Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Visiting Quivira Vineyards

Reprinted from the
October 2015 issue of Galveston Monthly magazine Pg 57-59



Quivira Vineyards and Winery, located in Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County, takes its name from the mythical seven cities of gold that explorers sought through out the sixteenth century. Upon visiting the estate in the late afternoon, one can easily see how the original owners could have chosen the name. The place seems to be bathed in a golden light. The vineyards are not only organic, but biodynamic; there is the sense of life happening wherever one looks.

Sitting out on the tasting room patio with the grapes looking so close to ready on the nearby vines or strolling around to watch the bees working the garden, which includes over a hundred raised beds, a pond, a greenhouse and a chicken coop, all the while tasting the array of wines that are offered would unquestionably delight any visitor’s senses. In back, the grapes are coming in from other areas and more wine is being made adding just a bit of fermentation aroma to the air out there.

Harvest time at any winery is exciting but the atmosphere was intoxicating at Quivira. The grounds are very beautiful yet feel a bit wild. The winery has been Demeter-certified Biodynamic and organic since 2005. Managing soil fertility is a prime area of focus. By composting all winery residue and using cover crops, which are tilled back into the vineyard soil, the natural fertility is maintained. Quivira's energy needs are met with a 55kW solar electric system. The winery has also been actively engaged in restoring Wine Creek, a spawning ground to Coho salmon and Steelhead trout which winds through the estate, for even longer than they have been certified organic. 

Quivira's commitment to the environment means that they must often allow nature to take its course with no repercussions. Though workers at Quivira wake up to routine destruction from wild boars foraging in the vineyards, they understand that it is a part of their area’s terroir and a bottle of Zinfandel was created to honor the bold animals with whom they share the land.

The packaging illustrates the winery's relationship to its surrounding environment with each wine featuring a label with an icon representing a different element of Quivira's Dry Creek Valley estate, such as a red-tailed hawk, a Coho salmon, or in this case, a black boar.

Here in Texas, we are some of the lucky few to be receiving this new limited bottling; be on the lookout for it in wineshops and restaurants. You can also check out the winery website at www.quivirawine.com for their complete line of fantastic wines including a more affordable Rhone-style red blend and a dry Rosé.

Wine Recommendation of the Month: 
2013 Quivira Black Boar Zinfandel from Dry Creek Valley in Sonoma County has classic aromas of ripe blackberries and baking spice with flavors of mixed berry cobbler with black pepper in the finish. Full bodied, rich, complex, bold, balanced and smooth, an excellent wine for Fall and beyond. SRP $45

Pair it with Blackberry-Balsamic Pork Tenderloin
Recipe from the Quivira Kitchen
Ingredients
4 tbsp unsalted butter
2 ea 8 to 10-ounce pork tenderloin
1 tbsp olive oil
1 ea minced shallots
3 tbsp picked and coarsely chopped fresh thyme leaves
1 cup chicken stock
2/3 cup blackberry preserves
2 tbsp balsamic vinegar salt & pepper to taste

Directions
Preheat oven to 450' F. Melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat. Rub pork tenders with olive oil and 1 tablespoon of thyme, salt and pepper. Sear pork on all sides, about 2 minutes. Place skillet with pork in oven. Roast pork until thermometer inserted into center registers 155' F, about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, melt 1 tablespoon butter in heavy medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and saute until soft, about 3 minutes. Add remaining thyme leaves, stock, blackberry preserves and vinegar and whisk until combined, about 2 minutes.

Transfer pork tenders to work surface. Scrape any juices from large skillet into cranberry mixture. Simmer on high flame until sauce has reduced enough to coat the back of a spoon, about 6 minutes. Prior to serving, remove sauce from heat and whisk in remaining butter - continuously stirring until combined. Season the sauce to taste with salt and pepper. Slice the pork on the bias into 1" thick medallions, plate with haricots verts and herbed spaetzle and spoon sauce over the top