Cross-Flow Filtration

Cross-Flow Filtration – used right before we bottle the wine.

Wine is run over a thin organic membrane. The liquid parts of the wine pass through the membrane, while the particles are pushed across. Wine passed through the membrane is bottled.

We don’t always filter. But when we do, we prefer to use a Padovan 4 Chamber Cross-Flow Filtration System.

WHY DO WE FILTER?

Wine is ever-changing, even in the bottle. There is always a chance the wine can spoil. Any bacteria remaining in the wine after bottling increases the risk of spoilage. Cross-flow filtration not only removes remaining yeast particles that cloud the wine, but it also eliminates all presence of bacteria. We prefer our wine to be bacteria-free.

WHEN DO WE LEAVE A WINE UNFILTERED?

When the opportunity presents itself. For the 2019 vintage, we have two wines that are unfiltered. Our 2019 Quail Hill Chardonnay, and the 2019 Bacigalupi Pinot Noir.

Both wines went through full Malolactic Fermentation (we will talk more about this in a future post). This secondary fermentation gets rid of any unwanted bacteria.

We are extremely excited about all the changes at Cast. This is the first vintage we have used a cross-filtration system. Imagine feeding the wine through a giant sponge several times. Now imagine the wine flowing across the surface of the sponge. Both get the job done. The latter is much gentler on the wine, works more efficiently, and wastes less wine.

Cold Stabilization

Cold Stabilization – the process of cooling the wine that causes tartaric acid to form tartrate crystals, also known as wine diamonds.

WHY DO WE DO IT?

Well, as fun as wine diamonds sound, most people would prefer that they weren’t in their wine. They are completely harmless and have no taste. Oddly enough, crushed tartrate crystals are the same thing as cream of tartar, which makes snickerdoodle cookies taste better.

We put all of our white wines through cold stabilization. For 2 weeks before bottling, the wine sits in the tank at 30 degrees. The copper pipes freeze, as well as the outer coat of the tank.

Veraison

The official definition of veraison is “change of color of the grape berries”.

It represents the transition from berry growth to berry ripening. We first noticed this change for the 2020 season on July 10th in the Watson Old Vine Zinfandel Vineyard.

The green berries have zero brix (brix is the measurement of sugar level in the grapes), and the purple berries that we spotted were closer to 5 brix. We are looking for around 23 brix to harvest.

White grapes of course go through the veraison process as well, but instead of changing color, they become more translucent.

To see this process for yourself, we highly recommend visiting a vineyard in the Summer – late July or August is the best time to be able to spot this transition in the grapes.

Things are moving along very quickly this year!

Gougères with Meyer Lemon + Tarragon Chèvre

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2018 Quail Hill Chardonnay

 

THE RECIPE:

Estero Gold ‘Gougères’


Prep time: 5 minutes

Cook time: 25 minutes (per batch) yield: 36 Gougères


INGREDIENTS

For the Gougères:

1 cup water

4 tablespoons unsalted butter

1 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt

4 large eggs – room temperature

1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper

pinch of ground nutmeg

3-oz (1 generous cup) finely shredded Estero Gold Reserve* (can substitute gruyere or a quality aged parmesan)


PROCEDURE

For the Gougères:

1. Heat oven to 425F. Line three rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a medium non-stick saucepan, bring water, butter, cayenne, nutmeg, salt and pepper to a gentle boil. Add flour and stir to quickly combine (mixture will form a pasty ball very quickly). Continue cooking mixture over medium heat, stirring rapidly and working the mixture against the sides of the pan, about 1 minute. Remove from heat and transfer mixture to food processor.

3. Process for about 30-seconds to allow the mixture to cool slightly. Continue processing and add eggs, one at a time, until each is fully incorporated.

4. Add grated cheese and pulse 5-6 times until fully incorporated. Use a rubber spatula to scrape sides and bottom of bowl if necessary.

5. Transfer mixture to a piping bag or a large zip-top bag with 3/4″ cut off of one bottom corner. Pipe 1-tablespoon sized balls, 2-inches apart (12/sheet). Using a wet finger, gently push down any peaks in pastry so that balls are nicely rounded.

6. Bake at 425F for 15 minutes. Reduce heat to 325F and bake an additional 12 minutes, until golden. Remove and let cool on a wire rack. If you do not have three baking sheets, reuse the parchment and same baking sheet, allowing it to cool off slightly while the oven comes back up to 425F for the next sheet of gougères to bake.


MEYER LEMON + TARRAGON CHEVRE


INGREDIENTS

5-oz chèvre, or soft goat’s milk cheese

4-oz mascarpone or cream cheese

2 teaspoons meyer lemon zest

3 teaspoons finely chopped fresh tarragon

salt + pepper, to taste 

1 teaspoon meyer lemon juice

2 tablespoons heavy cream or half+half


PROCEDURE

1. Place chèvre/goat cheese, mascarpone, heavy cream, meyer lemon zest, lemon juice and chopped tarragon into a medium bowl. Mix well. Season to taste with salt + pepper.

2. If you plan to use a piping bag to fill the gougères, you will want to allow the cheese mixture to come to room temperature so it can be piped with ease. Otherwise, use a serrated knife to carefully slice the puffs in half crosswise and spoon 3-4 teaspoons of cheese mix into each, depending on preference. You do not want to over fill the gougères, but you do not want to skimp either… or else your friends won’t come over anymore.


Applewood Smoked Bacon + Date Jam

Recommended Pairing: Cast Wines 2017 Watson Vineyard Old Vine Zinfandel

 

THE RECIPE:

APPLEWOOD SMOKED BACON + DATE JAM


INGREDIENTS

10-12 slices thick-cut bacon

1 cup chopped shallot – onion works as well

1 large clove garlic, grated

1/2 cup coarsely chopped pitted dates

1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

1 tablespoon soy sauce

1 + 1/2 cup water

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme + 3 thyme sprigs

pepper to taste


PREPARATION

1. Slice bacon crosswise into 1/4″ lardon and cook over low heat in a large skillet. Cook until bacon is crisp and fat is rendered, 10-15 minutes. Remove bacon from pan with a slotted spoon and set aside.

2. Pour off all but 3 tablespoons of bacon fat. Add shallots and thyme sprigs. Cook over medium heat until shallots begin to brown, about 5 minutes. Add dates and stir to incorporate with the shallots. Add garlic and cook just until fragrant, about 30 seconds. 

3. Add vinegar and deglaze any brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Let simmer about 1 minute. Add water, soy sauce and freshly ground pepper to taste. Let cook over medium-low heat until the liquid has mostly evaporated and the mixture begins to gently sizzle.

4. Remove from heat and stir in remaining chopped fresh thyme. Let mixture cool for 20 minutes. (If you plan to serve on homemade crostini, now is a good time to pop those baddies in the oven!)

5. Transfer mixture to food processor and process until it forms a nice, spreadable paste, about 20 pulses.

6. Let meld at least 2 hours, or overnight for optimum deliciousness.

7. Enjoy!

 

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Thank you.

We hope to see you soon.
The CAST Team
707-431-1225

Cast Wines, Dry Creek Valley