Horse & Plow 2010 Grist Vineyard Zinfandel
The line “Made with Organic Grapes” is featured prominently on all Horse & Plow releases. Now, if your interest in all things organic is skewed high above normative, you might suspect that there’s a question begging here. Why not label the wine USDA Organic—are they trying to sneak one by?
Nope, it’s perfectly legit. In order to label the wine itself “organic,” a winemaker has to basically add no sulfur—a naturally-occurring element that’s allowable to PUT ON GRAPES in organically certified agriculture—to the wine. It’s really hard to make commercially viable wine that way.
Horse & Plow’s Chris Condos and Suzanne Hagins are committed to organic and biodynamic winegrowing, and kudus for them for not being afraid to put “organic” on their label. You’d be surprised at how many wineries farm organic, but avoid that term. They say it’s actually toxic—to sales!
The 2010 Grist Vineyard Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel ($32) hails from a 1,000-foot-high plot on Bradford Mountain. A vibrant, ruby-magenta hue, it’s almost like certain young Cabs or Cab Francs in aroma. It jogs the memory a bit on Bradford Mountain Syrah, too, but then there’s 10 percent of that in this blend. Toasty graham cracker, raspberry Newton, and cooler aromas of plum sauce, raspberry glaze on cheesecake are the ticket here, while the palate gushes with cool, cranberry-cherry fruit. Dry and a little grippy, it’s nice served at “room temperature,” i.e. a little cooler than your kitchen probably is in May.
Rosso Smoked Short Ribs
Mid-west brined 3-bone beef short rib, slow smoked over hickory and alder chips, braised in red wine and herbs, served with reduced braising liquid finished with compound butter.
Brine for short ribs:
- 1 lb sugar
- ½ lb kosher salt
- 10 garlic cloves smashed
- 6 bay leaves
- ¼ cup black peppercorns whole
- ½ cup fennel seed
- 1 bunch thyme
- ½ bunch rosemary
- 1 onion sliced
- 12 cups water
Put all ingredients in large pot and bring to a boil, turn down and simmer for 10 minutes. Remove and cool. When cool, submerge short ribs in liquid and refrigerate for 1-2 days.
Remove from brine and rinse before, placing in smoker and smoke for 4 hours.
- 8 Short Ribs brined and smoked
- ½ cup oil
- 2 cup chopped onion
- 1 cup chopped carrot
- 1 cup chopped celery
- ½ bunch thyme
- ½ bunch oregano
- 6 garlic cloves
- 6 bay leaves
- 6 cups red wine
- 1 cup red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 6 cups chicken stock
- 1 tbsp salt and pepper
- 4 cups water
In large pot heat oil and sear the ribs on each side until golden brown, add everything except for the liquids and brown slightly. Deglaze with wine and vinegar, cook until most of the liquid is cooked out. Then add chicken stock and enough water to cover the ribs, bring to a boil turn down and simmer covered in 350 oven until tender around 2 hours. Remove ribs, hold in warm oven. Strain braising liquid and reduce by ¾ in volume, finish with butter and check seasoning, spoon over ribs at plate up.