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Harvest has been in swing for a little over a week now. Debuting his first year as an official winemaker for Still Waters, David Beress is ready for action. David hails from Foresthill California and moved down to SLO to attend college. After graduating from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a degree in Wine and Viticulture in December 2015, David went to work the harvest in New Zealand. After six months, he made his way back to Paso Robles and his place besides Paul making wine! Read on for a little more info about our newest winemaker!
How did you become interested in wine?
My interest really started when I was given the opportunity to work for Still Waters. Through family friends (Kasey Helt our General Manager and I grew up in the same town) I started as an intern and over four years grew to consider wine my passion and what I want to do with my life.
What do you enjoy most about making wine?
I love watching the process of a wine change and grow through its life cycle. From when the fruit is on the vineyard to harvest to fermentation to bottling and everything in between…wine is a living thing that is constantly evolving into something wonderful. I love being able to alternate from being outside monitoring the grapes to inside the lab making the wine I had been cultivating. It is an incredible feeling once it all comes together into something good.
What is your favorite wine to make? Or varietal that you love?
That is not an easy question but I would probably say it’s pretty tough to beat a good Merlot, which just happens to do pretty darn well here at Still Waters.
What is your favorite wine-related memory from your trip to NZ? (Where did you go in NZ?)
I worked and lived in Cromwell, in the central Otago district in the south of New Zealand. It is very rural and very beautiful. One of my favorite parts of being in this incredible place was being able to work with and get to know people from all over the world. We shared our thoughts and views on wines and it was amazing being able to learn like that.
Can you talk about some of the things you learned while you were in New Zealand?
Besides learning how to understand their slang and accents I also had the chance to work with Pinot Noir, a varietal that flourishes there but I have yet to work with in the states.
What can you say about this year’s vintages?
Compared to the light fruit load of 2015, I think this harvest is looking decent, albeit an early one. The guys have done their part to get the vineyard looking great and healthy. You can only do so much, the rest is up to mother nature and screwing it up in the winery.
Do you think younger people can get into wine? It feels like wine has always been something our parents were into. Now that our generation is getting older, how well do you feel our industry is bringing in younger people?
I do think that younger generations can and are getting interested in wine. I think that as the wine industry grows and becomes more widespread it will become more popular and accessible to a larger audience. Both younger and older generations are able to get into wine tasting and are learning how to appreciate wine more.
Favorite time of the year in the vineyard?
The vineyard is a great place year around, but besides harvest I think one of my favorite times in the vineyard is during and after pruning. A nicely pruned vine is almost like a piece of art work, it’s a great thing.
We are always looking for an excuse to get together with friends and (sometimes) drink wine. A little education is always beneficial as well, so we felt that a wine tasting party would be just the ticket to turn an otherwise ordinary night into something a little more exciting. You can host a wine tasting party with any wines of your choosing, based on criteria like style, region, and vintage. You could even try a blind tasting or just have your guests bring a bottle of wine of their choosing.
For this party we are going to highlight to the five whites from Still Waters- Pinot Gris, Sauvignon Blanc, Cuvee Blanc, Chardonnay, and Viognier. We chose the white flight because nothing tastes better in this hot weather than cold wine! Read through the steps to (easily) host your very own wine tasting party- Still Waters style.
You’ll need a few supplies to make this an official party. Keep your guest list small! You should realistically estimate about a bottle of wine per guest with pours of 2 oz for each tasting (and revisiting!).
One clear wine glass per person is fine but if you want to encourage the compare and contrast of the wines, we suggest providing two glasses per person.
You’ll want to provide dump buckets for your guests as well as palate cleansers such as water crackers or bread.
Provide pens and paper for your guests to write down their notes.
When comparing wines, you’ll want to be able to see the colors of your tasting as this speaks volumes about a wine.
Make sure your party area is well lit and a white back drop is provided. We like to roll out white craft paper for easy cleanup.
Wine and food tasting is one of the great pleasures in life so be sure to provide tasty refreshments for your guests to graze on. Cheeses are always a great way to elevate your tasting so we recommend providing at least three different types. For your lighter, more acidic wines we love fresh mozzarella, burrata, or chevre. Brie and Camembert are wonderful compliments to bigger wines like chardonnay. We also love to compliment the fruit forwardness of the viognier with a light salty blue cheese or a manchego. Add in some fruit, nuts, and olives for a satisfying appetizer spread. A few other recipes to consider are baked ricotta with lemon and chives, grilled stuffed mushrooms, and puff pastry cheese straws.
Advise your guests to refrain from wearing heavily scented perfume and hold off from burning scented candles during the party. You don’t want other scents competing with the wines, it’ll skew your observations. If you’re feeling particularly committed, check out from the library The Wine Bible by Karen Macneil to help give you an idea what you’re looking for in tasting the varietals.
After that, have fun! Have the chilled wines (between 40-50 degrees Fahrenheit) in order from lighters to heaviest and let your guests start from the lightest and move their way down, taking notes and sampling snacks all along the way. At the end of the night, talk about what you thought of the varietals, what you liked, and maybe what you didn’t care for. You’ll come away with a bit of new found knowledge and of course have a lot of fun!
Here at Still Waters we feel pretty blessed. From our delicious wines to our gorgeous grounds, it’s hard to not fall in love with the beauty of it all. This month we are particularly excited because not only are we producing some of our favorite vintages, but our vegetable garden is positively exploding. For some years now we have planted fruit trees and vegetables to produce fresh bounty all summer long. We love that we can participate in our own style of the farm to table movement (vineyard to table?) and share our goodies with guests. All month long and until the garden decides to pack up for the season we will be offering complimentary fruits and vegetables plucked from our gardens. You can choose from a variety of tomatoes in different shapes and sizes, onions, squash, peppers, tomatillos, green beans, and even stone fruit.
In addition to all the fresh vegetables, we have our very own flock of hens providing delicious farm fresh eggs. If you are interested in taking home a piece of Still Waters, make sure to check out our olive seedlings for sale from our 125 year old Spanish olive trees.
There truly is something for everyone!
Summertime is in full swing and with that Paso Robles is bathed in sultry sun all day only to be placated by heavenly cool breezes in the evening. It is a rite of passage for many to fire up the grill or BBQ for the first time of the summer, cracking a beer (because it makes the BBQ work) to keep the beacon lit (figuratively) the whole summer. Food is tastier when charred to deliciousness over hot coals. Grilled steaks charred and peppery, BBQ pork sweet and smoky, thick brats crackling and bursting with flavor- those are the flavors of summer.
Summer’s grilling bounty is earthy and rich, marbled with fat and waiting to be accompanied by something truly fabulous. May we suggest our Syrah? Grown in the warm hilly valley in the south east of Paso Robles so that it might have a bold, spicy flavor all of its own, our Syrah is the perfect accompaniment to your summer grilling dinner needs. Medium bodied with balanced tannins, our Syrah is fruit driven with a healthy amount of spice. You’ll pick out notes of blackberry, smoky earth, deep red cherry, and sweet tobacco. Grilled flavors hold up beautifully to the Syrah’s intense bold flavor, thus lending itself rather gloriously to the cult of summertime grilling.
The following are a few recipes (because honestly who could pick only one?) that would be delicious paired with Still Waters Syrah 2011.
Check these out and let us know what your favorite wine pairing is! We are always anxious to eat and drink delicious things!
It is officially summertime and nothing tastes better in this warm weather than fresh, light fare. Here at Still Waters one of our favorite recipes for the summer are grilled fish tostadas. The combination of creamy, crunchy, sweet, and spicy makes for a flavorful and easy dinner you’ll want to recreate all season long! We love this dish paired with a cold glass of Still Waters Sauvignon Blanc or Cuvee Blanc.
Grilled Fish Tostadas
-Grill your fish of choice-
1/2 Red onion, chopped
1/2 Green or red pepper, chopped
1 Ripe mango
2 Cups shredded cabbage
1 Bunch cilantro, finely chopped
1 Can black beans, rinsed and drained
1 Avocado, chopped
1 Cup Sour Cream
Juice of one lime and lemon
2 Tbs apple cider vinegar
1/2 Package of dry taco seasoning
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl and top with sauce. Refrigerate and then serve on hard shell cord or flour tortillas. We add the avocado right before serving so that it stays fresh and colorful.
We hope you enjoy this as much as we do!
Last Saturday evening we had the pleasure of hosting our first Wine Maker’s Dinner in the Gardens. We have dreamt of this event for a while now, wanting to find a way to sharing the magical gardens in the evening with our customers. Our vision included delicious food, vintage wine pairings, and a warm summer evening with music and laughter. The night did not disappoint.
The food was prepared by Chef John McDevitt of Farm Stead Catering and his unique take on classic, fresh American fare was a perfect choice for the evening. Our guests were greeted with our Rhone blend Expressions and Brut as well as a cheese platter outfitted with local cheeses, fruits, and nuts.
Hors d’oeuvres were served as well with chilled pea + fava bean shooters, smoked salmon cucumber cups, and mushroom + herb ricotta agnolotti.
The salad course was made of mixed greens from local Windrose Farms, grilled local apricots, spiced pecans, alcea rosea chevre, and orange honey vinaigrette.
Next the Entrée consisted of a unique cut of meat known as Teras Major (similar to a beef shoulder) that was lightly smoked and grilled with thyme and rosemary. This was served with a summer vegetable risotto, sautéed baby California arugula, and beurre rouge.
The Vegetarian option also presented fresh, hearty fare with a grilled vegetable pave and Portobello mushrooms, squash, tomatoes, and fennel. For the Entrée course we had two different pairings for our guests to sample. Cabernet Sauvignon years 2008 and 2012; Clone 3 Cuvee years 2009 and 2012. We wanted to present wines that would really accompany and compliment the dishes with their strong flavors. Our Clone 3 Cuvee is our “inverted Bordeaux”, being a blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Malbec that holds up well to smokey meat.
We finished the night with cheesecake with a raspberry glaze and fresh berries. We paired this final course with two different Petite Sirah vintages- a 2011 and a 2013 Late Harvest Petite. We were proud to introduce our first late harvest in many years.
We had wanted to create an event that brought the Still Waters family and our customers together for a great night tasting special wines in our beautiful garden. We are thrilled with how the event turned our and look forward to planning many more like events to enjoy.
With summer right around the corner it’s time to start gearing up for BBQ’s and potlucks. This recipe is a easy one to make and goes great as a side dish, served with pulled pork sandwiches, or add some chicken to have a complete meal. Serve with a chilled glass of our Still Waters Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc and your friends will love it!
- 4 – 6 cups grated cabbage ( I buy the bagged coleslaw from Smart and Final)
- Chopped red onion
- Chopped cilantro
- 1 cup salted peanuts
- 1 small can mandarin oranges (optional)
- First Street Chinese Chicken Salad Dressing (Smart and Final)
- 1 cup crunchy chow mein noodles
Mix the first five ingredients together with a light amount of the dressing and refrigerate for a couple of hours. The cabbage quickly soaks up the dressing, but you don’t want it to become too soggy. Before serving toss in the crunchy chow mein noodles.
So easy and so good enjoy!!
Cabernet Sauvignon: the red grape behind many of the world’s finest wines can be mellow or hearty. It tastes primarily of black currant with overtones of blackberry and mint, and is traditionally aged in wood barrels, which gives it an oaky, vanilla note. Cabernet goes with beef, lamb, and goose and is also a great match for Brie, Cheddar and chocolate.
Chardonnay: The most popular white grape can taste semisweet or sour, depending on where it’s grown. Typical flavors are apple, tangerine, lemon, lime and melon. Chardonnay often has a smooth, buttery finish, and goes best with poultry, richer seafood like lobster or scallops and lighter red meat dishes.
Malbec: Is a popular black grape in Argentina and Chile. It makes an intense wine on its own, so it’s often blended with Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to soften it. Malbec is delicious with pork, veal and spicy foods.
Merlot: less tannic red grape than Cabernet Sauvignon but still complex, even a bit chewy. It is known for its flavors of plum, black cherry, violet, and orange. A perfect match for beef and pasta dishes, it’s also excellent with chocolate.
Pinot Gris or Pinot Grigio: Different names for the same white grape. In Italy it’s Grigio; in France and Oregon, it’s Gris; in California it can be either names both words meaning gray. These fresh, light wines are flowery and fruity- peach, grapefruit and melon predominate- with mineral aroma. They are an ideal pair with fish and chicken.
Sauvignon Blanc: Typically light white, has pronounced herbal flavors that make it a natural with fish and chicken. It also pair well with fiery, spicy foods.
Syrah: Rich red wine known for its peppery, spicy, blackberry and plum flavors; additional notes include licorice, bitter chocolate and mocha. Try it with hearty meats and Mexican cuisine.
Viognier: Traditionally more complex than Chardonnay, Viognier’s popularity is on the rise. Notable for spice, floral, citrus, apricot, apple and peach flavors, it is full-bodied, relatively low in acidity and great with spicy foods.
Zinfandel: Grapes are deep red, bordering on black. Zin is a bold peppery wine; often high in alcohol with a hint of fruity flavor reminiscent of berries or dark cherries. It is a great match for classic American foods like hamburgers and pizza, but hearty enough to hold its own with red sauces.
White Lightning Chili
I’ve been making this chili for about 15 years now, and I thought I was following the Pioneer Woman’s recipe, but when I googled it this morning I realized I have made lots of adaptions. So this is my updated recipe. Glad you guys enjoyed it!
- 2 cups cooked chicken, cut up
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 diced white onion
- 1 small can diced Ortega chilies
- 1 cup diced peperoncini
- 1 medium can of mild green enchilada sauce
- 1 can cream of chicken soup (plus one can of water)
- 2 cans beans – pinto or Great Northern, drained
- 1 Tablespoon Ground Cumin
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- ½ cup chopped cilantro
- Salt and Pepper to taste
Now the easy part, just dump all these into your crock pot or soup pot. Heat thoroughly. Before serving add:
½ cup sour cream.
You can always add more spice with cayenne pepper or more chili powder. Garnish with tortilla chips, grated cheese, guacamole, or extra sour cream. Serve with warm corn tortillas and a glass of Still Waters Sauvignon Blanc!
Once again, I never make this chili the same way twice, but this is pretty much the recipe I used. Lots of times I use dried beans and soak them overnight, but this is the fast canned version. You can also use chili beans that already come in sauce to make it even easier.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 white onion, chopped
- 2 cloves minced garlic
- 2 cans kidney beans, drained
- 1 can pinto beans, drained
- 1 medium can tomato sauce
- 1 small can tomato paste
- 1 small can diced Ortega chili
- 2 medium cans chopped tomatoes
- 2 Tablespoon chili powder
- 1 Tablespoon ground cumin
- 1 Tablespoon thyme
- 2 Tablespoons dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon cayenne
- Salt and pepper to taste
Brown hamburger meat with the chopped onion. Drain and transfer to your crock pot or soup pot. Add all of the other ingredients and heat thoroughly. Use your own palate in judging the spice level. I usually like to cook this for at least a couple of hours on low. Garnish with corn chips, grated cheese, sour cream or chopped cilantro. This pairs great with a lovely glass of Still Waters Merlot!
What a perfect day! The sun was shining and the wine was flowing with 37 barrels to taste and five different varieties, we could have not asked for a better event. Every year we look forward to Roll Out the Barrels. Not only do we get to taste so much delicious wine, we also get to see over 150 of our wonderful wine club members all in one day!
This year we tasted through the 2012 vintage. 2012 was the beginning of our three-year drought. Ultimately, we only received four inches of precipitation for the whole year. Fortunately, a permanent crop like grape vines, takes multiple years before the vines begin to show stress. One unusual advantage to drought conditions is low susceptibility to the extreme cold snaps that usually follow storms. The actual amount of frost days in 2012 was ONE, and that low was only 34 degrees. So unlike 2011, with over ten inches of rain where we experienced a fifty percent crop loss due to frost damage, 2012 had a great yield of about 220 tons of fruit. This is slightly above our average crop.
Therefore, the vines had very uniformed canopies and we were able to ripen the fruit to optimum flavors and stay on our somewhat normal picking schedule. The wines are more fruitful than what we saw in 2011. In our opinion, 2012 was a very good, uneventful year EXCEPT for it was the beginning of the widespread drought in the Paso Robles growing region and throughout the state of California.
What you should have experienced tasting through the barrels are fairly fruity, full flavored red wines. Most of these wines originated in 100 percent new French oak. They should lend themselves to complex, bold flavors with great potential for successful aging.
The following chart shows where each barrel tasted on Saturday ranked overall and what the wine in those barrels will be bottled as. Thank you to all who attended, we look forward to enjoying a bottle of the wine you helped create!
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