by Beth Heiserman, Reyes Winery
I am out of town this week, and while I had some time, I was reading a few articles … And of course, they were about wine and grapes. I read that grapes have been around for at least a million years, but domesticated grapes have been around for approximately 8,000 years. To this day, they remain an important crop, both economically and culturally. In 2015, over 76 million grapes were grown around the world. Just over 50 percent were grown for wine consumption, while 36 percent were table grapes intended for eating, and 14 percent of grapes were either dried or made into juice. In parts of the world where wine is not permitted, such as in Islamic regions, table grapes are grown for eating, while in predominately Christian regions, it is wine.
Last year, I wanted to be able to pair the 2013 Renaissance by Reyes Sangiovese with something other than Italian. I took the aromas and thought this dish would pair delightfully. This amazing California Sangiovese has aromas of plum and tea. On the palate you will get plum, anise, and earl grey tea. It has a smooth finish. It has been the most popular wine since we released it in December 2015. I served it with Farfalle pasta.
It is no longer available on the menu in the tasting room for tasting, but it is available for purchase, as there are only 10 cases left. This wine won a silver medal and 88 points from the 2016 Toast of the Coast Wine Competition, and a bronze medal from the 2016 Los Angeles International Wine Competition. This amazing California Sangiovese has aromas of plum and tea. On the palate you will get plum, anise, and earl grey tea. It pairs also well with spaghetti and marinara sauce, parmesan cheese or grilled plums with chevre.
1 brisket (6 to 7 pounds), preferably second cut
2 tablespoons kosher salt
1 ½ tablespoons black pepper
3 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
1 bunch lemon thyme or regular thyme
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 white onions, thinly sliced
1 cup Renaissance by Reyes Sangiovese
4 whole star anise (or 2 whole cloves)
4 whole bay leaves
2 ½ pounds ripe but firm plums, halved and pitted
Thyme leaves, for garnish (optional)
Season the brisket all over with salt and pepper. Place it in a large container and cover with garlic and half the thyme sprigs. Cover and refrigerate overnight or for at least 4 hours. Let the meat stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before cooking. Wipe off garlic and thyme.
Heat the oven to 325 degrees. On the stovetop, place a very large Dutch oven over high heat. Add oil. Place brisket in pot and cook, without moving, until browned, about seven minutes per side. (Cut meat into two chunks and sear in batches if it doesn’t fit in a single layer.) Transfer to a plate.
Add onions to pot and reduce heat to medium-high. Cook onions, tossing occasionally, until golden brown around the edges and very tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Pour in wine and scrape up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Stir in star anise, bay leaves and remaining thyme. Scatter half the plums over the bottom of the pot and nestle brisket on top. Scatter remaining plums over meat. Cover pot and transfer to oven. Let is cook, turning every 30 minutes until the meat is completely fork-tender after about five hours. After four hours, uncover the pot so some of the liquid can evaporate and sauce can thicken.
If you have time, let brisket cool completely in the pot, then refrigerate, covered, overnight. (This makes it easier to remove the fat from the top with a slotted spoon.) Reheat meat in a 300-degree oven for about 45 minutes before serving, if necessary. If sauce seems thin, remove meat from the pot and bring liquid to a simmer. Let cook until it’s reduced to taste. Slice meat and serve with the plum sauce, garnished with thyme leaves if you like.