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Sipping with Dan Panella, Oak Farm Vineyards, Lodi

The Panella family has been rooted in the agricultural industry in Lodi, California, since 1936, first as owners of a trucking business and later as grape growers. In 2004, the family purchased historic Oak Farm. Its original owner was Baltimore native, William DeVries, who came to California to seek his fortune during the 1849 gold rush. While Devries did not find his pan of gold, he did make a small fortune as a merchant and bought the property in 1860. His large white colonial house remains on the 70-acre estate, as are the majestic oak trees that inspired the farm’s name.

The Panellas spent years renovating the property. Third generation farmer, Dan Panella, oversaw the replanting of 60 acres of vineyards in 2012, which grow 14 different grapes. Panella said the focus is on producing estate-grown wines from Mediterranean, American and Bordelaise varietals. “The Mediterranean climate and sandy loam soils provide perfect growing conditions for making our wines,” he noted.

Matriarch Dorothy Panella designed the spacious modern tasting room opened in 2014.  Dan’s wife, Heather, a landscape artist, oversees the grounds. Consulting winemaker, Chad Joseph, a specialist in artisanal grape growing, works with Dan to craft the wines.

What we tasted:

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc. While the vintner used a grape clone derive from a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, the growing conditions in flat, sandy loamy soil brought out more tropical guava and citrus than kiwi and grassiness. This wine was refreshing without the herbal tang some Sauvignon Blanc wines have. $19

Oak Farm Vineyards 2017 Zinfandel. This elegant, earthy wine had some nice grip and wasn’t overly jammy. A small amount of Petite Sirah added to the soft finish. $25

Oak Farm Vineyards Tievoli 2017.  Zinfandel, Primitivo, Barbera and Petit Sirah augment layers of flavor and complexity that we enjoyed. This is not an everyday ho- hum red blend. Panella noted the wine’s unusual name, pronounced T-VOHLI, spelled backward reads “I Love It.” We loved this wine, too! $22

www.oakfarmvineyards.com

 

Here from Dan Panella, third generation farmer, for Oak Farm Vineyards on The Connected Table SIPS.

Dan Panella

 

 

 

The Connected Table SIPS are short, 6-8 minute podcasts on iHeart, iTunes and other major podcast platforms hosted by Melanie and David. Each custom podcast spotlights a brand, region or individual with engaging storytelling. Let us share your story. Contact melanie@theconnectedtable.com for details.

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Sipping with Marc Perrin, Famille Perrin

Famille Perrin, owner of Château de Beaucastel in Chateaneuf-du-Pape, has been making wine in the Rhône region of France for centuries.  The family has practiced organic farming since the 1950s and biodynamic farming since the 1970s.  Marc Perrin, fifth generation winemaker, recently sat down with us to taste the latest release of La Vielle Ferme, the family’s top-selling wines from the Luberon in the southern Rhône. We were familiar with La Vielle Ferme’s white, red and rosé still wines, which are all solid quality-for-value wines for everyday enjoyment, but we had not tried tasted the brand’s new sparkling wines.

Perrin told us his family spent five years developing a process, which he refers to as “mêthode contemporaine,” to produce their sparkling wines which involved introducing CO2 into the wine just before bottling. The result is a delicate effervescence, which Perrin referred to as a mousse of bubbles. For anyone who prefers a tiny-bubbles frizzante-style wines, this is delightful option at a favorable price of $16.99.

Both wines are made from grapes planted in limestone soil, which enhanced their balanced acidity and minerality. Light and refreshing on the palate, both are perfect wines for a casual meal and had us dreaming of outdoor picnics come summertime.  La Vielle Ferme is imported by Vineyard Brands.  Twitter@vineyard_brands

La Vielle Ferme Réserve Rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Pinot Noir that delivers a light whiff of fresh raspberries and strawberries balanced with a touch of grapefruit.

La Vielle Ferme Brut, a 100 percent Chardonnay, rests on the lees with a light consistent battonage, resulting in a soft roundness on the palate with a touch of toasted hazelnut.

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie, Marc Perrin and David enjoy  glass of La Vielle Ferme sparkling rosé.  Listen to our podcast with Marc on The Connected Table SIPS. Click the image below or here: The Connected Table SIPS

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Sipping with Jesse Katz, Aperture Cellars /Devil Proof Vineyards

Jesse Katz had a childhood we dream about- traveling with his photographer- father, Andy Katz, around the world. The senior Katz has photographed beautiful vineyards for a dozen coffee table books, as well as album covers for high-profile musicians like the Doobie Brothers and Dan Fogelberg.

Inspired growing up around great wines, Katz traded a degree in business for one in oenology. He is now winemaker and co-owner with his father at Aperture Cellars in Sonoma’s Alexander Valley. The in-demand wines are Bordeaux-style blends that evoke timeless elegance. Katz produces a critically acclaimed 100 percent Malbec wine at Devil Proof Vineyards, drawing upon his time working with the varietal in Argentina. Its been referred to as a “cult wine.”

Jesse Katz

Katz’s winemaking pedigree is impressive and includes hands-on experience working at Petrus in Bordeaux, Bodega Noemia and Paul Hobbs’ Viña Cobos in Argentina, and Screaming Eagle, Robert Foley Winery and Lancaster Estate where he orchestrated the building of the new Roth winery, production facility and tasting room. Under his watch, the Roth lined underwent 800 percent growth. Not bad!

Still in his 30s, Katz has 17 harvests under his belt and a few notable accolades, including Wine Enthusiast 40 Under 40, Forbes Magazine 30 under 30 and Wine Spectator Rising Star.  His pals Justin Timberlake and Jessica Biel asked him to create a special wine for their wedding. Imagine what the future will bring.

Both of the two wines we tasted feature Andy Katz’s photography on the label. It’s art on the inside and out of the bottle.

Aperture Cellars Red Blend  2016 (62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Merlot, 11% Malbec and 7% Cabernet Franc) aged 20 months in 50% new oak. An elegant, balanced wine with complex and deep flavors. These days the term “red blend” can refer to some pretty jammy-style red wines. Not here. This wine is solid sophistication and not liquid candy, but it is a real treat at $50.

Aperture Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 (93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Merlot grown in volcanic soils) ages 20 months in 50% new French oak. This wine’s softer tannins and rich fruit deliver ballet slippers rather than a tar heel kick on the palate.  $70

We did not have the chance to taste the wine from Devil Proof Vineyard.  It’s limited release and high demand means it you may want to consider joining their wine club and getting on the mailing list.

www.aperture-cellars.com  www.devilproofvineyards.com

 

 

“Our friend Jesse Katz is one of our favorite winemakers. His new projects prove yet again that he makes the most delicious cult wines in the industry. His wine has been a part of our cellar and enjoyed on countless occasions.”
— Jessica Biel & Justin Timberlake

Recently we met with Jesse Katz when he was in New York to record a podcast for The Connected Table SIPS. Listen below by clicking the image or at this link

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From Cancer to Cured- Chef Steve McHugh’s Inspiring Story

Imagine being diagnosed with cancer at the height of your career. How do you manage to run a restaurant while undergoing an aggressive schedule of chemotherapy treatments? More people than you may realize have lived this experience (including me), but few have opened up about it as frankly as individuals like Chef Steve McHugh. We’re glad McHugh is now in remission from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma and thriving as the owner of the San San Antonio restaurant, Cured at Pearl, located in the city’s custling culinary center, also home to the Culinary Institute of America’s southwest campus.

Chef Steve McHugh (Photo: Jonathan Alonzo)

Opened in 2012, three years after McHugh’s cancer diagnosis, Cured’s name not only reflects his new lease on life but also his daily selection of cured meats. The gastro-pub style menu focuses on using ingredients sourced from local farms and fisherman.

McHugh was raised in a large farming family in Wisconsin. He flipped burgers at a local restaurant to earn money and took up playing the saxophone. He was talented enough, in fact, to earn a jazz saxophone scholarship to college. But food became his calling, and he ended up changing plans and enrolled at the Culinary Institute of America.

An externship landed him in New Orleans where he easily settled in the restaurant scene after graduation, working for with Creole Chef Chris Brown of Metro Bistro and for restaurateur, Dickie Brennan. In 2009, McHugh was planning a move San Antonio to open a restaurant for a New Orleans hospitality group when he was diagnosed with cancer.

McHugh says, “the cancer treatment really kicked my ass,” and he kept working straight through it all.  But, it also can kick your ass in gear and make you commit to make healthy changes. Today, McHugh is in good health, with a successful restaurant and a culinary foundation dedicated “gastronomic giving” to support several charities. www.curedatpearl.com

Cured is localed at the fomer site of Pearl Brewery in San Antonio (Photo: Scott Martin)

Here are some healthy foods McHugh recommends adding to your diet:

  • Fermented foods, such as pickles, are shown to increase our body’s ability to absorb nutrients. Raw fermented foods are rich in healthy enzymes and flavor. These enzymes help the body properly balance healthy bacteria for improved digestion.
  • Black Pepper and certain legumes and nuts [such as pecans] contain anti-inflammatory properties. For example, Pumpkin and Pepper Salad with Smoked Pecans, Preserved Celery, and Goat Cheeseis a great combination.
  • Mussels are a lean source of protein with roughly 18 grams of protein per serving. Garlic, onions, and shallots [commonly used in mussel dishes] each contain anti-inflammatory properties.
Texas Trout with picked corn at Cured at Pearl

At Cured, McHugh has forged tight bonds with both his purveyors and his community, ” Good, solid relationships are important to me, and provide great value in my life. Not only with my staff, but also the farmers with whom we work. We use vegetables grown within the city limits and pigs from a farm nearby. It provides great balance and perspective to get to know the people growing the food you serve and eat. Having a strong sense of community in San Antonio is a great  part of my life.”

Daily selection of charcuterie at Cured. (Photo: David Rangel)

Listen to our show with Chef Steve McHugh from January 30, 2019
The Connected Table LIVE! on iHeart.com and free iHeart App