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Field Notes Issue 9

by Joey Wolosz | Published September 30, 2021

September 2021

“Beautiful Woman” is one of my favorite poems, written by poet A.R. Ammons. Since I had learned of this poem many years ago, I am always reminded of it during harvest, it illustrates the changing season. I respect the copyright and offer a link to it here, just nine words. Having small poems like this memorized puts a smile on my face.

Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Merlot Harvest

Harvest is in full swing. Chardonnay and Pinot noir were brought in the same day making for some logistical challenges with time split between Napa and Sonoma. I have added Pinot noir with this vintage to our small production. This also marks our first venture outside of the Napa Valley with grapes from the Russian River Valley of the Sonoma Coast.

Yountville Days, Phat Ankle, “I’m With The Band”

Rehearsals have been ongoing. If you haven’t heard, Mary Spalding of Yountville’s Steel Jam and I shared some wine after our performance last month at Yountville’s Music in the Park. Our chat led to the ad hoc formation of a band.

In addition to her poetic steel drumming, this all-Yountvillian troupe features David “Shaps” Shapiro on tenor saxophone, Robin McKee-Cant on vocals, and moi-même on accordion. We go by Phat Ankle. Our showstopper is a ripping rendition of Queen’s “We Will Rock You” because nothing rocks you more than a steel drum, saxophone, and an accordion.

We have an entry in the Yountville Days Parade next Saturday, October 2nd with wine club members riding or walking alongside. A Gentleman Farmer pickup truck will be pulling the Phat Ankle float as we perform our hearts out. If you can’t join us, Jeff will be sure to get some video. Now I need to order cards to pass out to get future gigs.

Sophie’s Choice

Our Polish hen, Sophie, has finally decided to use the ladder to leave the run at night and access the coop. She’s joined the other adolescent girls in their independent streak, no longer needing this papa to tuck her in at night.

Creamy Spanish Gazpacho

It is still pretty warm in this part of California. I continue to entertain our guests outdoors with chilled soups. Rotating frequently at our hosted lunches has been my take on a Julia Child Vichyssoise, a chilled corn soup recipe from my friend Chef David, and a creamy Spanish gazpacho.

We are at the peak (and the beginning of the tail) of beautiful, ripe tomatoes. I offer this gazpacho recipe. This is my adaptation of a New York Times recipe I’ve been tinkering with over the years. It is less like a watery salsa and creamy in texture. The beautiful texture comes from a good amount of Spanish olive oil and a very aggressive tour-of-duty in a Vitamix. If you don’t have a Vitamix you can use a blender or processor and strain the soup through a fine-mesh sieve.

Ping me if you’d like recipes for Chef David’s Chilled Corn Soup or Vichyssoise. Spoiler alert: Chef David’s secret ingredient was corn nuts. This dish pairs well with a chilled glass of Rosé.