In the Garden ’22
Get growing, get grilling! With the summer season in full swing, we’ve got some tips from our resident gardeners to ensure your best harvest yet. Read on for our favorite summer wines for alfresco sipping, and some simple and inspiring grilling ideas.
A thriving garden certainly doesn’t happen overnight, but at least some of the basic habits can. We’ve pulled together some quick tips from our own resident garden gurus, Efrain and Nano, to help you nail the basics of a great summer garden.
- Consistent watering. First on the list—and especially important in dry environments such as California—is regular watering. When you’re ready to really step up your game, one of the most beneficial projects you can do in your garden is installing a simple drip irrigation system, and setting it on an automatic timer. This allows you to control precisely how much water your plants are getting and how often. It allows you to dial in your garden’s production, and is a must for someone with a busy schedule.
- Keep it clean. Regularly check your garden for undergrowth, weeds, dead leaves, or brush, and regularly prune yellow and dead leaves from plants, generally a clean environment. This keeps out unwanted pests, allows for better air flow around leaves and aeration of roots, and gives better visibility to monitor any potential issues.
- Give space to grow. Take time to map out your garden at the beginning of the season to avoid crowding plants together and be sure to provide ample space per plant. Remember, pretty soon that tiny seed might be bigger than you!
- Watch for telltales. Monitor your garden closely as you dial in a new system. Are the plants being under or overwatered and irrigation need adjusted? Do these specific types of vegetables like the shade of a certain area vs the sun in another? What are your plants telling you?
- Master your space. As farmers, there is so much beauty in seasonality. Much like a vineyard, or any farming for that matter, perfection comes from years of practice and learning. Never stop getting better, and when you’re swimming in tomatoes, it will all be worth it.
- Have fun! Roll up your sleeves, get your boots dirty, and when the work is done, be sure to toast with plenty of Marietta!
With a little prep, treating yourself can be easy. This August, we have three of our favorite wines to enjoy in our own gardens, as well as some elevated garden delicacies that can be prepared in a snap with a little prior preparation. First, some quick tips-
- Prep beforehand. Many parts of a meal can be prepared several nights in advance, and even get better with a bit of time, such as marinades or dry ages. Get your mise en place prepared in advance, and you’ll be ready to roll as soon as the grill’s lit.
- Let the ingredients shine. In the same way that great wine starts in the vineyards, a great summer meal starts in the garden. By the time you pull that tomato off the vine, the hard part is already done. Season and prepare it simply. Let your hard work shine and enjoy.
- Choose the right wines. After a day of hard work, you want a wine that’s approachable, generous, and dependable and pairs with just about anything on the table. Our OVR and Family series wines are built for everyday enjoyment and are perfect for a day in the garden.
- Make new traditions. There’s nothing like the first BLT of the year from your summer garden, the first pesto pizza, chili-marinaded grilled chicken, or whatever your staples are. Don’t be afraid to share your passion with friends and family, and allow them to share theirs too by adding a garden theme to your next gathering—who doesn’t love a good ‘pesto fest’ or ‘grilled garden potluck’?
There’s nothing like enjoying a glass of wine in your own garden. Read on for our favorites, as well as some elevated delicacies that can easily be prepared days beforehand so that you can get right to grillin’.
Succotash is the perfect ‘kitchen sink’ garden casserole. It’s to simple to prepare, excellent on its own or as a side, and a colorful way to show off your garden. In its purest form, succotash is a dish of tenderly cooked, simply seasoned veggies, warmed and tossed lightly with melted butter and herbs. While most modern recipes say a proper succotash should have corn and lima beans, sometimes it’s more about the spirit of the process and less about the ingredients, and succotash is a great way to utilize whatever array of fresh, fridge, or frozen veggies you have on hand at the moment. Cook all your components at once, or prepare separately and combine at the end. To really kick things up, try grilling some of the ingredients, such as eggplants, corn, or peppers. Prepare succotash beforehand and simply reheat.
Rosé, the Marietta way. Perfect for the casual delicassy of succotash is our Old Vine Rosé. Inspired by the vibrant rosés of Provence—the coastal region of southeast France bordering Italy—this refreshing summer wine is the perfect sipper for a day spent planting, pruning, and harvesting. It’s fresh, nuanced, and perfectly balanced to enjoy with food or on its own. As always with the “OVR” wines, it delivers a lot more substance and pleasure than you could expect. Pair Old Vine Rosé with an assortment of summer fruits and veggies, enjoyed fresh off the vine or prepared simply over hot coals with salt, pepper, and a drizzle of your favorite olive oil.
93 POINTS, Wine Advocate. “Medium cherry pink in color, the 2021 Old Vine Rosé has deep scents of yellow peaches, watermelon, and red cherries with touches of stone and potpourri. The palate boasts concentrated, fruity flavors balanced by zippy acidity, and it finishes with pretty orange peel accents. This is such a delicious rosé! It’s made up of co-fermented Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir and Syrah.”
Polpo (octopus) seared over fire has been a staple of seafairing mediteraniean cultures as long as wine itself, and is an easy grilled delicacy with a little prior preparation. After cleaning, one of the easier way to tenderize the polpo is to poach for 30-90 minutes in a pot of water with a halved lemon and garlic head, a few bay leaves, peppercorns, and any other herbs you’d like until fork tender. From here you can remove from the pot and allow to cool, pat dry, toss in olive oil and season, and keep the in the fridge for up to three days. When you’re ready for a quick delicacy, simply bring to room temp, add any additional seasoning, and sear directly over a hot grill.
America’s favorite red blend. And what better to go with grilled polpo than Old Vine Red? Delicious and uncomplicated, our modern California version of an old-world Mediterranean-style table wine can be enjoyed with food or without, for a special occasion or a simple pleasure. Our signature old vine blend has been paired with garden dinners for generations. It combines pure fruit, a supple mouthfeel, and a broad structure into a seriously drinkable red. Pair it with all things summer grillin’, from hot dogs and hamburgers to smoked brisket or grilled polpo.
95 Points, Wine Advocate. “The NV OVR Lot 73 is composed mainly of Zinfandel with smaller portions of Syrah, Petite Sirah, Carignan and Barbera. Medium ruby, it offers intense red cherry, blood orange and apricot perfume with accents of rooibos tea leaves, red licorice, saline, lilac and loads of spicy nuances. The medium-bodied palate is light on its feet with soft tannins, bursts of refreshing acidity and detailed amaro accents on the long finish. This is so easy to drink!”
Overnight Salt-Cured Ribeye. One of the easiest way to step up your steak game is it salt the meat anywhere from 24 hours to 14 days or longer and allow it to sit on a rack in the fridge. Over time, the salt draws out moisture and tenderizes the surface, allowing you to get a pretty immaculate sear when grilled. To salt cure (or dry brine) a steak, simply season with the same amount of salt you usually would, and allow to sit on a rack in the fridge for a day or longer. That’s it, you’re done. Then cook it the same way you always would. Just hold on the salt since its already on there.
A Cabernet worthy of your grill. Armé Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted in honor of Marietta’s husband Armé, a master gardener in his own right who appreciated a good steak when the day’s work was done. This exemplary California Cabernet conveys a taut freshness and aromatic purity. Stylistically balanced between modern California and Old World, this wine is dense with fresh, dark fruit and tempered with a savory, earthy character. What better way to wash down the perfect sear on that steak.
94 Points, Wine Advocate. “The 2019 Armé Cabernet Sauvignon has a medium ruby-purple color and layered aromas of red and black currants, violet, iron, underbrush and mushrooms. The medium-bodied palate is pleasantly rustic and a touch chewy, with bright acidity, pretty floral perfume and an earth-laced finish.”