Yesterday (Tuesday, Nov 27) was the last day of pressing tanks for the 2012 harvest. For us here in the cellar, it means harvest is now officially over (i.e. no more working weekends)! Here is our happy, tired crew of incredibly dedicated and hard-working folks who kept us all laughing each day as we crushed a record breaking 901 Tons this season. We’re all excited about the fantastic quality of the 2012 wines and look forward to sharing them with you.
Last night, I visited the brand new Green Music Center at Sonoma State University for the first time, and was frankly blown away.
It is a state of the art, 150-million dollar facility, complete with retracting walls for outdoor performances, that will no doubt draw world-class talent and a lot of visitors to an agricultural corner of Rohnert Park.
Buika is the Spanish daughter of political refugees from Equatorial Guinea. She grew up in a gypsy neighborhood of Mallorca, and her music is born from traditional flamenco, but as you have never heard it, laced with jazz, blues and Afro Caribbean rhythms. But the thing is, she has this voice that demands your full attention, even if you can't understand spanish.
From the moment she walked on stage, with only a pianist and a percussionist supporting her, she filled the space completely and bewitched everyone in the room. Her voice has ridiculous range and tremendous power, and yet is full of tenderness, heartache and emotion. I've never heard anything quite like it, and I haven't yet found an online clip that conveys it sufficiently. I get the sense that this is an artist that is best seen live, and strongly suggest you check her out if she comes to a venue anywhere near you.
Buika is performing a sold out show in San Francisco tonight that I was disappointed to miss, until I was very happily surprised to learn I had the option to see her perform at Sonoma State the night before. I will most definitely add the Green Center to my list of venue calendars to be checking regularly, and look forward to the opportunity to see more top performers in the area. Now we just need to work on getting some life into the audiences...I guarantee the crowd in SF tonight will be dancing, shouting and clapping along with Buika in a way that would've shocked the polite, well-heeled guests at last night's show.
And for a totally different entry in the realm of recent surprises and revelations....
I recently received an email with the following recipe from the wife of our newest staff member. When Bill Shenas joined Gundlach Bundschu as our new sales manager (welcome Bill!), his wife Sandi threw him a surprise party with a fully 'Gun Bunned' menu - not only were GB wines on the table, they were used to prepare each dish in the meal.
The hit of the night was apparently a French Onion soup made with 2011 Gewurztraminer. (I was relieved to learn only a half cup was sacrificed in the process, and far more was enjoyed as its accompaniment.) Sounds like a possible addition to my Thanksgiving menu this year....
Have a great holiday everyone!
1. First of all, make the croutons without too much drama. I like to cut the bread into one-inch cubes – that’s part of the “easy to eat” platform. Simply spray (or toss) them with olive oil, place on a flat cookie sheet, and bake at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Give them a quick toss, and continue baking until they are golden brown. After they cool, wrap them in several layers of aluminum foil. They will keep indefinitely.
2. For the non-string-inducing cheese topping: Mix the finely grated Gruyère with the finely grated Parmesan, set aside.
3. In a large stock pot, melt the butter and add the olive oil. Add the onions and season with 1 – 2 teaspoons of salt. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes, then stir. Add 1 teaspoon of sugar, reduce the heat and cook for another 10 minutes at low heat. Add the garlic. Continue to cook the onion/garlic mixture for 40 minutes or longer, stopping to stir the mixture and check for browning every 10 minutes. Cook until they onions are very soft and a deep golden brown.
4. Add the flour, thyme or oregano, bay leaves, and pepper. Stir over medium-high heat for two minutes.
5. Add the wine, stock, and water. Stir until the mixture simmers, then allow to simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes. Check back and stir the mixture every 10 minutes.
6. Remove the Bay leaves, and give the soup its final “zing” by adding a generous Tablespoon of Sherry Vinegar.
7. When ready to serve, heat the soup to a simmer and divide among bowls. Spread a pile of croutons out over each bowl, and top with your finely grated cheese mixture. Broil until the cheese is melted and bubbly, and serve your “easy to eat, non-string-inducing” delicious French Onion Soup with a chilled glass of Gundlach Bundschu Gewürztraminer. Enjoy!
This time of year, it seems every wine writer does the obligatory article about the ideal wines to pair with the traditional Thanksgiving menu. Haven't we resolved this one yet, can't we all agree that Dry Gewurztraminer and Pinot Noir are the perfect wines for your table and move on to the really controversial topic...STUFFING.
Yes, stuffing. Not 'dressing.' Even the damn name is controversial.
For the last 20 years, I've hosted large groups of wine-loving adults for a potluck Thanksgiving, and not one has ever disputed the wine pairing. But emotions run high when we try to decide who is going to bring the stuffing.
Cornbread vs. Wheat bread. Pork, oyster, chestnut, vegetarian or vegan. In the bird or in a tray. Every one of my friends has passionate, specific, inflexible opinion on what constitutes the best Thanksgiving stuffing.
We resolve it by having everyone bring their own, which usually means four or five trays, and yes, it gets competitive. But there's no contest. Mine is always gone first. Granted, I can eat more than anyone.
Years ago, Nancy Bundschu shared her traditional recipe with wine club members. It sounds delicious, and I've always wanted to make it on another occasion, but uh, yeah, there is no way I am testing that out on Thanksgiving.
Our recipes are below. Like you care. Please tell us what makes YOUR stuffing recipe the ideal pairing for Turkey & Gewurztraminer.
NANCY BUNDSCHU'S CORN BREAD DRESSING
Corn Bread--follow your favorite recipe
2 T. Butter
2 cups chopped onion
1 cup chopped red bell pepper
2/3 cup chopped celery
1 (14 1/2 ounce) can chicken broth
1 cup chopped chicken-apple sausage
1 1/2 t. dried thyme
1 t. dried sage (can use fresh too)
3/4 t. black pepper
1 1/2 cup coarsely chopped dried fruit (apricots, cranberry, dates, apples) macerated in gewürztraminer one hour
1/2 cup pecans
1/4 cup chopped parsley
2 eggs, lightly beaten
Preparation: Preheat oven to 400. Cut corn bread into 1-inch cubes. Place in a large bowl and set aside. Melt butter in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Stir in onion, bell pepper, and celery; cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently. Stir in 3/4 cup broth, sausage and thyme, sage and black pepper. Bring to a boil; cover, reduce heat and simmer 5 minutes. Remove from heat. Pour vegetable mixture over corn bread, stirring well. Stir in dried fruit, pecans and parsley. Combine remaining broth and eggs; pour over corn bread mixture, tossing well. Spoon into cavity of turkey or chicken and lace up, or spoon into 13 x 9 inch baking dish coated with cooking spray.
Cover and bake at 400 for 15 minutes. Uncover, bake an addition 15 minutes or until browned. Or follow cooking instructions for the weight of your bird, always making sure your stuffing is throughly cooked inside the cavity of the bird.
THE BEST (& EASIEST) STUFFING EVER (aka Susan's favorite)
2 bags Pepperidge Farm Herb Stuffing (BLUE package, not the cubed kind!)
1 onion, finely diced
1.5 lbs pork sausage - I prefer the Whole Foods sage in bulk, but any mild Italian is fine, casings removed
Chicken broth and butter (see stuffing package for details)
Boil broth and butter as directed on the stuffing package. Saute the onions in olive oil until soft, then add the sausage and cook thoroughly while breaking it up into a fine mince. Add stuffing to broth and combine well, then add sausage and onion and combine well. Yes, include all the drippings, it is Thanksgiving. Bake in the bird or in a covered tray, as you wish.
The space aged Shake Your Bundschu went off on Saturday as it always does. That is to say the roof was blown off the place. Seriously the energy of that party is always so supercharged it is kind of scary. The DJ brought it- great sounds, big video screens and a laser show extraordinaire. The winery courtyard looked and felt like the best dance club ever. And the crowd behaved like it-- there were costumes galore- from astronauts to robots, afro's to spandex, and everyone danced, danced and danced. The whole scene was a sight to behold.
The day started on the other side of coin, that is to say with a serious vineyard education session for 40 people. Towle Merritt, cousin and vineyard manager, led the group through a vineyard walk and a talk that focused on our grapevine selection proccess, particularly the unique multi-year process we are going through that will yield proprietary versions of Chardonnay, Gewurtzatraminer and Zinfandel clones. Super wonky and super cool. The second half of the morning was spent previewing the 2010 reds with the winemaking team.
The best compliment came at the end of the night, when a friend of multiple time attendees thanked me profusely, and described the morning as super educational, and yet no way reflective of what was to come. He said 'You guys were way informative in the morning, and so into that when we left I told my friends I couldn't see this same group going off with a party the way they described. It would be like having your favorite professor in college turning into the DJ at the best party ever, and that just doesn't happen. My friends told me to hold on, and low and behold it happened!'
Hard to top this year's as always...planning begins for 2013...
We are still a week+ off from our first grapes of the season. That means I can talk about our DJ for this Saturday's party. Shake Your Bundschu has been going off in some form or other for a few years, always with a very good live cover band. This year we decided to mix it up a bit by bringing in a world class DJ. Another first in Sonoma @ GB-- A bonafide club DJ outside @ a winery. Instead of cover versions of familiar songs, why not the real thing remixed by a master? With Video and Lasers to boot? Though most of us don't stay up late enough to realize it, SF is a hotbed of international DJ culture, and Don Lynch represents.
Regarded as a local favorite and trendsetter, San Francisco resident and former radio DJ, Don Lynch is tearing up the US club circuit and is quickly gaining recognition as one of the nation's most exciting DJs and leading front runners in live video mixing. With unparalleled video content and original remixes, Don Lynch has emerged as a favorite with crowds, and club owners alike. With 20 plus scheduled appearances a month, both locally and nationally, Don manages to keep his live show fresh and exciting, maintain a strong presence online, and still preform a unique and captivating show every evening.
Armed with an arsenal of audio and visual content, crowd demanding energy, and unsurpassed experience in the DJ booth, an evening with Don Lynch is a nightlife experience like none other.
SO come on Saturday, dress like an alien and get a midnight groove on by 9pm.
Tix start @ $20
Sadly, this will be my last Music Monday post here at Blogschu. I have decided to focus all of my writing time on some personal creative projects.
I want to say THANK YOU to Jeff Bundschu, Susan Sueiro and all of the other wonderful people who work at Gundlach Bundschu for their support these past eighteen months. And for giving me this opportunity in the first place!
It has been an honor for me to find music for you every Monday. I will keep the GunBun playlists up and running on Spotify and if you'd like to follow me personally you can right here. I will continue to create playlists, I'm just not going to have the time to write about the songs anymore.
There are so many music discovery blogs. Here are some of my favorites:
I wish you all the best and hope to see you elsewhere on the interwebs or who knows, maybe on your bookshelf one day.
Peace & Cheer, Lisa
What does one do the week after hosting a music festival at a winery?
For one, you spend it following up- getting feedback from everyone under the sun that might have opinion, and try to organize it coherently and then frame the operating plan for next year. Great news is most everyone's feedback starts out glowing and then gets constructively critical only after some prompting. But there are for sure things we can and will improve upon for 2013. Look for some initial outreach for 2013 Huichica here or @ www.huichica.com in the weeks to come.
Then you get to the blending table. I spent Friday morning in the lab with the winemaking team reviewing 2011 reserve lots. So much to be excited about considering the vintage. We have a small lot Merlot project we are working on that is incredible.
Which brings me to the final thing you do-- Go to lunch with your dad. Jim Bundschu and I caught up @ Della Santina's in Sonoma. A rare occasion, just the two of us, chillin'. I had the remainder of that 'merlot project' to share around so we weren't too lonely.
But wait... there is one other thing I worked on this week. I have only this picture as a hint...
Don't forget that Huichica is less than two weeks away!
Here are this week's five tunes:
"Fergus Falls" - Field Report
I listened to Field Report's recent session on Daytrotter a few days ago and I was hooked. Keep your eyes and ears on this Wisconsin band, they are going places.
"Overdrawn" - White Sea
I caught this song during the end credits to the second episode of the HBO show Girls. I found it on Spotify and I have been listening to it ever since.
"Heaven" - The Walkmen
This track is from The Walkmen's seventh full-length album in 10 years (out May 29). You can stream the full album on NPR's website.
"Maps" - Cary Brothers, Priscilla Ahn
I was excited to get an email about Brothers' new 5-track EP of cover songs. Especially since he is covering some of my favorite tunes. "Maps" is originally by the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and it features singer-songwriter Priscilla Ahn.
Do You Remember - Ane Brun
I heard Ane Brun perform this track last week on KCRW's Morning Becomes Eclectic. I love her unique voice and apparently, so does Peter Gabriel. He tapped her to open and duet with him on his orchestral “New Blood” tour in 2010. High praise indeed.
Peace & Cheer,