Susan Higgins

Susan Higgins

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Bottling the 2011 Reserve Riesling

Posted by Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
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on Thursday, April 26, 2012
in Cellar

altThis week, Tom, Conor and I  bottled the 2011 Reserve Riesling.  It's not every vintage that we choose to make a Reserve Riesling, but this year, as we tasted through the tank samples, it rapidly became clear that 2011 would deliver a reserve offering. The actual bottling process usually happens in a single day, but the team usually spends a couple of days preparing the wines for bottling.    After the final test blends are selected, the winemaking team cleans and sterilizes 2 tanks, one for blending, and one for bottling, then create the final master blend.  The wine is then sterile filtered, and then rests while the team prepares the rest of the equipment.  Then it is on to more cleaning and preparation… the lines and the filler must be cleaned, the glass, closures and other equipment must be prepared.  Then, finally, we begin bottling the wine!

 

 

altThis Riesling bottling was special for an additional reason:  we are introducing new Riesling packaging. Historically, we have bottled much of our Pinot Noir under a glass closure, yet we never had access to Riesling bottles which were compatible.   This year, we were able to find Riesling bottles which work with the Vino-Lok closure (more to come on this)… and the glass happens to be a beautiful deep green color!  Can’t wait to see what the finished wine will look like once our labels arrive!

An Evening of Perfect Pairings at the Aurora Inn

Posted by Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
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on Sunday, April 22, 2012
in Events

Last night, we had the pleasure of partnering with the Aurora Inn for a wine dinner which featured Heart & Hands wine!   Dining at the Aurora Inn is always a treat - we feel very fortunate to have such a wonderful fine dining establishment just four miles away from the winery in rural upstate New York.  Executive Chef, Patrick Higgins is constantly reinventing the menu, using (or preserving) what is fresh locally, and creating innovative cuisine which is always flawlessly executed, beautifully presented and served with great care.  

 

This year, Meryl Davis, the Director of Training and Service, introduced the "Epicurean event" concept, which includes wine dinners as well as culinary classes.  For each of the wine dinners, Patrick and his team craft a completely new menu, with several courses custom-paired with specific wines from the featured winery.  This winter, the Inn hosted Red Tail Ridge and Hermann J. Wiemer wineries, and we were blown away by the wines and the food pairings, so see couldn't wait to see what the team at the Inn would dream up to pair with our wines!

Squab Tartine

 

The evening began with our 2008 Brut Rose - a release from our library.  Then it was on to a pan seared scallop over a fresh snap pea puree, with squid ink "caviar" paired with our 2010 Patrician Verona Riesling.  This was followed by a mussel bisque - which was paired with our 2010 Polarity.

 

After a brief Intermezzo, we transitioned to the Pinot Noir....  Lamb and Pinot Noir are a classic food and wine pairing - and one of Tom's personal favorites.  The 2010 Pinot Noir was paired with a lamb loin topped with fava beans, and a strawberry compote.  The compote was sweet and savory and complemented the lamb beautifully!

 

The final main course pairing was a squab tartine (pictured to the right), paired with our 2009 Barrel Reserve Pinot Noir - a pre-release of an upcoming wine.  The squab was prepared two different ways:  the breast was pan roasted, while the leg was braised. The meat was resting on a toasted house- made brioche, which rested on bourbon cherry jus.  Patrick and his team preserved about 40 pounds of fresh local cherries in bourbon last summer - and they were well worth the wait!  Beneath the breast, there was a mix of diced celery, onions and carrots with a mixture of herbs - which reminded me of the flavors and aromas in my mother's Thanksgiving stuffing. 

 

Caramel Cheesecake

And finally, we were treated to an amazing dessert, created by Trina Myers - the Aurora Inn pastry chef.   If you happen to visit the village of Aurora, but don't have time to dine at the Inn or the Fargo - Trina's specialties are also available at the Village Market, and at Dories in the summer.

 

This evening, Trina created a modified version of a Caramel Cheesecake - pictured to the left.  The crust was a honey vanilla tuile - a kind of dry, lightweight cookie.  The cheesecake was crafted from mascarpone cheese and bavarian cream, and had a rich texture, but was not too heavy.  The raspberry compote had nice acid, which helped to cut through the richness of the dessert, as did the 2010 Hobbit Hollow Vineyard Riesling.   

 

One of the best parts of the evening was being able to share the wine, and the experience, with all of the other guests at the dinner.  It was wonderful to see so many of our regular customers and Claddagh Club members... and we truly enjoyed meeting so many new people during the course of the evening! 

Preparing the vines for the 2012 vintage

Posted by Susan Higgins
Susan Higgins
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on Friday, April 13, 2012
in Vineyard

After a relatively mild winter and abnormally early spring weather, we are experiencing an earlier than normal swelling of the buds.  The vines were planted in Spring of 2010, and this is the first year that we might harvest a few grapes from our estate property for inclusion in Heart & Hands wines.

All of the pruning is finished, and now Tom and Conor are positioning and tying the vines to the fruiting wire.

Pinot Noir Vines:  Heart & Hands Wine Company