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The Dish @ Dashe

Fish Tales and Monkey Business from the Team at Dashe Cellars

 Mike Dashe Co-founder & Director of Winemaking

 Anne Dashe Co-founder

 Rene Calderon Winemaker

 Stephanie Flasher DTC & Wine Club Manager

 Monica Chappell Project Manager

  Jiliane Patriarca Tasting Room Teammate

Stephanie Flasher
 
November 24, 2021 | Stephanie Flasher

Pour yourself a big glass of wine this Thanksgiving | a toast to you!

Every Thanksgiving, I lead my family through the exercise of putting the name to things that we are thankful for and talking about them around the table (some participate more willingly than others). I'm making my list for the big day, and there is so much that I have to be thankful for that it's a difficult list to condense.

When it comes to my Dashe Family, I am most thankful for you! Our friends, our Wine Club Members, our supporters, even if you've only been to the winery and had one glass of wine, you have helped to keep us going. For small businesses like ours, every glass and every bottle makes a difference. 

This year, I'm grateful for the progress that we've made in getting operations at the winery closer to normal. We've been able to bring back all of our employees, we expanded service on our patio to accommodate covid-friendly seating, we are in the process of opening up our tasting room inside of the airplane hangar, and we had a harvest free of the worries of wildfires. I'm grateful for every single bit of it, every win and every celebratory glass of wine along the way.

And as you may or may not know, my husband and I gave birth to a beautiful baby boy earlier this year, Everett Flasher. I am so grateful that he is growing, healthy, and (mostly) sleeping through the night! Thank you for all of your supportive messages and tidbits of advice that I've received over the past few months. 

... and pumpkin pie paired with Late Harvest Zinfandel, I'm definitely thankful for that!

With Gratitude,
Stephanie Flasher
DTC & Wine Club Manager


What are you grateful for this year?

Rene Calderon | Winemaker

  • That Harvest actually happened.
  • My hardworking interns were willing to learn as much as possible.
  • Grateful for the very large door at the crushpad, it made a hard day's work much more enjoyable! 

Pam Maners | Tasting Room Manager

I am very grateful for joining the Dashe Family earlier this summer, I already have so much love for my fellow colleagues and just as importantly our guests! We have the best wine club members and a loyal following, everyone truly makes our jobs easier and fun to be here!

I am also grateful for the holidays this year, it's been a long while to be with family and friends and those I am the most grateful for...
and possibly pumpkin cheesecake and our 2018 Dry Riesling. Oh yeah! 

Monica Chappell
 
November 4, 2021 | Monica Chappell

Elevate Thanksgiving This Year

Let's Talk Thanksgiving! 

Wine adds a perfect festive touch to holiday meals, but selecting what to drink on Thanksgiving can be daunting. So how do you choose the right wine for the big dinner? Here's an easy answer: No single wine will work perfectly with your meal so serve a few. Matching wine with roast turkey is pretty easy, but the side dishes are another story. These dishes usually range from sweet to savory. Think about what is usually served in addition to the turkey; the meal might include sweet potatoes, tart cranberries, buttery carrots, earthy mushroom stuffing, and more. These dishes all have different tastes that make selecting one wine difficult. So, what to do? Try at least two, preferably a red and a white.

Dashe Single-Vineyard Dry Riesling McFadden Farm

-Riesling has a perfect balance of fruit and acidity that will complement sweeter Thanksgiving foods.

Click Here for 2019 Dry Riesling, McFadden Farm

Dashe Les Enfants Terribles Grenache

- Grenache is my first choice for a red wine on Thanksgiving. With most Grenache, fruit is the dominant flavor with just enough acid and tannin to give the wine a nice balance.

Click Here for 2017 Grenache, Clarksburg 'Les Enfants Terribles'

Dashe Zinfandel Reserve, Dry Creek Valley

- Being a Zin-centric Winery, how could we not recommend Zinfandel. Thanksgiving being the All-American holiday, why not go with the All-American grape. Zin can be made into wines of varying style, but for this meal, I would suggest going with a fruitier style of Zinfandel. Stay away from the high-alcohol versions. Our Reserve, Dry Creek Valley would be my top choice. 

Click Here for 2017 Zinfandel Reserve, Dry Creek Valley

Late-Harvest Zinfandel, Lily Hill Vineyard

-Elevate your dessert game with our Single-Vineyard Late-Harvest Zinfandel. This wine is moderately sweet, with great brambly raspberry, blackberry, and vanilla notes with its sweetness softening the tannins. 

Click Here for 2017 Late Harvest Zinfandel, Lily Hill Vineyard


THANKSGIVING TURKEY

INGREDIENTS:
• 1 (12-14 pound) fresh whole turkey
• 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
• 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
• 2 tablespoons fresh thyme leaves
• 2 tablespoons fresh rosemary leaves
• 1 tablespoon lemon zest
• 2 cloves garlic, minced
• 3 carrots, peeled
• 3 stalks celery
• 1 sweet onion, cut into wedges
• 1/2 cup Dashe Single-Vineyard Riesling  
• 1 1/2 cups turkey or chicken stock

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Remove giblets from the turkey cavity. Dry turkey thoroughly with paper towels. Season turkey cavity with salt and pepper, to taste.
3. In a small bowl, combine butter, lemon juice, thyme, rosemary, lemon zest and garlic; season with 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and 1 1/2 teaspoons pepper, or more, to taste.
4. Using your fingers, carefully loosen the skin from the breast meat, spreading half of the butter mixture under the skin. Secure skin over the butter with wooden picks.
5. Place carrots, celery and onion in a shallow roasting pan. Place turkey, breast side up, on top of the vegetables; tie drumsticks together with kitchen twine, tucking the wingtips under.
6. Spread remaining half of the butter mixture over the turkey; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Add the Dashe Single-Vineyard Riesling and chicken stock to the roasting pan.
7. Place into oven and roast for 30 minutes.
8. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. Continue roasting until the turkey is completely cooked through, reaching an internal temperature of 165 degrees F in the thickest part of the thigh, about 2 hours to 2 hours and 30 minutes more; baste every 30 minutes with pan drippings. When turkey begins to brown, cover lightly with aluminum foil.
9. Let stand 20 minutes before carving; reserve pan dripping for gravy.

 

 

SAVE ROOM FOR DESSERT

You could end Thanksgiving with apple pie and coffee. You could also go to bed early on Thursday night; But, HELLO, it’s Thanksgiving. This is no time for underachievement. With Thanksgiving’s top pie, I suggest you take the humble apple pie to a whole new level. In fact, I’ve watched it happen many times. The right wine can elevate the flavor of a dish; 1 + 1 = 3, so to speak, with my kind of wine math.

Rule of thumb for pairing wine with dessert - The wine should be at least as sweet as the dessert, with enough acidity for balance. Our single-vineyard late-harvest is made from grapes left on the vine past normal picking times to build sugar levels and develop tastes like dried cherries and chocolate. Try the single-vineyard late-harvest Zinfandel with Thanksgiving Apple Pie, Cheesecake with raspberries or jam, fruit tarts, or carrot cake; late-harvest Zin is always yummy with chocolate too. 

There you have it, a few wine options to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving with a bang, not a whisper.

The Complete Feast

From Start to Finish, the Perfect Hostess Gift!

2019 Single-Vineyard Dry Riesling, McFadden Farm
2017 Zinfandel Reserve, Dry Creek Valley
2017 Single-Vineyard Late Harvest Zinfandel, Lily Hill Vineyard

Click Here for more on The Complete Feast


Time Posted: Nov 4, 2021 at 12:44 PM Permalink to Elevate Thanksgiving This Year Permalink Comments for Elevate Thanksgiving This Year Comments (1)
Michael Dashe
 
October 14, 2021 | Michael Dashe

Letter from the Winemaker

Fall 2021 Wine Club Allocation

Harvest is here, and by the time our Wine Club Members receive their allocation, most of the grapes should be safely in the winery and fermenting away (if not finished).

2021 has flashed by so far, and harvest just pounced on us seemingly without warning. It’s been an early harvest, but as of the time of this writing, the quality of the grapes was exceedingly high although quantities of grapes from the vineyard were low.

This has of course been a heck of a year, but we are seriously proud of both our Dashe Cellars staff and for our customers and Wine Club members, who together have helped Dashe Cellars survive what has been the most difficult year of our existence. Everyone stepped up to the plate and helped us when the chips were down, and we thank you from the bottom of our hearts. You’re the best.

It’s exciting of course to harvest the grapes and smell all of those fermenting tanks, and to see the wines reveal themselves as we press them, finish the fermentation, and pump them off to barrel. It’s always delightful to see a new vintage, especially with the wines like the Todd Brothers Ranch which we’ve been making for 25 vintages. Each vineyard has its unique characteristics, aromatics, and flavors, and we love to see those characteristics express themselves in a vintage.

But those are wines for the future. I’m sure you’re looking forward to your Wine Club shipment wines, and you can be sure that we have a great lineup in this Fall shipment.

The Todd Brothers Ranch figures prominently in this lineup, with our flagship Todd Brothers Ranch Zinfandel heading up the pack. Some of our Wine Club members have vertical tastings of this wine dating back 10, 15, or even 20 years. The wine ages magnificently, but even in its youth this Zinfandel drinks beautifully, with a bit of decanting. We are also featuring the Todd Brothers Petite Sirah, which has a bit of Zinfandel blended in for smoothness and complexity. This Petite Sirah is drinking surprisingly well as a young wine, and would pair perfectly with some braised short ribs or a rack of lamb.

We are also featuring the 2019 version of The Comet, a stylish blend of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, and 130-year-old vine Carignane. Each year we work on refining this blend so that it has beautiful depth of flavor; layers of different fruit, spice, and earth that evolve in the glass after pouring; and a long, structured finish with flavors that persist for minutes after swallowing the wine. The 2019 is one of the best Comets that we’ve ever made, and we are sure that you’ll love the wine not only now, on opening, but will continue to improve for years to come.

Lastly, we have two powerhouse wines to present. The first is the 2019 Heart Arrow Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, a rich, structured Cabernet in the mode of a Bordeaux-styled Cabernet: elegant, finely structured, able to be cellared for years. This is a dynamite wine that is made to go with holiday meals and grilled meats, gorgeous on release but with the intensity and complexity that will benefit with a few years of cellar age. The second wine is the Louvau Vineyard Zinfandel Barrel Select, a special Wine Club exclusive wine made from barrels that were hand-selected from tasting all of the barrels from this great vineyard to make a special reserve wine with wonderful structure and beautiful fruit and spice flavors. It will knock your socks off.

Enjoy the wines and thank you for your support.

- Michael and Anne Dashe

Interested in receiving these wines and not yet a Wine Club Member? Click Here for to learn more about membership.

Time Posted: Oct 14, 2021 at 11:26 PM Permalink to Letter from the Winemaker Permalink
Monica Chappell
 
October 1, 2021 | Monica Chappell

RECIPE ALERT! Dashe Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon paired with Chicken Marsala

Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Pairing

A Chicken Marsala Recipe from the Master

Home cooks like me have used Marcella Hazan’s classic cookbooks for years (my copies are splattered and worn.)  In my opinion, there is no one more passionate and inspiring about cooking authentic Italian food. Marcella Hazan, the godmother of Italian cooking in America, is the author of The Classic Italian Cookbook, More Classic Italian Cooking, Marcella's Italian kitchen, and Essentials of Italian Cooking. I have them all in my kitchen library. 

For this recipe, there are two special ingredients creating magic: the dried porcini mushrooms, and the Marsala wine. The dried porcini is an aromatic essence of porcini mushrooms. The difference between fresh and dried porcini can be compared to the difference between a bouquet of fresh flowers and the aromas in a bottle of perfume. As for the Marsala, it is a fortified wine from the town of Marsala in western Sicily. For cooking purposes, look for the word secco, which means dry, although it is still slightly sweet.

We have chosen this Chicken Marsala recipe as an unusual pairing to go with our single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. Typically, chicken recipes are too light to pair well with Cabernet, but in this case the earthy porcini mushrooms and the complex flavors of the Marsala meld perfectly with the richness of the single-vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon.

 
This Recipe Feeds 4 People 


 

INGREDIENTS
• 1 ounce imported dried porcini mushrooms 
• A 3½-pound chicken, cut into 8 pieces
• Flour for coating the chicken, about ½ cup
• 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
• 1 tablespoon butter
• Salt & Black pepper ground fresh
• 3 tablespoons chopped onion
• ⅓ cup dry Marsala wine 

NOTE: You could also use bonless skinless chicken breasts pounded into paillards instead of the chicken pieces. 

METHOD
1. Soak the mushrooms in 2 cups warm water for at least 30 minutes. Lift out the mushrooms by hand, squeezing as much water as possible from them, letting it flow back into the container where they soaked. Pat dry with paper towels and chop them very fine. The water in which the mushrooms soaked is richly infused with porcini flavor. Filter the water through a strainer lined with cheese cloth, collecting it in a bowl or a pouring cup. Set aside.

2. Pat the chicken as dry as you can with paper towels. Spread the flour on a plate and turn the chicken in it.

3. Choose a skillet or sauté pan that can accommodate all the chicken pieces in a single layer without overlapping, put in the oil and butter, and turn on the heat to medium high. When the butter foam begins to subside, slip in the chicken. When all the pieces have become well browned on one side, add salt, black pepper, and the chopped onion, and turn the pieces over.

4. When the chicken has become browned all over and the onion has become colored a rich gold, add the Marsala wine. Let it bubble briskly for just a few seconds, add the chopped porcini mushrooms, turn the ingredients over with a wooden spoon, then cover the pan and turn the heat down to medium low.

5. Cook the chicken at a slow but regular simmer, replenishing the cooking juices when they begin to dry out with 2 or 3 tablespoons of the filtered water from the mushroom soak. Turn the chicken pieces over every once in a while and continue cooking until they feel very tender when prodded with a fork and the meat looks as though it would easily fall off the bone, about 50 minutes to 1 hour. The cooking juices should have condensed into a small amount of creamy sauce. If there is too much fat floating free, tip the pan and spoon it off. Transfer the entire contents of the pan to a warm platter and serve at once.

 
 
Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Pairing
WINE PAIRING:
The Marsala intensifies and develops a deep, concentrated flavor as it reduces. This sauce captures this quality along with the earthy flavors of the porcini mushrooms. The result is an intense, full-flavored dish that marries well to the ripe fruit of the single-vineyard Cabernet. This pairing is a good example of finding parallel intensity both in the dish and the wine. 

 

Single-Vineyard Heart Arrow Cabernet Sauvignon Tasting Notes:
Color: Purple Black
Aromas: Black cherry, blackberry, cassis, graphite, violets, black pepper, minerals
Taste: Almost Bordeaux-like in structure, with good acidity, velvety mid palate, and a spectrum of complex fruit flavors. Entry of blackberry, cassis, black cherry, violets, and then broader flavors of pencil lead, forest floor, black cherry. Finish of blackberry, black cherry, mineral, and black pepper. 
 
Click Here for the 2018 Single-Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Heart Arrow Ranch

This recipe was taken from Marcella Hazan’s cookbook Marcella Cucina published in 1997. 
 

Stephanie Flasher
 
September 16, 2021 | Stephanie Flasher

The 2021 Harvest in photos

Mike loading up bins to head up to Dry Creek

Cleaned and stacked and ready to be filled after bottling

Rene and one of our harvest interns, Haley, toasting to the end of her first day in the cellar

Old-Vine Carignane planted in the sandy earth

Bins as high as you can see

A gorgeous bin full of fruit from the Louvau Vineyard

A field blend from the Pilsbury Vineyard, a brand-new partner us this vintage!

Our crushpad with a view

Rene's been logging some major miles in the forklift

Can you guess where this is? Leave a comment below!

Crazy head-trained vines at the base of the foothills in Dry Creek

Before...

... and after!

These grapes are ready for their close-up

Haley, Anne, and Jose at the sorting table, making sure that only the best fruit makes it into tank

Time Posted: Sep 16, 2021 at 1:30 PM Permalink to The 2021 Harvest in photos Permalink Comments for The 2021 Harvest in photos Comments (5)
Monica Chappell
 
July 7, 2021 | Monica Chappell

Summer Chill'n

With summer in full swing, it's easy to find yourself pouring wine that is either too cold or too warm.

Just as the right glass will enhance your wine experience, serving artisanal wine at the ideal temperature is equally as important.

When it comes to knowing what temperature to serve a wine, you can follow this easy-to-remember tip: twenty minutes before serving, take the white wine out of the fridge, and put the red wine in. This rule is intended to fix the two most common mistakes in wine service—serving white wines too cold and red wines too warm.

Now, this is not something to lose sleep over, but the fact is that properly chilled artisanal wines do taste noticeably better.

Serving wine at its proper temperature enables you to taste wine at its full potential. Most of the enjoyment that comes from drinking artisanal wine involves its aroma. Taste only has four aspects: sweet, sour, salty, and acid. The nose does the rest. Vapors are created as artisanal wine warms up, so the wine needs to be a few degrees below its ideal drinking temperature for you to enjoy it at its finest. To be confident the wine you serve will be on its best behavior know the whole story.

Red Red Wine

If you've heard the old adage that red wines need to be served at "room temperature" don't forget that "room temperature" can be considerably higher in the summer. In fact, the adage that red wine should be served at room temperature was coined when people were storing and serving wine from their cellars, where wine was kept quite cool.  Most artisanal red wines are at their best at cool room temperature, 62 to 65 degrees Fahrenheit. Light reds benefit from being served slightly cooler than full bodied reds. Keep reds too warm and they will taste alcoholic and even vinegary. Too cold and they will have an overly tannic bite and much less flavor.

Created in a lighter style and perfect for a slight chill, our 2018 Heart Arrow Ranch Zinfandel comes from an amazing biodynamic farm in Mendocino County. Biodynamic farming techniques, together with our old-world winemaking, create a broad range of aromas, flavors, and structure akin to a wine from Burgundy or Beaujolais. We ferment with native yeasts and age in a 900 gallon French oak barrel, resulting in a soft and elegant “Old-World” style wine.

Refreshing Whites

Just as many reds are served too warm, most white wines are served too cold. Artisanal white wines are best between 55 and 62 degrees. Chilling white wines properly preserve their freshness but too cold and they will be nearly tasteless. White wines served too warm will taste alcoholic and flabby.

Our 2019 Chenin Blanc “Concrete Cuvée,”  Clarksburg was inspired by the Loire Valley wines the Dashe family enjoys every summer in France! Fermented in a large concrete egg, which suspends the lees for toasty overtones and preserves the wines delicate freshness and aromatics, this Chenin blanc is one of our most vivacious, textured, and seductive wines.

Bubbling Beauties

Sparkling wines should start out totally chilled and are best served between 40-45 degrees. Put them in the refrigerator an hour and half before serving or in an ice bucket with water for at least 20 minutes before serving. Artisanal sparkling wine will not stay at a constant temperature once it is out of the fridge so keep an ice bucket handy or put the bottle back in the refrigerator between pours. 

The vintage of 2016 marked the 20th anniversary of the founding of Dashe Cellars, and we felt that a sparkling wine was a perfect way to celebrate this occasion. We have long admired the beautiful sparkling wines made in the Loire Valley from the Chenin Blanc grape, and for this initial wine we used 100% Chenin Blanc from the Heringer Vineyard in Clarksburg, California. 

You need not become a maniac with a thermometer to keep artisanal wine the right temperature range; a little experience and a little tasting, and the wine itself will tell you everything you need to know. So, chill this summer with a perfectly chilled glass of wine.

Michael Dashe
 
May 27, 2021 | Michael Dashe

News from the Cellar--Springtime in the Vineyards and Cellar

What's Happening at Dashe Cellars?

 

This is always a wild time of year, as we watch the grapevines develop flower clusters and we get an idea of how the crop will develop this vintage. We love looking at the tiny clusters (and of course the even tinier flowers) and the greenery develop throughout the vineyard. It’s a beautiful time of year.
Although the clusters are tiny, they contain vital information about how heavy the crop will be and how many clusters are loaded on the vine. Although you really can’t judge the quality of the fruit, you can certainly make some intuitive guesses based on how healthy the vine looks, how the weather has been at this crucial time of development, and how early or late the crop will be in the fall.
More than anything else, it tells you that the clock is ticking and that we’ll be harvesting grapes before we know it.  It always seems like the last vintage just finished and that we have plenty of time to prepare, but then the vineyard itself seems to come back to us every year and reminds us that we don’t have nearly as much time as we think.
The Calm before the Storm


In the cellar itself, it’s always a calm time, as we taste the developing wines, rack them from barrel to tank or barrel to barrel, and start preparing equipment for the harvest.  It’s amazing that we need to ramp up for harvest so far in advance of the grapes’ ripening, but August is just around the corner and some of our vineyards in Contra Costa county are actually harvested in mid- to late-August.

We love to hang out in the winery—it always stays within the same range of temperatures no matter what time of year, because there's so much insulation in the 60 ft ceilings and the building itself it made out of thick concrete blocks.  Many thanks to the US Navel Airforce, who built this building so solidly and with so much natural insulation.

Now, we just prepare the cellar and wait for the grapes to ripen. This year has turned out to be pretty dry, which is not terrible for the grapevines (they can survive much more than most fruit trees, for example) but we certainly hope that we have a bit of moisture before the grape clusters get very much more developed.

We will let you know before too long how the vineyards are coming along and how the quality of the 2021 vintage is shaping up.  In the meantime, we suggest pouring a glass of wine and hanging out in the shade (preferable at our SF City View Patio!) and enjoying the summer. 

Time Posted: May 27, 2021 at 4:00 PM Permalink to News from the Cellar--Springtime in the Vineyards and Cellar Permalink Comments for News from the Cellar--Springtime in the Vineyards and Cellar Comments (2)
Michael Dashe
 
May 4, 2021 | Michael Dashe

Squeezing Grapes for Rosé: Artisan Wine Making Pink Style

It’s getting hotter, which means that rosé wines are getting popped into ice buckets and refrigerators. Every wine maker I know is releasing (or has released) a rosé, and Dashe Cellars is no exception.

I’ll confess, we have changed our methods of making rosé over the years. Quite a while ago, our method of making rosé was a relatively simple one.  We would crush red grapes—usually Grenache grapes from Dry Creek Valley—which were destined to make a bigger, more substantial wine, and simply bleed off pink juice from the tank after about 8 hours of skin contact. Voilà! Instant rosé.

Let it Bleed

This process of making rosé by “bleeding” the tank is called “saignèe,” from the French word for blood, and is probably one of the most common methods of making rosé around the world.

There certainly are a few advantages to making a rosé this way. First of all, it’s a great way of improving the depth and intensity of the red wine in the tank from which you’re bleeding off the rosé juice.  Since you’re increasing your grape to juice ratio, you get more color in the wine from which you’re bleeding off. Plenty of jet-black wines on the market are helped by bleeding the tanks.

Another definite advantage is that you can pick the color of your rosé by simply looking at the juice every few hours. As time goes by, you get more color until you decide you have enough color (or the right hue of pink) and then you frantically drain the juice off of the red skins before the color changes and becomes too dark. 

The drawback to this method is that if you get your timing wrong, your rosé can be too light or too dark, and the only way to adjust is by blending red or white wine into your rose to try to adjust the color.

Hot off the Press

The other method, and the one that we’ve gravitated to over the years, is dedicating the grapes you select to be rosé (and only rosé).  Using this method, you designate a vineyard (or a block within a vineyard) to be your rosé block and dedicate those grapes to just be used in your rosé program. You then pick the grapes exactly when you want to make your rosé and dump them directly into the press (or occasionally, crushing the grapes and letting them sit in bins for a bit of time to pick up color, and then dumping them into the press).

This direct press method has some distinct advantages. 

First and most important, since you’re dedicating these grapes to be rosé, you can select the time of picking the grapes to be ideal for making a rosé-style wine. In our case, we like our rosé wines to have good acidity, so as long as the flavor profile is correct, you can pick grapes earlier than you normally would for making red wine, so that the wine is crisp and flavorful with acidity.

Second, you can select a varietal specifically for rosé.  In our case, we decided to try to use Barbera from a Clarksburg vineyard as a rosé grape, because it’s a naturally high-acid grape and makes a very refreshing, zingy wine.

An added benefit of early picking is that your rosé is lower in alcohol because you’re picking grapes before they produce a high amount of sugar.

Color is king

The final reason we love to press our rosé directly from the grapes is that we obtain a beautiful pale salmon color; quite a bit different than the color that we would obtain using the saigneé method of bleeding the tank.

Of course, wonderful wines are made using both methods of wine making, and everyone has their preference for what kind of rosé they like.

Our rosés are finished completely dry because that’s our preference. Some people prefer a bit of sweetness to their rosés, which is completely a personal taste.

What’s important is that rosés have finally risen in prominence in the wine-drinking community.

Personally, I believe that there’s nothing better than a crisp, cold rosé on a Spring or Summer day, paired with something off of the grill or with a fish stew such as a French bouillabaisse. The acidity pares perfectly with food, and the wine itself provides an immensely satisfying way to balance the heat.  

 

Click here for 2020 Dry Rose of Barbera

Time Posted: May 4, 2021 at 4:03 PM Permalink to Squeezing Grapes for Rosé: Artisan Wine Making Pink Style Permalink Comments for Squeezing Grapes for Rosé: Artisan Wine Making Pink Style Comments (8)
Michael Dashe
 
April 12, 2021 | Michael Dashe

Spring has Sprung at the Winery

Well, Spring is finally here and with some luck, we’ll have been through the worst of this last year and starting to be (relatively speaking) back to normal. Not a minute too soon.  We’ve all endured one of the most trying years of our collective lives, and now that the days are longer and lovely Spring afternoons are warming us, it’s our fervent hope that all of you are feeling better and are optimistic about the future. 

We really can’t say thank you enough to have supported us during the most difficult year in our 26 years in business. One of the best things that emerged from this last year was that we discovered how much people have enjoyed the City views and the bird sanctuary in front of the winery on our City View Patio. We’ve loved having you come out and share this outdoor space with us, drinking wine and enjoying food from our food truck purveyors. Your spirit and enthusiasm has sustained us here at Dashe and we certainly wouldn’t have survived this last year without you to help us through it. 

Amazingly, now we’re making our plans for this upcoming harvest. Bud-break has happened in the vineyards and the vines are starting to push out. Nothing like growing things to remind us that nature doesn’t wait for pandemics or politics—when it’s time to harvest, it’s time to harvest.  We’re excited as always about the ripening grapes and our plans for upcoming wines. 

–Best to you all, Michael and Anne Dashe

Time Posted: Apr 12, 2021 at 2:59 PM Permalink to Spring has Sprung at the Winery Permalink Comments for Spring has Sprung at the Winery Comments (3)
Michael Dashe
 
March 16, 2021 | Michael Dashe

A Lighter Shade of Zinfandel, or My, How Times Change

Last year, the wine writer Eric Asimov, long time New York Times wine columnist, wrote a two-part series for his Wine School column entitled “Revisiting Zinfandel from a Less Brawny Angle” and “Finding the Heart of Zinfandel.” The focus of the two articles was to taste three current examples of Zinfandel—all of which were a more modern, lighter, and less alcoholic styles—to see how recent styles of Zinfandel compared with the bigger, jammier, more alcoholic styles of popular Zinfandels from a decade or more ago. 

Frankly, the focus of the article was that Mr. Asimov’s tastes had moved away from drinking Zinfandel a few years ago because of heavy-handed ripe flavors in some of the most popular zins. He was looking to see if recent offerings from wineries that made less brawny Zinfandels was more interesting and palatable, both to him and to his readers who commented on the wines. 

Here at our little urban winery at Dashe Cellars, we were gratified that he selected a Dashe wine—the 2018 Zinfandel Vineyard Select—for his widely-read Wine School series.  In the introduction, he said that “I selected the Dashe because I generally like this producer’s wines, they were fairly widely available, and the bottle was cheaper than the other two.”.  We’ll take that—and we’re glad that Asimov enjoys our wines.  

The Times have Caught Up with Dashe Cellars?

Personally, we were a bit amused by the premise of the article because it implied that it was only a recent development that certain wineries had moved towards making lighter, more elegant Zinfandels. 
But those of you who know Dashe Cellars wines from when we started in 1996 know that we have always selected vineyards and used wine making practices to make lighter, more delicate, yet complex and balanced Zinfandels.
Although our single vineyard wines such as the Louvau Vineyard Old Vines Zinfandel has traditionally been less alcoholic than our peers, we really turned the Zinfandel world on its head in 2008 when we released our first “Les Enfants Terribles” single vineyard wine—a Zinfandel, naturally—from the McFadden Farm in Potter Valley.  

Are we Drinking all 500 Cases Ourselves?

The first Les Enfants Terribles wine was a fluke, in a way, because it was a phone call from a sommelier—Mark Ellenbogen from the Slanted Door restaurant in San Francisco—that sparked the creation of this wine. 

Mark was extremely diligent about which wines made his Wine List at the restaurant, and he loved softer European reds such as Gamay-based wines from Beaujolais region in France, and a wide array of Pinot Noir-based wines, also from Europe. 

When the Slanted Door was criticized from some quarters for not having many domestic wines, Mark reached out to me and asked if it was possible if we might make a single vineyard wine that had many of the attributes he loved in his favorite European wines to go with the cuisine from the Slanted Door:  lower alcohols; lower tannins; little or no oak influence; beautiful softer fruit character; a softer, velvety texture. 

I had just seen the Zinfandel grown at McFadden Farm—a high elevation vineyard—and the red grapes were surrounded by Riesling, Pinot Blanc, and Gewurztraminer white wine grapes. I immediately loved the fruit flavors of the Zinfandel but was shocked at how light-colored the red grapes were.  When Mark called me up, I said that I had found the perfect grapes to make a “Beaujolais-styled” carbonic maceration wine. 

We had just purchased a 900-gallon oak foudre from Burgundy, and decided we would make all of the Zinfandel in the vineyard, and age it in this huge single barrel. 

When we made the wine, using the carbonic maceration technique of whole berries and whole clusters, the wine was gorgeous, but the color was so pale red that it looked like a Gamay or Pinot Noir.  I was so shocked that I turned to Anne and asked “are we going to have to drink all 500 cases of this wine by ourselves?”  She turned to me and said “you’re crazy.  This is exactly what I had in mind when we made this wine. People will love it!”

Click Here for 2017 Zinfandel, Mendocino Cuvée

We’ve Been Making Trendy Wine for 26 Years!

I shouldn’t have been so worried.  The first Les Enfants Terribles 2007 Zinfandel from the McFadden Farm went on to become a tremendous hit at the Slanted Door, and soon word got around that Dashe Cellars was making this carbonic maceration Zinfandel that tastes unlike any other Zinfandel on the market. The wine became a darling of wine drinkers around the country who liked European wines for their balance and lower alcohols but wanted the vibrant fruit of a California wine at the same time. 
Compared to many other Zinfandels out on the market, Dashe Cellars Zinfandels are lighter in style and have a certain balance between fruit and acid, with less oak and tannin on the finish.  We’ve been making Zinfandels in this style from when we first released a single vineyard wine—a 1996 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel—and have kept this signature style since. 
It used to be that very few wineries were making wines that were lower alcohol and fermented on native yeast. No more—it’s quite common for new wineries to make wines in this style. We are pleased that after all these years following our heart, making wines that had a balance of an “Old-World” wine, our style is now very much on target for young, innovative wine makers. 
We are huge believers in making wines that reflect the vineyards, and our style champions this type of artisan wine.  Many thanks to Eric Asimov and other wine writers that now are highlighting our style of wine to a broader market of wine drinkers. For 26 years we’ve made wines that are now touted as “trendy,” due to their restraint and balance. We might not be a new winery, anymore, but we’ll take the trendy label anytime, as long as people enjoy the wines. 

Time Posted: Mar 16, 2021 at 12:39 PM Permalink to A Lighter Shade of Zinfandel, or My, How Times Change Permalink Comments for A Lighter Shade of Zinfandel, or My, How Times Change Comments (7)
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