April 19, 2021
By Bruce Neyers
Neyers Cabernet Sauvignon North Block looking west into the setting sun.
Here’s more good news about Neyers Vineyards from James Suckling. James recently reviewed our 2017 Neyers Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, and had some high praise for this wine we made from grapes grown on our Conn Valley property:
Neyers 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Neyers Ranch’
“Attractive aromas of blueberries and lavender follow through to a medium body, firm and silky tannins and a slightly chewy finish. Needs a couple of years to soften. Better after 2022.” 93 POINTS – James Suckling
After reading this review, I wanted to try a bottle of our 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Neyers Ranch’ alongside a bottle of one of my favorite Bordeaux reds, the 2017 Ch. Lynch-Bages. Lynch-Bages is a blend of 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 10% Cabernet Franc.
Barbara offered to make some red beans and rice for the tasting. We thought some comfort food like that would be perfect to compare a California and French Cabernet. I’ve grown to love the combination of cassis, blackberry and fresh tobacco leaf that’s a frequent characteristic of Cabernet bottlings from both countries, and I look for it in my favorites. I found it in these wines, and they couldn’t be more charming as a result.
Her recipe for red beans and rice is below.
Red Beans and Rice
4 to 6 Servings
- 1 lb dried red beans, soaked overnight
- 1 1/2 cups chopped onions
- 3/4 cup chopped green bell pepper
- 3/4 cup chopped celery
- 3 bay leaves
- 3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp Creole seasoning
- 1/2 tsp cayenne
- 1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1/2 lb andouille or other spicy smoked sausage, cut into ¼-inch slices
- 2 lb smoked ham hock
- 10 cups chicken stock
- Italian parsley minced
- Kosher salt
- 4 cups cooked white rice
Place the beans in a large bowl or pot and cover with water by 2 inches. Let soak for 8 hours or overnight. Drain and set aside.
In a large pot sauté the onions, green bell pepper and celery in the olive oil stirring until soft. Add the sausage, salt, cayenne, and Creole seasoning and cook until the sausage is browned.
Add the ham hock and cook for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.
Add the beans and chicken stock, stirring well, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer uncovered stirring occasionally until the beans are tender and starting to thicken, about 2 hours. If the beans become too dry, add more chicken stock or water.
Mash about one-fourth of the bean mixture against the side of the pot with a heavy spoon to thicken the juices.
Remove the ham hock and let cool slightly. Slice the meat from the bone, discarding the skin and bones. Return the meat to the pot and heat through.
Spoon the hot rice into bowls and top with the beans. Garnish with minced Italian parsley
Serve with Crystal Hot Sauce on the side, according to taste. This tip courtesy of our colleague Keith de la Gardelle, the ‘Unofficial Mayor of New Orleans’, who introduced us to Crystal Hot Sauce. You don’t need much of it though.
Hugo Maldonado’s crew harvesting the Neyers Cabernet Sauvignon South Block. This vineyard is normally picked in one morning with Hugo’s crew of 10–12. Picking is done only by hand.