Since 1994, Stephanie Trotter Zacharia has worked in all areas of several small wineries, from the vineyard to the sales room. In 2011, with the encouragement of many, support from her husband and lots of help from a special group of friends she calls her “Sistas of D’Vine,” she started picking grapes with the goal of making her own wine. Enter Trotter 1/16 Wines. And no, the winery isn’t named after Highway 116. Rather, Philadelphia-born Trotter Zacharia is one of 16 siblings.
The vineyards she selects to harvest are all small, privately owned, dry-farmed and, more often than not, organically farmed. For the 2011 and 2012 vintages, she chose the David Fulton vineyard in St. Helena, where she harvested just 121 vines. For 2013 and 2014, she chose a “secret gem” (her words) vineyard in Coombsville, where there are 36 rows of dry-farmed, organic, biodynamic vines. Trotter Zacharia produces between 50 and 75 cases per year.
All grapes harvested are hand-sorted and aged in new and “once burned” French oak barrels for 28 to 33 months prior to bottling and, with proper cellaring, will age beautifully—although they’re wonderful now. Her current (and inaugural) multiple award-winning 2011 release (2012 will be released this May) has classic Napa Cabernet characteristics, rich and lush with elements of blackberry, cassis, fig, coffee and a hint of earthy spice. A long-lasting finish is the reward for every sip. Enjoy it with this recipe created specifically for this wine by Chef Matt Spector of JoLe restaurant in Calistoga. Cheers!
Seared Ahi Tuna
With wilted escarole and roasted garlic, oven-dried tomatoes, balsamic glaze
By Chef Matt Spector, JoLe, Calistoga
Ahi tuna: 5-ounce portion per person
1 head escarole, washed rinsed and dried
1 head garlic
Canned peeled San Marzano tomatoes
3 anchovy filets
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (the good stuff)
Trotter 116 Cabernet Sauvignon
Season the steaks generously all over with salt, pepper and 1/2 teaspoon of the porcini powder per steak. Loosley cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate overnight.
Start the tomatoes early and make a few cans; you’re going to want to have them around. Drain and cut tomatoes in half, length-wise. Gently squeeze the seeds out (don’t worry if some are left behind). Place sliced squeezed tomatoes face up on a sheet tray and season with salt, pepper and fresh-torn thyme. Drizzle with olive oil and put in 200-degree Fahrenheit oven. The slower and longer they cook, the better. You don’t want them dehydrated; they should still have some moisture when done. It usually takes about three hours. Reserve for garnish.
Slice the top off the garlic head, season and drizzle with olive oil and place in foil. Seal and roast until tender. Squeeze and reserve garlic paste.
Place olive oil, roast garlic and anchovy filets in a pan on medium heat. With a wooden spoon, work anchovy and garlic into a paste, being careful not to burn the garlic. Once aromatic, add the chopped escarole and wilt like spinach. Finish with a squeeze of lemon.
Season the tuna with salt and a generous amount of cracked pepper. In a hot pan, sear it in olive oil, about two minutes per side for rare. Remove from heat and reserve while making your glaze. Deglaze pan with Trotter 116 Cabernet Sauvignon. Once cooked down, remove from heat and add a shot of balsamic and butter then swirl to combine.
Place the escarole on the plate first with tuna on top (sliced or not). Place the tomatoes on top of the tuna for garnish. Spoon the balsamic glaze over the top and a bit around the plate.
(Note: Trust the anchovy; it adds a bit of umami to the dish.)
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