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Pork and Pinot – A Perfect Pairing


Leave a comment on the video and let me know what you want to see next!

There are some days you just don’t want to slave over a hot stove, yet yearn for a delicious, home cooked meal. Managing your time between meal prep and other tasks, work, play, whatever, couldn’t be easier once you master the art of the crock pot! Toss four ingredients in the pot, let it cook for half the day while your attention is elsewhere, and the end result is a perfectly prepared, hot meal that’s delicious. All that you have to do is pop the cork on a nice wine to make this meal fabulous. That’s where I come in, taking this crock pot pork loin recipe and pairing a delicious red wine with it, a Pinot Noir from California.

As you saw in the short video, placing a 2-3 pound pork loin in the crock pot with about 3 cups of beef broth, eight thyme sprigs, and 4 or 5 whole cloves of garlic makes an amazing meal. While we cooked it, on a low setting, for 10 hours, it would have been ready after 6-8. The meal was positively delicious, but what really set it off was the wine pairing.  Pork goes famously with white wines, like Riesling or Gewurztraminer, but we really enjoy this dish with a Pinot Noir. I selected the $30 offering from Russian Hill, their Russian River Valley 2006.

Russian Hill has been family owned and operated since 1997, and produces a number of estate Syrah offerings in addition to their estate Pinot Noir wine and an estate grown Viognier. They also offer a Chardonnay sourced from a neighboring Dutton Ranch vineyard, numerous Pinot Noirs sourced from individual neighboring vineyards, and of course, the RRV Pinot Noir discussed in the video. Winemaker Patrick Melley, who is the nephew of proprietor Ed Gomez, is largely a self taught winemaker. His online biography mentions that mouthfeel is what he loves about wine most, and that indeed translates to his wines. Silky and soft, they dance on the palate.

The Russian Hill RRV Pinot Noir is sourced from multiple vineyards, selected from several small hands-on growers who offer fruit the team at Russian Hill feel creates a wine that represents the appellation as a whole. The summer fog provides moderate temperature during the day and cool nights, which results in wines with a bright acidity and full fruit flavor as the fruit ripens slowly. I thought this wine had great fruit that was beautifully balanced with smokey and earthy notes and a wonderful acidity that finishes softly.  This Pinot Noir is aged for 10 months in 100% French oak, 25% of which was new, which contributes those toasty, earthy notes. There were 2,000 cases of this wine produced, up from 1,370 in 2005. The wine has a velvety mouth feel, rich and supple, without being flabby. While it’s wonderful to sip on it’s own, it’s great with food. The video captures the tasting notes perfectly when this wine is paired with the right meal.

Do you have a recipe you’d like for me to prepare, then pair with the perfect wine? You can email me at matt @ mmwine.me or leave a comment below and we can collaborate. I’d love to feature your recipe on the blog!

Petit Verdot Petit Sirah from Lange Twins Family Winery and Vineyards

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah

Do you enjoy wine? When was the last time you had a Petit Verdot? How about Petit Sirah? If the answer is anything other than “Last week”, watch this video wine review of Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyards 2007 Generations Petit Verdot Petit Sirah blend. You’ll be surprised at how delicious and drinkable this $20 wine is! There’s no doubt that this purple teeth stainer will be a wine you look to have again, and again.

The Lange family has been farming in California for 5 generations, starting with Johann and Maria Lange’s 1870 immigration from Germany, where they settled down in Lodi. The Langes started their farming history beginning with melons, the crop of choice back then. They moved into farming grapes in 1916, then in 2006  twin brothers Randall and Bradford Lange, Winery General Manager and Viticulture General Manager respectively, founded the Lange Twins winery, and incorporated the winery in their business of grape growing. There are multiple generations of Lange family members working at the Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyards today, making it a true family business.

Joe Lange provided a bottle of their Generations Petit Verdot Petit Sirah 2007 to me before the summer started as a sample for review. I am grateful to Joe, and Lange Twins Family Winery & Vineyard for the opportunity to taste this wine, and discuss it with you. Please take two minutes to watch the video review below, then read the rest of my tasting notes and comments.

Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah Red Wine review from Matthew Scott on Vimeo.

As you can see from the above quick video wine review (you did watch it, right? Seriously, 2 minutes!), this wine falls into the “Drinkable” and almost “Gulpable” category. It’s only $20 from the Lange Twins website, and by my measure, that makes it a very affordable, bordering on every day wine price wise. Of course, price is not the only measure of selecting wines, so taste has to be there, and in my opinion, Lange Twins Petit Verdot Petit Sirah has it.

I find this wine very approachable. That means, it’s easy to drink, and doesn’t require too much care & feeding, or work, to enjoy it. A good friend of mine on twitter mentioned she is not a fan of wines that require a lot of “me” time, and prefers the ability to just open a wine and enjoy it. While I decanted the wine for an hour, I believe this wine would do well as a “Pop and Pour”, where you can just open it and drink.

Decanting red wines has two purposes. First, for older wines or perhaps wines that are not filtered, it helps separate the sediment that occurs normally in bottles of wine by allowing them to settle to the bottom of the decanter. Second, it allows younger wines time to “breathe”, allowing oxygen to interact with the wine. This can allow the wine to open up, the bouquet and the flavors can show well, and you can enjoy the wine. Some wines may not need any decanting, others may need one, two or even four hours to open up.

As you saw in the video, there was nice fruit on this wine, with just a little hint of baking spice mixed in. I could discern beautiful blueberry flavors mixed in with darker fruit flavors as soon as the wine hit my tongue. It definitely opened up and became even more enjoyable with each minute we drank the wine. Also as mentioned in the video, we paired the wine with steak.  It was a great pairing, the delicious grilled steak dancing gracefully with the luscious wine. Sadly, the wine was finished before the steak was gone, which was a testament to how easy drinking the wine was.

This wine definitely plays well with others, pairing it with beef dishes or other gamey dishes (hmm, venison stew or Cornish game hens perhaps) works wonderfully. It also plays well by itself, making it a great sipping wine. Open a bottle of this Lange Twins wine, take your better half, or your best buds, to the back yard or the porch, and watch a great night with a nice wine unfold!

Wines from Chile are great VALUE wines

Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir

Cono Sur Chilean Pinot Noir

I was quite fortunate to participate in the first ever Wines of Chile blogger tasting event last night.  And while I was not as quick as John, who managed to get a post on the event this morning, I wanted to touch on one important thing about Chilean wine. Chile offers some very nice wine, and some unique varieties, like Carmenere, their signature grape. However, we need to keep in mind that what attracts many people to these wines is the value they offer.

During the tasting last night, moderator Michael Green, Wine & Spirits consultant for Gourmet magazine, took a question from one of the blogger participants. Paraphrasing, he said that the blogger thought the prices were too inexpensive. This set off some conversation that sounded like we would soon see price increases in the future. Katie Pizzuto from Gonzogastronomy said “exactly! Now they’re gonna hike up prices” after I had said “nonono .. we arent saying we want them more expensive. we’re saying Chile makes GREAT wines @ Great value #winesofchile” regarding Michael’s comment.  Further to that, Dave Honig commented that “Hey @mmwine I repeat, GREAT QPR, but only GOOD wine. ”

And that is the point that I want to make. While Chile is offering great QPR (Quality to Price ratio), the wines are good. They will perhaps one day be GREAT, and I firmly believe they will. However, I will also, quite honestly, say that if these wines were 30-50% more in price, no less double in price, I would probably find other wines to drink.  While I really enjoyed last night’s Cono Sur Pinot Noir, and I love Morande’s Pinot Noir at $15 and $12 respectively, I would probably pass on them if the were $25 or $30. Some of last nights wines were approaching the $30 range. And while I enjoyed them, and would recommend them, as well as drink them in the future, they were definitely starting to approach the top end of the QPR segment.

Now, please don’t think I am not a fan of Chilean wines. I sincerely am, and one of my TV segments on Daytime TV will feature Morande’s Pinot Noir as a great red for summer (or any time, honestly). I just feel it’s my duty to bound the rave reviews I, and apparently some of the other bloggers, gave to Chilean wines last night. They’re making good wines, and GREAT QPR wines.  That needs to be their focus, at least for now.

What do you think about Chilean wines, and QPR wines in general? I’d love to hear!

Don’t drink the water

A Margarita in Mexico

A Margarita in Mexico

Robin and her friend Susan had been going to Isla Mujeres, a tiny island off the coast of Cancun, Mexico for 15 plus years before I was invited to join them in 2005. Along with the typical advice I was given by the two well traveled ladies of “Don’t drink the water”, I was told to not drink the wine. Apparently, their experience showed them that while the ceviche was second to none, and a fresh margarita could be found anywhere, drinkable wine was a rare treat on the Island.