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Trinitas Cellars Blog
Welcome to the Trinitas Cellars Blog! We hope you join us for frequent updates on our vineyards, production, tasting room and wine education.
Part VI: Lafayette to Baton Rouge
Tough to wake up this morning… Betsy probably tattled on me about the shenanigans we got into last night with Bonnie, but what a fun time! It was a short stay in Lafayette, but a good one! Betsy and I woke up and gathered our bags (we did a very poor job of packing “lightly” for this trip)! Bonnie was so kind as to make us both some delicious eggs, perfectly seasoned with Tony’s Creole seasoning (one of my personal favorites in the kitchen at home) and bacon! We enjoyed breakfast together and then had to hit the road to head to Baton Rouge.
The morning was beautiful, the sun was shining and we entered Baton Rouge just before 11 am, pulling into downtown and seeing the old capitol building and some other beautiful architecture. Our first stop was right in the heart of it, The Little Village. We went straight there where we met up with Paul Bologna himself and one of his reps, John, who we would be spending the day with. We tasted through the wines with Kevin at the Little Village, who funny enough, grew up in the same area as Brandy and knew her growing up. We exchanged stories about our adventures out in Lettsworth over the weekend and were excited to share some of our newer releases with Kevin.
Next, we headed over to Maxwell’s Market where we met owners, Catherine and Ron. Catherine had actually played a big role in helping Trinitas get to the Louisiana market and we were definitely excited to meet her in person to thank her. Catherine saw my dad speak on EWTN one night and texted Paul Bologna at about 10 pm to ask him to get some of that Trinitas wine! As luck would have it, Paul actually already had Trinitas samples in his office that had been sitting there for four months and he just needed a sign to actually try them out!
After catching up with Catherine, we headed over to Bistro Byronz, a newer restaurant with a great lunch and dinner menu. We met with Emilie, the owner there and were excited to show her the new 2013 Proprietors’ Reserve Chardonnay. We also enjoyed a delicious lunch and it was nice to spend some time talking with Emilie; her family and Paul’s family go way back so we also learned a little bit of the history of the wine distribution industry around Louisiana.
For our next stop, we ventured over to French Market Bistro and tasted in the bar there. The front of the restaurant has a great display of wines and we were excited to see a few bottles on the rack that we recognized. The 2012 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon was tasting quite delicious today!
Being that our family still owns and operates grocery stores in Michigan, this next stop was a fun one for me. We visited Alexander’s Highland Market, an independent grocery store. The wine selection was extensive and Betsy and I got a little lost just looking around at all of the variety! Definitely somewhere we would love to shop around for groceries or wine.
We met with Jesse and headed upstairs to taste. While we were tasting, all of a sudden all of our phones started blowing up at the same time…. What in the world?! We all looked at them to see what the racket was all about and saw an emergency alert “FLASH FLOOD WARNING” for our area… that’s odd, it was sunny all morning and even sunny when we walked into the store. The room that we were in above the market had no windows, so we couldn’t see outside, but sure enough, within minutes we could here the thunderous down pour of rain on the roof. I pulled up the radar on my phone to see what was going on….
Not eager to go back outside, we took our time talking about the wines and tasting with Jesse before finally venturing back outside. By the time we left, the only evidence of rain was the water on the ground… guess we just missed the worst of the rain!
We made one last stop for the end of the day at Maxwell’s Market on the other side of town. We dropped in and said hi and met Trent there but he didn’t have enough time to taste wine with us so we did not stay too long. Great little market though!
John dropped us off at my hotel in downtown Baton Rouge. Nice place with a great location, we freshened up a bit and Betsy decided it was time for an afternoon beverage so we ventured out for a walk around town and stopped at PJ’s coffee shop. Apparently PJ’s is a Louisiana coffee chain. Betsy got the Ginger Peach iced tea and I tried an iced cappuccino. Both were delicious!
John picked us up a few minutes later and we headed over to Bin77 for our Trinitas wine dinner! Betsy and I were particularly excited since we knew many of the attendees that had told us they were coming and had heard great things about the restaurant! When we arrived, we met the owner, Brian, and his wife, Tiffany, and he showed us around the place, including their new expansion next door.
As part of the new expansion, there is a private loft space above the bar that seats 24 people which is pretty neat! Brian had hoped to have the Trinitas wine dinner up there, but due to the number of RSVPs, there was not enough room! Nervous about the weather, they had moved the dinner back and forth from inside to outside and back and finally settled on risking it and having the dinner outside in the courtyard, praying that the rain would hold off!
We could not have asked for a better night! The skies stayed clear, the air cooled off and we had live music and incredible cuisine all perfectly paired with great company and great wine!
The menu was amazing… I won’t even try to describe and these pictures probably won’t do it justice, but well done!
Betsy and I truly enjoyed spending time with some dear old friends as well as some of our newer friends, including the FIRST official members of the newest level of the Wine Society, the Proprietors’ Club as well as some of our most loyal Trinitas friends and Fidelis members, Joe and Paula:
This crowd was too much fun! I am maybe a little bit glad that they put the dinner outside so that we were not too loud for other guests. We even had some of Brandy’s friends and family who we partied with on Saturday come and share in the evening with us:
We were happy to share a wonderful evening with all and look forward to returning to Bin77 again. After the dinner, Betsy had to head back to New Orleans for a 6 am flight out. I am bummed that this is the end of our trip together as we have had such a wonderful time enjoying the company of our Louisiana friends and Trinitas family here. I’m staying in Baton Rouge one more day to visit some more places and for another fun wine dinner tomorrow night. Betsy is headed up to Indiana for a wine dinner tomorrow at Sorin’s at Notre Dame. Wish we could both be in two places at once as both dinners should be a lot of fun!
Part IV: Larose to New Orleans
It was bittersweet to leave Larose this morning. Betsy and I enjoyed a nice breakfast with our friends, Karrie and Todd and loaded up our car to head back to New Orleans. We made good time and checked into our hotel early and met one of our distributor reps, Kevin to begin a day of exploring the city and showing off some Trinitas wine!
Our first stop was Herbsaint on Saint Charles Avenue. The menu looked delicious featuring authentic Southern cuisine with a French and Italian influence. We enjoyed tasting through the Trinitas wines there and can’t wait to return for some cuisine!
Next we ventured over to Palace Café. The rain started coming down and parking was a challenge, so Kevin so kindly dropped us at the curb so we did not get too soaked! Palace Café has this great outdoor seating area right there on Canal Street which is perfect for people watching and many were out there enjoying a morning cappuccino and pastry while watching the rain. We loved that you could peek into the kitchen from the restaurant and see the chefs working on the fresh baked pastries and breakfast! Yum!
After visiting Palace Café, we headed over to a great little lunch spot, Chef Susan Spicer’s Mondo. We enjoyed a delicious meal there; I had the fish tacos which paired very nicely with our 2010 El Dorado Zinfandel. The menu featured a lot of great flavors and variety!
After lunch, we ventured into the French Quarter to stop at a historic building, the Royal Sonestra Hotel. Inside of this beautiful hotel is an amazing restauarant called R’evolution. We were immediately awed by the meat fridges displaying the charcuterie that is prepared in house and the beautiful display kitchen where you can watch the chefs at work while you are enjoying your cuisine. We were excited to get a sneak peak of the restaurant because actually I had already planned to come here for dinner based on a recommendation from one of our friends and Wine Society member.
Staying inside the French Quarter, we ventured over to Muriel’s Jackson Square, a great little spot on the corner of Chartres Street with another delicious menu of creole and other authentic Louisiana fare. The building itself was full of history and tells a great story of Louisiana as it was once a “grand residence” due to its prime location and beautiful architecture.
After visiting Muriel’s, Betsy and I had the great opportunity to meet Tim McNally and join him for his daily, Dine, Wine and Spirits radio show on WGSO990. We enjoyed chatting with Tim and could instantly tell why he is so popular in the city of New Orleans! He made us feel right at ease and it was a blast chatting with him and learning about New Orleans through him and introducing him to our wines.
Check out our broadcast here, fast forward to 1:01:45 to listen to our segment:
Funny enough, Tim is actually headed to Destin at the end of the week too, so I will be reconnecting with him Friday for another radio show. Stay tuned!
After we left Tim’s show, we headed back to our hotel to freshen up before we walked back down to the French Quarter via Bourbon Street. Betsy and I returned to R’evolution for our 8:15 pm dinner reservation. It was a full house on a Monday night which was fun to see and we were excited to check out the menu as we had received several recommendations of what to order.
For our “appetizer”, Betsy and I split the “Death by Gumbo” which was a roasted quail stuffed with sausage and rice and then covered in gumbo. Absolutely delicious. Next, we ordered the “Pig Out Board” which was a sampling of all of the in-house charcuterie. This board brought Betsy and I right back to our travels to Italy and made us wish we had brought some of our Trinitas Amarone with to pair! We didn’t have it too rough though, as Betsy had picked out a bottle of our 2012 Martin Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy with our dinner.
For the main course, you know me, I couldn’t resist and had to order the Bone-in Filet and Betsy was kind enough to share some of her scallops and Foie Gras with me. Wow, what cuisine! We tried to escape without overindulging on dessert, but the pastry chef provided us with a fun little box of sweets including some delicious chocolates and bites.
After our delicious meal, it was time to walk a little bit to digest. We took a stroll down Bourbon Street just to see what all was going on. For a Monday night, it was pretty darn busy! Lots of live music, dancing and drinking! We wandered around and came back to Bar Vin, a quieter little wine shop recommended to us by our friends who are part of the Krewe of Cork. We enjoyed a night cap before calling it a night and heading back to our hotel!
Day 2: New Orleans to Lettsworth
Betsy and I woke up well rested and ready to go for our first full day in Louisiana. What’s the best way to start a day in Louisiana? Crawfish for breakfast! We both got omelettes with crawfish before heading out for the drive to Lettsworth.
Where the heck is Lettsworth? Yes, most people in Louisiana probably don’t even know… it’s about an hour Northwest of Baton Rouge. Why visit Lettsworth? Well, this weekend also marks the 7th anniversary of our winemaker Kevin and his wife Brandy. Brandy actually grew up in Lettsworth, Louisiana and her family is all still there. In celebration of their 7th anniversary, Brandy and Kevin threw a big party so that they could open the 27L Titanic bottle of 2005 Petite Sirah from their wedding day.
We couldn’t miss this opportunity to meet Brandy’s family, celebrate with Brandy and Kevin and of course I was curious to taste that 2005 Petite Sirah after almost 10 years!
The drive took about 3 hours and we learned that Google Maps is not servicing the state of Louisiana very well because we accidentally passed their house unknowingly and had to turn around to find it. Once we pulled in we knew we were in the right place; the band was rocking and the crawfish were boiling and as we walked up the driveway we could hear a whole lot of Louisiana twang!
Immediately I saw that the 27L was already open and freely flowing… I was impressed that Kevin had gotten the cork out of the bottle with one pull, no easy feat if you have ever tried to uncork one of these large format bottles, especially since it had been in the bottle for 8 years!
I couldn’t take the suspense any longer, I grabbed a glass and first sip…. it’s good!!! The party is on! We’ve got work to do! Time to play “drink the wine”, a very popular party game.
It wasn’t long before we heard the call from Papa, “crawfish are ready!”
Being that we Trinitas folk are professionals at eating crustaceans with seven years of practice at our own Trinitas lobster feeds, I felt pretty confident in my crawfish shelling and eating abilities. We headed over to the tables to grab a spot to begin shelling and eating!
Per usual, Betsy just wanted to eat the crawfish and not shell them, so I had to do all the hard work… We also learned that the Petite Sirah pairs pretty nicely with the spicy crawfish!
Not only was this a very authentic crawfish boil, but even better, the sweet corn in the boil was straight off of Brandy’s family’s farm. Now, that is how it’s done!
Once we had our fill, we checked out the music and did a little bit of dancing, and more drinking, of course! Some of the other Louisiana cuisine that we learned about and enjoyed were Boudin balls, this crispy bite of jambalaya rolled into a ball and fried, what’s not to like? We also got a taste of delicious spiced pecans and cracklin’! I am pretty sure we are not going to leave Louisiana hungry! Despite a few little mosquito bites, we enjoyed partying until the sun went down and relaxing on the farm.
Looking forward to the next Louisiana adventure tomorrow!
As our crew worked hard this morning to bring in the last bit of Petite Sirah, we are happy report that the 2014 harvest season has come to a close! Even though the weather cooperated for the most part and brought us great fruit, this harvest has been challenging logistically speaking.
This is the earliest harvest most vintners can remember. This is Trinitas’s 13th harvest, and definitely the earliest we have ever seen. We found ourselves picking grapes three to four weeks before we normally do and the fruit is coming in ripe and delicious. Bud-break began in February and the warm dry weather was consistent through the rest of the harvest season bringing us a harvest in August and September with only a few vineyards left to pick in October.
The earthquake hit right at the onset of harvest which really threw us all for a loop, and made everyone extremely busy. Normally this time of year is very busy with preparing for harvest, but cleaning up the mess of the quake made it even more hectic! We were forced to push off some of our picks, organization in the cellar was a challenge, and clean up took about three weeks until it was totally finished. While we were still cleaning, we had to worry about incoming fruit, crushing, fermentations, and also make sure we still got out to the vineyards to check on fruit to be picked later. On top of that, barrel management is always difficult and many barrels that were empty ready for incoming juice were destroyed in the quake so we had some last minute scrambling to find new barrels. Even after the initial sorting, and only after filling we determined there were still compromised barrels leaking and we had to rush to find replacements and repair damaged ones.
This time of year is always a challenge to find oak, but it was worse because everyone was scrambling to replace barrels that were damaged. On top of all of that, it would have been a grueling harvest anyway since it was one of the more compacted harvests in recent memory, 2012 would be comparable but still was not even as quick as this harvest. This means a lot of fruit was ready all at the same time and some days we were picking four to five different blocks when normally we peak at two to three in one day max. That put more stress on the cellar crew but they made it through with shining colors! The good news for the cellar team is they will get to take their post-harvest vacations way earlier this year…and that R&R is much needed and definitely deserved after this unforgettable fall.
Also amazing is the fact that this is the third good vintage in a row. Usually you have a stellar year then a few “decent” years and sometimes even a bad one, but 2012 and 2013 are stellar vintages and thus far from what we have seen and tasted 2014 is going to deliver some delicious wine as well. Here’s to hoping for a fourth amazing year in 2015!
Thank you to our cellar crew, our harvest crew, our vineyard management team, and the hardest working winemaker in the biz, Kevin Mills.
Thank you to everyone that called, sent notes, checked in with us and visited over this crazy harvest. It is because of all of you that we continue to produce these wines, and we look forward to seeing you the next time you are in town!
Join me at 4 pm as we taste with CellarPass TV live at Hall Wines.
Tweet with us during the tasting @trinitascellars using #CellarPassTV
Bula! Or "Hello" rather! Greetings from Fiji!
If you hadn't already heard, I got married on June 14, 2014 to my beautiful wife, Betsy, and we danced the night away at the Meritage Resort & Spa, home to our Trinitas Cellars tasting room and vineyard in Napa. It was a perfect day and we are currently on our honeymoon across the Pacific Ocean in the tropical paradise of Fiji!
While we have absolutely loved the local rum and the hospitality of the people here, but we couldn't help but bring a little bit of our own Trinitas wine to share and enjoy on the beach while watching the beautiful sunsets!
Hope to see you back in Napa when we return!
All the best, Garrett & Betsy
I'm always excited about Auction...it is one of the best weekends of the year when all the vintners come together to showcase our great Valley, great wines, and our big hearts. This year is particularly exciting to me because I missed half of last year's Auction to attend a good friend's wedding. This year at the Barrel Auction, Trinitas Cellars is excited to be featuring a brand new single vineyard Cab that we are going insane over! And on top of it all, my fiancee, Betsy and I get married just one week after Auction! Here is a picture of Betsy and I kicking off the celebration at the Vintner's Auction Preparty luncheon:
Last year was a record year and blew the previous record away which is just proof of how incredibly our neighbors and supporters are and we are hoping to top that and the excitement to do so is electric! Happy Auction and we hope you can come to Auction next year and many years to come!!!!
April was a big month for Trinitas. We made our first ever appearance at VinItaly in Verona. This was such a unique opportunity for us to get in front of the world and show off our wines as well as a chance for us to spend more time with our dear friends, the Fumanellis.
The Fumanelli family has been involved in wine for centuries! Since 1470, the Fumanelli family has been growing grapes on their property and also been involved in making amazing wines, true to the Valpolicella Classico region. Keeping it in the family, Federico Fumanelli, Armando’s oldest son, is getting even more involved in the family wine business and wine sales, similar to my own parents recruiting me to help run the family business in 2010.
While visiting the Fumanellis, Betsy and I got to do a vertical tasting of five different Amarone wines from barrel, starting with the recently barreled 2013 vintage and working back five years to the 2009 vintage with the guidance of the Fumanelli winemakers, Flavio and his son, Damiano.
We really enjoyed visiting Italy, but what was particularly unique and inspiring about this trip was working with Federico and Damiano. Even though we come from different sides of the world, we had a lot in common as the next generation of wine in our families. The three of us are all working to continue our families’ legacies in the wine industry and continue to grow our global reach and share our love of wine.
Greetings from Verona. I am here with Armando and the rest of the Fumanelli winery team preparing for our big international debut at VinItaly. It is such an exciting time to be in Verona as there are months of preparation that go into the event and there will be thousands of wine producers from near and far pouring wine in the historic city of Verona.
This year marks a very special opportunity for us as our dear friends, the Fumanellis, have invited us to pour along side them at the exhibition. I am so excited to meet wine lovers and enthusiasts from all over the world and show them the Trinitas wines that so many of us love and share.
VinItaly starts on Sunday officially, so in these days of preparation. Armando and Roberta have show my fiancée, Betsy, and me all the best places to eat delicious local salame, prosciutto, pasta and more and also where to try other great Amarone wines!
Another great part of being in Verona during this time is that we get to see the vineyards that produce the grapes for our Family Collection Amarone grow and develop. We are just starting to see the signs of buds breaking and shoots about to emerge! A very exciting time indeed.
Just over a year ago we hosted the Fumanellis at Trinitas in Napa for "Napa Meets Verona" where we brought the local music, cuisine and wine of Verona to Napa. Tomorrow the Fumanellis are hosting more than 50 people at their home, Squarano, for "Verona Meets Napa" featuring music, cuisine and Trinitas wines from Napa! We are very much looking forward for this chance to make new friends and continue to share our love and passion for wine with others. Here is a picture of Squarano, where we will have the dinner event tomorrow:
Well, I'm on the road again... this time in Florida! At least it's a lot warmer than the week I spent in Michigan last week! I'm with our great Florida distributor, Unfiltered Unfined Wines and yesterday we stopped by a great little place, Petty's Meat Market in Melbourne, Florida. I met with Hunter and we tasted through some of our Trinitas favorites. Petty's has a wide variety of Trinitas wines on its shelf, including our Proprietor's Reserve Chardonnay and Mysterium, as well as some new additions to the shelf with our Apprentice Chardonnay, Old Vine Zinfandel, Meritage and Moscato! To anyone in the Melbourne, Florida area, this is definitely the place to go to please any palate. Thank you Hunter and Petty's for having me and I hope that we can return the favor and host you in Napa soon!
Petty's Meat Market - Babcock Location - 1616 South Babcock Street, Melbourne, Florida - (321) 725-0400
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