Just want to say goodbye to an old friend, an icon of Napa Valley restaurants, Tra Vigne is closing for good on December 20th. This restaurant, over the years, has included important personal events like family dinners, birthdays, company parties, engagement celebrations, cocktails with friends and countless meals with clients and fans of the winery. More than any other restaurant, in my life, I find myself nostalgic and sad about its closing.
I remember being nervous my first visit, I had limited knowledge about etiquette, food and wine but it was exhilarating Company Christmas parties in the private room of the basement when the economy was thriving and we didn’t even know what the word recession meant. An engagement party that the bride's father proudly wanted to buy a round of drinks and a couple of youthful fools thought it would be funny to order Louis the XIII. Roasted whole crab with Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc, in the warm sun of the veranda, with longtime wine club members. The best memories of all, and the one that was repeated many times during the last 27 years with my wife, was her company, the mozzarella appetizer and feeling like a king in the grandeur of their dining room.
In the 20 year history of our winery we have never sold more of our wine to another restaurant. David Stevens, who is now the proprietor of Acme Wines, was the long time sommelier for Tra Vigne. He loved Madrigal Petite Sirah and put our wine on a page, of the wine list, called “What the locals are drinking”. We had an 8 year run on that page and it was responsible, in my opinion, for creating a large percentage of our Petite Sirah fans. To this day we still get people telling us that they first had our Petite Sirah at Tra Vigne.
Tra Vigne is an icon of old Napa Valley that helped forge the path of today's food and wine Mecca, Napa Valley. A final toast to you as I drink a glass of our 1999 Madrigal Petite Sirah. If you don’t have a bottle of the 1999, our 2012 Estate Reserve Petite Sirah would be an appropriate wine to toast with me.
To order a bottle or 12 of the 2012 Estate Reserve Petite Sirah. Press the link and enter coupon code TRAVIGNE and receive free shipping till December 31, 2015
You will be missed old friend!
Tra Vigne Braised Beef Short Ribs
For the Brine:
1 quarts of water
1 cup light brown sugar, packed
1 cup Kosher salt
1 bay leaf
5 juniper berries
For the Short Ribs:
4 pounds meaty beef short ribs
1 tablespoon vegetable oil or more if needed
2 medium onions, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 head of garlic, unpeeled and cut in half crosswise
2 cups of beef broth or stock
1 cup of dry red wine
1 cup Sherry vinegar
1 cup canned crushed tomatoes
Make the brine by combining water, sugar, salt, bay leaf and juniper berries in a pot and simmering over medium heat until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Cool the mixture to room temperature. Add the short ribs to the brine and chill covered in the refrigerator for at least four and up to twenty-four hours (longer is better). After brining remove short ribs from the brine and pat dry with paper towels. Discard the brine. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Heat vegetable oil in a heavy ovenproof pot with a tight fitting lid over medium high heat on top of stove with the lid off. Sauté the ribs in the heated vegetable oil in batches until browned on all sides. Set aside on a platter. Add the onions, carrot and garlic to the pot and cook over moderate heat stirring occasionally until vegetables are golden, about eight minutes. Stir in stock, wine, vinegar and tomatoes, scraping up any brown bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the ribs and any juices on the platter to the pot and bring to a simmer. Cover the pot with the lid and transfer to the preheated oven. Braise in the oven until meat is tender about two and a half to three hours. Remove ribs from sauce and discard garlic skin, which should have separated from the cloves of garlic. Serve the ribs with the sauce on the side. This dish is even better if cooked a day ahead, chilled overnight leaving the ribs in the sauce and reheated the next day. Remove solidified fat before reheating.