Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Wines I'm Making: Wine Chores (July 10, 2013)

In the past couple of days, I've made some progress toward finishing various wine chores I've been putting off. Following the odd rain we had at the end of June, it was important to spray the vines with sulfur again to prevent mildew. That I achieved a few days after the rain. So far, everything looks good--no signs of the mildew and the vines set a lot of fruit this year.

I racked the 2012 Cabernet that's been resting and topped up the containers with a bottle of our 2011 wine. Judging from the tastes I got while siphoning, the 2012 looks very promising. The 2011 was a bit light, but the 2012 seems to have real depth. I look forward to tasting it again after it's bottled. I'll probably bottle it around harvest time, or sometime in late October.

I finally bottled the "second-run" wine I made a while back from the pressed skins of the 2010 grapes. I've neglected this experiment--and for good reason. The wine was never very attractive. Making wine from pressed skins works. That much I learned, but the wine it makes is dull and lifeless. Having let this go so long, it has acquired an added oxidized component. It's in gallon jugs now and out of the way, but it's probably destined for the drain.

The most important chore remaining for this year is getting the nets straightened out and on the vines before this year's crop of grapes begins to show color, which should be in about a month. The nets are off the vines but tangled and full of dead weeds. I need to stretch them out, check them for damage, clean around the vines, and then get the nets back in place sooner rather than later. It's my goal for the day.

Food I'm Eating: El Molino Central--a Mexican gem (July 10, 2013)

On a fairly random drive to Sonoma the other day, I found myself hungry just as I was passing El Molino Central, on Highway 12, heading south and east toward Sonoma from Santa Rosa (11 Central Avenue, Sonoma, 95476, (707) 939-1010).

I'm sure the place has been there for years, but I've never been inspired to stop before. What was different this time? I don't know. Perhaps it was the 4th of July bunting, the recently repainted building, or the outdoor patio area with new umbrellas. Mostly, however, I think it was the large number of people in the outdoor dining area. I figured there had to be a reason. I happened to see a convenient parking spot, so I pulled over for lunch. I'm glad I did.

The long line at the counter and the appetizing descriptions of the food on the menu board were both good signs. This place appears to serve truly authentic Mexican fare with an emphasis on fresh ingredients. I had a delicious pair of Swiss chard enchiladas. The man next to me on the patio let me taste the mole sauce on his tamales--complex and with rich chocolate flavor, but not too sweet--and spicy enough to make you sit up and notice. Next time, I look forward to trying the beer-battered fish tacos or the chile relleno de elote con crema (poblano chiles stuffed with corn cream and cheese, with cherry tomato salsa, refried beans and tortillas), or the salmon ceviche with avocado. The tortillas at El Molino Central are made from organic Nebraska-grown corn, stone ground daily on the premises. According to the restaurant's website, the public is welcome to come watch the grinding "any morning around 11:00AM." A real find. I'll be back.

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Found Art: Metal Box, Sonoma (July 9, 2013)

A metal box on a pole set in the sidewalk along Sonoma Plaza, in the town of Sonoma. Repeatedly painted. Plastered with stickers. Stickers removed. More paint. Found art.

For more found art, see my blog Serendipitous Art.
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