Trinitas Cellars Blog
Last Friday the Trinitas Team visited Demptos Cooperage, who produces the oak barrels we use in our Chardonnay program. Will Jamieson, Master Cooper, was kind enough to give us a tour.
Here are a few things that we learned…
It takes almost as long for the barrel to be made as it does most wines. Good oak is air dried. It needs the optimum amount of humidity (too much and it warps, too little it splinters) and heat (too little and it takes longer, too much and it splinters).
American oak is just as good as French oak! True they are different species, and American oak does cost less, but trust us, the quality is the same. American oak is able to produce more staves per log than French as French oak is more porous and delicate. The grain must be followed exactly – it must be hand split, whereas American oak has tighter grain and can be split with less waste (meaning more barrels produced)
Oak harvesting is not detrimental to the environment. Demptos Cooperage (where we toured) gets their American oak from Missouri forests. If you were to fly over them you would see sustainably managed lush greenery – no clear cutting! As oak trees must be fully mature (think 100 years) to use for barrels, the smaller, younger trees are left alone to grow. The trees that are removed are done so in a strategic way to help prevent overgrowth and forest fires as well.
Also ... the room where the barrels are assembled, bent and toasted, smells amazing!
Bonus fun fact: We use almost all new American Oak barrels on our Chardonnay programs. Check out these wines that receive the benefits of these beautiful American Oak barrels:
Zinfandel. A grape of many styles, intriguing history and tons of versatility. I chose the El Dorado Zinfandel as my wine of the week, not just because I hail from the El Dorado/Amador areas, but because it has all three of my red wine “R”’s = rich, robust, and refined. Full bodied with juicy raspberry, black cherry and red currant with nuances of tobacco leaf and a hint of black pepper, it could be paired with sirloin steak, tomato based pasta dishes or even josh rogan. This is my wine when I need a hearty wine with hearty food!
For more on the 2010 El Dorado Zin, visit our online Wine Shop, or stop by the tasting room for a glass!
Whether you are cooking for yourself, friends or that special someone, here is a meal that will make any night special!
Fig and gorgonzola salad (Pair with Trinitas 2009 Old Vine Mendocino Zinfandel)
10 black figs but in half
1/2 cup gorgonzola cheese (cut into small cubes or crumbled)
Spinach or Frisée greens
Salt & pepper
Truffle honey (optional)
Preheat broiler or toaster oven.
Place figs on lightly greased baking sheet and broil 4-5” from the heat for 2-6 minutes (keep an eye on the figs, you want them to just start to sizzle but not blacked. The insides should be cool).
Place greens on plate, add figs and sprinkle gorgonzola over both.
Salt and pepper to taste.
Drizzle a tiny amount of truffle honey (optional) over the salad.
Vegetarian Lasagna for Meat Lovers (Pair with Trinitas 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon)
(Modified for the vegetarian from a tried and true Northern Italian Style Lasagna with Bologna Meat Sauce recipe my mother has used for years, Original recipe this is based on can be found in the Better Homes and Gardens “Italian Cook Book”, 3rd printing, 1984.))
12 ounces lasagna noodles
2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
1 1/2 cups grated parmesan cheese or 1 1/2 cups romano cheese
6 tablespoons butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/8 teaspoon white pepper
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 1/2 cups milk
For the "meat" filling
1 3/4 cups sausage style tofu, crumbled
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 cup chopped onion
1/4 cup chopped carrot
1/4 cup chopped celery
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
1/4 cup tomato paste
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 cup dry white wine (Trinitas Cellars 2011 Carneros Chardonnay)
1/3 cup light cream (optional) or 1/3 cup milk (optional)
In a large saucepan (or Dutch oven) cook tofu until browned (10 minutes).
Add undrained tomatoes, onion, carrot, celery, parsley, tomato paste, nutmeg, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper to tofu. Stir. Stir in wine and ¼ cup water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat. Boil gently, uncovered, for 30 minutes or until desired consistency, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.
Cook pasta in boiling water just until tender; drain. Rinse with cool water.
Combine cheeses in bowl.
For the sauce melt butter in saucepan. Stir in flour, pepper, nutmeg, and ½ teaspoon salt. Add milk; cook and stir until thick and bubbly (don’t let burn!).
Arrange a single layer of the pasta in the bottom of a greased 13”x9”x2” baking dish. Spread 1/3 white sauce over noodles. Spread 1/3 Tofu “meat” filling over white sauce. Spread 1/3 cheese over tofu. Repeat layers of pasta, sauce, tofu mix and cheese 2 more times.
Cover with foil and bake at 350degrees for 40 to 50 minutes.
Remove from oven. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.
Chocolate Wine Glasses (Pair with Trinitas 2010 Petite Sirah)
2 wine glasses
1 cup chocolate (I recommend milk or dark to pair with the wine)
In a dutch oven or microwave, slowly melt the chocolate.
Take a clean, dry wine glass and dip the rim of the glass into the melted chocolate.
Place dipped glass (bowl or chocolate side up) in your refrigerator.
Chill until chocolate is set (approx. 15 minutes).
Carefully add wine to glass.
Serve and enjoy kissing off the chocolate “smiles” that occur ;-)
Many of our members and patrons have recently been asking if we are vegetarian/vegan and/or gluten-free friendly. In short, yes, we are! Please read below for the specifics.
To start, let’s give some very basic definitions:
Vegetarian: Someone who does not eat meat. There is really no one type of vegetarian; some are okay with dairy products (lacto), others are okay with eggs (ovo) or consume poultry or fish/shellfish, some are even okay with gelatin (animal byproduct) or rennet (found in cheeses, traditionally an animal byproduct used as a curdling agent) .
Vegan: No animal byproducts at all (ie. honey, leather, silk, wool, gelatin, rennet, white sugar (due to it being filtered with an animal byproduct), etc).
Gluten: Protein composite found in foods processed from wheat and associated grain species, like barley and rye. Wine is fundamentally gluten free, as it is made from grapes. There are two places in winemaking where gluten may be introduced, though neither is usually used in the US of A. The first is the practice of using a flour paste to seal oak barrels. The other is the practice of fining.
Fining: Substances that are usually added at or near the completion of the processing of brewing wine, beer, and various nonalcoholic juice beverages. Their purpose is for removal of organic compounds; to either improve clarity or adjust flavor/aroma. An alternative to using animal products for fining is bentonite, a clay mineral, or gluten.
Isinglass: Substance obtained from fish. It is a form of collagen used primarily for the clarification of wine and beer.
Bentonite: Special type of very fine clay of the aluminum-silicate type used for fining.
Technically speaking all wine contains some degree of contamination of liquefied spiders, bugs, etc, so producing a 100% vegetarian or vegan wine is more or less impossible regardless of the type of fining agents used.
Now that we have covered the technicalities of what means what, let’s see what Trinitas Cellars uses:
White Wines: Isinglass from Sea Sturgeon (for fining)
Red Wine 2005 and before: Gelatin (for fining)
Red Wine after 2005 to present: bentonite (for fining)
Barrels: oak barrels without a gluten sealant
So, over the course of our history, Trinitas Cellar has employed various methods to fine our wine. Please note, that when gelatin and isinglass were used in the fining process, we thoroughly filter the wine and any residue is in the parts per trillion. In other words you consume more animal products (insects, arachnids, what have you) each day in processed foods, than you will drink in a few bottles of wine each week.
In the end, Trinitas Cellars is 100% gluten free. We are vegetarian or vegan depending on your point of view.
Also, most of the cheeses for sale in our tasting room are usually vegetarian (rennet free).
All in all, we hope you enjoy our wine!
Note about the writer: Brianna Pickens has been an ovo-lacto vegetarian for 17 years.
Halloween. Ghosts and goblins, witches and costumes, candy and …. wine? Yes, wine! Halloween isn’t just for kids anymore. Whether you are looking to give a new twist to your frightful adult bash or want to liven up your tasting group meeting, try wine and Halloween candy pairings. The options are endless but we’ve included a a short list of what we are pairing with our current wines.
Pairings with Trinitas Cellars Wines
2011 Apprentice Chardonnay with milk chocolate with orange
2010 Proprietor’s Reserve or 2011 Carneros Chardonnay with Butterfinger or buttered popcorn
2012 Rose’ary with Skittles (the red ones) or strawberry poprocks
2010 Mysterium with KitKat Bars
2010 Pinot Noir with a Milky Way (beware of this one as you may become addicted!)
2009 Old Vine Mendocino Zinfandel or 2008 RatZinger with Red Vines
2007 Cabernet Sauvigon with Dark Chocolate with Chili (it may sound weird, but the chili in the chocolate is enhanced by the tannis and makes the Cabernet taste sweeter).
2010 Petite Sirah with Dark chocolate with black currant (talk about opulent).
2010 Moscato with traditional Candy Corn