One of our favorite harvest meals

veg-chili-sweetDurring harvest we are often leave the house at sunrise and return home just in time for dinner. At the end of the day no one has the energy to cook so we like to put something in the slow-cooker before heading out the door in the morning. One of our favorites is vegetarian chili with sweet potatoes. It is a flavorful, filling and nourishing recipe. This is the perfect meal for the Fall/Winter and pairs well with Holus Bolus Syrah!

1 medium red onion, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
kosher salt and black pepper to taste
1 28-ounce can fire-roasted diced tomatoes
1 15.5-ounce can black beans, rinsed
1 15.5-ounce can kidney beans, rinsed
1 medium sweet potato (about 8 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄2-inch pieces
sour cream, sliced scallions, chopped jalapeño, and tortilla chips, for serving (essential!)

In a 4- to 6-quart slow cooker, combine the onion, bell pepper, garlic, chili powder, cumin, cocoa, cinnamon, 1 teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Add the tomatoes (and their liquid), beans, sweet potato, and 1 cup water.
Cover and cook until the sweet potatoes are tender and the chili has thickened, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 4 to 5 hours (this will shorten total recipe time).
Serve the chili with the sour cream, scallions, radishes, and tortilla chips.

The Wrong Side of the Rhône – PALATE PRESS

The winemakers of Seyssuel gear up for the long and bumpy road from IGP to cru.

Source: The Wrong Side of the Rhône – PALATE PRESS

Some of the most interesting new wines coming out of the Rhone Valley are made from Syrah plantings on the “wrong side” of the river adjacent to Cote Rotie. The article linked above gives a great update on what Stephan Ogier is doing across the river from his family’s Cote Rotie vineyards. It is great to hear about young winemakers planting sites that have lay fallow for years and making something special from them.

Over the past few years we have come to love the wines coming from the Collines Rhodaniennes area produced by both Stephan Ogier and Domaine Faury. It is not always easy to find (or afford!) the Cote Rotie produced by Ogier and the St. Joseph by Faury, these wines are great alternatives. These syrah bottlings always give us great inspiration for what we are trying to do at Holus Bolus.

Amy and I had a great visit with Stephan Ogier back in 2010. He took us through all of his various Syrah cuvées from Cote Rotie and Collines Rhodaniennes and his wines will always be some of our favorites.

Genuine Risk Red Bordeaux Blend 2012

Bordeaux varieties from Santa Ynez Valley are quite different than those grown in Napa Valley. We are in a cooler region so the wines tend to have a bit more natural acidity, structure and less alcohol and over-ripe flavors.

Genuine Risk is named after a Kentucky Derby winning filly that was raised in Santa Ynez Valley just down the road from this vineyard.

Each vintage the blend on Genuine Risk changes. In 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the predominant variety: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Petit Verdot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 4% Merlot. This was a more “normal” vintage as far as summer temperatures, but after 3 cool years in a row it felt like a warm vintage. Cabernet ripened beautifully 2012 so it is the focus of this blend.

Aged for 14 months in 25% new French oak, only 500 cases produced.

End of the year.

“Choose to be an optimist, it feels better.”
-Dalai Lama XIV

I secretly relish last day of the calendar year. It forces you, whether you like it or not, to realize the impermanent aspect of your life and your time here. Like the annual birthday celebration in which you are reminded that another year has passed, you are not getting any younger and time is essentially running out. That can be a terrifying realization for many of us. I find it momentarily frightening but I mostly shrug it off with a dash of good old-fashioned optimism. Even after a year in which the winery lost money (due to increasing our production) and I was still not able to pay myself a real salary, I look forward. I continue to believe that this year is the year. Perhaps that is the optimist in me speaking (you have to be an optimist to run a winery, or a sadist).

Optimism alone is a lot like exercising while maintaining a diet based on junk food. While it might make you feel good to run 5 miles, that cheeseburger you ate for dinner is a net negative. Optimism may keep the dismissive voices in my head somewhere between mute and 2, but at the end of the day (or the year) I still have to be willing to do the heavy lifting. I have to figure out and then implement the improvements I need to make whether it is in regards to winemaking, vineyards, sales or telling tales.