Beef & Bay Leaves
This year our beef club members will receive a jar of Adelaida Springs Ranch bay leaves in their club box. We have dozens of large, fragrant Bay Laurel trees growing alongside shady creeks and near the natural springs on our ranch. The leaves were picked, dried and packed by Lisa & Courtney. Here's a classic beef stew recipe (adapted from the New York Times) that puts the fragrant bay leaf to good use!
Grass-Fed Beef Stew
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons salt
1 lb. grass-fed beef stew meat, cut into 1" pieces
3-5 teaspoons olive oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 cup red wine
3 1/2 cups beef broth
2 bay leaves
1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
2 large baking potaotes, peeled and cubed
1 cup frozen peas (optional)
1. Combine flour and pepper in bowl, add beef and toss to coat.
2. On medium setting, heat 3 teaspoons olive oil in dutch oven or large pot. Salt the beef and then add to the pot in batches; don't overcrowd.
3. Cook, turning until browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch. Add more oil as needed.
4. Remove beef from the pot and add wine vinegar and red wine. Cook for 1-2 minutes over medium-high heat, scraping to loosen any browned bits.
5. Add beef, broth, and bay leaves. Bring to a boil and then reduce to a slow simmer.
6. Cover and cook until beef is tender, about 1.5 hours. Check occasionally and add more broth as needed.
7. Add onions and carrots and cook 10 minutes. Add potatoes and cook about 20 minutes more until all veggies are tender. Add peas if using, and cook another 5 minutes.
8. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serves 4-5. Pair with a good bread and any Rangeland wine!
Contents: Spring Wine Club, Tasting Room Open, Looming Drought, Small Verse
Spring Wine Club, Doppel Offer
I can't remember a time when so many of our wines were tasting as wonderful as they are right now. Maybe it's the warm spring weather. Or maybe our senses are heightened by optimism that better times lie ahead.
Our Rangeland spring Wine Club selection has several delicious new releases, detailed below. If you are a six bottle or case club member, we are offering an additional 10% off with $1 shipping if you double your order. For example, a 6-bottle, 20% discount Estate Club member would get a full case at 30% off, a savings of about $40 on that case of wine, plus shipping savings. Please let us know by email if you'd like to double your club order.
We will start billling the wine club April 15 and your shipment will be available for pickup starting April 20. We will begin to ship wine clubs the week of April 26. Here are the wines we are planning to include:
- 2020 Flora Rosé* - new release! (or 2018 Zinfandel for reds only members)
- 2016 Limestone Reserve Cabernet* (94 pts)
- 2017 Watershed-new!
- 2017 Ultramafic Merlot*-new!
- 2017 Petite Sirah*
- 2018 Shepherd GSM-new!
*denotes 4-bottle Intro Club selection
Please let us know by email if you'd like to customize your spring shipment. All the available wines are listed here. Please update your credit card and shipping information, if necessary, at www.RangelandWines.com. You can use your email address to retrieve your login password.
Tasting Room Open
We continue to offer outdoor tasting Thursday to Monday, with charcuterie plates available, 11 to 5. We are serving our estate grown grass-fed burgers every Saturday and Sunday, 11 to 4. Reservations recommended.
Anxious Spring as Drought Looms
We have had only 1.5 inches of rainfall since January's atmospheric river walloped us with 15 inches in two days. Our total for the rainfall year (July 1 to June 30) is just 18.5 inches, or 54% of average. Cal Poly San Luis Obispo recorded the driest back-to-back Februarys in 152 years of rainfall records. Our central coast region is officially classified as abnormally dry. Much of the rest Califorinia, which did not benefit from a direct hit by the January storm, is already in drought.
So although the hills are green with new grass and fresh oak leaves, we are worried about the looming drought conditions. The grape vines will do fine this year and we have ample irrigation water from a full lake--the one pictured on our wine label. But we will pay higher electrical bills to pump the water to our drip irrigated vines and more labor to monitor and maintain the system.
The cattle and sheep operation is much more impacted by the drought. Our pastures germinated late due to dry and cold conditions. We also lost access to hundreds of acres of neighboring leased pasture over the last couple of years. So we are supplementing our livestock's grass-fed diet with daily rations of expensive hay. We are planning a herd reduction and hoping to hang on to enough cows to keep our beef club viable in the years ahead.
The ranchers life...is not all work and worry though. I get to spend time working outdoors, close to nature, in one the most beautiful places on earth. Here is a little poem I wrote recently to savor one crystaline moment. I call this one:
Fat doves squat fluffy in the warm gravel road
Great gnarled oaks unfurl their fresh leaves
Silvery green in the morning mist
White tattered feathers of fog part ragged
Revealing the topaz immensity of the California sky
Below is a glimpse into the management style of your slightly deranged Rangeland rancher and vintner. I recently sent this email to my ranch manager.
I write to you from a hospital bed in Templeton. This saga began about 6pm yesterday when I went to grab the Ram pickup to feed the sheep.
When I started to load the hay, I found to my dismay and consternation, the tailgate latch handle entirely missing. So I soldiered ahead by loading the 100 lb hay bale _over_ the tailgate. Onward to the sheep, where I climbed up into the truck to toss hay into the pen. I noticed that, between the alfalfa and bare metal pickup bed, I had quite the skating rink underfoot. I also noticed the hay hooks could be stowed more safely. No problem, I surmised, I can handle this. The first flake-toss went smoothly. On the second toss, however, my feet started to go. Soon I was high stepping like Charlie Chaplin on methamphetamine, trying to regain my footing. Then my feet went high and my ass low as I flopped with clunk and a meaty stabbing sound, flat to the truck bed with a hay hook buried in my back.
At this point, I was disoriented from shock and feeling somewhat uncomfortable from the do-dad stuck between my back ribs. I was having trouble catching my breath, probably due to my collapsed lung. I worked my way upright, lowered myself gingerly from the truck bed and began to walk for home. I hadn't gone far when my greatest fear, my worst nightmare was realized. I was slammed forward to the ground from behind.
I saw stars as I hit the ground and felt the gravel grind my forehead to the bone. My limbs and back were being gripped and clawed by four slashing paws of a big cat while his full weight drove the hay hook deeper and pinned me to the ground. The hook ground noticeably against my ribs and perforated my innards further. The cougar's teeth hammered my skull and gnawed relentlessly as I struggled to free my leatherman and open the blade. After a long wrestle, I was able to roll over to my back and--onto the hay hook! The new pain caused me to lurch and scream maniacally as I faced the cat for the first time. Startled by my convulsions, he whipped his blood and slobber-soaked muzzle from side to side, bearing his huge choppers in a blood soaked, demonic snarl. I was exploding now with adrenaline, I jabbed my thumb into his left eye socket while I drove my trusty steel into his neck, just below the powerful jaw. Hot blood burst from his neck and I soon felt the life recede from his powerful body. The lion gurgled his last as I heaved his carcass to the side and lurched to my feet. I staggered home and passed out at Lisa's feet.
The doctors sewed me up with 171 stitches. They think my lung and ruptured liver (toughened by years of enthusiastic alcohol consumption) will eventually heal. Lisa may never forgive me about the blood stains on her white leather Tesla interior as she rushed me to the ER.
This story is based on a real event. The tailgate latch on the pickup was broken. All other events are an elaboration on this rock solid foundation of truth. The moral of this story is, you should always tell your boss if something is broken and see that it is repaired in a timely fashion.
Adelaida Springs Ranch, home of preposterously good Rangeland wines and meats
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