Wine has splashed through the sands of time farther back then most may ever be able to figure out. It has appeared in legend, myth, and religion dating back thousands of years.
In Greco-Roman religion, the god Dionysus, god of grape harvest, winemaking and wine, is described as a foreign god who brought the art of winemaking from the East.
Biblical scholars who named Noah as the true, first cultivator, describes that following the flood, he settled down to be the first winemaker. Hey, not a bad story, I mean who wouldn’t need a drink after a flood that lasted 40 days and 40 nights. According to scholars, Noah became so enthralled with his work that he also became the first town drunk (completely understandable).
Probably one of the most little known stories of the origins of winemaking is the legend of King Jamsheed. According to myth, Jamsheed was the fourth king of the world and wore an assortment of hats on top of royalty. He had command over all the angels and demons of the world, and was both king and the high priest. A pretty demanding day job if you ask me. However, his fame is most well-known for his number of inventions including: the weaving and dying of clothes, silk and wool, building houses out of brick, weapons and armor, but most importantly…wine.
The origin of winemaking still remains clouded in doubt and mistranslation. However, the version most popularly believed in began with a consort of Jamsheed’s. According to Persian legend, the king banished one of the harem ladies from his kingdom due to her lack of obedience. I mean, the guy was ruler of the world and had a lot on his plate…I bet he didn’t tolerate much. Wishing to commit suicide due to her grief of being banished from the kingdom, she broke into the king’s warehouse and found what she was looking for. A jar labeled “poison” which contained the remnants of grapes that had been spoiled and were deemed undrinkable. Not knowing that the poison was actually the result of fermentation caused by the breakdown of the grapes by yeast into alcohol, she drank the liquid long and deep. Moments passed and the harem girl couldn’t figure out why she hadn’t croaked and toppled to the ground. Just then, she was overtaken with an overwhelming, carefree sensation and her spirits lifted. She took her discovery to the King and shared this new “wine” beverage with the king. He too was overtaken with the sensations of wine. The rest is clouded in myth and legend but essentially the King and the harem girl spent the evening tossing back this new nectar of the gods and she was accepted back into the kingdom the next morning.
King Jamsheed loved this new beverage and its affects so much, he decreed that all grapes grown in his kingdom would be devoted to winemaking. And the rest is history…
Beef Tenderloin Crostini with Basil-Curry Mayonnaise
Last night I was pleased to come home from work with a peculiar appetizer waiting for me personally cooked by my mother, Brenda. These little beauties were little slabs of steak with some kind of melted cheese/mayonnaise spread on top. I was a little skeptical at first since I am a very picky eater and have been since I figured out that shaking my head meant “no vegetables for me, thanks.” However, I took a bite into the little appetizer and was immediately bombarded with the most delicious array of tastes and textures. I couldn’t stop eating them and soon turned a small appetizer into a meal. But the meal wasn’t quite complete. I figured this would go great with a glass of wine and popped open our Pinot Noir, Elizabeth 2009 and was immediately proud of my decision. Cheese and steak are normally separate delights with a glass of wine. However, I could have never imagined the two fused together would be probably the best wine pairing I’ve ever tasted. The combination was enough to leave me drooling and debating if society would frown upon me having it for breakfast as well.
Upon inquiring within about the recipe, I learned my mother picked it up from Food Network star, Giada De Laurentiis, who served it to newlyweds Prince William and Princess Kate during a charity event in Santa Barbara. I was flattered my mother felt I was worthy of a “royal recipe” and have decided that I would share it with everyone. Throw this delectable meal together along with a glass of Pinot and you are ready to rock your taste buds’ world. Enjoy!
Recipe: Beef tenderloin crostini with basil-curry mayonnaise
By: Giada De Laurentiis
- For the crostini (bread):
- 1/2 baguette or ficelle loaf, sliced into 20 1/4- to 1/2-inch-thick slices
- Extra-virgin olive oil, for drizzling
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
For the steak:
- Vegetable oil cooking spray
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
- 1 clove garlic, finely minced
- 2 4-ounce filet mignon steaks, each about 1 inch thick
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
For the mayonnaise:
- 1/3 cup mayonnaise
- 3 tablespoons mascarpone cheese, at room temperature
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 1/4 teaspoons Madras curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
To make the crostini: Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Arrange the bread slices on a baking sheet.
Drizzle with olive oil and season with salt.
Bake for 10 to 12 minutes until the bread is light golden.
To make the steak: Spray a small baking sheet with vegetable oil cooking spray. Set aside.
In a small bowl, combine the salt, pepper, cumin, coriander and garlic. Rub the spice mixture all over the steaks.
In a medium nonstick skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the steaks and cook for two minutes on each side until browned.
Transfer to the prepared baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes for medium doneness.
Let the steaks rest for 10 minutes before slicing. Slice the steaks, across the grain, into 20 1/4-inch-thick slices.
To make the mayonnaise: In a small bowl, whisk together the mayonnaise, mascarpone cheese, basil, curry powder, smoked paprika, salt and pepper.
To serve: Spread a heaped 1/2 teaspoonful of the curry mayonnaise over each toast slice.
Arrange a slice of steak on top.
Place a 1/4 teaspoon dollop of curry mayonnaise on top of the steak and arrange a single leaf of cilantro on top.
Yields six to eight servings
One of the most common keepsakes of any wine pilgrimage to the Napa Valley are corks…those cylinder objects that take the hands of a man and touch of a woman to pry from the grips of many bottles. Many beautiful wines have found themselves tragic homes to sunken corks. Sometimes it’s just a casualty of war. However, for those who manage to safely pry the things loose from the body and keep hundreds of them, this is the kind of project for you…
- A piece of plywood for the back of board – size determines on how big you would like it
- Elmer’s Wood glue
- PVC Pipe Cutter
- 1. Take your piece of plywood. The size of the plywood determines the size of your corkboard.
- 2. Using the wood glue, glue the corks going across the board. Cut corks in half using the cutter for the ends of the board.
- 3. Take your time gluing the corks onto the board so that they stick and are neatly in a row. It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey.
NOTE: Be creative!
They have a variety of uses and can be thrown together on any rainy day. So next time you’re at Baldacci or any other winery in the area, be sure to grab a couple of corks and make your own masterpiece!
The studies are in folks and it is official…drinking red wine slows the negative affects of laziness. Thanks to French scientists, we now know that a little glass of vino to go along with several hours of couch-surfing can slow bone density loss and muscle atrophy.
For all of you grape growers out there tuning in on this pinnacle point in our history, we have a new market for you…NASA. One of the worst side effects of spaceflight for astronauts are similar to laziness: bone density loss and muscle atrophy due to lack of movement. French scientists (typical) worked with rats in a weightless environment to simulate spaceflight. Well, they hung them by their tails. One rat received a daily dose of reservatrol, commonly found in red wine, while the control rat remained untreated. The results were astounding and I’m sure researchers popped open some fine wine to celebrate the news. The control rat lost bone and muscle density and developed insulin resistance while the rat who received resveratrol did not encounter any of those side effects.
Now I know these rats received resveratrol pills rather than hanging from their tails drinking wine through a straw (great visual), but it’s essentially the same thing. So go ahead and don’t feel bad or worry about the negative affects of laziness or sitting at your keyboard all day. Just pop open a little glass of red wine and drink to your health and to those brave rats that helped give us another reason to watch one more hour of SportCenter.
Check out the full story: Full Story
Time to BLEND!!
Spring is the time that Rolando gets deep into the caves and starts to put together the final blends for our 2009 Cabernets. As many of you know, our Black Label Cabernet is 100% Cabernet from our Estate vineyard but it is built from many different blocks. During the previous year’s harvest, Rolando will pick the grapes, when they are ready, in small sections. This small-batch fermentation allows the grapes “the chance to express themselves” and become individual components of the final blend. Each block might have a dominant characteristic — color, tannin, aroma, rich flavor and body — and it is Rolando’s task to find just the right blend of each block to create the perfectly balanced Baldacci Family Vineyrads Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon. What if a block doesn’t make the blend? Rolando determines if that block is still “Baldacci” quality and moves it into the IV Sons Fraternity — the perfect everyday red wine!!
Carolyn Pollack recently visited Baldacci Family Vineyards on a stop from her “Seasons of America” series on the QVC. Carolyn and her husband Bill arrived via bike and enjoyed time with Mike as they tasted the Baldacci wines and toured the vineyards, winery and wine caves. With the very first taste of the Chardonnay, Carolyn discovered that she and the Baldacci’s had something in common — Thomas and Brenda Baldacci call their Chardonnay Sorelle (sisters in Italian), to honor Tom’s three sisters; and Carolyn’s most loyal fans are known as Sincerely Sisters!
Carolyn Pollacks’ sterling jewelry designs are featured on QVC’s Sincerely, Carolyn Pollack. Carolyn creates unusually colorful and distinctively bold jewelry for the contemporary women who wear these beautifully sculptural pieces of art to express their own vibrant outlook on life. Sincerely, Carolyn Pollack jewelry is proudly crafted for QVC in Albuquerque, New Mexico at Bill and Carolyn Pollack’s design and production studio.
Check out Carolyn, her Napa Valley excursion and this amazing new collection starting on May 19th on the QVC. Until then … look through her beautiful collections at Sincerely, Carolyn Pollack.
Cellar Reserve Tastings
We now have a second place for you to taste the Baldacci Family Vineyards’ wines. It is always fun to stand elbow to elbow with your fellow tasters in our little Tasting Room but have you seen the new Cellar Room in our Trailside House? We are now entertaining guests, who would like a more one-on-one experience, in the Trailside House where we are pouring our limited release wines and including food pairing and a winery/cave tour. Please contact the Tasting Room to make an appointment as we can only offer this Cellar Reserve Tasting on a limited basis but its an experience not to be missed!
Our Featured Wine
April is the time for the annual V2V event — an open house for guests to come and visit wineries in the Stags Leap District. We always offer these guests a special package to celebrate our Estate wine and, this year, we wanted to share it with all our customers!
Enjoy 6 bottles of wine — 3 bottles of our 2007 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon and 3 bottles of our 2007 IV Sons Cabernet for $200 (purchased separately, these wines are $300). This offer expires on May 15, 2011 . Go to our store to purchase.
During the month of Janaury, we use this chance (when it is not raining ) to take care of some chores. So far this year, we have:
1.Updated our computer system – nothing like a new, faster system to keep our lines of communication in top gear!
2.Cleaned out the Trailside House Cellar Room - we are going to begin offering our Reserve Cellar Room tastings on Valentine’s Day weekend (watch for details and invitations).
3.Replaced the gravel driveways with a new paving job – its race-track smooth and easy on even your best shoes!
4.Worked on Vineyard Draining systems – it seems like the entire Stags Leap District watershed passes through our vineyard and our poor vines get very wet feet!
While our to-do list still remains long … we are ready for Spring (today it is almost 70 degrees) and hope for lots of company in the Tasting Room. We’d much rather share our wine then do the chores anyway!