#SonomaStrong with Two Shepherds and Roast Chicken à la Alice Waters #WinePW

Wine Pairing Weekend Group Celebrates Sonoma Winery Friends
This month, our Wine Pairing Weekend group is showing our combined support for recovery after the recent fires in Sonoma. The annual Wine Bloggers Conference was in Sonoma this year, so several of us had the opportunity to visit and see both the damage and the fact that the region is open and needs our business now more than ever! Each of our group will be featuring Sonoma wineries this month, along with some great food pairing suggestions. Take a look further down in this post for all my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers suggestions.

We saw signs all around wine country expressing strong emotions!

Three Ways You Can Help
There are three easy ways you can help with the recovery:

  1. Make a tax deductible contribution to one of the charities helping out the victims of the fires.  Here’s a good article from the local Press Democrat newspaper with links: Yes, I want to help! I made a contribution back in late October, I hope you’ll join me.
  2. Purchase Sonoma wines! This one is easy. Wines on the shelf today weren’t affected at all. In fact, over 90% of the 2017 harvest had already been completed when the fires hit. Those grapes were safely out of the fields and protected from smoke, so you won’t need to worry about future purchases of 2017 vintage wines either!
  3. Keep your California wine country visit plans, or make some new plans for 2018. I visited the area back in early November and drove extensively around Sonoma and Napa. There were very few places visibly affected by the fires. Unfortunately, the areas that were affected were utterly destroyed, that’s why they need help. The drop in tourism was insult added to injury, as many businesses needed to reduce staff due to fewer customers. Go visit!
William Allen of Two Shepherds winery

I first met William Allen, the head chef and bottlewasher at Two Shepherds back in 2012. I’ve been a fan ever since

Two Shepherds
Two Shepherds is a small winery located in Santa Rosa. The owner/winemaker is William Allen. William keeps up a full time job in Tech Sales while managing to produce an ever increasing number of small batch wines. Does this guy every sleep??  William’s interest is in (mostly) Rhone varieties which he produces in a style which is low intervention, favoring elegance over sheer power; a bit outside California mainstream.  His wines simultaneously show that warm California climate while exercising restraint – whispering instead of shouting.  I first met William in 2012 on a previous visit to Sonoma and I immediately signed up to be a wine club member. While I enjoy all Two Shepherds wines, I think William has a special touch with whites and skin-fermented whites. Each of his white wines shows the grape with great purity, never upstaged by oak, never too ripe. If you’re curious about skin-fermented white (“orange”) wines, Two Shepherds is a great place to start. The orange wines are made with restraint. They won’t smack you with their differences, they’ll invite you to give them a try.

Over time, Two Shepherds has been noticed.  Most recently, Esther Mobley published a piece in the San Francisco Chronicle titled “The 52 California Wineries You Need to Visit This Year” and Two Shepherds is on the list. If you are planning a trip to Sonoma, by all means schedule a visit and tell William hello from me!

Two Shepherds Pastoral Rouge

Two Shepherds Pastoral Rouge

Two Shepherds Pastoral Rouge Russian River Valley Sonoma County 2012 ($30 from the winery)
The blend is similar to a typical Southern Rhone red (Grenache 45%, Syrah 25%, 30% Mourvedre), but the flavors would have one guess it’s from a cooler spot.  William refers to it as an “Anti-Chateauneuf-du-Pape” and I’d agree. This isn’t a big bruiser, it’s very light on its’ feet.  As all Two Shepherds wines, the grapes are fermented with native yeast, aged in neutral barrels and handled with minimal intervention.

Eye: Clear, medium- in color. Ruby with a slightly garnet tinged edge.
Nose: Clean, fresh ripe strawberries, pepper and mushrooms
Mouth: Bone dry, medium+ acidity, lip smacking. Medium- tannin. Strawberry flavors, medium+ finish. Delicious now, this wine will improve with additional aging.

Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris 2013

Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris 2013

Two Shepherds Trousseau Gris Fanucchi Vineyard Russian River Valley 2013 ($22 from the winery)
This was a limited release. Trousseau Gris is a grape typically grown in the Jura region of France, and there is very little planted anywhere else.  Except there is a bit planted across the street from William’s farm! Subsequent harvests have been made into a skin-fermented (orange) wine, but this vintage, the wine was made as a traditional white wine. Picked early for fresh acidity, fermented with native yeast, aged in neutral French oak barrels for 7 months, racked twice, bottled unfined and unfiltered. Only 37 cases made.

Eye: A bit hazy (unfiltered), pale straw color
Nose: Clean, white flowers, light citrus notes.  Note: initially reductive, the nose cleared after a quick double decant.
Mouth: Dry, medium body, medium + acidity, but not tart. Nice floral impression with lean, medium+ finish. Excellent with roasted chicken.

 

Roast Chicken à la Alice Waters
One of my favorite cookbooks is “The Art of Simple Food” by Alice Waters. Alice is the founder of Chez Panisse and is credited with being one of the first California chefs to embrace and promote locally sourced fresh ingredients prepared simply. Many of her “recipes” are a description of an approach.  Chicken for your dinner table should have lived its’ life in the open air, pecking in the dirt. Prepare it simply with fresh herbs from your garden. That’s almost all there is to it!  It’s well worth your time to find a local farmer who raises chickens in a manner recommended by Alice.  In Minneapolis, I get my chickens from my friends at Sunshine Harvest Farm. A field raised bird really does taste “chickeny-er” compared to a grocery store product.

OK there is a little more:

  • A few hours before roasting, sprinkle the chicken with 1.5 tsp of sea salt and 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper. Place in the refrigerator
  • Pre-heat your oven to 400° F
  • Slip herbs from your garden underneath the skin. Since it’s January in Minnesota, the garden is a bit thin right now… I thawed a couple of pesto pucks made from basil in our garden last summer and worked the pesto under the chicken skin
  • Roast the chicken over a roasting pan. Start breast side up, then after 20 minutes, rotate to breast side down. Then after 20 more minutes rotate back to breast side up. The chicken is done when the deep breast and thigh are at 165° F. Judge by temperature, not by time.
  • Use the drippings for pan gravy if you desire.

Two Shepherds Wines Paired with Roast Chicken
I almost always think white wine is a better choice than red with a roast chicken even though I also always open both as a sort of challenge.  Today, I’d have to give the pairings an even tie. The Trousseau Gris had a rich, smooth mouthfeel but the acidity was right there, just a bit hidden. The Pastoral Rouge was bright with obvious food-friendly acidity, but it had a clean earthy side too, which went very nicely with the chicken and gravy.  You couldn’t go wrong here.

Wine Pairing Weekend Crew Shares Their Sonoma Favorites
Our Wine Pairing Weekend group has lots of ideas for your next Sonoma wine adventure.  If you see this post by Saturday morning, January 13, please join our chat at #WinePW on twitter from 10-11am CST!

Two Shepherds Wine with Roast chicken à la Alice Waters at www.foodwineclick.com

 

Comments
19 Responses to “#SonomaStrong with Two Shepherds and Roast Chicken à la Alice Waters #WinePW”
  1. Wendy says:

    I will keep my eyes open for Two Shepherds and you can’t go wrong with Alice Waters.

  2. Trousseau Gris is a new one for me; based on your description I’m pretty sure I’d like it. In fact, I’m certain I’d enjoy any of the offerings from Two Shepherds! Chicken looks delish, too!

  3. I love Trousseau Gris. I haven’t had many, but it is such a intriguing wine!

  4. So many wineries in Sonoma County to uncover! Thanks for putting Two Shepherds on my radar. I discovered Alice Waters when I lived in Sonoma, and she has been a guiding mentor for me in the kitchen and garden. “The Art of Simple Food” is my “Joy of Cooking.”

  5. You have loved Two Shepards wines for years. Some day I simply must try these wines!

  6. Family Around The Table says:

    The color on your roast chicken is perfect. Sonoma is such a beautiful place and I can’t wait to visit again. Sounds like a delicious pairing.

  7. culinarycam says:

    I have never heard of Two Shepherds, I’m embarrassed to say. I will need to fix that immediately. And your chicken looks spot on delicious, Jeff. Thanks for sharing.

  8. I love a classic roast chicken and Alice Waters nails it with this recipe! And the wines from Two Shepherds are incredible. Thanks, Jeff!

  9. I’m making a note to order some Two Shepherds wine once there’s no risk of it freezing in transit! The Pastoral Rouge is right up my alley.

  10. Jill Barth says:

    I wrote a bit about Two Shepherds for an into to Jerry’s RAW Wine piece – such a fascinating producer.

    Great paring, satisfying and lovely. I’m thinking January dinner is the perfect spot for this dish, these wines.

    Cheers Jeff!

  11. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    I love stories like this. How William Allen has time for two entire careers is amazing and inspiring! (also, what am I doing with my time?!) The skin contact Trousseau Gris sounds very intriguing–I’m definitely going to have to search that one out.

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