Tag Archives: Pinot Noir

New Worldly Red Wines to Taste this Spring

3 RedsI was surprised with a phone call from The Wine Feed off Glenwood Avenue in Raleigh, NC on Friday, February 14th. Wine had been selected for me and was available for pick-up. I was grinning into the phone, filled with the same jubilation as a child who has just found out school is cancelled tomorrow, and it’s the Friday, of a three day weekend… Get my drift?

Come to find out – it was three wines. (Kid – school cancelled – giant chocolate cake)

Lyric by Etude – Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, CA 2012
Lyric was enjoyable without food. I opened it simply to taste before going out for a meal and loved how lively the wine tasted. Young as it is, Lyric’s fruitful aroma certainly was not lost. Notes of spice and toasted nuts were a nice addition to the soft tannins. Certainly this wine could be paired well with food, though I used it as my “getting ready” aperitif.

Ripasso by Corte Majoli – Valpolicella, Verona, Italy 2010
Valpolicella is fantastic. I’ve always liked it, even if it isn’t as well know as Montelpulciano or Chianti. Valpolicella is known for strong cherry notes on the palate and this one from Corte Majoli did not let me down. I love how fruit forward Italian wines can be. This wine was fairly low in tannins, so would be a great choice for anyone who hasn’t come around to the big, bold reds. (Corvina is the variety of grape for Valpolicella)

Domaine de Fenouillet – Ventoux, Rhone, France 2012
Ventoux is a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Carignan. The Ventoux appellation is in the Rhone, France. This red blend was bigger than the other two.  The dark fruits and herbal flavors stand up well to luscious, well-prepared meats with herb marinades. This 2012 could stand to stay in the bottle a few years longer, but I can’t say I didn’t enjoy it even at just two years old.

Hope you had a wonderful February! Keep the red wines coming, it’s not spring yet. And perhaps try some of these appellations/regions/grapes that you haven’t heard of – they will surprise you.


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Filed under Valentine's Day, Wine, Wine Tastings, Wine's Properties, Wineries

Five Blocks, Pinot Noir – Lúmos

Lumos Wine Well, here we are Wednesday and hadn’t made the Sunday meal post yet. Ah sure, it seems easy to write a blog continuously, but sometimes life really gets in the way. These long days are making my brain shut down and all I think about are these Sunday dinners. They have begun to bring together our family, our love of wine/food and of course centering our thoughts. What do you think about when you’re cooking or baking? Everything else going on in your life? Not me, I think about the recipe, what ingredient comes next, how will it look when it comes out. Then it’s done and nothing has really turned out the way you wanted it to, but the Taste! The taste makes it all worth it.

This Sunday’s menu: Stuffed portobello mushrooms with roasted brussels sprouts and lemon bars
Paired with: Five Blocks, a Pinot Noir from Oregon from a Winery called Lúmos 2011

As I’ve previously touched on, nothing went the way I wanted it to. I baked the mushroom caps first and they shrunk to Portobello Mushroomswhat looked like little tiny stones on parchment paper. When I turned them over they were as flat as pancakes… how does one stuff a pancake?? Instead, I used them like a mushroom tostada piling my mixture of cannelini beans, wilted kale, herbs and prosciutto on the cap; topped then with breadcrumbs and parmesan cheese and baked until crispy. (Notice the un-stuffed-ness of the mushroom??)

The brussels sprouts were roasted in olive oil and balsamic glaze until done, easy. It was my dad’s birthday on Monday so I wanted to make his favourite dessert, but I was trying to keep it a secret. This was extremely hard to do as everyone was in the kitchen and they were all secretly wondering why I was making a shortbread crust and had 5 lemons? In the end, everything was delicious. It really had great flavour and the lemon bars came out of the oven right on time.

Pinot NoirFor this meal I chose a Pinot Noir from Oregon. 1. Mushrooms pair very nicely with Pinot Noir because of their earthiness and because the mushroom can stand up to a red wine. 2. Oregon is known for the earthiest of Pinot Noir. This time I went to Sip… a wine store in Cary to pick out my wine. I had my dad come with me to choose which one he wanted. The store had about 200 bottles of wine in it, there were about 4 from Oregon and 2 that were Pinot Noir; it took my dad about 30 minutes to choose. Typical eh?

The Five Blocks was aged in French Oak for 15 months. It was said to be more earthy than the other one in the store.  It had dark fruit flavours and lovely spice. I didn’t pick much up on the earthy side when I first tasted it. To me it was much more bright than I expected. The tannin was medium and smoothed by the overall meal. The wine paired nicely with the portobello mushroom, not so much with the lemon bar 🙂

I guess all that really matters in the end is the effort we put into something to make someone else happy. The more we do for someone else, the more we find we want to do. Sitting at the table with our food and wine, room dimly lit by candles and filled with conversation and laughter. Who could pass that up?

Lemon Bars I couldn’t.

Happy Birthday dad.


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Filed under Family and Friends, Food Pairings/Recipes, Sip... a wine store, Wine, Wine Tastings, Wine's Properties, Wineries

Pork, it’s what’s for breakfast, lunch and dinner!

Pork…it’s such a funny name and one, though after fervent research (perhaps 2 minutes on Wikipedia), I have not been able to find the origin. I must remember to ask my brother as he is the family encyclopedia.

(Hurray! And he came through as promised via Facebook: Jeremy The basic root ‘pork’ (meaning pig) is recognizable in human language as far back as we can find, traceable through English, Latin, and Proto-Indo-European. It possibly refers to the pig’s characteristic behavior of rooting for food. :-))

Pork, fork, torque, dork… it certainly wouldn’t make any good poetry.  Not only that, but it is forbidden for at least two different religious sects.  So why do we all LOVE the other other white meat?? Bacon, mmmm, oh and also that it is very versatile when it comes to wine pairing.

Which wine do you think would go well with pork?

  1. Riesling
  2. Zinfandel
  3. Rosé
  4. Belgian Ale
  5. Pinot Noir

The answer? F. All of these would go well with pork, even the beer I snuck in!  I would pair any of these wines with pork tenderloin, BLT, baked ham, pork chops, bacon, pulled pork etc.  The trick is to join flavors with the pork and garnishes as to highlight the wine you have chosen.

When you’re at a restaurant and you are ordering wine, do you think about what kind of food you’re hungry for and pair it with the wine you desire? Most often than not, we pick our favorite wine or one we have been hoping to try.  Do you then choose your meal based on your wine selection? Some of you can say that you do, but many of you probably just choose your wine and your food separately.  Most of us have a vague idea of our food and wine choice before we even enter the restaurant, which frankly is just how things work.  Sticking to the norms will help. So you feel like fish tonight, go white. You feel like beef, go red.

On the other hand, you feel like pork.  The reason I bring up Mr. Piggie is because a couple weeks ago I used pork tenderloin to create a dish my mother used to make with pork chops.

Pork Chops á la Momma

The recipe sears off the pork in olive oil and removes.  Slice and add 1 ringed white, yellow or Vidalia onion (your choice) till translucent (add more olive oil as needed).  Add the pork back to the pan and add approx. 1 cup of orange juice or until bottom of the pan and pork is just about covered.  Cook pork thoroughly.  Salt and pepper while pork is cooking and stir. When the orange juice begins to boil, I take a little in a cup, add a touch of flour, mix well and add back to the pan to thicken the orange juice into a sauce. Ta-da! I served the pork with sweet potato mash and sweet peas; and by serve I mean I put it on my plate to eat.

I thought about drinking it with the Chardonnay/Viognier blend… or maybe that Mulderbosch Rosé I last spoke of, or a Cabernet/Merlot blend.  My overall pondering only lasted a few seconds when I realized that I still had the nice effervescent Dr. B in the fridge.  The Auslese was a good compliment to the sweet Vidalia onion and orange juice mix.  It broke up whatever richness might have come forth through the saucy pork and sweet potatoes as well.

I know you won’t be disappointed with your pork and wine choice, whatever it may be! Enjoy and as always, drink up!

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Sip… (More than just) a wine store (Part 1)

I must begin by saying that a man that sounded like a game show announcer did not announce the jazz musician at the wine tasting last night, but I’m actually relieved. Sip… a wine store is tucked away, almost unnoticeable, yet to remain unaware of this little gem would truly be the tragedy.  My roommate and I entered into an interesting situation.  Neither of us really knew how the tasting would go, nor were we sure how we might be treated.  Believe it or not, lots of people tend to judge first, learn later and we were two younger looking girls.  Our fears were quickly put aside with the comforting smell of wine bottles and the warm, kind smile of the owner.  As she beckoned us in to start with the first wine, I was distracted by the shear beauty of the chocolates that I only hoped would be a part of the experience.  Pleasantly enough, they were. 

The owner explained to us that she chose the wines based on the chocolates and that each wine could possibly be paired with 2 different kinds of chocolate.  This worked out perfectly because it allowed each wine to have a chocolate pairing.  Where at the end, we were able to try them all.

Weingut Michlits, Pinot Noir Frizzante, Austria – We began the ‘wine journey’ as it were, with a Pinot Noir Frizzante. Frizzante most simply means with bubbles and you can remember it by knowing that anything labeled Frizzante will be fizzy, ooo ahhhh.  A lovely wine most comparable to a sparkling White Zinfandel… yea… I know… booo. However, this wine was perfect and a wonderful beginning to the evening.  The wine was described as having a floral nose, which means that unlike, say a Riesling, it smelled like maybe a rose would instead of how a pineapple or orange might.  I only noticed the floral smell after a few sniffs, but it was certainly there.

Chocolate Pairing – Raspberry Ganache filled Chocolate.  This pairing was impeccable.  I think I heard one lady say it was one of those flavors that would make you wanna slap your grandma! So I did.

But seriously, the raspberry ganache improved the flavor of the wine, the wine improved the flavor of the chocolate and for just a couple minutes, it’s possible that Armageddon could have occurred and I would have still been in the vicious cycle of better wine, better chocolate, better wine, better chocolate and so on. Red Light Chocolates started with a very bright ‘green light means go’ chocolate. So, you know, I guess you could say I ‘kinda’ enjoyed it.

2009, Chehalem, Chemistry Chardonnay – There was a LOT going on with this wine.  It is actually a blend of 57% Chardonnay, 28% Pinot Gris, 12% Riesling and 3% Pinot Blanc.

A quick breakdown of each grape – just by how they usually taste.  Chardonnay (drier, can be creamy or crisp depending on how it is aged) Pinot Gris (round, heavier, full) Riesling (fruity, sweet, clean, light, easy drinking for a 1st time wine try-er) Pinot Blanc (crisp, light, sweet, but not too, a favorite among many women, summer wine)

Ok, back to the Chemistry. This wine alone was ok.  Wasn’t bad, but didn’t have much spark.  Riesling and Pinot Gris came through with strong taste that really happened to over power the lovely creamy* Chardonnay (* which is a sign that it was most likely aged in oak barrels).  An interesting blend that became immensely more enticing as soon as its chocolate pairing was tasted.

Chocolate Pairing – Coffee Caramel. Sometimes wine improves the flavor of a paired item and sometimes the paired item improves the flavor of a wine.  In this case, the latter.  The coffee caramel chocolate improved the wine bringing with it a spice that was once before lost.  Perhaps on a stranded island with a volleyball as a friend.  No one can be sure where it was, just that it had been found.  The best part is that the 50% Chardonnay also showed itself, which made the blend as a whole a lot more impressive.

(Creepy? But he’s so happy!)

There are 2 wines and 2 chocolates left, so stay tuned for part deux!

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