Ah Christmas shopping. It can sometimes be hard to find the perfect gift, especially for the wine lovers in your life. We've narrowed down our top ten best gifts for your favorite wine lover...or for yourself.
1. Wine Pearls - $24.95
3. Wine Tasting Flight - $64.82
5. Hex Champagne Bucket - $260.00
6. Modular Wine Rack - $90.00
7. Wine Wars!: A Trivia Game - $22.95
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Temperatures have dropped and evenings spent curled up in front of the fire are now the norm. For today's blog post we have a quick recipe for a delicious evening indulgence: red wine hot chocolate.
All else that's required is a cozy fireplace.
Red Wine Hot Chocolate
2 Cups 2% or whole milk or milk substitute of your choice (we recommend almond or soy, as these froth up the most!)
1/2 dark chocolate chips or a dark chocolate bar finely chopped
1 cup to 1 1/3 cup of red wine (use a fuller body wine, like a Cabernet or a Syrah)
Heat the milk in a saucepan over medium heat. Do not let it boil. Once the milk steams add the chocolate and stir until thoroughly combined. Stir in red wine to taste. Remove from heat and pour into mugs. Garnish with marshmallows and/or whipped cream.
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Can you believe it's getting to the holiday season? Before you know it, Christmas carols will be playing malls, we'll be bustling about finding gifts for our nearest and dearest, and we'll be planning our holiday soirees.
Over the past year, we've published several wine-themed gift guides, so today we're sharing all of them with you here. Be prepared for ideas galore for gifts for your family, friends, and associates. Just click on the photo to be taken to the original blog post for all the details!
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A trip through wine country is a precious experience. Not only do you get to taste fantastic wine, eat delicious food, and see an area of the world that is famed for its beauty, but you get a peek into the inner workings of the daily life of a winery.
No matter which wine country you visit (especially here on the West Coast) you'll encounter a variety of tasting experiences. Here are a few of the most popular tasting experiences you can encounter in your journey through wine country.
1. A stand-up tasting
This is the most common tasting experience you'll encounter in wine country. Most tasting rooms have a bar, where you'll stand during your tasting, chat with your server, and enjoy the wine. Most every winery offers this experience. It offers you the freedom to walk around the tasting room, stroll through the deck or patio (if there is one), and get photos with points of interest. These tasting fees are generally on the lower end of the spectrum, although some wineries will offer a "reserve" tasting of higher priced, upper-tier wines.
2. An informal seated tasting
This sort of tasting is becoming more and more common. Similar to a restaurant environment, a host will seat you in the tasting room for your tasting. These are very similar to the stand-up tasting experience in that you can enjoy your flight, explore the tasting room and deck, but different in that you can relax at a table or in a comfy couch while you taste through your flight. The price point of these is generally the same as the stand-up tasting.
3. A formal seated tasting
Normally appointment only and slightly more expensive, these tastings offer you a more intimate experience. You get to taste through a special flight of wine and get the undivided attention of your server. We host these every Thanksgiving Weekend at our winery in Dundee and they're such a treat. Very often you'll get served a charcuterie board alongside your wine.
4. A tour and tasting
Whether it's a tour of the vineyard, the winery and production facility, or all of the above, a tour and tasting is a premier experience. While enjoying the winery's wines, you also get an inside peek at the vineyard, production, and barrel rooms of the winery. Oftentimes, this experience will include barrel tastings and/or a charcuterie board to pair. Before you go, check the websites of the wineries you'll be visiting and see if they offer any special tours. They're the highest end tastings you can get, but the experience is well worth it.
Regardless of what tasting experience you go for, your time in wine country will be full of memories you'll treasure. Be sure to take lots of pictures!
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Every quarter we ask Jacques to write up an update on the state of the vineyard and the winery. Our fall update is always a treat because Jacques shares his reflection on harvest and crush and his hopes for the vintage! Read on for the insider scoop on the 2016 harvest at Torii Mor from the winemaker's perspective.
As expected, harvest had a very early start, we started seeing picking bins on trucks at the end of August, mostly for sparkling and the younger vines. At Torii Mor we stretched the start of harvest to September 7 when Hoy vineyard next to Rex Hill, reached 24 + brix with good flavors.
The cooler summer (compared to previous years) and the cool down at the end of August and early September allowed for great flavor development, the sugar came in high. The last Pinot Noir grapes came in on September 23rd with Kolb vineyard in the Dundee Hills. Olson Vineyard was picked on the 20th, and the Olson Chardonnay on the 29th, which was our last fruit for Torii Mor.
We have almost finished pressing the Pinot Noirs, a couple fermenters have slowed down and needed some heat and TLC, and they are on their way to be done in a few days. All the Pinot Noirs have great flavor, a cross between the jammy 2012 vintage and the fresher 2014 vintage.
The harvest crew is still active, starting the last step of harvest, cleaning all the equipment before putting it in storage until next harvest. It’s time to button up the winery for winter.
The holidays will be here before we know it and generally, holiday parties mean opening up those hidden gems we have in our cellars: old wines. Whether you've aged them yourself or bought them years after they were released, this post will help you through three steps to successfully open your precious aged wine.
Ideally, the aged wine you want to open has been stored on its side in a cool, dark, humid environment for its whole life. If you bought a wine already aged, then you can bet it's been stored well. With an aged bottle you've just received, let it sit for a few weeks before opening it to let the sediment settle.
When you've decided on your event at which you want to open your wine, stand your bottle upright to let the sediment sink to the bottom. How long you do this depends on how old your wine is: anywhere from a few hours to a month. If your wine is less than twenty years old a few hours or days should do the trick. If it's up to forty years old, let it stand for closer to a month.
When you're ready to open your wine, you have a few options. Make sure the liquid in the bottle is clear; you can do this by shining a light (like a bright flashlight or a candle) through the bottle.
If your wine is under twenty years old you can still easily use a normal corkscrew with little trouble. If it's older, or you suspect the cork is degraded, use an Ah-So. This two-pronged gadget wiggles in between the cork and the bottle and gently lifts it out in one piece.
If the cork gets pushed into the bottle whole or the cork crumbles into the bottle, don't panic. Your wine isn't ruined and there is still a way to enjoy your aged bottle.
Depending on the type of wine you're opening, a great way to separate the sediment from the rest of the liquid is to decant it. Gently pour your wine into a decanter, shining a flashlight or candle underneath the neck so you're able to stop pouring once sediment reaches the neck of the bottle.
If you're enjoying a bottle of wine that is a less-tannic grape, it's advisable to not decant, as the extra oxygen could dilute flavors and cause the wine to flop. Old Burgundy are a good example of this. However, you can easily separate sediment from the wine without decanting. Strain the wine through unbleached cheesecloth if you have high amounts of cork crumbles or sediment, or it's a less tannic wine.
What bottles are you hoping to open this holiday season? Let us know in the comments on Facebook!
One of the perks of the wine club is the delicious recipes included with every shipment. We love to do wine pairings around here, so this is a great treat to inspire a dinner during the week!
This week I'm featuring one of the recipes from our September Club shipment. If you love this recipe and want more delicious wine pairings like this, join our wine club! You get wine four times a year, get incredible benefits (like discounts, special promotions, and events), and special treatment as part of the Torii Mor family.
On to the recipe!
Beet and Chevre Tarte Tatin - Pair with our 2015 Pinot Blanc
2 Large Beets
Creamy Goat Cheese (Chevre)
1 Granny Smith Apple
Salt and Pepper
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Let chevre sit out to come to room temperature. Take both large beets in a roasting pan lined with foil, and season with oil, salt, and pepper. Wrap and cover beets with foil, and place into oven for about 55 minutes or until knife tender, let cool.
Take the apple, and cut it into thin pieces. Place into water with a little vinegar, in order to maintain color, and set aside.
Take the beets, and remove the skins, slice into thin pieces roughly the same size as the apple.
In a small baking dish, lay down first the beets to cover, then spread a layer of chevre on top, cover with apples.
Take the filo dough and cut to the size of the baking sheet. Place the dough on top of the baking dish and bake until the center is warm and the cheese is runny. Gently take a knife and cut around the edges of the pan, and flip onto a plate so that the baked dough is on the bottom. Serve hot with a sharp knife.
We're honored to be featured in a new book by Susan Gehringer, knitting and food aficionado (and a wine club member!). Her book Northwest Knits and Eats features five wineries in the Pacific Northwest, each with a paired recipe and knitting pattern. It's a fun book, filled with fun knitting patterns, delicious recipes, and several fantastic wineries from Washington and Oregon; we're so excited to be one of them!
Susan's theme for the Torii Mor chapter was the coast. The book features a beautiful shawl pattern and a delicious salmon dinner paired with our 2011 Olson Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, perfect for a seaside dinner at the Oregon coast.
You can buy the book from Susan's website, Grist Creative and be sure to stop by our tasting rooms for a special book signing and knit-a-long! Join us at the Dundee tasting room on Sunday, Oct 2, 5-8 pm, and Thursday, Oct 20, 5-8pm, in Woodinville.
And in celebration of this fantastic new release, we're featuring a special recipe from the book!
This delicious rice pilaf will pair nicely with salmon, chicken, and of course a glass of your favorite Torii Mor Pinot Noir!
Wild Rice with Cranberries from Northwest Knits & Eats
1 c. wild rice
2 Tbl. butter
½ c. sweet onion, finely chopped
2½ c. water
½ c. dried cranberries, chopped
1 tsp. salt
½ tsp. cracked black pepper
zest of ½ lemon, minced
1 tsp. fresh lemon juice
Toast wild rice in a pan over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, remove from heat and place in bowl, set aside.
Melt butter and add onion, cooking until translucent.
Add rice, water, cranberries, salt, and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until rice is tender, approximately 60 minutes or as instructed by the package directions. During cooking, add more water if needed to keep rice from scorching.
When rice is finished cooking, stir in lemon zest and lemon juice.
craving more? get the book at www.gristcreative.com
There are a million reasons why every home cellar should have a few single vineyard Pinot Noirs. Not only are they a unique addition to your cellar, they're the sort of wine that can easily elevate a weeknight dinner or the perfect pair for a fancy dinner party. With a chameleon-like ability to pair with most any event, single vineyards should be a necessity in your cellar. Today, we're highlighting five reasons why you should have these special gems in your home cellar.
And what single vineyard wines does Torii Mor make you might ask? We have a great variety! Whether you love the funk of the Alloro, the bold Olalla and La Colina, or the ever-changing Nysa, we have something for you.