What a cheese ball.

It feels like many of the normal things I grew up with in West Texas are now considered hip.  Some are surprising to me (like having chickens in your backyard) and others not surprising (like pimento cheese). One snack always on the table at parties back home was a cheese ball, so I was happy to see this yummy recipe in a recent issue of Garden & Gun.

Sounds good right? Randy is heading to the grocery store now so we can test it….

XXOO – Brooke

From Vivian Howard’s Deep Run Roots: Stories and Recipes from My Corner of the South

¼ cup high-quality blue cheese (I like Maytag)
⅓ cup (5½ tablespoons) butter
¼ cup fresh goat cheese
¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons cream cheese
¼ cup chopped dates
2 tablespoons finely chopped scallions (both white and green parts work here)
½ teaspoon hot sauce
¼ teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Salt-and-Butter-Roasted Pecans (recipe below), roughly chopped
2 tablespoons chopped flat-leaf parsley

2 cups pecan halves or pieces
2 tablespoons melted butter
3/4 teaspoon salt, divided

For the cheese ball:
Take the blue cheese, butter, goat cheese, and cream cheese out of the refrigerator to soften 30 minutes before making your cheese-ball mixture. In the bowl of a mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, combine all the ingredients except for the pecans and parsley. Paddle it up till homogenous. It will be loose and sticky and you’ll wonder how you’re ever going to form that mess into a ball. The answer is, you transfer the bowl to the refrigerator for 15 minutes or so. During that time the cheese mix will firm up enough for you to pat it into a sphere. Once it’s stiff enough to hold up, form the ball and roll that ball in the pecans, followed by parsley.
For the salt-and-butter-roasted pecans:
Preheat your oven to 350ºF. Toss the pecans thoroughly with the melted butter and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Spread them out in a single layer on a baking sheet and slide that sheet onto the middle rack of your oven. Roast the pecans for 11 minutes if using whole pecans and 10 minutes if you’re using pieces. Bring the slightly darkened and toasty-smelling pecans out of the oven and hit them with the remaining salt. Let them cool 5 minutes before you eat them. These will keep for 7 days in an airtight container at room temperature.

A balanced diet….

Some days I just need french fries and red wine for dinner. And a salad to balance it out…..

Happy 2018! Here’s to getting back into the swing of things in the New Year.  XXOO – Brooke



Earlier this week I was flipping through all the photos I’ve accumulated over this year. Many of these photos are from YOU – moments with Lightning that you wanted to share with us via email, text or through shout-outs on social media.

Your story is our story – in each photo you share, at every dinner you invite us to, in all the tastings we host. Randy and I wanted to take a moment to say thank you for including our wines in your 2017 story. 

If you tasted with us this year in Napa for the first time … if you shared our wines with your friends … if you sent us an email or photo about your #grenachelove … if you joined our wine club or purchased our wines … thank you, thank you, thank you!  

Even if we’ve never met in-person before, please know that we are so appreciative, and don’t take your interest for granted. You make our story!

We look forward to having more good times with you in 2018.  What can you expect from the Lightning crew in the new year?

—> New single-vineyard designated Grenache wines, highlighting our excellent farming partners.
—> A new tasting experience.  We are excited to be a part of the Feast it Forward concept in the Oxbow District and are happy to offer both private and more casual tastings!
—> More in-home tastings We love being on your home-turf to host tastings for our club members and like-minded friends. (Give us a shout if you ‘re interested!)

Have a delectable holiday season. You know that extra piece of fudge won’t kill you! Wear your pj’s all day and watch old holiday movies. Share some Grenache with your friends. Whatever you do, have fun – and we can’t wait to see you in the new year!


   With gratitude! Brooke (and Randy)


The first thing I noticed about this band was the outfits. I am a huge fan of Fort Lonesome‘s custom stitched pieces and they did a killer job on the bespoke Western Wear the band wears on their album cover and at awards shows. Then I heard their album ‘On the Rocks‘ on a road trip and it was one hit after another. I can’t get enough of them! And obviously, I now want my own custom ‘B Lightning’ outfit.

Here’s to each of our Electric Rodeos – XXOO – Brooke

Image result for midland the band

An Autumn Feast

Most people move to red wine thoughts when the weather cools down but when I saw this recipe in Garden & Gun, I knew it was a perfect pairing with our Lightning CdP Blanc.  The lemon in the sauce just pops and pairs with the wine and the vibrant acidity in the wine balances out the creaminess of the sauce.  A fabulous Autumn pairing!

Spaghetti Squash With Kale and Pecorino Romano Cream  

Scrape seeds from a halved squash. Roast at 350°F, cut sides down on sheet pan, for 15 to 20 minutes. Rest 10 minutes. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil in a sauté pan over medium. Add ½ tsp. chile flakes, 4 cups chopped kale, 2 tsp. lemon juice, 1 tsp. butter, and ½ tsp. salt. Cook 3 to 5 minutes. In a saucepan, heat 1 tbsp. butter over medium-low. Add 2 tsp. each minced shallot and garlic. Sweat them for 5 minutes, then add 2 cups heavy cream. Simmer 10 minutes. Stir in ½ cup grated pecorino Romano, ¼ tsp. sherry vinegar, ¼ tsp. salt, and pinch of pepper. Use fork to scrape squash to form strands. Add to pan with kale, and toss with 1 cup of sauce. Top with chopped toasted walnuts and parsley.

Bon Appétit – xxoo Brooke


Vineyard Visit | Harvest 2017

El Dorado County |  Grape Growers: Chuck & Ron Mansfield |  Grenache, Piquepoul, Grenache Blanc

Chuck and Ron Mansfield know what they’re doing. There is no denying that.
The fruit looked great and it’s always a bonus to snack on some of the “extra fancy” tree fruit they grow through Gold Bud Farms.

Adult Field Trips are the Best – XXOO – Brooke

Another Bottle Down: Listen to Randy!

“Check out this week’s podcast with Randy Hester from Lightning Wines and C.L. Butaud Wines from KOOP Radio. Randy has been in Napa for the past 10 years working for some iconic winemakers and making his own wine. Now he’s forging his path in TX. Randy is betting on TX wine, check out what he believes the potential of TX wine to be, all from a Napa perspective.”

Listen here.

Keep it classy.

The way any classy lady carries her wine roadie with her. Click here to see all styles!