WBW #55 syrah/shiraz showdown: CA Vino V 05 & AUS hazyblur 03

wbw-newI’m fortunate to live in the prime grape growing and wine producing region of Ventura and Santa Barbara counties–and, until just recently, just a few miles away from the Grateful Palate warehouse facility in Oxnard (it’s now in Fairfield near Napa).

I’ve long been a fan of Adam Tolmach’s Ojai Vineyard from back in the day when I had a print column “The Art Predator” for a weekly where I reviewed art shows, restaurants and whatever took my fancy, and was paid primarily in trade, mostly food and drink  (I could never say I was a starving artist.)

We had lots of trade at an Ojai restaurant which carried Adam Tolmach’s wines and I was thrilled to get to know many of them by the glass. It seemed that wine maker Tolmach often dropped off the odd bottle or two of wine that wouldn’t find its way onto a typical list or store. In particular, I remember being floored by one of his syrahs back in 1998.

So when I learned that Michael Meagher was a disciple of Adam Tolmach and was making his own wines under the Vino V label (V as in Ventura), that his limited edition wines (600 cases) are carried by restaurants like Campanile, and that his daughter was in my son’s kindergarten class, I wanted to get my hands on some and try it!tn

With this Wine Blogging Wednesday hosted by Remy Charest, pitting north vs south, here was a perfect opportunity to put a tasting together using a Vino V wine. Continue reading

WBW #55: Rack of Lamb with Mushroom & Artichoke Risotto & Que Syrah/Shiraz

Green Globe artichokes

They say artichokes are brutal when it comes to pairing with wine.

But as I discovered with this risotto last night, that if you braise the artichokes in bacon grease (along with the onion, mushrooms, and garlic) syrah is an awesome match.

I wanted to make something special for my husband to lure him into participating with me for this month’s Wine Blogging Wednesday’s North vs South challenge, with Vino V’s 2005 White Hawk Vineyard Santa Barbara California syrah from the Northern hemisphere going up against a hazyblur Adelaide Plains 2003.

I found a lovely rack of already frenched lamb which he dolled up with a nice rub: kosher salt, black pepper, fresh rosemary and a few twists of Italian seasonings with sea salt.

For a side dish, I decided to make the artichoke risotto I’d been promising him. I had no official recipe but this is what I came up with and it tasted great! Here’s the recipe: In a large preheated iron skillet, Continue reading