The other day I stopped in to say hi to my friend Nichole out at Becker Vineyards and had the delight in experiencing dirt. Well, not exactly dirt, but the aroma of dirt. Before you say, “gross”, just keep reading. Remember, this blog’s purpose for existing is about food literacy, learning new things, experiences and such. So keep reading, you never know when you might need this information…or not.
First of all, just being out there is always a delight. The land is a huge wide open space with beautiful views out into the vineyard and lavender fields. It calms and refreshes me every single time I go. Then there are the buildings, some historic and some new but all built with that quintessential Texas limestone with thick wood and iron accents…gorgeous!
one of the many awesome views…just wanna sit and soak it up.
the tasting room…beautiful. you must visit soon!
The vineyard/farm is owned by Dr Richard and Bunny Becker and they have produced amazing award winning wines with my recent favorite being the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, Canada Vineyards-mmmm…comforting, homey, cozy, earthy. Their wines were also served in the White House during the Bush years. The Claret is nice too.
But the other day, I got to try something new-baby wine. I happened to stop by on harvest day and Nichole was eager to show off the new baby (babies because there were more than one grape, minor technicality). Anyway, that morning, the grapes were literally picked, pressed, and ? (not sure what they call it when they pour the pressed grapes into those gigantic stainless tanks).
the pressing part
those gigantic stainless vats-where the happiness happens.
By the time I got there which was mid afternoonish, the juice was just getting settled in for the fermenting process and I was poured a tasting of baby wine. I swirled, sniffed and sipped. When I swirled, it was thick, sage colored and had texture. Sniffing is where the dirt came in. It smelled like a combination of fresh mowed grass and a garden right after the dirt is plowed and rowed with a hint of a seedling plant (you know, that green smell)…so nice! I miss having a garden and chickens…will get back to that soon!
Then there was the taste. My taste buds brought me right back to my grandmothers backyard, that would be Grandma Hilda, where she had chickens, pigs, a garden, and a huge fig tree that we got in trouble climbing up because we would jump from the top of it onto the garage roof. Grandpa would catch us in the act, make us come down, drag us inside to grandma where she would put us on our knees, in the corner…on raw rice for what seemed like weeks, years, forever. Has anyone else ever been put on your knees for punishment or were we the only tortured children? Kids today don’t have a clue! Those were the days-would give anything to go back! I miss Grandma.
These are the words I would use to describe the aroma and taste: green, fresh, soil, thick, fresh, raw. The baby wine tasted pure. fresh. real. lovely. It will probably be my next favorite.
As I write this, I’m sitting here laughing while remembering a wine class I taught years ago to a group of friends…it was just for fun, one of those girlfriend get togethers. So each girl had six glasses and we went through the basic whites and reds with the goal of demystifying wine snobbery and trying to help them understand why people swirl, sniff and sip. When we got to the part of sniffing and describing what aromas we found, one of my friends said, “well, all I smell is alcohol!” all I can say to that is: there is much work to be done! For the record, she was the same person who said Velveeta is her favorite cheese.
Experiencing the process of soil-to-plate (or wine glass as in the case) is to me, what the good life is all about. Everything real and good starts in the dirt. “..God formed man of dust from the ground…”, “and out of the ground the Lord God caused to grow every tree that is pleasing to the sight and good for food…” Gen 2: 7,9 God knows what He’s doing and I just want to soak it up.
Have a great week!
Love and butter and a little red wine,