Two Mountain Winery Fri, 11 Nov 2016 20:30:17 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Mom’s Spicy Sausage & White Bean Soup Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:30:36 +0000

1 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped

1 Tbsp Garlic, finely chopped
3/4 lb. hot Italian sausage, casings removed
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
2 15-oz. cans cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
1 small head escarole or kale, chopped into 1- to 2-inch pieces, washed, and lightly dried
1 cup low-salt canned chicken broth
1-1/2 tsp. red-wine or red wine vinegar; more to taste
Kosher salt
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano

2 tbs. chopped sundried tomatoes

Heat the oil in a heavy 5- to 6-qt. Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the sausage, raise the heat to medium high, and cook, stirring and breaking up the sausage with a wooden spoon or spatula until lightly browned and broken into small (1-inch) pieces, 5 to 6 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then stir in the beans. Add the escarole to the pot in batches; using tongs, toss with the sausage mixture to wilt the escarole and make room for more.

When all the escarole or kale is in, add the chicken broth, cover the pot, and cook until the beans are heated through and the escarole is tender, about 8 minutes. Season to taste with the vinegar and salt. Transfer to bowls and sprinkle each portion with some of the Parmigiano.

Freezes well.

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Seafood with Curry/Coconut Milk Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:30:10 +0000 •        1-1/2 cups light coconut milk

•        1-1/4 pounds fresh cod or monkfish
•        1-1/4 pounds fresh mussels, scrubbed & debearded
•        1-1/4 pounds tiger prawns, shelled & deveined
•        cooked Thai (jasmine) rice or fresh pasta noodles
•        1 red Thai Chili, deseeded & sliced (substitute dried red pepper flakes – about ½ tsp)
•        1 green Thai chili, deseeded & sliced (jalapeno may be substituted)
•        3 stalks lemon grass
•        2 – 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro

Also Required:
•        Deep pot or Wok

Cut the lemon grass in half lengthways and then into 3 inch pieces; bruise it by smashing with the back of a heavy knife. Bring the coconut milk to the boil in a wok or deep pot and add chilies. Add the mussels to the wok and cover. Steam the mussels and remove as soon as they open. Reduce the coconut milk to a simmer and add the fish & prawns. When fish is opaque and the prawns are bright pink, remove them from the wok and set aside with the mussels. Return sauce to the boil and reduce quantity by half. Return all seafood to the wok and heat through. Serve with fragrant Thai rice or Tagliatelle pasta – garnished with cilantro (Seafood should be barely cooked to keep it tender).

Serves 4

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Ham and Gruyere Bites Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:29:22 +0000 1/4 pound ham, diced

2 oz Gruyere cheese, grated

2 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese, grated

1/4 tsp hot sauce

1tsp. Dijon mustard

1tsp crushed garlic

3 T minced shallots

1 sheet puff pastry cut into 2 inch squares

1 large egg, beaten with 1 tsp cold water

Salt and fresh pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 375. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Lightly sauté shallots in a teaspoon of olive oil. Set aside and let cool. In a mixing bowl combine ham, cheeses, salt and pepper, hot sauce and garlic, mustard and shallots. Mix well.

Brush squares of puff pastry with the beaten egg wash, and then put a heaping teaspoon of the ham and cheese mixture in the center of each square. Fold squares corner to corner, forming triangles, and gently seal the edges together. Put the triangles on the baking sheet and brush tops with egg wash. Bake about 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

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Mom’s Spicy Chocolate Bread Pudding Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:28:56 +0000 1 loaf French bread or Challah, cubed

3 cups whole milk
¼ cup heavy cream
1 cup sugar
1 cup packed brown sugar
¼ cup cocoa powder
1 TBSP espresso powder
1 TBSP vanilla
1½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
Chocolate chips (½ bag)
¼ tsp Chili Powder
1/8 tsp (or less) cayenne pepper
7 eggs, lightly beaten
4 ounces semi sweet chocolate, grated  (hand grate or use a grater attachment on a food processor)
4 ounces bittersweet chocolate, grated

Preheat oven to 350º

Lightly grease a 13×9 inch baking dish and place the bread in the dish.  Sprinkle the chocolate chips randomly over the bread.

In a large bowl, whisk together the milk and cream.  Using another bowl, combine the sugars, cocoa powder, espresso powder, cinnamon, salt, chili powder and cayenne powder.  Add the sugar mixture to the milk mixture and blend well.  Add the vanilla extract to the beaten eggs.  Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture and mix well.

Stir the grated chocolate into the mixture (this is kind of like mixing peat moss in water. It takes a bit of stirring).  Pour the mixture over the cubed bread in the pan.  Let the mixture stand, about 20 minutes or until the bread is all moist.  Bake the pudding for 1 hour or until set.  Check the pudding in the middle with a knife and it should come out clean.

Serve with a glass of Two Mountain Winery Vinho Vermelho  and say “Good Night.”

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Chipotle Meatballs Sat, 12 Oct 2013 01:08:01 +0000 Meatballs
  • 2 slices bacon, minced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs (plain or Italian style) Panko works great.
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or finely chopped fresh mint
  • 1-2 teaspoons chipotle chili powder (or a couple teaspoons of adobo sauce)


  • 2 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1-3 canned chipotles in adobo, minced fine and sauce reserved
  • 1 28-ounce can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken broth


1 Preheat oven to 400°F. Mix all the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl and mix well with your clean hands for a minute or two. Integrate the mixture well, but don’t overwork it or the meatballs might get tough.

2 With wet hands or an ice cream scoop, form meat into about 16 plum-size balls and space them out in a 13-by-9-inch baking dish, or, if you have one, a mini-muffin tin. Bake until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.  To use as an appetizer dish, form walnut sized meatballs and bake about 10 minutes.

3 While meatballs bake, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until they just start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute, then add the minced chipotles, the can of tomatoes, oregano or mint, and beef broth. Mix well and add salt to taste. If you want more chipotle flavor, add the reserved chipotle sauce spoonful by spoonful, mixing and tasting between spoonfuls. Boil the sauce uncovered as the meatballs cook.

4 When meatballs are ready, put them into the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thin for your taste, continue to boil it down for a few minutes. Otherwise, serve with rice, tortillas or polenta. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

Yield: Serves 6-8.

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One Year in the Yakima Valley Wed, 21 Aug 2013 18:31:00 +0000 Before we get all excited about harvest and crush in September, here is a snapshot of our year in the Yakima Valley, verbiage courtesy of a rediscovered vintage Visitor’s Center brochure.

Spring, First Signs

IN THE VINEYARD: Buds begin to swell, budbreak, and the vines begin to show the new season’s green. Cover crop and grasses begin to grow and surrounding orchards bloom.
IN THE CELLAR: Bottling wines for summer wine releases (fresh and fruity white wines, dry roses) and young reds for fall release. Warmer temperatures encourage the red wine barrels to complete their secondary, or “malolactic” fermentation.

Summer, Grow Grow Grow


Vines flower and their delicate scent perfumes the air. Grape clusters “set” and begin to show this vintage’s crop. Winemakers take advantage of the warm weather to check out the upcoming crop in the vineyard.
Red grapes color up after going through “Veraison” and begin to soften and build grape sugars. Toward the end of the summer, the varietal flavors are apparent and sampling for harvest maturity begins.
Fall, The Action Begins
IN THE VINEYARD: Harvest begins! The entire year’s crop will be harvested between September and November. If you’re lucky, you can see some of the activity and share in the excitement of a new vintage.

IN THE CELLAR: Fermentation turns the cellar into its own “aroma-therapy” center. Yeasty, fruity and delicious aromas are everywhere.
Winter, Peace & Quiet
IN THE VINEYARD: Frost generally drops the last leaves off the vines, and they descent into dormancy for the winter. The bare vine architecture is in stark contrast to the way they looked in mid-summer with lush, green leaves.
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Let’s Chill… Wed, 07 Aug 2013 23:32:00 +0000 It’s hot out there! Like, 90 degrees outside hot. All the more reason for a chilled, crispy glass of something delicious.  If you’re strapped for time or if you’re not, Dr. Vino has you covered. Here are his best tips for getting that wine from zero to chilly in no time:

Two Mountain rocking the ice bucket

Fast: Contrary to popular thinking, sticking it in the freezer is not the fastest way to chill wine. There’s simply too much air in the freezer; air doesn’t wick heat away as fast as water.

Faster: Add a gel sleeve to the wine bottle in the freezer. Getting something cold touching the bottle transfers the cold to the wine faster.

Fastest: Get a bucket and fill it about half full of ice. Then add the coldest water you can get from the tap, filling the bucket to about 3/4 full. Now you have something approximating the ice floes of the Arctic–in fact, add salt to the water to decrease the liquid range of the water to below 32 degrees. Submerge the bottle in the bucket. Stir or swirl for fastest results.

See more here.

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Cowboys & Wine Sat, 20 Jul 2013 22:51:00 +0000 In late June we had the privilege of joining K Bar L for their Wine in the Wilderness retreat—where we tasted and paired wine, rode horseback, and enjoyed the gorgeous sweeping Montana views. It was an unforgettable weekend. In honor, a cowboy poem.

Mornin’ on the Desert
Mornin’ on the desert, and the wind is blowin’ free,
And it’s ours, jest for the breathin’, so let’s fill up, you and me.
No more stuffy cities, where you have to pay to breathe,
Where the helpless human creatures move and throng and strive and seethe.

Mornin’ on the desert, and the air is like a wine,
And it seems like all creation has been made for me and mine.
No house to stop my vision, save a neighbor’s miles away,
And a little ‘dobe shanty that belongs to me and May.

Lonesome? Not a minute: Why I’ve got these mountains here,
That was put here just to please me, with their blush and frown and cheer.
They’re waiting when the summer sun gets too sizzlin’ hot,
An’ we jest go campin’ in ’em with a pan and coffee pot.

Mornin’ on the desert– I can smell the sagebrush smoke.
I hate to see it burnin’, but the land must sure be broke.
Ain’t it jest a pity that wherever man may live,
He tears up so much that’s beautiful that the good God has to give?

“Sagebrush ain’t so pretty?” Well, all eyes don’t see the same,
Have you ever seen the moonlight turn it to a silvery flame?
An’ that greasewood thicket yonder — well, it smells jest awful sweet,
When the night wind has been shakin’ it — for its smell is hard to beat.

Lonesome? Well, I guess not! I’ve been lonesome in a town.
But I sure do love the desert with its stretches wide and brown.
All day through the sagebrush here the wind is blowin’ free.
An’ it’s ours jest for the breathin’, so let’s fill up, you and me.

The author of “Mornin’ in the Desert” is unknown, though the poem is sometimes attributed to John R. Nielson. This poem was published in a single-author collection of poetry published in Arizona in 1910, called “Songs from the Sage Brush” by Katherine Fall Pettey. The poem was also featured in an episode of the old radio show called “Death Valley Days” as well as used in many periodicals, newspapers, books throughout the 20th century, and recently has had an upsurge in popularity on webpages on the internet.  
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Complex and Elusive: Mouthfeel Wed, 17 Jul 2013 22:03:00 +0000 This is a post about body and mouthfeel. Whoa…! Easy killer. This is a wine blog! We’re talking about the texture of wine here…

Creamy, rich, smooth, silky, juicy, supple, viscous, lean… These days, balance, body, and astringency (all factors contributing to the texture of wine) are right alongside aroma and flavor as factors leading consumers buying choices. Said some Pacific Northwesterner somewhere: It’s all about the way it feels.

Contributing market trends, nationwide:

–         Steady influx of new wine consumers who are demanding “smooth” wines—more inclined toward fruit and silk and less so leather, cigarbox, or firm tannins.
–         Consumers who are not aging their wines but drinking them relatively quickly after purchase—a turn toward winemaking techniques that “do the cellaring” for them.
–         Trend toward high-extract, high-alcohol reds, adjusting winemaking techniques so that high tannin levels don’t stick out.
So how do we go about catering to this in our highly tannic Washington state? Here are some of the traditional techniques:
–         Malolactic fermentation (the effect that made California Chardonnay famous) produces a broader, fatter mouthfeel by transforming sharp malic acid into gentler lactic acid.
–         Barrel aging can add oak tannin for structure and, over time, increase roundness through evaporation and concentration.
–         Yeast additives, which break down and contribute to a creamy texture.
–         Residual sugar, a natural mouthfeel enhancer (think dessert wines), can make wine feel full, like syrup. Even a half percent more residual sugar can change the entire feel of the wine.
Matt’s philosophy is that mouthfeel is predicated on how everything is in balance—alcohol, acid, fruit, oak. Harvest decisions play a lot into it—too early, more acidic; a bit later, lower acid, etc. We do a bit of experimentation every year with the yeast we use, must mostly for the purposes of creative exploration.
So when you walk into a winery with mouthfeel on your mind, go forth! Be not afraid of that elusive but oh so important quality of the you consume. And use some fancy words while you’re at it:
–         Weight (viscous, full, thin, watery)
–         Texture (syrup, creamy)
–         Heat (hot, warm)
–         Irritation (spritz, prickle, tingle, pepper, chili)
–         Dynamic (puckery, chewy, grippy, adhesive)
–         Harsh (hard, aggressive, abrasive)
–         Patriculate (talc, clay, powder, plaster, dusty, grainy, chalky, sawdust)
–         Surface Smoothness (furry, fine, energy, velvet, suede, silk, chamois, satin)
–         Complex (soft, supple, fleshy, mouthcoat, rich)
–         Drying (numbing, parching, dry)
–         Unique (green, sappy, resinous)
–         Acidity (metallic, steely, sour, soapy)
–         Flavor (concentration, activity, lift)
[developed by researchers at the Australian Wine Research Institute]


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Punching Down Tue, 09 Jul 2013 21:53:00 +0000 WARNING: Muscles required.
There is a point in the wine-making process, after crush and when fermentation is just beginning, that muscles are required. Not that they aren’t required throughout the rest of the year for basically everything that is done around here (lest I am remiss)… but it is during this time that they are put to the test: can you punch down with the professionals?
Since the color and most of the flavor in red wines is derived from the skins, it is important to extract as much as possible from fermentation. The creation of CO2 during fermentation causes the skins to rise, forming a cap. The cap needs to be pushed down and broken up so that the color, flavor and tannins can be extracted by the fermenting juice. The more aggressive you are about breaking up the cap, the more wine will be extracted, dark and tannic. Other than enhancing the flavor and a great upper body workout, here are reasons to punch down:
–      During the early stages of fermentation, it helps introduce oxygen to yeast cells, helping them “kick start” fermentation
–       It helps keep harmful bacteria or mold that could ruin your wine from forming
–      It helps dissipate heat that naturally occurs during fermentation—left alone, the cap can reach high temperatures

At Two Mountain, like most wineries punching down by hand, we use what looks like a life-size potato-masher to push the cap down, break it, and submerge it again. Here, we punch-down at least twice per day (once in the morning and once before bed). Each bin gets about a week and a half of punchdowns—which, depending on when the bins come in, lasts from two to eight weeks. It is not an easy task!
If you’ve ever attempted to make a red wine at home, but the finished product lacked color, taste, or astringency, changes are your wine could have benefited from doing punch downs—something to keep in mind.
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