James Beard pours Cowhorn

August 26, 2009

If you’d have told us back when we were removing rocks from our blocks that The James Beard Foundation would be pouring Cowhorn wines in New York City this year, we would probably have thought that you had enjoyed one too many glasses of grappa.

But as this is written, Barbara is in New York City to give some of the Big Apple’s most discerning foodies a taste of some of Southern Oregon’s only certified Biodynamic™ wine.

On Thursday, August 27, The James Beard Foundation is hosting an Oregon Summer Dinner with Chef John Newman of Newmans at 988 in Cannon Beach, Oregon. With the 2006 opening of Newmans at 988 on Oregon’s North Coast, CIA grad and Stephanie Inn alum John Newman established himself as one of the Pacific Northwest’s culinary stars. He’ll be plating up tastes of his state’s seasonal bounty at this innovative late-summer dinner.

Here’s what’s on the menu…

Hors d’Oeuvre
Spicy Albacore Tuna with Watermelon
Crispy Broccoli Rabe
Wild Mushroom Polenta
Tomatoes with Blue Cheese and Basil
Charred Kingfisher Farms Little Gem Romaine with Organic Vegetables
Ecosse Brut NV

Dinner
Nehalem Bay Dungeness Crabcake Salad with Preserved Lemon and Honey Dressing

38 Central hosts Cowhorn dinner

August 25, 2009

38 Central is hosting the second in its series of dinners featuring fine wine and fresh food from Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden. This time, David Graham will serve a flight of three Cowhorn wines—Viognier, Spiral 36 and Syrah—along with a 4-course meal.

Here’s the menu…

Lobster & Prawn “Corn Dogs”
Slipper lobster tails & Tiger Prawns hand dipped in a polenta batter ground from Cowhorn grown Corn
Try the Cowhorn Viognier (ohh, or even the Spiral 36!) with this dish to enhance the sweet flavors of Prawn and Lobster

Crab, Corn & Potato Salad
Fresh crab, Pan Roasted Cowhorn Corn and Poached New Potatoes tossed with a lemon/dill dressing
Here the subtle and floral notes of Spiral 36 seem to show off the nutty/sweet character of the corn and crab.

Watermelon Sorbet

Marinated Skirt Steak
w/Spicy Watermelon Salad; Corn & Haricots Vert
This screams out for the wonderful structure of Cowhorn Syrah – a match made in Heaven!

–OR–

Butter Poached Scallops
w/Sweet Corn Succotash & Watermelon Coulis
This dish works wonders with both the whites we offer from Cowhorn, tho even the Syrah can be a partner with Scallops, the soft structure and elegant finish adds depth to this dish as well.

Raspberry Chiffon w/Lemon Tuiles
Save a touch of your Cowhorn Syrah for this, the fresh raspberry and sweet tuiles bring out the fruit character of this wine and allow you to savor the night as you chat with Bill & Barb!

Wine and food on the farm

August 4, 2009

A new wave of winemakers are adding food crops and animals into the mix

Modern-day photos of wine country depict swaths of green vines rolling over hillsides in perfect, corduroylike rows.

But as bucolic as these images might appear to us, they would look alien to a visitor from centuries past. That’s because, once upon a time, farms were multipurpose operations, with grapes planted alongside vegetable patches and animal pens. Winemaking was just one of the many tasks that fell to the subsistence farmer.

Today, a new wave of local vintners is trying to re-create the Old World way of vine tending, for practical as well as sentimental reasons.

With their meat, eggs and produce, these winegrowers can glean additional revenue from their property without relying solely on the fickle wine market.

In addition, those who use horses to plow their land say that it saves them the money and fuel that would have been spent behind the wheel of a tractor. Polyculture farming, they maintain, enriches their land without harming the environment.

Finally, according to these back-to-the-land winegrowers, biodiversity protects their grapevines. Just as you’re bound to come home with the sniffles if you sit on an airplane with 150 other people, a vast tract planted with a single crop is a sitting duck waiting to be attacked by viruses and bugs. By introducing other crops to their vineyards, these farmers are adding buffers against pests and disease.

But practical factors aside, there’s also the basic truth that wine and food taste best together.

Here’s a look at three Oregon winemakers who embrace this Old World ethic.

A new old way of farming
Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden, Jacksonville

Mid-September through late October, most folks in the winemaking trade are busy harvesting grapes, then sorting, crushing and fermenting them. It’s backbreaking, round-the-clock work. Thank goodness it only happens once a year.

Unless you’re Barbara and Bill Steele (pictured left, in his winery) at Cowhorn Vineyard & Garden in Jacksonville, in which case harvest comes around four or five times a year. Because in addition to growing grapes and making wine, the Steeles farm asparagus, artichokes, corn, squash, pumpkins, watermelons, and cherries and other tree fruits. Oh, and coming next: black Perigord truffles.

Despite the fact that Oregon has a tradition of fruit orchards turned wineries (including Roxy Ann Winery/ Hillcrest Orchard in nearby Medford) — “99 percent of the people who come to the tasting room have no idea that a vineyard can produce food,” Barbara Steele marvels.
But local restaurant chefs know better. Cowhorn Vineyard often teams up with 38 Central, a fine-dining restaurant in Medford, for pairing dinners that match Cowhorn produce with Cowhorn wine.

In addition, New Sammy’s Cowboy Bistro in Talent serves Cowhorn’s renowned purple and green asparagus alongside its wine and has a line on next summer’s crop of artichokes. And the Ashland Food Co-Op and Ashland Shop’n Kart grocery stores sell the southern Oregon vineyard’s vegetables.

» Full article

– Katherine Cole