Showing posts with label harvest. Show all posts
Showing posts with label harvest. Show all posts

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Drink Progressively Cookbook Dinner with Urban Grape at Harvest (Cambridge, MA)

I only recently discovered that Harvest in Harvard Square does a cookbook series, where they invite a cookbook author to prepare a multi-course dinner with Harvest's chef Tyler Kinnett. I attended one for a wine and recipe pairing book called Drink Progressively from Urban Grape, a wine store in Boston's South End. The book is co-authored by husband-and-wife TJ and Hadley Douglas (who own and run Urban Grape) along with chef Gabriel Frasca (Straight Wharf, Nantucket).
Urban Grape's concept is centered around something called the "progressive scale". The scale from 1 to 10 signifies how light or full bodied the wines are, so you can find similar wines based on what you like, or which wine to pair with a certain food.

Before dinner we started with a glass of Vermentino, which was a "4W" on the scale (a level 4 white wine).

The first course was Orecchiette pasta, chicken sausage, broccoli rabe, and pecorino. This was paired with a glass of 2014 Failla, Sonoma Coast, California. This was rated 10W on the scale, which meant a heavy, full-bodied white wine.
Harvest UrbanGrape
For the cookbook recipes, they wanted to keep everything approachable and easy to make for the home cooks, and this recipe was one of those that are easy to make yet still delicious.

Slow roasted salmon, bacon braised cabbage
Harvest UrbanGrape
The beautifully cooked salmon was paired with 2014 Lompoc Wine Company Pinot Noir fom Santa Rita Hills in California. One of the founders of Lompoc Wine Company is Rajat Parr who used to run Michael Mina restaurants' wine program.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

WineMaking 101: The Harvest and Crush

Okay, kids, let's learn how to make one of the most important fluids in the world: wine!
We're talking red wine here specifically.

I started making wine 3 years ago, when my professor at UCLA asked his students if we were interested. We bought 100 pounds of Sangiovese grapes from the Home Wine, Beer, and Cheesemaking Shop which is also a great resource on equipments and brewing nutrients.

That was the last time we bought though. That year and the years following, my prof's grape vines have started to bear fruits and we've been getting grapes from those vines.
So. First step - you harvest. Before the harvest, test your grapes regularly for its brix/sugar content. High sugar content will make much better wine (higher alcohol content)- if it is too low you have to add sugar but the natural sugar is always better. The later the harvest, the sweeter the grapes will be, but you may lose quantity.

Get the grapes in bunches and throw them in a barrel. We use the big gallon trash cans - new/clean of course! Don't worry about the stems/leaves at this point - we will get rid of those later, just get as much as you can.No, you don't have to wear funny outfits like we did. The only reason for the masks was that we were having bee problems.

Next, you destem and CRUSH.
The Home Wine, Beer, and Cheese Shop has a destemmer that will do the work for you, but in our low volume backyard process, I just crush them with my feet :)
It's been a tradition!

So destem the grapes, get rid of the leaves, throw them into a big, shallow bucket. Then CLEAN FEET in, and crush crush crush.

Once everything is crushed, measure the specific density - this will tell you the sugar content. 22 brix will give you 11% alcohol - Aim for 24 brix or so. The Shop's website also has a great list for charts etc on how much sugar/water to add to correct your sugar level.

Next you add the sulfite, tartaric acid, malo-lactic, super super food (nutrients for the yeast), and also water and some yeast. Grapes will have a white coating on its skin (see photo above) which will be covered with yeast. It is better to use natural yeast, but if there is not enough yeast you will end up with vinegar, so to be safe add some yeast.
Again, there's a chart/recipe on how much to add. People will tend to modify this based on experience, but of course I cannot disclose our secret recipe :P

We put everything in our big clean trash can. After these nutrient addition, cover the top of your crushed grapes with plastic - very important to make sure everything is covered and airtight! Air will promote the growth of bacteria and give you vinegar!

Then put on the cover for your trash can and leave it to brew for a week or so. Check the specific density every day. It should go down as the yeast is brewing, and you'd want to wait until you get as close as possible to zero.

When you hit that point .... we'll talk about it next time: PRESSING!

In the meantime, you have to get on to the most important part of the harvest .... The Feast :D
Always have a feast, with wine of course, when you're done harvesting ;)

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