Meet the Folded Hills Team. You know the drill. Ten questions, ten answers.
This month we are talking with Michael Brughelli, our Wine Maker here at Folded Hills. Here we go…let’s meet the Folded Hills Team.
Here is Michael!
FH: Hi Michael! We are excited to sit down with you for this month’s team member focus! Let’s find out more about you. Where are you from?
MB: I grew up on a farm in Riverdale, CA. Not to be confused with the hometown of Archie Bunker (or the TV series). If I’m not mistaken there are still more dairy cows than people in my hometown.
FH: When you were 10 years old what did you want to be when you grew up?
MB: When I was 10 years old I was dedicated to the study of roller coaster design and development (architectural engineering). This evolved into a fascination with motorcycle engines and I ended up going to college to study Mechanical Engineering with the intention of working for Yamaha or Honda in the performance development departments. My father was also a mechanical engineer as were a few others in my family.
FH: What is a place that you have never been to but would love to visit?
MB: Someday I’d like to go to Barolo and Barbaresco. I’ve had the good fortune to travel through Champagne, Burgundy, and the Rhône Valley fairly extensively and Barolo and Barbaresco are next on the list.
FH: If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, who would you choose and why?
MB: It would have been interesting to have dinner with Napoleon Bonaparte as he was the man responsible for re-establishing the Swiss Confederation and more specifically the region of Ticino in Switzerland as a canton (which thus granted its citizens the same rights as the other cantons) by way of the Mediation of 1803.
FH: What types of music do you enjoy?
MB: I like to listen to a variety of music and have become more acquainted with Disney themes and songs in the past few years. But, if I’m listening for my own leisure I tend to bounce between classic rock and 90’s era country western.
FH: What is your guilty pleasure?
MB: Swiss chocolate.
FH: What is something that most people don’t know about you?
MB: Most people don’t know that I have produced a 95-point-scoring wine or better from a prominent critic every year since I began producing my own wines over 10 years ago.
FH: What is something that you love to do in your spare time?
MB: When I have spare time I enjoy playing guitar with my daughters and helping them learn piano and drums.
FH: Can you tell us a little about how you first became interested in wine?
MB: I first got into wine prior to being of legal drinking age while in college. I was exposed to wine through some good friends who were a few years older and working in the wine business. I crashed and aced an Advanced Viticulture class (which I didn’t have the prerequisites for) and commenced reading every book I could about wine and started working for local wineries in the Edna and Arroyo Grande Valleys. My first epiphany wine was an old vine (vines planted in 1880 and still producing) Reserve Zinfandel. In more recent years I’ve had the good fortune of tasting incredible renditions of Rhône and Burgundy wines which are always inspiring.
FH: Lastly, what is your favorite Folded Hills wine, and can you share a recipe that you love to pair with it?
MB: My favorite FH wine at the moment is the Clairette Blanche. UPDATE WITH NEW VINTAGE This wine exudes an ethereal combination of minerality braced by bright pear, lemongrass, lychee, and citrus zest. There’s a bright acidity that cuts through the mid-palate through the finish as well.
For a fun weekend morning, I like to pair Clairette Blanche with a great breakfast/brunch dish that I love and was served at our family table through a few generations.
Thank you Michael! We love an old family recipe and can’t wait to try yours.
Stay tuned for next month’s Meet the Folded Hills Team – Ten Questions Monthly Blog Series post. Any guesses who it could be? Who would you love to hear from?
‘Till next time! Hope to see you soon.
Michael’s Family Recipe –
Sausage and Polenta Bake
Pair with 2021 Clairette Blanche – UPDATE WITH NEW VINTAGE
1 pound pork sausage
3 cups milk
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup yellow cornmeal
3 eggs separated
¼ cup shredded cheddar cheese
- In an 11 or 12-inch frying pan (one that can also go in the oven), break up the meat and slowly brown; drain off and save fat as it accumulates. When meat is cooked, remove from pan.
- In the same pan combine milk, 1 tablespoon of sausage fat, and salt.
- Heat until almost boiling and then stir in cornmeal. Cook for about 3 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly; remove from heat.
- Add a small amount of hot mixture to well-beaten egg yolks, mix well, and stir the egg yolks back into the hot mixture.
- Blend in cooked meat, reserving 1/3 cup for topping.
- Beat egg whites until stiff and fold into cornmeal mixture.
- Sprinkle cheese and remaining meat over the top. Bake in a moderate oven – 350 deg F for 40 minutes or until puffy and brown on top.
Click on the image below to download a printable copy of Michael’s family recipe. REPLACE PDF WITH UPDATED VINTAGE PAIRING INFO