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Harvest 2015 update!

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Believe it or not, harvest at Castoro Cellars is almost completely over and it’s still October! For many of the smaller producers in the area, harvest has been over for weeks, which is crazy considering that we usually go through Thanksgiving. To be completely honest, not much has changed since the last blog I wrote on this harvest, and if you remember I said that typically “small harvests get smaller and big harvests get bigger,” well this one continued to get smaller.

To put it in perspective, this has been the smallest harvest, in terms of yields, that we have ever seen. Vineyards that typically give four tons per acre have given one or less in many cases. Yes, it is even smaller than the harvest of 2011 that was seriously impacted by frost. On the positive side, however, the fruit we have gotten has been of great quality and possibly the best color we have ever had.

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As I mentioned in my last post, the reason for the low yields we have experienced is not a simple one. Many people are quick to assume the sole reason for the small yields is the drought when in fact there is a little more to it than that. A big reason for the small yields comes from bad berry set/poor pollination that was a result of unseasonably cold weather in May. The cold weather, coupled with the extra stress put on the vines by the drought, teamed up to give us the most challenging and humbling harvest to date.

As always, we need to focus on the positives, and luckily there are many to highlight! In California, for example, we experienced record yields in both 2013 and 2014, which make things much more tolerable in regards to the low yields of 2015. Also, we have seen great color and quality as I mentioned earlier, and some of our blocks have gotten the ripest we have seen to date. Our Whale Rock Cabernet and Charbono are two that fit into that category and are also two of the three varietals left to be picked at Whale Rock.

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It is my hope that these blogs help you to understand what we are going through as farmers but also get you excited to experience the ever-changing vintages we produce. No two years will ever be the same and that is a big reason we love what we do. Fingers are still crossed for the el Niño and in the meantime we will be making the most of this small but intense harvest.



Grilled Sirloin paired with Due Mila Nove! Mmmm

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Greg Ehrlich is the organ player and band chef for Allen Stone. A big fan of Castoro Cellars, he periodically guest blogs exploring the relationship between food, wine, and being a touring musician.


Recently I’ve been on a tear exploring cuisines that feature fresh ingredients presented in a simple manner. I’ve been particularly obsessed with Vietnamese cuisine and how they use a wide array of fresh herbs to complement dishes, be it soups, salads or grilled cuts of meats.

This philosophy of cuisine has completely turned my world upside down in the way I approach food and cooking. For years I’d try to construct elaborate dishes in the attempt of trying to prove myself on par with the local hipster restaurants. You know the type – one type of meat with two different sauces, several different veggies each prepared and presented in a different way. It can easily be over the top. Don’t get me wrong – I love artfully and thoughtfully presented food, but when I was introduced to Vietnamese food, nothing was ever the same again. It was so (deceptively) SIMPLE. Grilled meat, a little bowl of seasoned fish sauce, and a topping of a few different herbs. Some might say basic but a complete explosion of flavor.

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After completing our summer tour, I arrived home to a bottle of Due Mila Nove waiting for me. Perfect. My first impressions upon uncorking MM9 was that the wine could hold up well to big flavors, and my mind immediately went to grilled, smoky beef. I glanced in my fridge and already had cilantro and parsley on hand. Simple. Easy. Fresh. In the spirit of Vietnamese cuisine (but realizing I had no fish sauce on hand), I decided to make a famous and very simple herb sauce from Argentina. Tonight it would be grilled sirloin and chimichurri.

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Here’s my recipe. It’s bright, easy, fresh and delicious. It pairs great with bbq beef, but also works well with chicken. Avoid the temptation to blend your herbs in the blender, and chop them all by hand. I can’t tell you why but it just tastes better.

Chimichurri (Yields 6 Servings)

• 1/2 cup olive oil
• 1/4 cup red wine vinegar
• 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, washed
• 3/4 cup fresh flat leaf (Italian) parsley
• 2 garlic cloves, peeled, finely minced
• 1 shallot finely chopped
• 1/2 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
• 1 teaspoon dried or fresh oregano
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1/2 teaspoon pepper

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Combine parsley, cilantro (and oregano if using fresh) on cutting board and cut roughly into medium sized pieces. Toss into medium sized bowl with remainder of ingredients and let sit at room temperature while bbq’ing. Even more delicious if you make it half a day in advance.

Grill your sirloin to your preferred level of doneness. Heap chimichurri on top. Generously pour yourself a glass of MM9 and enjoy.

If you’d like a recipe shoot an email ( my way or hit me up on social media and I’d be happy to share mine with you. On instagram @gregoryehrlich