Posts Tagged ‘pinot noir’

Thick-cut pork chop with a rub (chipotle pepper, Hungarian paprika, salt/pepper, garlic, rosemary, thyme, cayenne, and clove) put on the grill low and slow basking in the glorious smoke of hickory chips.  On the side: grapeseed oil sauteéd golden beet and kale mixed into some orzo.

Wine: Aaron Berdofe Pinot Noir 2013


F’ing Hipsters.

Sometimes the stars align at the exact moment you need them to.  We in Minnesota have been desperately seeking spring like nobody’s business and yesterday we finally saw an inkling indication that warm weather is on the way.  Naturally, for me this meant it was a chance to use the grill.  Additionally, my latest batch of kit wine, a California Pinot Noir, decided it was ready*.  I don’t really have a label worked up for my small batches of wine, mainly because it’s completely unnecessary, so I did not include a gratuitous label shot.  However, a couple months ago I did happen to capture the moment that I realized I was racking wine in my SW Minneapolis home WHILE wearing flannel on camera…unintentional hipster moment.  So you get a picture of that.  Happy?  Anyway, the food was fantastic and the clove just picked up so nicely in the wine that I may have been somewhat overindulgent in my sounds of pleasure while consuming this concoction.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised by how long the finish has been in the two wines that I’ve made.  The succulence of the pork, certainly called for a wine to stick around for awhile.  Speaking of which, do you know what wine makers and marketers call wines without a lengthy finish?  “Easy Drinking”


*For those of you who already have a bottle of my Pinot Noir, now would be a good time to start drinking it.  Serve just below room temperature.


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Rating: 5/5

1/2 Chicken rubbed with pepper, rosemary, salt and some leftover Chinese Plum Sauce I had from a wine and food pairing event the night before.  Side of mashed sweet potatoes with nutmeg and cinnamon and sauteed kale with garlic, lemon juice and ginger.

Wine: Elk Cove Pinot Noir Rosé 2009


Hello, autumn.  After hearing raves multiple times from a woman who checks me out at the wine shop on this wine, I decided to give it a go.  Why not?  I haven’t actually had a Rosé all year anyway.  Shame on me, right? So I finally did.  Just when summer was over.  Paired with the chicken, sweet potatoes and kale, this was a magnificent lunch for two.  The wine has these light floral, strawberry and watermelon characteristics, but with a solid body and structure behind it that mixed wonderfully with the fall flavors in the food.  Perfect seasonal segue meal.  Roasted chicken always looks beautiful as well so I included a picture of the full meal this time.

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Rating: 3/5

Scrambled egg sandwich on two pieces of whole wheat toast.  Dash of hot sauce on the eggs.  Use butter.

Wine: Mark West Pinot Noir 2008


Yes.  I just went there.  Now, there’s nothing wrong with Mark West Pinot Noir (or an egg sandwich for dinner for that matter).  It’s a good representation of northern California Pinot Noir.  However, trying to pair an interesting dish with the MWPN is kind of like bringing your Toyota Corolla to the red carpet of a movie premier.  You have to keep it simple.  More than simple.  As if the stars had aligned, I simultaneously happened to have an opened bottle of MWPN and next to nothing in my refrigerator besides eggs on the same night.  A peculiar laziness had also asserted itself over me and thus, the pairing.  If you’re ever in a pinch, do the same with a similar Pinot Noir.  It works.  It really works.

I would never try this with an aged Pinot Noir.  The tannin found naturally in the varietal can take on the fats in the butter creating a rather smooth experience.  I used my typical dozen shakes of Frank’s hot sauce.  If the hot sauce tastes too much like vinegar it’ll interfere with the tannins and you’ll get a bad taste in your mouth.  There were touches of that happening in my mouth, probably due to my excessive need for hot sauce, but not enough to get in the way.

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I’ve done a few wine and food pairings lately, mostly with people who are just getting in to wine or didn’t even know the world of wine had any depth to it.  The entire experience is centered around educating the participants about how to taste wine, what quality wine is and why it does or does not work with certain foods.  I start with the noble varieties (Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Noir, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon) and pair them with some fairly common foods so people can get an idea of why you pair one wine with one food, but not another.

When I was in Chile I noticed that everyone down there drank Cab Sauv with everything! Ceviche on the menu? Have some Cab Sauv with that!  It is the most produced wine grape in Chile and thus the highest amount of local consumption, but a lot of Chileans might benefit from something outside of a single grape every once in awhile.

Here is the Tasting Menu I use for my beginners wine and food sessions.  If you’re in the Minneapolis area and would like to organize something like this for you and your friends, let me know!

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