We are thrilled to welcome Jeff Strekas, our new winemaker, to the Record Family Wines team! Jeff has an impressive background, both in and outside of the wine industry. He has a love for blending, which we are excited to have him lead us through at the upcoming Blendning Experience. We still have a few seats left, so grab your tickets to this unique event today!
We conducted a quick Q&A with Jeff for our Spring Wine Club Newsletter so our members could get to know him better. We hope you enjoy learning more about Jeff and get the chance to meet him soon!
Favorite part of your job? In no particular order: talking about/teaching about wine, making a consumable product with my hands, working on my coopering skills (barrel repair), being out in the vineyard, cleaning the cellar floors and drains (no, seriously), forklifting, climbing barrel stacks, and of course tasting!
Favorite wine and food pairing? Dry German Riesling and sushi
What are your hobbies? Wine, whisky, IPAs, reading (a mix of non-fiction and cheesy fantasy), music (mostly classic rock and hard-rock), and Crossfit/Weightlifting
Favorite books? American Gods by Neil Gaimen and The Art of War by Sun Tzu (good luck reconciling those two things)
Favorite places to visit? There's too much fun stuff out there to keep going back to the same places! The most memorable trips I've had would be visiting Egypt, Tanzania (climbing to the top of Mt Kilimanjaro), Taiwan, Australia (Tasmania is criminally under-rated), and Tulum Mexico.
Anything else you would like to share? I'm a firm believer in Stapp's Law (the human aptitude for ineptitude is so great that it makes even the smallest accomplishment a minor miracle) and Hanlon's Razor (Never attribute to malice that which is adequately explained by stupidity).
Each year, we get together to create two different blends: Randy's Red and Genesis. This year, we are inviting our loyal supporters to get involved! That is where our Blending Seminar comes in. We hope you will join us on Saturday, April 29th to contribute to the process! Curious about what to expect... read on!
We know that the word "seminar" can have an intimidating connotation. Imagine this as more of a blending party! You will be lead by our Vineyard Manager, Mindy, and Brand Manager, Tricia, through the entire process. First, the group will be divided into teams. It just wouldn't be a Record event without a little competition...
After teams are formed, we will cover the equipment to be used during the blending process and give an overview of the wines we will be using for the blend. Then it gets really fun! Using trial and error, each group will come up with thier ideal blend using our 2015 Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre. When each group has acheived the perfect combination of the three wines, the blending process has been completed!
Tricia and Mindy will narrow down the blend to three finalists while attedees are taking a break. Before dinner is served, vineyard tours will be available and cheese platters served along with our 2016 Viognier to refresh guests palates. The group will reconvene for dinner, and taste the final blends. Attendees will vote on their favorite blend and a winner will be announced!
We will be bottling the winning blend at the end of May for a Fall release. Participants of the blending seminar will have the first opportunity to purchase the unique blend. The wine will be officially released in the Fall and is sure to be a fan favorite! Limited seats still available, purchase tickets today!
We might turn to our consulting winemaker, Eric, for the bulk of our winemaking processes, but when it comes to blending, we like to take over! Eric does a fantastic job every year, getting each varietal to reach it's full potential in barrel. That's the hard part. When the time comes to finalize the blends to create the finished product, whether it be Randy's Red or Genesis, we give him a break and take it from there.
2009 barrel samples, our first vintage!
Blending is truely a family affair. We schedule a time to all be together (not as easy as it sounds!), pick up some barrel samples, and get to work. It is a challenge we like to take on as a team, a delicate balance between fruit and tannins, personalities and palates, to find the perfect blend.
Randy working on the 2014 Genesis
We started with our first vintage, the 2009 Randy's Red, and have refined our process from there. We pull out tons of glasses, measuring cups, gratuated cylinders, calculators, pens and paper and get down to business. The 2012 vintage was a turning point for us when we dismissed traditional blends and decided to take a risk with our inagural release of Genesis. We decided to go back to where it all started when we purchased the vineyard in 2007 and blend the three varietals that were planted when we took over, Merlot, Syrah, and Grenache. The resulting wine is fun, unique, and most importantly, delicious!
Finalizing the 2010 Randy's Red
We took it a step further and shared the blend with the entire Record family during a Thanksgiving gathering before it was bottled, to come up with a name. It was such a special moment to share the future of Record Family Wines with close family and get their input and ideas. Aunt Nanci gets credit for naming our Genesis blend and we couldn't be happier with everything about it!
Record Family Thanksgiving 2014
We enjoy this part of the process so much, we want to share it with you! Join us at the vineyard on Saturday, April 29th to try your hand at creating the perfect belnd. We will have a barrel each of Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvedre to experiment with. We will create teams of winemakers to come up with a blend and the favorite wine will be bottled for release next year! This is your chance to get behind the scenes of what goes on in the cellar and make your mark on the 2015 vintage, one that will, no doubt, have a speical place in the history of Record Family Wines!
Seats are limited, so purchase tickets through our website today!
Date: Saturday, April 29th
Time: 3pm - 8pm
Price: $100 / person
$75 / wine club members
Location: Paso de Record Vineyard
Blending seminar will start at 3pm, followed by a catered dinner and music by Chris Beland.
Attendees must be 21 years old.
On a recent visit to Pithy Little Wine Company in Downtown Paso, Randy picked up a new cookbook. The New Wine Country Cookbook – Recipes from California’s Central Coastfeatures wonderful recipes with interesting wine pairings featuring local ingredients, people, and wine.
Fun fact: if you follow along with the adventures of the “Paso Wine Man”, you are aware of his passion for the Central Coast! This new cookbook was written by Brigit Binns, the wife of our beloved Paso Wine Man!
The Rhone Wine and Fig Braised Pork Chops are amazing paired with a bottle of 2010 Randy’s Red.
What are you pairing with the 2010 Randy’s Red?
After 12 months in barrel, we sat down with our winemaker to blend the 2011 Randy’s Red. The wine still has two more months in barrel before it will be bottled in mid-March, but the final blend has been determined! So how did we get to the final blend?
First, our winemaker took separate samples of Syrah and Grenache. He took small samples from several barrels to get an idea of what each varietal will taste like on its own when all the barrels of that varietal are blended together. Then, we headed into the lab to start the blending trials.
[Samples in the lab.]
Samples in the lab.
We started out by tasting the 2010 Randy’s Red. Each year, we try to achieve a similar style as the previous Randy’s Red blends. It is important to us to maintain some consistency vintage after vintage. Next, we tasted each 2011 varietal on its own. Then, the fun started.
[Randy tasting 2011 wines.]
Randy tasting 2011 wines.
The first blending trial was the same as the previous vintage, 45% Syrah and 55% Grenache. The 2011 Syrah is very concentrated and intense, so we decided increase the percentage of Grenache for the next trial.
The second blending trial was 25% Syrah and 75% Grenache. While delicious, this blend lacked some of the balance that we were trying to achieve. It lost some of the deep ruby color and smokey richness by taking away so much of the Syrah.
[This was Joel Jr.'s first experience in the winery!]
This was Joel Jr.’s first experience in the winery!
The last trial was unanimously our favorite, and in my opinion closest to previous vintages profiles. We blended together 35% Syrah with 65% Grenache and achieved a balance of fruit and oak, great color, and a wonderful nose. I can’t wait to bottle this wine and share it with you all later this year!
[We are all really excited about the quality of all the 2011 wines!]
We are all really excited about the quality of all the 2011 wines!
Previous Randy’s Red Blends:
2010: 45% Syrah, 55% Grenache
2009: 33% Syrah, 67% Grenache
I hate to complain from San Diego because I know it could be worse (and is just about everywhere else…), but this weather has been brutal! The last thing I want to do when I get done with work is to heat up the house even more by cooking dinner in the kitchen. So, it’s time to fire up the grill! We have been doing a lot of grilling this summer, but this recipe, adapted from Weber’s Big Book of Grilling, is one of our favorites!
Serve with a fresh salad (try Michelle’s amazing Caesar salad from the April 2012 Wine Club Newsletter) or grilled summer veggies, and you have a great dinner. Don’t forget about the wine. I prefer to serve this meal with a bold red so the 2010 Randy’s Red is the perfect match!
Ingredients for 4 Rib-Eye Steaks:
1 tablespoon mixed peppercorns
1 1/4 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/4 teaspoon granulated onion
1/2 cup ketchup
1 tablespoon soy sauce
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon chili powder
1 teaspoon granulated garlic
1 teaspoon granulated onion
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
Rib-Eyes with spice rub
Grind the peppercorns in a spice grinder / coffee grinder (I used our Magic Bullet!). Place all ingredients in a small bowl and mix well. Coat the steaks with the spice rub on both sides and spray (or brush) with olive oil about 20 minutes before grilling.
Combine all ingredients with 1/4 cup water in a small saucepan and whisk together. Simmer over low heat for about 12 minutes until sugar is dissolved and flavors are blended.
Grill steak over direct heat until internal temperature reaches 145 degrees (8 to 10 minutes) for medium rare.
Serve the spicy steak with a side of the tangy sauce, veggie, and a bottle of Randy’s Red for the perfect summer dinner!
It’s that time of year again… Time to finalize the blend for Randy’s Red. Last year, I posted a couple pictures on Facebook to capture the process, but this year, we are really going to get into the “science” behind it on the blog! With all of us (Randy, Anne, Tricia, and Mindy) planning to be home for the holidays, it will be the perfect opportunity to taste and experiment with different blends. So how do we do it?
First, we have been tasting the 2010 wines from the barrel to see how they have been evolving on their own. The last time we tasted with our winemaker, Eric, we were all impressed and excited at how they were developing. In fact, we have decided to add one more wine to the line-up for the 2010 vintage. We are so pleased with how the 2010 Syrah is tasting on its own, we are planning to bottle a very limited amount next Spring.
Anne and winemaker Eric working on a blend for Randy's Red.
For the 2009 Randy’s Red, we decided on a blend of 66% Grenache and 33% Syrah. How did we come to this decision? We pulled barrel samples of each of the wines, and got to work with a measuring cup, lots of glasses, and a notepad.
Barrel samples of 2009 wines.
We started out tasting each wine on its own. From there, we blended, tasted, took notes, and repeated. The Grenache provided the majority of the fruit characteristics, but was a little “hot” or high in alcohol. The Syrah didn’t show quite as much fruit as the Grenache, but provided much needed structure and tannins to ensure a balanced blend. We didn’t want the alcohol of the Grenache to overwhelm the blend, so it was a matter of finding the right combo that allowed both wines to shine yet complement each other at the same time. We tried several different blends and eventually settled on the final of 66% Grenache and 33% Syrah.
Blend, taste, take notes, repeat.
I’ll be sure to post with an update of the 2010 blending trials. We are really excited because of the quality of the 2010 wines and hope to come up with a blend that rivals the 2009 Randy’s Red!
What varietals do you enjoy when blended together? Do you have a favorite blend from Paso Robles?
Recently, we joined a local CSA (community supported agriculture). While I don’t always know what it is that comes in our box (rutabagas? what do I do with rutabagas??), I was really excited when I discovered some red bell peppers in our most recent box! Something I can work with! I started making this dish a few years ago and it is now “in the rotation” meaning that it has received approval from family members and is a go-to dish when creativity or time is scarce.
A little smaller than what I get from the store, but this should help with portion control!
Wine pairing for this dish is a no-brainer. The seasoning gives the meat a little kick so the abundance of fruit and the great structure of the 2009 Randy’s Red are necessary to complement this meal . You don’t want your food to overwhelm your wine, and I think the Randy’s Red will stand up well to the dish and be the perfect accompaniment.
Let’s get to the recipe. Here are a list of ingredients you will need to make Tricia’s Stuffed Peppers (serves 4):
4 medium size bell peppers (red is the economical choice, but if yellow or orange are on sale, try those!)
1 package (approximately 1 lb) extra lean ground turkey (you can use ground beef, but we are trying to be health conscious here!)
1 package Lawry’s low-sodium taco seasoning
2/3 cup water
1 cup shredded cheese (I like to use cheddar or colby jack, and I said TRYING to be health concsious)
1 medium chopped white onion
All the ingredients you need -- pretty simple!
Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees. Cut the tops off the peppers and remove the seeds. Place the peppers in a pot of boiling water. Let cook for 5 – 10 minutes. Carefully remove the peppers from the water and place on a paper towel to drain.
Brown the ground turkey. Add the seasoning pack, 2/3 cup water, and chopped onion. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low and let simmer for about 10 minutes. When most of the water has been absorbed, add most of the cheese and stir well so that cheese melts.
The meat mixture simmering.
Place the peppers in an oven safe dish and fill with meat mixture. Sprinkle the top with remaining cheese and place in oven. Bake for 5 – 10 minutes or until cheese is bubbling on top.
Remove peppers from oven, place on plate and serve with rice, beans (I like Rosaritas No Fat Chile Lime Refried Beans), or other side. Enjoy!
The final product. If anyone knows how to make refried beans look good, please let me know in the comments!!
What are you making for dinner tonight??