Looking out the window right now, it’s hard to believe that just over two months ago, we were dining under the stars with a group of forty Mila Family Vineyards enthusiasts at Firestone Country Club. It was an evening of farm-to-table cuisine, good friends, and delicious wines.
Shortly after that magical night, we flew to Sonoma for the toughest harvest we’ve seen yet—more on that below. As we write this, we’re preparing to head back to Sonoma to taste the young wines from barrel.
We do not inoculate our barrels with commercial yeasts, so fermentations happen spontaneously, and each new vintage tells the story of the conditions of the growing season. What will the 2022 wines be like? Given our experiences in August and September, we’re guessing they’ll reflect both joy and determination.
Wishing you all the best,
We’re here to help you with your holiday giving list. Place your order for our attractive wooden 3-pack or cardboard 2-pack boxes of Mila wines anytime November 8 through December 9 to ensure delivery in time for Christmas. And if you’re in Ohio, please join us for wine, light bites, and holiday shopping at our annual open house on Tuesday, November 22, beginning at 4pm.
This time of year, I can think of no more comforting meal than a roast chicken, accompanied by crisp oven-browned potatoes and a mixed green salad. This menu makes any weeknight family dinner feel like a feast.
It’s easy enough to cook a chicken, but it’s not easy to prepare the perfect chicken: moist yet roasted to a golden crisp. I have tried numerous recipes and methods, but I have never been entirely satisfied with the results.
So when our friend, Mike Laszlo, claimed to have hit upon a foolproof method for roasting a chicken to juicy-yet-perfectly browned perfection, I was eager to try it, if skeptical.
Mike takes a “guy in the kitchen” approach, cooking everything in one cast-iron skillet. And it works. This is now my go-to chicken recipe. To make this meal complete, serve it with our Block II Grenache.
1 4-6 pound chicken
8-10 Yukon gold potatoes, cleaned
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 stick (½ cup) unsalted butter, softened
salt & pepper, to taste
2 lemons (seedless varieties are best)
2 teaspoons fresh thyme
Fresh rosemary, to taste
4 to 6 hours prior to cooking time, prep your chicken. Spatchcock it, then remove the knobs from the drumsticks and clip off tips of wings (past the elbows). Salt the underside of the chicken, then gently break the membrane under the breast and thigh skin so as to salt generously underneath the skin. Place chicken in refrigerator, covered loosely with paper towel. Remove from refrigerator 1 hour before cooking.
Preheat oven to 450°. Add oil to a 12-inch cast-iron skillet. Slice Yukon gold potatoes into even ¾-to-1-inch-thick round slices and arrange them in the skillet. Place pan over medium heat.
While potatoes are browning, zest lemons and set aside. Mix soft butter, salt, pepper, lemon zest and thyme together to form a paste. Slather generously under chicken breast skin; slather any remaining paste under leg skin. Slice zested lemons as thinly as possible and remove any seeds. Slide lemon slices under chicken skin.
In your skillet, flip potatoes so browned sides face up, and place the chicken on the bed of potatoes, breast up. Roast in oven, keeping an eye on the chicken skin and adjusting heat down to 400°-425° if it appears to be browning too quickly. When a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the thigh registers 165° (approximately 40 minutes), remove chicken and place on wire rack. Keeping potatoes in skillet, pour out excess fat and butter, leaving some for crisping. Place skillet over medium-high heat and finish browning potatoes, turning them as needed. Remove from heat when potatoes are crisp on both sides.
Sprinkle with salt and rosemary before serving.
Our Block II Grenache has the medium body and acidity to complement this lemony roast chicken recipe. Light ruby in color, it has juicy strawberry and cherry notes that play satisfyingly against savory flavors. The 2019 vintage is now available for purchase.
We were already in our third year of severe drought when September 2022 came on with a bang, with the thermometer hitting triple-digit temperatures for nearly a week.
Wine grapes require hang time in order to achieve full physiological ripeness, but the outrageously hot weather pumped up the sugar levels in our fruit, forcing our hand. Since we choose not to use additives in the winery—that is, we would rarely add water, acid, or anything else to our fermentations—we had no choice but to to pick earlier than we had planned to.
Fortunately, we have a solid team and excellent equipment back at the winery. Four to six people stand on each side of a conveyor belt for the first bunch sort, removing dried-out shriveled clusters as well as rocks and twigs. Then a destemming machine plucks the berries from the clusters and deposits them on a vibrating table, where raisins fall off and roll away. We then sort through the individual grapes, removing any stray jacks (stems) or water berries (colorless, flavorless berries, as depicted in the photo). Finally, a blower pushes any remaining small debris.
The moment of truth this year came after crush, when we sampled the juice. We were expecting something simultaneously tart and overripe. Instead, we tasted fresh, zippy, sweet juice—the ideal starting point for fine wine.
The 2022 vintage at Mila will reflect the harvest season—not just the weather, but the hardworking people who turned a near calamity into another triumph.
November 22, 2022, 4-8pm
8869 Brecksville Rd.
LockKeepers, 8001 Rockside Rd.
Valley View, OH
March 10-11, 2023
Dugas Estate, 38 W. Hodge Rd.
Santa Rosa Beach, FL
To ensure access to Mila wines and events, please join our wine club. There are no memberships fees or restrictions—members simply receive two annual pre-release wine shipments, in spring and fall, plus invitations to fun events! For more information, please contact Loretta at (216) 952-1550, or click the link below to email us.