It’s July and I’m so happy that we are in the first week of this lovely summer month. The way I’m celebrating this first week of July is, of course, with food and drink. To start the month I poured myself a glass of our Albarino from my Talley growler and whipped up a Talley Farms harvest box inspired pasta using up a lot of my remaining veggies. It was the perfect pairing to start the month and will hopefully inspire my beloved San Francisco Giants to get over their “June Swoon” and start winning some games. On Tuesday, a group of us from Talley went to a local restaurant, Rooster Creek Tavern, to watch the USA-Belgium soccer game. It was great to experience the “Collective Joy” and watch the game with a group of people all rooting for the same outcome. Team USA didn’t pull off the upset, but my co-workers and I had a fun time and I enjoyed a tasty sea bass taco salad and a Figueroa Mountain Red Lager.
To continue my week, my family went to a SLO Blues baseball game. If you are ever visiting San Luis Obispo in July, make it a point to go to a Blues game. The Blues are our local semi-pro team made up of Division I college baseball players. This is one of the best family outings in our area with tickets only $6 each (young kids are free) and you can sit in stadium seating or bring your own lawn chairs and watch quality baseball. There is also great food with the Rib Line cooking up the classic central coast meal of Tri-tip sandwich, beans and garlic bread or you can do what I do and eat their award winning chili. It’s so good with either a glass of local red wine or some ice cold beer. If the Blues hit a home run, beer and wine is 1/2 off for the next inning!
It’s my dad’s birthday today and although I won’t be with him to celebrate I’ve already set aside a bottle of 1997 Rosemary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir to eat with the grilled salmon salad we’ll be having for dinner tonight. This is one of my favorite meals and here is a link to the recipe. I often drink this with one of our chardonnays but my dad is more of a red wine guy so that’s why I chose the Pinot. The big finish of the week will be spending time with some out-of-town friends. The plan is to head to the beach for some kayaking and paddle boarding, a little hiking, and of course a Fourth of July BBQ where I’ll be serving up some Bishop’s Peak 2011 Petite Sirah with Apple, Goat Cheese stuffed Turkey burgers. Their visit will finish up on Sunday enjoying Tunes at Talley with the band Proxima Parada and food truck Gusto on the Go. I’m so fortunate I work at a place that I want to hang out at on my day off. I’ll bring some lawn chairs, some wine glasses from home, lots of sunscreen and will enjoy sharing a bottle of wine and food with my long time friends.
I clearly can always find a reason to celebrate and encourage you all to fill your weeks with fun times, great friends, good food and always tasty Talley wine!
This past weekend we held our annual Estate Subscriber Program “Thank You” parties. The events over the weekend are an opportunity to give back to some of our most loyal and long term fans with some great food and exceptional wine. A few of the attendees have been Estate Subscriber members since we first started the program back in 1998! When I helped run the tasting room and wine clubs back then, I signed up a few of these members and it is always a pleasure to see familiar faces from my early days.
The weekend started on Friday for our Elite tier members, as they were treated to a fantastic dinner at Novo Restaurant in downtown SLO. They were joined by Alyssa Ball and Belinda Christensen, our Winemaker Eric Johnson, Vineyard Manager Travis Monk and of course Brian and Johnine Talley. The Elite tier members enjoyed some wonderful older vintages of Talley Vineyards wines in magnums with outstanding food prepared by the fine folks at Novo. The group had a great time and created some new friendships that are sure to last.
The fun continued on Saturday with a New Orleans themed event for all of our Estate Subscriber members. The day featured the musical styling’s of Valerie Johnson and her King Bees and local restaurant Bon Temps Creole Café provided tasty muffuletta sandwiches, red beans and rice, jambalaya and blackened salmon. Snap Cubby photo booth added to the festivities by providing Mardi Gras masks and hats to enhance the photo experience. The pictures I saw come from the photo booth were fun and funny and clearly proved members “Had a Time” while here.
We had ordered up some beautiful weather for the party, but unfortunately Mother Nature didn’t get the memo. The spring winds, which are usually manageable in the 10 mph range, kicked up a substantial notch. The blustery elements made our Bead Toss Game much more difficult, but many of our guests braved the winds and correctly calculated the trajectory for tossing the Mardi Gras beads, winning themselves a magnum of Estate Chardonnay. Of course, guests were also excited to try the current release of the Single Vineyard Chardonnays, a preview of the newly bottled Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs and many different older vintages from magnums and jeroboams. All in all, it was a great day, no one blew away in the wind and we were able to let some of our very best customers know how much we appreciate them.
If you would like to find out more about how you can join the fun next year, please check out our wine club page or contact Alyssa Ball at Alyssa@talleyvineyards.com and she can guide you through our Estate Subscriber Program options and help you join the party.
I participated in my first official harvest at Talley in 1994 (has it been that long?), the year I started here as the Tasting Room Manager in the old adobe. During that harvest we had an afternoon when it started raining and Brian called every employee out to the Rincon Vineyard to help pick some chardonnay so that it wouldn’t rot. I remember starting at the top of a row of vines, well above the ladies vineyard crew, more often cutting my fingers than actually cutting off bunches of grapes, only to be passed up by the crew who managed to finish 30 vines before I even finished my one. A very humbling experience, but a fond memory being part of that first harvest and it gave me a very early appreciation of the expertise of the folks that tend the vines on a daily and yearly basis. That was the same harvest that we had the intern Bridget, from Switzerland, who told us that she “came from a willage of vitches” and that she was a “good vitch”. After spending time with her, I did not doubt her witch skills, as she said she had put an attraction charm on herself and literally everywhere we went, men would just walk up to her and start talking even if she was already talking to another guy. Back then our full time winery crew consisted of me, Brian, Johnine, Steve Rasmussen, Jose Cuevas and Nacho Zarate. Now we are up to about 15 full time staff.
I’ve always enjoyed harvest and try and help out with punch downs whenever I get a chance. It’s an opportunity for me to get away from 8 hours at a computer and do some physical labor, all while helping out the crew who are usually exhausted and tired and consider punch downs like necessary homework. Harvest, for me, is also a way to stamp a memory on the passing of each year, given that we live on the Central Coast and seasons don’t really change. 1994, my first harvest, was the year of rain; 1995 was the harvest I was pregnant with my first child; 2005 was the year we had an abundance of crop and made an ice wine since we had to store chardonnay grapes at Glacier Ice Co. until some tanks became available. The 2010 harvest holds two opposing feeling for me...my deepest sorrow and one of my greatest joys. That was the harvest when my mom passed away after struggling with MS for years and also the harvest of the Giant’s first World Series in San Francisco, something I had waited my whole life to experience
I also mark and remember each harvest by the arrival of the interns. The bright eyed Cal Poly kids doing their required internship or the ones from New Zealand , France or Chile. They arrive energetic and excited and full of romance about “making wine”. They hit the wall about half way through, with lack of sleep and frustration from constantly cleaning bins, before regaining the energy of a job well done when the last load is pressed off and put to bed. The new crop of interns this year are Devon, Ryan and Sandy, and I know I’ll see them go through the same ups and downs as the Jackson’s, Annabell’s and Kelsey’s before them.
I will forever remember this 2013 harvest as the one I sent my first kid off to college. We’ll be taking her to UC Davis in 2 days and hopefully she will find her passion in whatever field she chooses, like I did with wine. At the time of her college graduation, I’ll open a bottle of the 2013 Rosemary’s Pinot and toast to her future. One that I hope will include a job that she can stay at for 20 years plus and look back on with great fondness over the people she’s met and experiences she’s had along the way.