Clif Notes

Spring Cycling in the Napa Valley

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, February 8, 2013

Even though we are still waking up to morning frost in the Napa Valley, spring is really just around the corner. It will soon be time to dust off your bike, tune it up and head for the hills. Nothing gets us more excited at Velo Vino than spring time in the Napa Valley. Not only do we get to release some great new vintages of our Clif Family Wines, but we also get to see our cyclist friends pop in for a visit.

This spring we will once again be coordinating weekend group rides twice monthly from Velo Vino. The rides always begin and end at Velo Vino and typically range from about 30-40 miles. The rides start on Saturdays in late April/early May depending on weather. More information will be posted on our web site soon.

If you are visiting from out of the area and want to enjoy Napa Valley by bike, consider one of our bike rental packages. We team up with the pros at Calistoga Bike Shop to offer two bike rental options from Velo Vino. All bicycles are delivered to Velo Vino the day of your ride by Calistoga Bike Shop and they will pick them up when you are done. These unique packages include one of our signature espresso drinks and a Clif Bar pre-ride and our Le Maillot Jaune VIP wine tasting experience post-ride. We offer a High Performance Road Bike Package for $110 and a Cruiser Bike Rental Package for $65.

Like this idea for touring around the Napa Valley? Just give Calistoga Bike Shop a call at 707.942.9687 and let them know you want the “Velo Vino Package”. They will take great care of you. Whether you are a new rider, avid cyclist, local or visiting from out of town, we hope to see you, your bike and your tasting palate at Velo Vino this spring!

Wild King Salmon in Filo Crust

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A post from our Master Chef, Anna Callaway

Wild King Salmon is here!

It is a favorite of mine and well worth the time to find just the right piece. My neighborhood fish monger just finished filleting this when I arrived!It will be carefully wrapped in a thin layers of filo dough and baked to fine flaky crust.

Enjoy this fine meal with a nice glass of the Clif Family Winery Gewurztraminer!


  • 6 sheets of filo dough
  • 1 center cut of Salmon, skinned
  • 3 oz. of Neufchatel cheese at room temperature
  • fresh or prepared basil pesto
  • sea salt
  • 3 TBSP of unsalted butter, melted


Preheat oven to 400F.

Prepare a cookie sheet pan with a single layer of filo dough. Brush lightly with melted butter. Layer another sheet until 6 layers of dough are stacked.

Tip: Cover the filo dough with a kitchen towel while you are preparing so that the fine sheets do not dry out.

Next, remove the skin from the Salmon Filet. Lay the Salmon fillet down length of dough 1 inch from a long edge. Spread the softened cheese in a thin layer. After that, layer the pesto over the cheese.

Wrap the one inch border over the salmon and fold the other half over until the salmon is fully covered. Tuck the edges in or trim with scissors. Now brush the wrapped salmon one more time with melted butter and cut into 6 even portions.

Bake in the 400 F oven for about 20 minutes. The filo will cook to a light golden brown and the fish should be slightly opaque in the center. Transfer to a serving platter and serve.

The filo crust provides a beautiful presentation and creates a very moist salmon in contrast to the fine buttery crust. Your guests and family will love this one!

Recipe was adapted from Cooking Light Magazine

Rack of Lamb

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, February 6, 2013

A post from our Master Chef,Anna Callaway

This dish is perfect for sharing. One rack will feed 2 people or 4 as a first course for an elegant meal.

Make this for your special person and surprise them on Valentine’s Day!

The perfect wine to pair with this lamb dish is Gary’s Improv – Napa Valley Zinfandel.



Start by making the tapenade. In a food processor, add the almonds/pistachios, olives, capers, garlic, herbs and pulse until you get a chunky but blended mixture. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until it combines. Next, add the lemon zest and pulse 1 more time. Reserve.

Create chops of the rack by cutting to desired thickness. They should be about 1 inch thick. Season with Sea Salt and fresh ground pepper, let sit for 15 minutes prior to cooking.

Preheat oven to 425F.

Sear the lamb chops on a stainless skillet about 2 minutes on each side and then transfer to a sheet pan. Top each lamb chop with about 1.5 TBSP of the tapenade and place in the hot oven.

Cook in the oven 4 to 5 minutes for medium rare. Remove and let rest 5 minutes before serving. Share with someone you love!

* recipe is adapted from Chef Anne Burrell –

Just Add Dukkah!

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Friday, December 14, 2012

By Linzi Gay

Inspired by ancient Middle Eastern recipes, dukkah (pronounced DOO-kah) is a unique blend of ground nuts, sesame seeds and spices. I had the good fortune of learning about dukkah when I was traveling to Australia and New Zealand for work. Before dinner, many restaurants would serve a “house” dukkah with fresh bread and olive oil. With my first taste of dukkah, I was instantly hooked. I bought dozens of containers to bring home to family and friends and vowed to find dukkah when I got back to the States. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t that widely available and when I asked most people about it, I would receive a blank stare and a “huh?”.

When we opened Velo Vino, our Napa Valley tasting room, I was determined to develop a dukkah that would make a great pairing with our wines. Gary and Kit liked the idea and we worked with our Master Chef, Anna Callaway, to come up with several blends using both hazelnuts (the classic nut used in dukkah blends) and pistachios. After quite a bit of tasting (hard job!) and working to develop the perfect blends, we came up with three delicious flavors.

Dukkah is the perfect appetizer. All you need is a pack of dukkah, a loaf of fresh bread and high quality extra virgin olive oil. You dip the bread in the olive oil first, followed by the dukkah and pop it in your mouth. The vibrant flavors of the spices and the crunchy texture of the nuts make for a really unique and exciting flavor experience.

In addition to being an easy appetizer, you can add dukkah to almost anything. Dukkah is a really versatile ingredient for spicing up and flavoring many different dishes. You can add it to salads, sprinkle on soups, toss with pasta or season grilled meats and roasted veggies. The possibilities are really endless.

If you haven’t had a chance to try dukkah yet, you are missing out. Give it a try and I’m pretty sure you will be just as excited to spread the word!

Gary & Kit’s Napa Valley Dukkah is available in 3 flavors:Classic Hazelnut, Toasted Sesame & Pistachio and Savory Coconut. You can find it at our Velo Vino Napa Valley tasting room or online.

Want to learn more about dukkah? Follow me on Twitter @dukkahgal.

The Quintessential Prime Rib Roast

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Prime Rib Roast is an elegant meal to serve for the upcoming holidays. The selection, preparation and planning of the meal calls out for a celebration!

A meal this special deserves the very best wine – Kit’s Killer cab, Cabernet Sauvignon. Share this meal with your friends and family this holiday season.

*Standing Rib Roast with Rosemary & Garlic Rub


Prime Rib Roast – 2 bone is roughly 6 lbs. Serves 4 to 6 people
6 garlic cloves, minced
3 Tbsp. Clif Family Winery Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp. Chopped Fresh Rosemary
1.5 Tbsp. Coarse Sea Salt
1 Tbsp. Coarse Black Pepper

PreparationPreheat oven to 450 F.

While oven is preheating, keep your roast out at room temperature. Ideally, you want your roast to be close to room temperature when you place in the oven. This step allows for even cooking. Place your roast on a rack in a roasting pan and prepare the rub. Combine the minced garlic, olive oil, rosemary, sea salt and pepper and mix until it resembles a paste. Rub the rosemary garlic mixture on all sides of the roast except for the rib side which is face down in the roasting pan. Place in the hot oven for 20 minutes. This step creates the beautiful crust of the Prime Rib. After 20 minutes reduce the temperature to 275 F. Do not open the oven and let the heat escape, the roast will slowly cook for about 1.5 hours until it reaches 125 F for rare, 130F for medium rare.

Transfer your roast to a platter and tent for 20 minutes to allow the juices to settle. Carve your roast tableside. It is best to insert your knife along the 2 rib bones at the base of the roast to separate the larger piece of meat.

Carve each slice about ½ inch thick and serve the rib bones alongside the slices. Serve with Horseradish Cream. Either prepared or grate fresh from Horseradish Root. I grate mine fresh, and combine with a little sour cream, chives and lemon juice. The perfect wine to serve with this wonderful meal is Clif Family Wineries, Kit’s Killer Cab!

* This recipe is adapted from the Bon Appetit December 2008 Issue – Holiday Meal

A post from our Master Chef, Anna Callaway

October Recipe!

Originally Posted by Efrain Barragan on Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Riesling Braised Bratwurst

  1. Main course: Bratwurst braised in Riesling with caramelized apples & onions.
  2. Side dish: German Potato Salad with green beans tossed with a Dijon vinaigrette.
  3. Wine pairing: Our 2011 Dry Riesling.

Bratwurst Recipe:


  1. 4 High quality bratwurst.
  2. 2 Cups of 2011 Dry Riesling.
  3. 1 large yellow onion.
  4. 1 large red onion.
  5. 3 Small green tart apples.
  6. 1/2 lemon – juice.
  7. 2 tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Olil.
  8. Garnish with – Gary & Kit's Napa Valley Coarse Dijon Mustard.

Heat 2-tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil in a large dutch oven. Next, Sauté sliced green apples & onions, add the juice of half a lemon. Cook for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, nestle the raw bratwurst in the onion and apple mixture. Then, add 2 cups of Clif Family Winery 2011 Dry Riesling. Reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, remove the sausage and grill on a separate skillet to brown the outer skin. While the sausage is browning, turn the onion/apple mixture on high heat and reduce until the onions and apples are caramelized.

Serve sausage with the caramelized apples and onions with a side of Gary & Kit's Napa Valley Coarse Dijon Mustard and German Potato Salad.

German Potato Salad Recipe


  1. 1 lb. tri-color small potatoes
  2. 1 lb. green beans
  3. 3 Tbsp. Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  4. 1 Tbsp. of fresh lemon juice

Boil a large pot of water with a little sea salt. Add the potatoes and cook for about 10 minutes or until a fork can insert easily. Remove to cool. Add the green beans and blanch of 5 minutes. Remove.

Cut the small potatoes in half. Meanwhile create a Dijon Vinaigrette with 3 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil, 1 Tablespoon of Lemon Juice. Mix the halved potatoes and blanched green beans. Toss with Dijon Vinaigrette and season with sea salt and fresh ground pepper.

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