Monday, June 14, 2010

First Annual Pinot & Pig Shootout

We had our usual wine group over to the farm yesterday for an assortment of Pinot Noirs and grilled/smoked pork products. It rained pretty much all morning, but I soldiered on and manned the dueling Webers; one charcoal and one gas. The welcoming "course" was NV Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noir, Carneros offered with brie, Sonoma jack cheese, bacon-wrapped scallops and bacon-wrapped chicken livers. Calling the wine a "blanc" de anything is something of a misnomer as it has a beautiful, pale salmon color. They should just go ahead and call this a rose. Just wonderful yeasty, raspberry flavors and a fine, fine mousse. Due to my shellfish allergy, I couldn't try the scallops, but it was quite nice with the grilled chicken livers and cheeses. Nice sparkler for under $15.

The rest of the food was served "family style" on large platters all at once. I knew I wanted to smoke a pork shoulder, but I stayed away from the traditional BBQ route by keeping the BBQ dry rub in the cabinet. Instead, I marinated it in red wine overnight and then rubbed it down with dried rosemary, fennel seed, crushed red pepper flakes, sea salt and other dried herbs. This was smoked over apple wood for about 5 hours. The meat was succulent and delicious. I also used the apple wood to smoke two pork tenderloins that were coated with a spicy jerk seasoning. This was served with a raspberry/whole grain mustard sauce. I grilled up a mess of Italian sausages and red peppers, sliced them and then poured a balsamic vinegar/honey reduction over it. And since we needed some vegetables on the table, we wrapped some asparagus in proscuitto and grilled it lightly.

The first (still) wine we tried was the 2008 Sean Minor 4 Bears Pinot Noir, Carneros. Pretty cherry/vanilla aromas and flavors. Clearly the most fruit-driven of the line-up and the crowd's favorite. The wines from Sean Minor continue to impress me as very good values. About $15

I think the most disappointing wine of the night was the 2007 Erath Pinot Noir, Oregon. The color on this wasabout as thin and washed-out as I have ever seen. I've literally seen roses with more color. Very little aroma (some slight mushroomy/forest floor in there) and no flavor to speak of. Not sure what happened here, but had we taken a vote I have no doubt this would've been a solid 4th place. Not worth the $20 tariff.

The next wine was the 2008 Wild Rock Cupid's Arrow Pinot Noir, Central Otago, New Zealand. I'm not a huge fan of Pinot Noir from down under, but I really enjoyed this one. Lots of fruit in here of the restrained sweet/tart cranberry and pomegranate varieties. And it had a nice mineral streak, good acidity and moderate tannins. This was particularly good with the raspberry/mustard sauce that was served with the jerk tenderloin. Priced in the low $20 range.

The final Pinot was the 2003 Parent Bourgogne. Initially, this showed a beautiful Earthy/cherry nose but the palate never quite delivered. And even the nose faded with just a brief amount of air. I kept thinking this would open up but instead it just kept getting more and more shut down. Perhaps this needed some extended decanting. Really hard to judge this one. I have one more bottle and I'll give it another shot in the near future.

Dessert was the always-delicious 2007 Adelsheim Deglace Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley. This is a late harvest Pinot Noir made from frozen grapes that shows tons of earth and beautiful raspberry flavors. It is quite sweet, but there is enough acid in there to keep it crisp and refreshing. It was the perfect pairing with raspberry truffles from Andre's.


  1. Thank you for trying our Pinot Noir. Excellent to hear it was a crowd favorite!

    Sean Minor

  2. Thank you, Sean, for producing reasonably-priced wines of such quality. Love your entire line-up!