and vegetables are very tender when pierced with a fork.
Combine 2 tablespoons of butter and the flour with a fork and stir into the stew. Add the frozen onions. Saute the mushrooms in 2 tablespoons of butter for 10 minutes until lightly browned and then add to the stew. Bring the stew to a boil on top of the stove, then lower the heat and simmer for 15 minutes. Season to taste.
To serve, toast the bread in the toaster or oven. Rub each slice on 1 side with a cut clove of garlic. For each serving, spoon the stew over a slice of bread and sprinkle with parsley.
Copyright Ina Garten, All Rights Reserved
Smoked Pimiento Cheese
We love this recipe for smoked pimiento cheese with our 2019 Zinfandel! The bold flavors of this dish held up well to the peppery oak finish on our Zinfandel and the two complimented each other perfectly.
Yield: approximately 5 cups
4 jalapeño peppers, halved and seeded
2 red bell peppers, halved and seeded
1 (8-ounce) package shredded sharp Cheddar cheese
1 (8-ounce) block smoked Cheddar cheese, shredded
1⁄2 cup mayonnaise
1 (3-ounce) package cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce 1⁄2 teaspoon liquid smoke
1⁄2 teaspoon kosher salt
1⁄2 teaspoon ground black pepper 1⁄4 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
1⁄8 teaspoon ground red pepper
Preheat oven to 400°.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil.
Place jalapeño and bell peppers on prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 25 minutes. Remove from oven.
Place peppers in a large glass bowl; cover with plastic wrap, and let cool for 20 minutes.
Remove plastic wrap. Wearing gloves, remove skin from peppers. Discard skin.
In the work bowl of a food processor, combine all ingredients; pulse until smooth.
Serve immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week.
Serve with crackers, if desired, or on toasted French baguette slices and top with bacon.
Why Barrel Wines?
Why Barrel Wines?
The oxygen that comes through the oak barrel helps the wine mature and tannins develop the structure of the wine over time. Barrels are a metaphorical spice rack when making wine. New barrels have intense aromas, and can impart cedar, vanilla and plenty of spice notes when a wine is aged in them.
New barrels will impart the strongest aromas and flavors to a wine. Each time a barrel is used, that influence dissipates a bit. After about three or four uses, the barrels are consisderd "neutral". Neutral barrels are still useful to winemakers, wine can be aged in them before bottling, but neutral barrels won't add a new barrels influence of flavors and aromas.
Barrels are also used for texture and mouthfeel, since they allow small amout of oxygen to interact with the wine. Winemakers using neutral barrels to get richer, creamier textures from wines. A new barrel cost upwards of $1000 so getting extra use is important and desirable.
New Wood Fired Pizza Oven - We are Fired Up!
NEW WOOD FIRED PIZZA OVEN, WE ARE FIRED UP!
Your choice Margherita, Pepperoni, BBQ Chicken, or Fig Walnut Gorgonzola. The vineyards never smelled
so delicious. Next time you feel like a pizza and a bottle of wine stop by! The
patio is gorgeous and we really enjoy sharing our style with you.
Spring at Shadow Ranch
When it comes to the vineyards, spring is a beautiful time of year. Poppies and tulips are blooming between the rows, the vines are waking up, and the buds are bursting to break. Just as spring is the season of new growth, it is also the season to get to work. Spring into Sam’s world and see what he’s up to in the vineyards!
Pruning & Suckering
Precise pruning is one of the most fundamental vineyard tasks and is essential for the upcoming harvest as it helps to regulate growth, productivity, and the quality of the fruit. But pruning goes beyond the current harvest—excessive productivity may seem like a great thing, but it can cut down on the lifespan of the grapevine and quality of the fruit. Pruning is a balancing act between grape production and ensuring that the new growth will replace older, lignified wood.
As the days warm up and the shoots begin to grow rapidly, it’s important to revisit the vines for suckering. Like all living things, grapes need plenty of light and oxygen. Suckering removes the shoots that do not produce fruit and helps determine the shape of the vine, preparing it for summer maintenance. The goal is to avoid overly packed foliage and to cut down on canopy management in the coming months.
Planting & Replanting
After the snow melts in the early spring, the soil temperatures in the vineyards finally begin to warm up. This is the time to plant new vines, allowing them to acclimate and get their roots settled before the growing season. Prior to planting, these vines are typically dormant, just beginning to wake up in the sun and begin bud break after they are planted. In addition to expanding vineyard acreage, new vines may be used to replace older vines that aren’t producing or have died. More fruit production = more wine for you to uncork!
Along with all the excitement in the vineyard, there are exciting things happening in the winery, too! Our 2nd Quarter Wine Club release is available for pickup now and we have two exciting wines to share with you. First, our 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, a wine that is quintessentially spring. White peach and grapefruit notes jump out of the glass while the fresh, juicy, and vibrant qualities make it the perfect pairing for our gorgonzola and walnut stuffed endive appetizer. Secondly, you’ll be enjoying the 2016 Grenache with ripe cherry, strawberry, raspberry, and subtle hints of white pepper. The soft tannin and lush acid make it a match for some chorizo, Manchego, and Spanish olive skewers!
Want to try these pairings yourself? Join us for our 2nd Quarter Food Pairing on May 26th from noon - 4! If you’re not a club member now, don’t miss out on our 3rd Quarter release—check out our 5 O’clock Shadow club options here. Cheers to the spring season!
Your Guide to California Wine from El Dorado
A quaint county in the Sierra Foothills, El Dorado County brings together some of the best aspects of California: gorgeous landscapes, endless outdoor activities, a rich history, and of course, fantastic wine. Nestled between Sacramento and South Lake Tahoe, El Dorado County has grown from a historic mining town to a widely undiscovered rustic destination bursting with adventure.
Beyond gold mining and wine tasting, you may not know that El Dorado County is one of the greatest places to explore in California. No matter your preferred mode of outdoor transportation, there’s something for everyone in the foothills. With over 100 miles of horse trails, you can journey through Gold Country on horseback or opt for taking in the sights via a mountain bike ride or rafting expedition. Experience the wonders of spring with a hike through the wildflowers and waterfalls from the recent snow melt. Slow things down with a leisurely afternoon in historic downtown Placerville or take a trip to the local breweries and cideries. Like we said—there is no shortage of activities!
El Dorado County has a long history of agriculture due to its fertile and rural landscape. Throughout the area, you can find countless farms growing cherries, apples, wine grapes, and more. And with these farms comes, you guessed it, farmers markets! From spring through fall, you can visit our local markets and grab your fresh fruits, vegetables, flowers, and eggs from four different locations.
If you’re less of a DIY kind of chef, worry not. There are plenty of foodie spots from diners to fine dining in the greater El Dorado County. Check out some local favorites from!
What better place to play than in Fair Play itself? Tucked away in the foothills, Fair Play is a small designated American Viticultural Area (AVA) and is home to over 20 family-owned boutique wineries that focus on the land. Known for its robust, high-elevation wine, Fair Play is widely recognized for growing and producing Zinfandel but is planted with varietals ranging from Barbera to Chardonnay to Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and so much more.
Built in 1888, Shadow Ranch Vineyard is located in the heart of the Fair Play AVA and is built on the original rustic buildings with a Gold Rush era feel. Owner and winemaker Sam Patterson focuses on small batch, single-vineyard wines that highlight the high-elevation sites he farms throughout El Dorado County. Currently, approximately 350 acres within the Fair Play region are planted to grapevines, and this award-winning wine scene is gaining popularity and acclaim.
El Dorado Passport
To celebrate this diverse winegrowing region and the wineries within it, El Dorado Wines is hosting two back-to-back Passport Weekends. The wineries of El Dorado will bring out limited bottlings, obscure varietals, live music, food, and unique tasting experiences to share with Passport holders, and is one of the best ways to experience the qualities of the area. Join us at Shadow Ranch for mouthwatering barbecue paired with some of our favorite wines, including the fan favorite “Sheriff” Red Wine Blend. Or, elevate your tasting experience to a VIP offering and enjoy an exclusive taste at our vintage library bar. Two limited edition Shadow Ranch wines will be poured and available to take home!