Tierra Sur Restaurant
What a delightful experience we had when we ventured out to Oxnard, Calfornia, an easy one-hour drive from Los Angeles. Our destination – The Herzog Wine Cellars. We were scheduled for a tour, a tasting at the Winery, and then lunch at the exceptional Tierra Sur restaurant. Eleven-thirty IS a bit early for a winery tour and tasting… but so be it. No whining about this opportunity.
We began with an informative tour of this state-of-the-art wine making facility conducted by the very gracious and knowledgeable winery representative, Monica Agyekum. We observed numerous stainless steel and oak wine storage barrels holding wine in a temperature-controlled atmosphere until just the right time to bottle. Each barrel can fill 25 cases and the wine cellars have approximately 2,000 barrels in various stages of ageing. Only kosher wine is processed here.
Next came the wine tasting. Visitors to the Wine Cellars have the privilege of educational, guided wine tastings. On any day, a selection of Baron Herzog wines or Herzog Wine Cellars Special Reserve wines are available. Information shared by a trained sommelier adds to the experience. Our knowledge and understanding of wine characteristics were certainly enhanced.and the wines we sipped were quite special.
Although we were sorry to miss meeting Wine Cellars manager Joseph Herzog (he was out of town), the youngest grandson of Herzog founder Eugene Herzog, we had a vintage day at Herzog; especially because we had the pleasure of meeting their chief wine maker, and surely one of the top wine experts in the U.S., Joe Hurliman.
In addition to Joe’s vast knowledge about wine, he is personable, humorous and certainly willing to share! Joe began his career 25 years ago, with a focus on Health Science and Organizational Management. His formal wine training included a career at the respected Alban Vineyards, in California’s Edna Valley, and experience in creating wine from grapes grown in California Central Coast. Joe has been with Herzog since 1998.
Joe now incorporates grapes from Napa, Sonoma, Clarksburg, and Lodi into the Herzog winemaking regiment. In addition to his role as winemaker for both the Herzog Wine Cellars and Baron Herzog wines, he helps manage the vineyards across the state where Herzog Wine cellars source its grapes. He also develops new wine programs.
Joe shared his knowledge and advice on how to taste, how to “swirl” reds, how to store wine, and his recommendations for some of his favorites:
When storing wine at home, avoid temperature changes, light, and vibration. A cool, dry, dim or dark room is best. When all else fails, he suggested using an internal room such as a closet!
For opened wine, AVOID THE ENEMY-AIR! Joe suggests pouring anticipated extra wine immediately after opening into glass"187 sized" bottles and tightly closing. Re-bottled wine can be stored as described above.
When tasting wine, swirl around and around in the glass. Joe recommends swirling with the base of the wine glass on a flat surface. Swirl, sniff, and sip to get full nose and taste.
Although Joe was reticent about sharing his current Herzog favorites (like to a parent who does not favor one child over another), we pressed him! He “caved” under pressure and did share some favorites in various price ranges:
• Lodi Zin Gris – 2007 Herzog Rose table wine. Approximately $18
• Late Harvest Zin –2008 sweeter wine, lovely with dessert picked later certified sustainable. Approximately $20
• Herzog Reserve Napa Cabernet 2006- aged in French smoky barrels for 18 months; $38
• Alexander Cabernet Special Reserve 2007 smooth with earthy notes, a fruit forward, Napa wine. Approximately $35 (This was our favorite red - memorable!)
So America, how do we join the exciting Herzog Wine Cellars Wine Club? Please visit HerzogWineClubs.com. We are dismayed to report that only buyers from lucky states can join the club, namely California, Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New York, Texas, Oregon, Vermont, and Washington D.C. If your state is not on the list, the wine club is not permitted to ship to that state.
Unfortunately our state of Georgia, is not on the list, so we will have to make other arrangements to buy these! We’ve already complained to our state representatives about this! Of course, Herzog wines are available nationwide from KosherWine.com.
Our lunch at the exceptional Tierra Sur Restaurant:
No, we did not order any wine pairings for lunch after enjoying our private wine festival! What we did was feast on outstanding food!
• Bread from La Brea bakery – served with fresh rosemary infused olive oil
• Caesar salad – hearts of romaine with lemon, garlic and anchovy dressing
• Lamb burger with a side of house made maple cured lamb "bacon"
• Succulent steak in a balsamic mushroom presentation
• Organic corn fish tortilla with mango salsa
• Warm Blackberry crumble, alongside non-dairy ice cream.
Are you drooling yet? Truly a memorable meal and well worth the drive from LA! Yes, Yes, Yes… so much more to sip, taste, learn, eat, buy—we must return to Oxnard! And, we look forward to meeting the talented Chef Todd Aaron. The restaurant shared one of Chef Aaron's deletable creations–Pomegranate-Braised Lamb Shoulder with Fava Beans. Enjoy!
Tierra Sur/Herzog Wine Cellars
3201 Camino Del Sol
Oxnard, CA 93030
Phone: 805.983.1560 Fax: 805.983.1775
Kosher Certification: OU