Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Cow-bernet? ~ Moo-lot?

Crush is just about over in the valley and much of the red wines have been fermented and pressed. Now what to do with all of those grape skins? Sometimes the grape skins are used as fertilizer or used as decorative "bark" about the flower beds like at Woodward Canyon Winery. The word is that we have some contented cows in Walla Walla valley because they have been dining on skins of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot wine grapes.

Local restaurant 26 Brix restaurant is serving cuts of beef that has been raised on red wine skins (pomace). The restaurant is working with local farmer and vintner Lynne Chamberlain of James Leigh Cellars who feeds her Angus cattle meals of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grape skins. Lynn mixes the grape skins with grain, hay, wheat, soy, molasses, rolled corn and flax for a natural diet and without growth-hormones, antibiotics, chicken litter or fish meal. The word is that the beef doesn't necesarrily taste of wine, but there is a richness unlike other beef.

26 Brix offers on their menu a steak salad with baby frisée and tomatoes and one of their popular dishes has been the “Cow-bernet Burger” with melted Point Reyes bleu cheese from pastoral shores of California. A blend of the rich and fertile Walla Walla valley with the rising tides of the ocean of Point Reyes Station is definitely intriguing. Maybe one could say - - spiritual!

So -- what's next? How about if we feed the cows Pinot Noir grape skins so we can have instant Boeuf Bourguignon?

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