Tag Archives: wine

Oh, and we have a vineyard…Lunigiana, Italy

our wine

I’ve been known to bury the lede as they say…when we bought La Fortezza, I was so enamored with the house/fortress that I forgot about the property itself. So, here it is: we have a vineyard. It’s 5 acres on the upper edge of the property. Obviously Frank and I know nothing about making wine. Hell, Frank does not ever drink the stuff (he’s a beer guy).

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The vineyard was in bad shape about 5 years ago. The brothers that owned the property were approached by a local winemaker, Manolo (I know perfect name, right?). He was in the process of setting up his wine business. He’s a former teacher, and he and his family wanted to launch their own label. It’s not uncommon here to work many smaller vineyards to produce a label, and that is exactly how he works. You need a ton of acres to produce wine, so working 10 smaller vineyards in the region makes perfect sense. It’s a win win for us, too because we have no interest in working the land, not to mention we don’t have a stitch of knowledge. It is the perfect accidental hobby. No sweat…just vino delivered once a month. He pays rent in wine, and we will take it. For now, it’s the perfect arrangement. We feel very lucky. Manolo was an unknown perk.

Manolo has vineyards all around the area. He and his family cultivate, rent vineyards, and make both red and white wines, although this year he will put up a batch of Rose just for the Joseph label. It’s a win win because he came with the house as part of the deal. Now I am busting at the seams with wine. Some of you have asked if you can purchase our wine. Since this is something new for us, right now it’s our own private stock. However who knows?! Down the road, we may become a wine brand, but for now our workshop attendees and guests will enjoy the fruits of the land at every meal. So if you want to partake, you may just need to join us here for a workshop or retreat in the fall or later next year.

Levi and Frank and Syd in the vineyard

In the meantime our son Levi, a recent business school graduate, has a keen interest in developing our wine label, so who knows? It may become the new family business. It’s all about generations in Italy after all…

I would like to thank my dear friend Penny for the cool label design. We love it. xx

We have a vineyard! I am still pinching myself… cin cin xx

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Fall Wine Tasting Party

Esporao & Annette Joseph

 

One thing I look forward to every fall is bringing back my favorite red wines. While you can certainly drink red wine any time of year, there’s something about the crisp fall air that makes red wine especially delicious in the fall. If you’re thinking about hosting a dinner party, consider making it a wine tasting party. You can serve fantastic red wine and pair it alongside these small nibbles.

Creating small bites instead of large dishes allows guests to move around while they eat. Plus, isn’t tiny, bite-sized food so much more fun than huge entrees? Your guests will leave satisfied and in good spirits. Try all of the recipes below or just one. Either way, let me know how it goes.

Esporao & Annette Joseph

Fig Goat Cheese Crostini
Serves 10

You will need:
– 20 small figs cut in half, lengthwise
– 1 loaf of French bread sliced into 1/2 in slices (makes about 20 slices)
– 1/2 cup olive oil
– 8 oz. soft artisan goat cheese, at room temperature
– 1/4 cup lemon honey
– 40 Marcona Almonds
– 1 teaspoon cracked pepper

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Crostini: Lay the bread slices on to a cookie sheet with a brush coat the top of the slices with olive oil. Bake for 10 minutes, or until the slices are golden brown. Cool the crostini.  Spread 2 tablespoons of goat cheese on the crostini, top with 2 half figs, and add 2 almonds on either side of the figs. Place on a platter and repeat with the rest of the crostinis.

To Serve:

Once all the crostinis are on the platter, drizzle with honey, and sprinkle with cracked pepper and serve.

Esporao & Annette Joseph

A super easy way to bring a little Portuguese inspiration to you wine tasting party is to add a little sausage, cheese and olives to the menu. Note: This recipe is all about great ingredients!

Chorizo skewers with Manchego Cheese and Tomatoes
Serves 10

You will need:
4 links of Chorizo sausage
– 1/2 pound wedge of 12 month Manchego Cheese
– 20 baby tomatoes
– 1 loaf of crusty bread, cut into slices
– 10 wooden skewers

Preparation:

Grill sausages on medium heat then pull off of the grill and set aside to cool. While the sausages are on the grill, cut the cheese into 1 inch cubes and set aside. Cut the sausage into 1 inch slices. Using the wooden skewers, pierce the sausage and then the tomato, and cheese, then sausage, tomato, and cheese and then sausage. Repeat with all the skewers, and serve with slices of bread. I like to place some olives on the side as well.

Esporao & Annette Joseph

Esporao & Annette Joseph

Dark Chocolate Dessert Crostini with Olive Oil and Pink Sea Salt
Serves 10

You will need:
1 loaf of french bread, cut into 1/2 inch slices
– 2 bars of Ghirardelli Semi- Sweet Chocolate
– 1/4 cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
– 1 1/2 teaspoon of flake pink salt, or you can use a grater and pink rock salt

Preparation:

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Crostini: Lay the bread slices on to a cookie sheet and with a brush, coat the top of the slices with olive oil.  Bake for 10 minutes, or until the slices are golden brown.

Break apart the chocolate into the pre-scored squares. Lay one square on top of each toasted crostini on the cookie sheet and put back into the oven for 5 minutes or until chocolate is melted, but not runny or bubbly.

Pull from the oven and spread the chocolate lightly with a small butter knife.

To serve:

Place on a platter, drizzle with oil hitting every portion of the crostini, and sprinkle with salt and serve.

Esporao & Annette Joseph

All Esporao Wines available at Whole Foods

The Red Wines used in this post were: Red Reserva 2011, and Assobio 2011

Photography credit: Deborah Whitlaw Llewellyn

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