“A tranquil heart gives life to the flesh…” Proverbs 14:30.
“I’m gonna own that place one day.” Bill Shinkle, founder of Tranquil Heart.
What better wine for Valentine’s Day in these turbulent times than one called Tranquil Heart?
When Bill Shinkle was 15, he was living in Hemet where his family owned a plant nursery. One day, he spied a piece of land and told his parents “I’m gonna own that place one day.” After years working in the nursery business proving plants to high end clients in Southern California and Las Vegas as well as planting a vineyard for a client, in 2009, he made his teenage dream a reality when he purchased the property which today is Tranquil Heart. There he cultivates and harvests six different varieties of grapes to produce small-batch wines that are sustainable, biodynamic, pesticide, and herbicide free.
A few months ago, i participated in a ZOOM call with Tranquil Heart’s Bill Shinkle with the LA Wine Writers and the Craft Wine Association. The CWA supports small growers and vintners like Bill helping them to get word about their wines out in the world; their mission is to make Craft Wine as available in the marketplace as craft beer and spirits. Members of Craft Wine offer to the public “commercially-available, limited-production wine most commonly in production runs of 5,000 cases or fewer.” Find a list and links to members here.
But size is not the only consideration: “authenticity and traceability are key components as well. Wines must be authentic and traceable to their roots: producers that buy grapes need to know the source their fruit to qualify for this designation.
The Certified Craft Wine designation is designed to support family owned community wineries.
Generally speaking, limited production wineries which are a label under, or or a subsidiary of, a large corporate operation will not qualify.”
Craft wines like Tranquil Heart are “lead by the heart and soul of the wine maker.”
The Craft Wine website offers information about members. For example, for Tranquil Heart Vineyard and Winery, you’ll learn that the vineyard and winery backs up against the western side of Mt. San Jacinto; on the east is Palm Springs. As a veteran horticulturist, Bill Shinkle chose varieties based on climatic zones for arid conditions that would make superior wines with six varieties from Italy. He makes the wines in a one of the oldest homes in Hemet, built in 1910, which he restored. Tranquil Heart now has 10 types of wine, made from these unique varieties. The reds consist of Barbera, Teroldego, and Aglianico while the whites are Muscat Canelli, Fiano, and Viognier.
- 2016 Tranquil Heart Fiano
- 2016 Tranquil Heart “Willam’s Wild Red Reserve Red Wine Blend”
- Cheese Board:
red Leiscter, Delice brie, oil cured olives, gorgonzola, herbed brie, apple smoked gouda
- Organic green beans
- Sue’s Cheesy Three Meats Meatloaf with cheesy roasted russets
- Sue’s Spiced Squash
This meatloaf uses a blend of three meats: two pounds ground beef, one pound ground lamb, and one pound ground pork. Sue cooked one meatloaf in a loaf pan, and the other in a 8 x 8 pan, squeezing in russets cut in half along the sides of the loaf so that the tomatoey sauce and the cheese ran onto them. So good! My son hasn’t stopped talking about them. Sue prepared the squash she grew with maple syrup, walnuts, brown sugar, and spice; it tasted a lot like a combo of pumpkin and pecan pie without being too sweet for the wines. Finally, we sauted organic green beans. Detailed recipes for meatloaf and squash follow.
2016 Tranquil Heart Vineyard & Winery Fiano
ABV 15%; SRP $34
sample for my participating in a ZOOM
Color: Deeper than lemon, not quite buttercup
Nose: Honeysuckle, citrus blossom, lemon rind, clean minerals, smells sweet yet clean
Palate: Fruit forward, there is a sweetness at the front of the palate, lemon drop, finishes very clean at the back of the palate. Minerals, chalky. Due to the alcohol content, this is a very bold wine for a white wine.
Pairing: This wine has enough body and richness to be served at the end of a meal, possibly with a cheese plate, or a tart apple galette. Great with a squash dish. It was by far one of the best pairings of the evening. Both vegetarian and vegan, this dish does not disappoint with the wine.ll We imagined it would go well with dressing and turkey making it a perfect Thanksgiving wine. Fantastic with cheesey potatoes oven roasted green beans also worked nicely. Such a wonderful complexity with the two together. We were not planning on pairing this wine with this meal, but are always curious how things will work together. So we brought it out to sample during another blog post and it did not disappoint. Have this wine for a Thanksgiving meal. It is pleasing and pairs with with the Thanksgiving fare. We tried the wine with the meat loaf and thought it was fantastic. Brings out a nice brightness int he food. Cuts through the richness and embraces the sweetness.
2016 Tranquil Heart Vineyard & Winery “Willam’s Wild Red Reserve Red Wine Blend”
ABV 13.9%; SRP $68
sample for my participating in a ZOOM
Blend of 50% Barbera, 30% Aglianico, 20% Teroldego
Color: Translucent, Black cherry, cherry cola, mauve rim
Nose: Chocolate and spice, menthol, cherry cola, root beer, Dr. Pepper, caramel popcorn
Palate: There is a meaty savoriness to the wine. Full of tannins and acidity that clean your whistle, caramel, oak, dry cocoa powder, while this wine was not flawed, it may just need food to show its true greatness.
Pairing: Nice with our blue cheese, have a burger with blue cheese or a steak with blue cheese. The wine really needs food to make it a happy dancer. The wine can handle rich sharpness of aged cheeses. Loved the Red Leicheister, it also liked the smoked characteristic in our apple smoked provolone. Strong flavored wines needs strong flavored foods. So much better with food. It loved a rich oven roasted squash and potatoes. Great with roasted meat. Fantastic with sweet savory sauces. Think ribs with BBQ sauce , pulled pork sandwiches. Summer BBQ fare.
Cheesy Three Meat Meatloaf
- In a small bowl combine
> 1 cup ketchup,
> 1/2 cup brown sugar,
> 4 T apple cider vinegar
- In a large bowl combine
> 2 minced shallots,
> 4 cloves garlic minced,
> 4 eggs,
> 2 T fresh chopped thyme,
> 2T season salt,
> 1 tsp ground pepper,
> 4 tsp yellow mustard,
> 4 tsp Worcestershire sauce,
> 1/2 tsp Louisiana style hot sauce,
> 1 cup milk,
> 1 cup quick cooking rolled oats,
> 2 lbs ground beef,
> 1 lb ground lamb,
> 1 lb ground pork (we used slightly more)
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Mix ingredients with hands well until uniform consistency,
- Split in half and place in 2 oiled baking dishes.
> loaf pan or 8×8 square dish surrounded by 2 russet potatoes cut in half
> use a 9×13 baking dish if you want more potatoes
- Top with half of the ketchup glaze.
- Place in oven and bake 50 minutes.
- Cover loafs with remaining glaze
- Sprinkle 1 to 2 cups grated cheddar cheese on each loaf.
- Baking an additional 15 minutes.
- Remove from oven and let rest 5 minutes before serving.
Maple Spiced Squash
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees
- Cut in half a 2-3 lb squash
- In a small bowl, combine
> 1 T fresh sage finely chopped,
> 1 T olive oil ,
> 1/2 t cinnamon,
> 1/2 t salt,
> 1/4 t ground pepper,
> 1/4 t nutmeg.
- Rub mixture over squash
- Place face down on a parchment lined baking sheet.
- Place in oven and cook 40 to 50 minutes until tender.
- While squash is cooking, combine and boil 2-3 minutes to thicken
>1 T fresh sage finely chopped,
> 1/4 t syrup,
> 2T maple syrup,
> 1 1/2 T molasses,
> 1 T apple cider vinegar,
> 1/2 cup chopped walnuts
- Remove from oven and cool 5 minutes
- Slice lengthwise into 1 1/2 inch strips.
- Arrange on a serving plate
- Drizzle walnut syrup over the top of squash strips and serve.
For more Italian wines made in the US, check out Montinore’s Biodynamic Lagein and Teroldego which we paired with an Italian inspired instant pot stew.
And subscribe and stay tuned for March 6 when we write about a Craft Wine Association Nebbiolo from Terragena in Humboldt as well as one from Silver in Santa Barbara plus sangiovese made in California.
Up next here on Wine Predator on Saturday Feb. 6:
What’s the difference between Montepulciano and Montepulciano?
Three Montepulciano paired with Osso Bucco for your Valentine!