Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Easter is one of my favorite holidays. I guess because it brings the beautiful Texas Spring. Most of us will likely not soon forget this holiday. For most of us, it will probably be different than other Easters. Like many of our other events, our traditional Family Easter Celebration, April 11, has been cancelled. We plan to be back next year! The Estes family is fortunate to have family around us. Most of us have been at home for several weeks. Because the winery’s Spring/Easter photo op display is not here this year, we will just get the grandkids dressed up and put them in front of a newly leafed- out bush. Nevertheless, we will be practicing some social distancing. We will have an Easter Egg Hunt outdoors (rain or shine) and, weather permitting, an outdoor lunch on the deck. Rest assured, there will be food and wine - plenty of wine! Here is our menu:
Traditional Baked Ham paired with Blanc du Bois ( for the white wine drinkers), Mourvedre Rose for everyone, or Sadie (our new release) for the die hard, red drinkers. These wines also pair well with pork.
Asparagus Strata, which is a side dish that pairs well with ham or pork and wine.
Fresh fruit salad.
Fresh baked rolls (I bake them - not make them!)
Flan (you can get the mix in a box) paired with Orange Muscat and Easter Chocolate.
The four wines above can be picked up curbside at your friendly Lost Oak Winery when you order our Easter Dinner Wine Pack! Cheers!
Below, you will find the recipe for Overnight Asparagus Strata. All of the ingredients can be ordered online and picked up curbside at your friendly HEB store!
OVERNIGHT ASPARAGUS STRATA
- 1 lb fresh asparagus, trimmed & cut into 1-inch pieces, cooked in the microwave for 2 minutes (may use frozen)
- 4-6 English muffins, split, toasted & then cut into large cubes (can substitute crusty French bread)
- 1 cup cubed ham (optional)
- 1/2 red pepper chopped
- 2 cups shredded colby-monterey jack cheese
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1 tbsp. Dijon mustard
- salt & pepper to taste
- 1 can cream of asparagus soup (cream of mushroom may be substituted)
- 1 1/2 cups heavy cream (or half n half or milk)
- Layer bread, asparagus, red pepper, ham & cheese in a greased 9"x13" baking dish
- Whisk together the eggs, dijon mustard, salt & pepper, cream of asparagus soup, and heavy cream.
- Pour the mixture over the muffin/asparagus mixture.
- Cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before baking.
- Bake, uncovered, at 375 degrees for 40-45 minutes until knife inserted comes out clean.
Sangria is a mixed drink from Spain, made using wine and fruit with some other ingredients like ginger ale, soda water, brandy, etc. There are many recipes out there, many of them completely different. We are going to teach you how to make some of our signature drinks from the winery that people always seem to love.
The first recipe is for our sangria. It's a simple recipe, but absolutely delicious. The wine we use for our sangria is our Dolce Rouge. It's a semi-sweet red and it goes well as a base for sangria.
For this class, you will need the following:
- Sagnria & Cocktail Wine Pack
- 1 2 liter of Ginger Ale
- 1 can of lemonade concentrate (or fresh lemonade)
- 1 can of orange juice concentrate (or fresh orange juice)
- 1 can of strawberry concentrate (frozen daquiri mix)
|1 Bottle Dolce Rouge||
1/8 Can of Frozen Lemonade Concentrate
|1 litre Ginger Ale||1/8 Can of Frozen Orange Juice Concentrate
(or 1 cup orange juice)
Sliced Lemons, Limes, & Oranges
1. Thaw the concentrate if using it.
This next recipe is a mix of our Blushing Bride cocktail and this Strawberry Wine Punch from Miss in the Kitchen. This cocktail uses our Rosa Blanca, which is a semi-sweet rosé.
Strawberry Wine Punch
|1 Bottle of Rosa Blanca||1/3 Can Strawberry Concentrate (Daquiri Concentrate)|
|1/3 of a 2 litre of Sprite||2 Cups of sliced strawberries.|
1. Thaw the strawberry concentrate.
So there you have it. These are both extremely simple to make while still delicious and perfect for these warmer spring days. If you wanted to add a little more bite, brandy and triple sec are often used in sangria. So play around with it and figure out what you like best!
Like all food and drink, wine is hard to explain. For example, Dr. Pepper has 23 flavor components. Most people can pick out a few of them when sipping on a Dr. Pepper. Let’s just take one of those flavor components, such as cherry. Think about how you would describe what a cherry tastes like to someone who has never had a cherry. You couldn’t just say it tastes like cherry; they wouldn’t understand because they have no frame of reference. You could say it tastes good or bad, but that’s not helpful because that is your opinion of the flavor and may not be theirs. Then the problem is compounded further by what kind of cherry it is. A Bing cherry and a Renoir cherry don’t taste the same. When making a description we are tapping into our memory banks of other aromas and flavors to make something unfamiliar, familiar. The process for assessing aroma and flavor components in wine can be applied to any food or beverage. It can help other people understand what they are smelling and tasting. And it’s just fun to do.
Some things to keep in mind when tasting/describing wine:
- Wine tasting is subjective. You may not taste the same thing someone else does and that is ok.
- Flavors and aromas are tied very strongly to memory. You might not like the wine because a flavor or aroma brings up an unpleasant memory or vice versa.
- We may describe wine as having flavors of apricots or cherries, but these are just descriptors. The flavors in the wine remind us of those flavors but there aren’t actually apricots or cherries in the wine (unless it is wine made from apricots or cherries).
- The majority of people approach trying new food and drinks in the simplest of ways; take a bite or sip and you'll decide pretty quickly if you like it or not.
- A structured approach to tasting wine (or anything) is a tool to help see beyond that mimediate "like/dislike reaction".
Wine tasting 101 starts with looking at the wine in the glass. One of the first thing you want to look for is if the wine is cloudy or has sediment. Cloudy/sediments in wine is not necessarily an indicator of bad wine, but it could be, so it is important to note. Then, take a look at the color; is it deep, rich, light, ruby, golden, tawny? When doing blind taste tests, sommeliers use color as a clue as to what varietal and vintage the wine may be. For the novice, it's a way to get to know the varieties and how age can affect color.
Give the wine a swirl! This can help in assessing the color but more importantly, this aerates the wine, allowing more aromas to be released. The shape of the wine glass is designed to trap those aromas, which brings us to our next step; smelling the wine. The idea is to gently inhale and try to pick out familiar aromas. It helps to close your eyes and imagine the aromas.
Now, we have looked at the wine, we have swirled the wine, and we have smelled the wine. It is finally time to taste the wine! Take a small sip of the wine and hold it in your mouth for a few seconds. Do not use this first sip to assess the wine, this sip is to get your mouth and brain ready to pick out familiar flavors. Now, take a bigger sip and swish it around to coat the mouth. Swallow or spit, then inhale through the mouth. Think about how the wine felt in your mouth, on all parts of it. What are the texture components? Was there a prickly sensation, a mouth drying sensation? Did the wine seem oily, heavy, light? Next (and you may need another sip) start to identify flavors. If you are having trouble identifying flavors, a flavor wheel may help. You may find that the wine doesn't taste how it smells, in fact it may be quite a bit different from what you were expecting.
There is a lot of pomp and circumstance to tasting wine and sometimes it does seem a little silly, but give it a try. You might find a new appreciation for the complexity of wine.
I first saw this 52 acre property in 1995 and was fortunate to find out that it was for sale before it was listed. I loved the slope of the terrain and the soil type (Sandy clay loam). Wine grapes do not like “wet feet”. They like fast draining soils like sand or rock (not heavy clay). I got permission from the owner to do a soil percolation test and the rate (how fast the water drains down through the soil) was excellent. I looked up the region and found that it was in the Cross timbers Ecoregion 29D which was described as excellent for agriculture. I then worked with my Real Estate friend Rob Orr to purchase the property.
We planted our first estate vineyard here in 1998. This was the same year I retired from Alcon. We planted eight different varieties because I wanted to find out which varieties did best in this climate and soil type: Chardonel, Shiraz, Leon Millot, Chambourcin, Gewurztraminer, Muscat Canelli, JS12-428 and SV5-247. These vines made up a total of 12 rows (about ½ acre).
In 2004 we planted our second Estate vineyard on the back of our property (about 2.5 acres) and here we planted more Shiraz and Chardonel and 4 more varieties: Ruby Cabernet, Malvasia Bianca, Tempranillo, and Blanc Dubois.
Two years later (2006) I planted our third vineyard which was ½ acres of 100% Lenoir or Black Spanish.
I definitely learned what did well and what did not do well. Shiraz and Blanc Dubois did beautifully. Although the Chardonel did well here I decided to eliminate it in favor of the other two varieties because it was less well known to our customers and it mainly served as a good blending variety. I ripped up the poorer performing varieties and have been replacing them for the past 6 years with Shiraz and Blanc Dubois. All total we now have 3.5 acres of these three varieties on our Estate property.
Then in 2008, I made a deal with a former Alcon colleague who owned property on FM 917 (about 6 miles south of our Estate property). He wanted an Agriculture tax exemption and I needed to plant more grapes to keep up with our growth.
I studied Viticulture, but my real education came from experience (messing up over and over again!) I had great consulting help from Dr. George Ray McEachern and later from Fritz Westover and I must say that all in all I am very proud of what I have been able to accomplish.
I had no idea how little control one has over the outcome each year. Late freezes, hail storms, tornados, high winds, no rain for months, and new critters. By the way, wine grapes are not susceptible to COVID -19.
During this period of unease, we at Lost Oak Winery are taking every precaution possible to ensure that our guests and employees stay healthy. The safety of our community is of the utmost importance to us. We want to be completely transparent with all of you about what we are doing to prevent the potential spread of coronavirus or any other illness.
So what are we doing to ensure a safe and clean environment? We already keep the bars and tables clean on a regular basis, but we will be making cleaning supplies even more readily available and ensuring that they are cleaned thoroughly after each guest. Typically, we encourage reusing your wine glasses, but for the time being, we will be switching out wine glasses every time you come up to the bar. We will also be continuing to make sure that the wine pourers do not come into contact with the glasses. For large events, we will be using disposable cups only. We understand that some would prefer a wine glass, but at this time, the safety of our employees and all of you is our biggest concern. Bounce houses and other community objects will be on hold for now. If you would like to bring your own outdoor items (balls, hula hoops, etc.), feel free to do so. Just please make sure all items you bring with you go home with you.
So, what can you do to help us prevent illness? First and foremost, please stay home if you are sick. We understand the disappointment of missing out on something fun due to illness. But the health and wellbeing of our most vulnerable is much more important and we ask that you help us by avoiding public places while ill. The next thing you can do to help prevent the spread of any illness is to wash your hands. Studies have found that only 5% of people wash their hands correctly. Take a look at the graphic below for tips on how to wash your hands thoroughly and decrease your risk of illness.
In addition to hand washing, avoid touching your eyes, mouth, and nose if you have not washed your hands thoroughly. If you need to cough or sneeze, use a tissue (and throw it away immediately) or the crook of your elbow. Avoid clost contact with people who are ill and make sure to thoroughly clean all surfaces at work and home.
If at any point we decide to cancel any events here at Lost Oak Winery out of an abundance of caution, we will post about it on our social media pages and send out emails to all of our mailing list. We are keeping a close eye on the local developments and will continue to do so in the coming months. In the meantime, please be rest assured that we are doing everything we can to keep everyone safe while also keeping things as normal as possible.
Any party is an excuse to drink wine, but what about a party all about wine? Here are some ideas to get your wine party on!
Wine and Cheese go together like…. wine and cheese.
Throw a party to celebrate this match made in heaven. Have all of your guests bring their favorite bottle of wine and block cheese. Your guests can try different combinations to find their perfect pairings. It is a great way to try new things and explore with friends without breaking the bank. As the party winds down, a fun game of “guess who brought what wine and cheese” is always a good way to see how well everyone knows each other.
Group like wines together. For example, put all the dry reds/dry whites/sweet wines together so that certain types of wine are easier for you guest to find. The same can go for the cheese by placing hard cheeses in one groupng and soft cheese in another.
See how well you and your guests know their stuff with a Blind Wine Tasting Party. Have your guests bring a bottle of wine in a non-descript bag. This works best when it is single varietals, so specify no blends. Have the person who brought the wine pour everyone a sample. Let the group talk it over and then everyone tries to guess what the wine is. It’s a fun way to see who in your group knows their wine. Alternatively, you can assign each wine a number and set them out on a table and let your friends try the wine as they mingle. Afterwards you can have a big reveal and see who guessed correctly.
Pro-tip: With any party, the ultimate goal is to have fun. Make sure you wine party is unpretentious and welcoming to all types of wine. Afterall, wine is all about enjoying it with friends.
In 2019, Lost Oak Winery entered a number of our wines into two important competitions, and the results did not disappoint!
The first competition was the 39th Annual San Francisco International Wine Competition. Our wines went head-to-head with wines from all over the world!
The Result: Double Gold for the 2017 Cabernet Franc!
Later that year we entered the 20th Annual San Francisco Chronical Competition, the largest wine competition of American wines in the world!
The Result: Double Gold for the 2018 Viognier!
These aren’t the only awards we took home; visit our website LostOakWinery.com for a full list of all the wines that won Gold, Silver, and Bronze at these prestigious wine competitions!
Ty earned his B.A and M.A. in English from Texas Tech, graduating in 2015 Ty began his career as a professor of English but quickly figured out, wine was a better fit! He first worked for Llano Estacado winery gaining experience in teh cellar, lab and vineyard. Now, Ty is learning from a Texas wine pioneer-duo, Jim Evans and Gene Estes. Ty describes his winemaking approach as “traditional with a touch of technology.” His favorite wines to drink are cool climate reds and oak-aged whites.
What are you drinking when you aren't drinking wine?
Iced Tea with lemon in the summer, and spicy hot chocolate in the winter.
When you aren’t at the winery, where are you?
With my dog on hiking trails, or working in the shop on blacksmithing, carpentry, or leather.
What is your favorite food?
Fresh tuna sushi or the burnt ends of a fatty brisket.
Every November, Lost Oak sets out to answer that age-old question; What wine should I pair with Thanksgiving dinner? Don’t worry, our resident wine nerd has you covered. This year we have a knockout box of four wines specially selected to not only go with everything on your Thanksgiving table but to also please everyone sitting at the table.
First up we have our yearly Holiday release! A versatile dry red that is more on the fruity side. Rich with flavors of ripe berries it will complement everything from turkey to mashed potatoes and everything in between.
But if you have friends or family that are looking for something a little dryer, we have the Montepulciano. Its character is a little more spicy with rich tannins making it the perfect complement ham and some of your creamy side dishes.
For the white drinkers in your life we have our Gewurztraminer. A wonderfully friendly wine reminiscent of figs and nectarines, this wine is the perfect starter to your evening. Have it with your appetizers or with you are cooking.
Last but not least is our Lat Harvest Roussanne. This dessert wine needs no paring, it is decadent and rich all on its own. However, no Thanksgiving is complete without pie, and this is just the wine you want while enjoying that slice, whether it’s apple, pumpkin, or pecan!
Come into the tasting room to pick up all four wines together in a convenient tote, ready to take to your Thanksgiving table for the discounted price $95.95. Or, if you can’t make it to the tasting room click here to order it online and we’ll ship it to you. To ensure that your wine gets to you by Thanksgiving all orders must be placed by November 20th.
Our very own Angela Chapman - Lost Oak's Wine Eduactaor and Operations Manager - is proudly a WSET level three!
And she's excited for WSET's 50th anniversary and the launch of the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
2019 marks 50 years since the Wine & Spirit Education Trust (WSET) was founded to provide wine and spirits education to the industry.
Now the world’s largest provider of wine and spirits qualifications for both professionals and enthusiasts, WSET will be celebrating this landmark anniversary with a full schedule of activity throughout the year looking back, and forward, at the integral role education plays in the wine and spirits trade.
WSET, the largest global provider of wine qualifications, is launching the first ever global ‘Wine Education Week’ from 9–15 September 2019.
Part of WSET’s 50th anniversary campaign, Wine Education Week aims to engage with the growing population of wine consumers worldwide, encouraging them to learn more about wine.
Wine Education Week will be supported by a global network of brand ambassadors including Olly Smith in the UK; Terry Xu in China; Alyssa Vitrano (grapefriend), Kelly Mitchell (The Wine Siren) and Chelsie Petras (Chel Loves Wine) in the USA. The campaign will kick off on Monday 9th September with food and wine pairing launch events across the world at 6pm local time in 24 countries. Starting with Auckland, New Zealand and ending with California, USA, WSET is aiming for a continuous 24-hour global food and wine tasting session.