Fast and Furious

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WOW!! It’s been awhile since my last blog post! I got kinda busy with harvest. What a great looking vintage this year! All of Passaggio’s fruit is in and all I can say is “Whew!”

It seems to me that this harvest was fast and furious. Everything wanted to come in at once. The only thing I had to wait on was the Barbera. Now we can breathe a little while everything gets through fermentation and pressing. I can’t wait to see how this vintage turns out. I believe it’s going to be great.

I brought in Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Rousanne, Pinot Noir, Grenache, Tempranillo, Mourvedre, Merlot, and Barbera.

Next up – bottling in February!!




Passaggio Wines

Can You Believe It?

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Here we are…in the thick of harvest!!! Phoebe will be 11 weeks old this Thursday!! The Sonoma Tasting Room is doing great! The San Francisco Tasting Room is doing great! The 2014 Harvest looks great! Have I said the word “great” yet…? I have been known to say “awesome” a lot…(thought I’d change it up a bit 😉


Just a bit tired but will keep you posted on this “awesome” harvest (there’s that word) – So far I have brought in Chardonnay, Pinot Grigio, Sauv Blanc, Rousanne, and some Pinot Noir. It’s looking good!!!

If you get a chance, stop by the Sonoma Tasting Room. We are pouring some “great” wines. Open today (Sept 15th) from 12-6pm…


Cheers to a “great” harvest

Passaggio Wines

BlogTalk Radio – CellarCast

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My good friend, Dan Goderis, better known as the Iowa Wino,  contacted me a couple of months ago to do a talk radio show. I was excited to do it but then when the show was to air, I wasn’t available. We finally were able to put the show together yesterday. Wouldn’t you know it, Dan called and said his computer shut down and he was having a hard time rebooting it. 😉 Ain’t technology grand?

I waited and waited – listening to that interesting music (well, maybe not so interesting LOL) and finally Dan was able to get his computer to work. I wish I could have seen him behind the scenes… 😉

This is what he said on his blog page. “All I can say is that old groundhog better never show his face around me. Right before we are going live for this weeks BlogTalk Radio show my internet and power glitch turned this relatively calm individual into 2 year old tantrum mode. Not only would nothing boot up quickly but it appeared it wanted to mess with me and start loading all sorts of updates. Note to self screaming at the router and laptop does not help nor does threatening to throw it in the foot of snow outside. Yes and while this was going on it was snowing outside and the poor winemaker was on hold thinking “I agreed to do what?” With music clips wiped out and the opening vanished we managed to duct tape the show together and had a fun little time. Thanks Cindy for being such a sport.

I invite you to listen and learn more about me…here’s the link CellarCast with Passaggio Wines



Passaggio Wines

Passaggio “Passionista” Cornish Hens

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I was graced with dinner from The Sassy Kitchen the other evening. She stopped by the winery to drop it off. When I got home all I had to do was warm it up…how cool is that? I love the Passaggio Chardonnay Cornish Hens. You are gonna love this recipe…I think I could even make it 😉

Straight from The Sassy Kitchen

“Passionista” Cornish Hens

2 Cornish Hens
1 1/2 Cup Passaggio Chardonnay
Salt and Pepper (or Seasoning blend of choice)
1 Tbsp Butter
Kitchen Twine
Meat Injector
Basting Brush

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Prepare the birds by drying them as much as possible. I wrap them in paper towels and pat dry then remove the towels and place on more towels while I finish the prep. A little tip I learned a few years ago is that a dry bird gives you crisper skin.

Truss the birds with kitchen twine. There are several great videos online on how to do this if you’re not sure. (Click here for one on YouTube)

Pour the Passaggio Chardonnay into a cup or small bowl.
Using a meat injector (relatively inexpensive and so handy to have in the kitchen) fill the syringe with some of the wine in the cup. Pouring the wine in a cup or container will keep you from cross contamination issues. Inject 1 to 2 syringes of Passaggio Chardonnay into each breast half. I recommend going in at different angles from the same injection spot. You will see the breasts “plump”. You can also inject the thighs and legs.  Just follow the same steps.

Season dry birds liberally with your preferred seasonings.

Remove paper towels from under the birds. Be careful to not squeeze the birds.  You don’t want to squeeze out the wine. 🙂

Place hens in preheated oven for 10 to 12 minutes then reduce heat to 350 and continue to cook for an additional 30 to 45 minutes.  Check at 30 minute point and cover tips of wings with foil if they are browning too much.  About 5 minutes before you pull them out of the oven, brush the birds with a little melted butter.  (makes them “shine” a bit)

Remove from oven and carefully cut the twine.  Check the leg/thigh area for “doneness”.  Depending on the size of your hens, it may take a little longer in the oven.

Let the birds rest for about 10 minutes, plate whole or slice and enjoy.

Passionista Cornish Hens

**Want to try a little “twist”?  Add fresh thyme leaves to the injection wine.  Be sure they are finely diced.  They will clog the injector’s needle if too large (or if you add too many)


Passaggio Pinot Noir Braised Lamb Shanks

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Cooking with The Sassy Kitchen – Passaggio Pinot Noir Braised Lamb Shanks

This evening with The Sassy Kitchen was so much fun, and a lot of people are waiting for this recipe!! So here we go…straight from The Sassy Kitchen.


4 Lamb Hind Shanks. 4 to 5 pounds total weight. *
3 Large Carrots
2 Large Stalks Celery
1 Small Yellow Onion
1 Small White Onion
5 Cloves Garlic
12 Oz Tomato Paste
4 Cups Water
2 Cups Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
8 to 10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme**
4 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper
Heavy, well sealing Dutch Oven.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.

Give the carrots, celery and onions a rough chop and smash the garlic cloves. Put them in the food processor.  Chop until you have a chunky “paste”.  Set aside.

Put flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.

Coat Dutch Oven liberally with olive oil and place on the stove over medium high heat.  You want a HOT pan.

Dry Lamb Shanks with paper towels then coat them with flour.   When the pan is hot, work in batches. Be sure not to crowd the meat and steam it – not brown it.  Brown the meat well.  Take the time to get it browned well on all sides.  Set aside to rest and cool just slightly.

Drain the fat from the pan.  You really don’t want all that extra meat fat in this dish.  Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add the vegetable mixture and salt and pepper to taste. This should be sort of searing as well.  Cook while stirring for 15 to 20 minutes.  You’ll want them brown but not burned.  Move it to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste.  Let this “brown” too.  You will see it go to a richer deeper red.  Stir both the vegetables and the tomato paste, separately for about 5 minutes and then blend them together.

Reduce heat to medium, add the Passaggio Pinor Noir and stir well.  Let the wine reduce for a few minutes.  Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and water.  Stir until well blended.

Place the lamb shanks in the pot.  They should be almost totally covered.  Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and put it in the oven.  Total cook time is about 3 hours.  Check and turn the lamb shanks in an hour and a half.  If the liquid has reduced too much, add some water. (Skim fat if needed)

Recipe steps for Lamb ShanksRemove from the oven and carefully remove the lamb shanks to either a family style serving dish or individual plates.  Spoon some of the braising liquid over the plated lamb shanks and enjoy!***

I served the lamb shanks over roasted garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes. I got the recipe from watching Lidia’s Italy. Click here for the link to Lidia’s garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes.

For the plating I also added some Chardonnay carrots.  (recipe coming soon)

Lamb Shanks
*Choose good quality meat. I buy mine from D’Artagnan.  I trust the quality and they have some great sales.  Watch for them and stock up!

** For the Thyme, either tie with kitchen twine so you can easily pull the stems out OR remove the leaves from the stems and toss them in.

***I was serving the next day so I transferred them to a smaller, cool pot and refrigerated them overnight.  They reheated well the next day.  About 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven and they were up to temperature and ready.


The Sassy Kitchen

Holiday Recipe

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During the Holidays I am reminded of my Italian grandmother and her sisters who always did all the cooking, and in later years my Aunt Mary took over…I couldn’t wait to dig in to those wonderful recipes handed down from generation to generation. They were never written but handed down by actually cooking with the older women of the family. It was always a “little bit” of this and a “little bit” of that added to a dish. No ingredient was ever measured. (except maybe in baking) I have often wondered why they never wrote those recipes down…nonetheless I still have a few in my head and I’m passing this one down to you 😉

Trying to remember some of the recipes that would pair well with my Unoaked Chardonnay I recalled the Fried Baccala Patties. This was not the traditional Baccala dish, although Grandma made that one too for the Christmas Holidays. This was something made up ahead of time and ate when anyone came to visit.

Remember, there’s no ingredient amounts…you can do it…I have confidence in you…

Ingredients you will need:

Salted Cod Fish
dried breadcrumbs
parmesan cheese (dried)
parsley (fresh and chopped)
olive oil

Soak the cod-fish in water for a few days in the fridge – changing the water a couple of times a day
Drain water and squeeze water from fish – grind fish with meat grinder
Add your eggs (usually one per pound), breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, salt and pepper, parsley
Make into patties about one to one and half inches thick
Fill frying pan with olive oil so that the patties are half-covered
Fry on both sides til golden brown – drain on paper towels

These make a wonderful seafood patty – hopefully you will enjoy them with your favorite white wine…I am thinking Passaggio Unoaked Chardonnay for mine…


Passaggio Wines

Harvest 2013 – Grapes All In

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Harvest has finally settled down. We have a few things still fermenting but all is well. The grapes looked fantastic this year! I’m predicting another great vintage! I am looking forward to sharing this vintage with you!

Here are just a few photos from Harvest 2013 – Enjoy

Harvest 2013.


Passaggio Wines