Mike Willison
 
February 27, 2015 | Mike Willison

The REX HILL Thistle

The thistle has long been a symbol for nobility of character.  The Order of the Thistle is the highest chivalric order of Scotland.  It is associated with tenacity and strong will — those who wound it are punished.  It is an example of the delicate balance often found in nature between beauty and something prickly. The sharp spines and pricklers protect against the trespasses of anyone attempting to pluck away its beautiful flower heads or to eat it. Many species attract goldfinches and are nectar sources for bees and butterflies.  The thistle has a tenacious grip on the land that supports it, and a defiant ability to remain and flourish in spite of efforts to remove it. 

We incorporated the thistle into our REX HILL logo to represent our determination to make wines of the highest quality regardless of obstacles. The gnarly vines, looking like dead wood in the winter, pull nutrients from deep in the soil to bud and grow finally offering delicious, delicate berries at harvest. The thistle reflects our commitment to make beautiful, superlative wines from grapes grown sustainably revealing an evident sense of place and made without engineering.


Time Posted: Feb 27, 2015 at 11:21 AM
Tom Reed
 
February 17, 2015 | Tom Reed

Wildlife at the Winery

During 2014, I was given the opportunity to join the Finance department at A to Z Wineworks. There are many things that I enjoy about working at the winery including the people, the enthusiasm and energy, and, of course, the canines. Being an outdoor enthusiast, however, the thing I enjoy most about the winery is the significant amount of wildlife present on the grounds. The presence of these animals came as a bit of a surprise to me (although it really shouldn’t have)!

During my first three months here I have had many interesting wildlife sightings:

  1. A Yearling Male Deer: I remember one morning we had a yearling male deer meet us in the parking lot. He did not seem afraid and casually strolled into the vineyard and down a row of vines.
  2. Barred Owls & a Great Horned Owl: Another evening, I was leaving the winery and got to listen to the hooting of, not one, but two owls sitting in the pine trees near the parking lot. Then, they flew away, and I recognized them as Barred Owls. On other occasions, a Great Horned Owl has been spotted.
  3. Hummingbirds: They seem to be everywhere as they enjoy the lavender and other plants available for them to feed upon!
  4. Red Tailed Hawks: There are almost always Red Tailed Hawks (and other birds of prey, including an Osprey!) present overhead, calling to each other and playing aerial tag.
  5. Robins & Starlings: Flocks and flocks come to the vineyard in the winter and help clean up the left over fruit.
  6. Rough Skinned Newts: At the ground level, I have found these interesting amphibians.
  7. Coyotes: My highlight – listening to a group of coyotes howling and calling to each other one afternoon in the vineyard. It is one of the classic sounds in nature and always enjoyable for me to listen to.

    

I look forward to many more wildlife sightings in the Spring and the coming Summer. When you are here, I suggest taking a moment to look around and listen for the presence of wildlife, especially near the vineyard in the morning and evening hours. Chances are there may be eyes looking back at you!

Time Posted: Feb 17, 2015 at 4:19 PM
REX HILL
 
February 3, 2015 | REX HILL

Winter Wine Pairings

With the bulk of the holiday season behind us, what could be more nourishing than a simple, delicious meal in front of the fireplace and a glass (or bottle) of wine that takes the edge off a bitterly cold night. This winter, treat yourself by following these simpler winter wine pairing suggestions and you may just warm up to the winter months after all.

Roasted chicken with dumplings
This quintessential winter dish pairs seamlessly with a medium-bodied white wine that gives the cooked vegetables equal time in the flavor spotlight. The roasted chicken, hint of herbs, cooked vegetables, and cream sauce are a match made in heaven for a bottle of Chardonnay. The wine will play well against the savory flavors and yet complement the rich, luxurious texture of the sauce while at the same time keeping the dish light and vibrant.

Gruyere and apple grilled cheese
Pair it with a vibrant, fruity Pinot Gris, a medium-bodied white wine with a delicate balance of acidity and sweetness. Its crisp acidity will lighten up the creaminess of the cheese and call out the notes of the green apple folded into the whole gooey mix. Pinot Gris is grown throughout the world and tends to vary greatly depending upon its terroir. For a particularly delicious experience, seek out a bottle from Oregon and enjoy intense aromas of apple, pear, and melon.

Roasted root vegetables with caramelized onions
Whether you've looted the local farmers market or are looking to clean out the vegetable drawer, a pan of roasted root vegetables can hit all the right notes on a dark winter night. Uncork a bottle of off-dry Riesling, an aromatic white grape variety, and you'll never eat your veggies alone again. Riesling will play off the sweet notes of the caramelized onions while at the same time offering a bright acidity and lovely fruity interplay that pairs well with the caramelized, roasted vegetables.

Raspberry Chocolate Molten Lava Cake
For those looking to get their chocolate fix, nothing fits the bill better than a molten lava cake. Chocolate lava cakes are generously quite rich and savory and can pair fantastically well with a sweet rosé. Choose a rosé with medium acidity - just enough to cleanse our palate of chocolate ganache - and strong, vibrant notes of red berries such as strawberries and raspberries. You'll swoon for this duet of ripe fruit and rich chocolate as it is guaranteed to hit all the right notes.

When it comes to crafting a successful wine pairing to accompany winter fare, sometimes all it takes is a little inspiration to get started. So whether you're serving a group of family and friends, or just treating you and your sweetheart to a fireside dinner, a little advanced planning and a few simple ingredients can warm up even the coldest night.

Madeline Blasberg is a Certified Wine Consultant who has spent time in Mendoza, Argentina, where she was surrounded by wine, both personally and professionally. Currently, Madeline works as the Official Wine Commentator & Reviewer for Etching Expressions, a company specializing in personalized wine bottles.

 

Time Posted: Feb 3, 2015 at 9:56 AM
REX HILL
 
February 2, 2015 | REX HILL

February Quote

"Bees do have a smell, you know, and if they don't they should, for their feet are dusted with spices from a million flowers."
 

- Ray Bradbury, Dandelion Wine

 

Time Posted: Feb 2, 2015 at 9:20 AM