Welcome to Lost Oak Winery's Blog.
Our Employee Spotlight for May 2020 is Susan Brayfield! Susan is our office manager at Lost Oak Winery. She handles everything from paying bills to purchasing anything we need at the winery to keeping up with our Wine Club. The winery is able to run as smoothly as it does in large part due to Susan's contributions. Not only is she a valuable part of the Lost Oak Team, she is also a joy to be around and is constantly a positive force around the winery. She cares about everyone and is always the first person to suggest throwing other employees birthday parties to make them feel special.
Susan loves coffee with creamer, no matter the flavor. Her favorite food is fajitas with all the fixings and at home she enjoys sitting on her patio reading a good book or watching 30 Rock. Before she started at Lost Oak Winery, Susan was a teacher at middle school. She says that people don't change much after 6th grade and that has been beneficial knowledge in her job. June 3rd will mark her one year "wineaversary" here at Lost Oak, but before she was even a teacher, Susan was a marketing analyst for a pharmaceutical company. This gave her an advantageous understanding of how to use and think about data.
Susan says that she laughs and smiles often when talking with our guests and vendors. She enjoys connecting with other people and helping people choose a wine that they'll like and that will make wine feel accessible. She told someone recently that she thought Texas Trio would go great with a Grump's burger and fries. Sometimes guests are surprised at pairing humble food selections with wine, although it often ends up being delicious. Those types of conversations make her smile on the job.
What a 2020! I feel like the last 8 weeks has been the longest 8 weeks of my life, longer than the last trimester of pregnancy at 38 years old! And that’s saying a lot. ;)
Thanks for sticking with us through this time. We have earned support from our most loyal guests and that support has been noticed through curbside, to-go and shipping orders through our tasting room. We’ve successfully postponed many of our events at the event center and also booked a few new ones!
We are ready to reopen again… carefully. We have committed to standards of practice that encourage visitation, responsibility and safety for our staff, our guests and our community.
Here are some of our plans at the Tasting Room:
- We will be open our regular hours and then on Tuesday from 2-8 PM.
- Friday from 12-3 is our Sippin' 65s dedicated to our guests who are 65+ years old.
- One individual will be partially dedicated to ensuring the health protocols adopted by the venue are being successfully implemented and followed.
- We will encourage the use of outdoor space; there will be no indoor seating for the time being.
- Indoor and outdoor tasting and seating area layouts will be modified to comply with the appropriate social distancing guidelines and tables will be limited to 6 or fewer guests. You can pull up your own chair to the table so as long as there are only 6 per table.
- If you choose to use your own chairs, you may sit out in the lawn beyond the Lost Oak seating area. We ask that you maintain social distancing, 6 feet between chairs.
- Floors will be marked to indicate standing areas so as to respect social distancing guidelines for staff and guests.
- No tastings will be offered as of June 26th. We will offer bottle service only.
- Tours will commence May 30th and will be limited to 6 people and social distancing guidelines will be respected.
- We encourage contactless payment.
- We adhere to all food safety standards set forth by the Department of State Health Services.
Our team will do the following:
- Undergo a health screening to ensure they aren’t sick or at risk.
- Wash hands upon entering and exitin the workplace.
- Will comply with appropriate cleaning and sanitization practices as required and recommended by CDC and Governor Abbott. Sanitize customer-contact surfaces such as tables, seats, service bar and other customer touch points.
- Frequently sanitize all common areas and touch points, including but not limited to doorknobs and doorways, windows, faucets, bars, registers, etc.
- Agree to conduct a thorough cleaning of the facility at the end of each shift.
- We will meet with staff before the day starts to review hygiene rules and procedures and to provide timely updates to news and events
Our cleaning practices will include:
- Hand sanitizing stations will be available at the tasting room and event center entrance.
- Hand sanitizer will be available for guests and staff at each station.
- One dedicated staff identified per shift for sanitizing and wiping down tables and contact surfaces, including bathrooms.
- Lost Oak will supply a commercial cleaning product called ACS Lemon Disinfectant that has been recognized by the Center for Biocide Chemistries as a pre-approved EPA disinfectant for the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
- All tasting lists and printed material will be disposable and single-use.
At our Event Center, we have more plans. See full details at this link.
We love you guys! Thanks for your patronage and support. See you on the lawn!
*We cannot guarantee that by using these precautions you will not contract coronavirus or any other sickness. All guests may visit at their own risk.
This savory dinner recipe is provided by D'Caterers. We will be cooking this dish for our virtual cooking class on April 13, 2020. We hope you enjoy!
Chicken & Portobello Scallopine in Madeira Sauce
- 12 oz chicken breast
- 1 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup flour
- 4 tbsps butter
- 1 tbsp canola oil
- 1 medium cap portobello mushroom (fins removed; washed; sliced)
- 1 tsp chopped garlic
- 1/2 cup Madeira
- 2 tsp beef base
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tbsp parsley
- 2 oz Heavy Cream
- 2 cup fettuccini (cooked)
- 1 cup asparagus
- 1/4 cup red & yellow cherry tomatoes (quartered)
- 1 tsp canola oil
- 1 tbsp parsley
- Slice the chicken in medallions, cover with plastic film and gently pound out; season with pepper. Quarter the tomatoes; reserve. Cook and shock the fettuccini; reserve. Trim asparagus to 2" pieces, blanch and shock. Remove the fins from the mushroom, wash and slice to 1/8". Fine chop the parsley, wrap in a non-terry towel and rinse under cold water (squeezing regularly) until the water runs clear, squeeze our remaining water and shake into a bowl; resere. Combine water and beef base.
- In a saute pan, melt butter and 1 tbsp canola oil. Dredge the chick in flour (shake off excess) and place in pan. When flour starts to brown, flip the chicken. Add garlic and mushroom and saute. Add Madeira and reduce by half. Add beef brother and reduce by half. Add cream; bring to boil. Add pasta and parsley and toss. Remove from heat.
- In a separate pan, heat 1 tsp canola oil on high heat. Saute tomatoes until they start to carmelize. Add asparagus and saute to heat.
- Divide pasta onto the center of two plates. Divide the chicken around the pasta; cover with remaining pan sauce. Top with asparagus and tomatoes. Enjoy!
If you haven't seen it already, the recipe for the crepes can be found here. This is the recipe and directions for the filling and sauces. The end result is a mouthwatering, savory brunch crepe filled with a chicken florentine in a savory pesto cream, topped with a lemon butter glaze and bruschetta. This recipe was developed by Cocina Malvada Catering!
Bruschetta Topped, Chicken Florentine Crepe
Savory Pesto Cream
- 1 medium shallot
- 1/4 cup basil pesto
- 2 large garlic cloves
- 1 cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 tbsps olive oil
- 3 tbsps white wine (Blanc Du Bois, Sauvignon Blanc, or Texas Duet would work here)
- 1 tbsps pepper
- pinch of salt
- Finely chop shallots and mince the garlic
- Place a sauce pan on medium heat and add 2 tbsps olive oil
- When oil is hot, add shallots to caramelize.
- Add minced garlic, pesto, salt and pepper in right before shallots finish caramelizing and stir.
- Add wine, followed by the heavy whipping cream and bring to a low simmer for about 5 minutes. This will allow water to evaporate from the cream and allow it to thicken.
- The sauce is ready when you can run your finger on a spoon and see a definite mark
Mushroom, Spinach, and Chicken Cream Filling
- Roasted chicken breast, shredded (can use a store bought rotisserie chicken)
- 2 Portabello Mushrooms, diced
- 8 oz bag of spinach rinsed
- 3 tbsps olive oil
- 1 tbsp salt
- more salt and pepper to taste
- Place a sauce pan on medium heat and add olive oil.
- When the oil is hot, add mushrooms and salt and stir until all the mushrooms are coated. Then cover.
- After 5 minutes, when the mushrooms have released their water and are sizzling, uncover and allow most of the water to cook out.
- Add the entire bag of spinach and stir. It will seem like a lot, and that is ok because it will reduce significantly as it releases its water content.
- When your sautéed veggies seem close to losing all of their liquid, add your shredded chicken.
- Add Pesto Cream and mix it all together, bring to a simmer, then remove and set aside.
Lemon Butter Glaze
- 1 Large lemon juiced
- 2 tbsps Butter
- 3 tbsps Confectioners sugar
- Pinch of Salt
- In a sauce pan, on medium heat, melt the butter.
- Set heat to low and add lemon juice and confectioners sugar and whisk until it all comes together, about one minute. Set aside
Tomato Bruschetta Topping
- 1. Medium roma tomato, diced
- 1/2 cup Fresh basil, finely sliced
- 1 large garlic clove, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- In a sauce pan, on medium heat, add olive oil and allow it to get hot.
- Add Tomato and stir it for about one minute.
- Add basil and garlic and stir. Bring it all to a simmer. Set aside.
Final Steps: Spoon the chicken filling on to the center of the crepe and roll sides over. With a brush or spoon spread lemon butter sauce over the crepe. Drizzle with a balsamic reduction (made using balsamic vinegar) and top with the tomato bruschetta.
Mother's Day might look a little different this year. With COVID-19 leaving many places closed or at reduced capacity, your options for Mother's Day are probably limited. But you don't have to go out to have a delicious meal. The following is the recipe to make the crepes. This recipe is from The Flavor Bender. The sweet crepes are delicious filled with berries and nutella and topped with whipped cream. The filling and sauces for our Bruschetta Topped, Chicken Florentine Crepes will be posted here!
- 1 1/4 cup milk 10 fl oz
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tbsp oil or melted butter
- 2 tsp sugar for savory crepes, OR
- 2 – 3 tbsp sugar for sweet dessert crepes
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 4 oz all purpose flour scant 1 cup
- 1-2 tbsps melted butter
MIXING WITH A WHISK
- Place the milk and eggs in a jug/bowl. Whisk to combine (you should have about 2 cups of liquid).
- Add the oil or butter and whisk it in.
- Place the flour, salt and sugar in a large bowl.
- Add about 3/4 – 1 cup of the liquid and mix gently to form a smooth paste. This should not take more than a few seconds. Take care not to over-mix.
- Add the rest of the liquid and mix to form a smooth, watery batter.
- Cover the batter and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. The batter can be kept in the fridge overnight as well.
MIXING WITH A BLENDER
- Add the ingredients into the blender. Add the flour last. Blend for a few seconds until you have a smooth batter. You can use a stick blender as well for this purpose.
- Cover the batter and let it rest for at least 20 minutes. The batter can be kept in the fridge overnight as well.
Cooking the Crepes
- Preheat a 10 inch non-stick pan over medium heat.
- Brush a layer of butter on the heated pan. I used a silicone brush, but you can use a butter soaked paper towel or cloth as well.
- Always mix the batter first, before you make each crepe. This is to make sure the batter is uniformly mixed.
- Pour 1/4 cup of the batter into the hot pan, and swirl to coat the bottom of the pan. Swirl and spread the batter along the edge of the pan first and then fill the middle with the remaining crepe batter. Make sure the batter is as evenly spread as possible.
- Place the pan back on the heat to let the crepe cook.
- For extra soft crepes – cook the crepes only until they are just set at the surface (about 30 seconds) and there’s no browning on the edges. You can flip over the crepe gently, and cook for a few seconds on the other side (optional), or remove the crepe from pan and place it on a plate.
- For classic crepes – cook the crepes until the edges are starting to brown become a little crisp (about 40 seconds). Flip the crepes over and cook for a further 10 – 15 seconds on the other side until the crepes have caramelized spots.
- Repeat until all the batter is used up (remember to mix the batter each time).
- Stack the cooked crepes on a plate or wire rack.
Once your crepes are ready, you are ready to move on to the rest of the recipe for Bruschetta Topped, Chicken Florentine Crepes.
Shrimp farfalle pasta is a wonderful dinner option for those warmer spring evenings. Our very own, Roxanne, will be making this dish from her own kitchen on 6:05 Lost Oak Live on April 29th on our Facebook page! Keep reading to get the recipe!
To start off, you will want to season 2 lbs of raw shrimp with a tsp garlic salt and let stand for 30 minutes. When it is ready, you will sautee the shrimp in 2 tablespoons of butter and season to taste with more garlic salt. Cook the farfalle pasta right before this step as shrimp cooks quickly.
After the pasta has been cooked and drained, you will add 2 cans of Rotel tomatoes. Cubed tomatoes can be substitued if you do not like spicy.
Then you will add 1/3 of a bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing, 1/2 cup of dry white wine (we recommend our Blanc Du Bois), the juice from 1 lemon, one 16 oz container of sour cream, 16 oz. of shredded monterey jack cheese, and 16 oz. of cheddar cheese. Stir all of the ingredients until blended. Add more Italian dressing and white wine if it is too dry. Then add the shrimp. Garnish with chopped green onions and then serve!
This recipe makes 8 large servings. It is very good left overnight and served the next day.
SHRIMP FARFALLE PASTA RECIPE
- 1 lb farfalle pasta
- 2 lbs raw shrimp
- 2 tsp garlic salt
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 can rotel
- 1/3 bottle of Zesty Italian Dressing
- 1/2 cup dry white wine (Blanc du Bois would be perfect)
- 16 oz. shredded monterey jack cheese
- 16 oz. shredded cheddar cheese
- 16 oz. sour cream
- chopped green onions
- 1 lemon
- Cook 1 lb of Farfalle Pasta.
- Sprinkle 2 lbs of raw shrimp with 1 tsp. garlic salt and let stand for 30 minutes. Sautee shrimp in 2 tbsps of butter and add more garlic salt to taste.
- Add 2 cans Rotel to warm, drained pasta.
- Add the Italian Dressing, white wine, juice from the lemon, sour cream, monterey jack cheese, and cheddar cheese to the pasta and stir until well mixed. Add more dressing and wine if too dry.
- Add the shrimp.
- Serve and garnish with chopped green onions.
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.
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.