How did that work out for you? I hope that it did. And how is that exercise and diet regime going? No, you’re right; that’s best left until after New Year’s, at this point, according you free reign over tables laden with baked brie appetizers and other such tribulations yet to come over the holiday season.
The fact is, saying that Pinot pairs well with any particular food is like saying, if it’s cold outside, wear a hat. A straw hat won’t do the trick, you understand. Some may contend that Pinot should be light, it should be ethereal; that Pinot should be this, or that. Just smile and nod. Likewise with the whites.
Tasked with bringing the wine to Thanksgiving, I stocked up early last week, but soon had doubts about my choice of Davis Family Vineyards 2009 Sonoma Coast Riesling. Recalling that previous releases were a bit piny on the palate, I was overcome with curiosity – professional curiosity, mind you, not mere thirst – and opened it early. Yep, I need to come up with a nice Pinot Blanc or something.
I’d intended this Dutton-Goldfield 2010 Green Valley of Russian River Valley, Fox Den Vineyard Pinot Noir ($58) as a Thanksgiving wine pairing, but had to change my tune.
Although it’s a standout wine, it would surely obliterate turkey. The Christmas spice aromas were a tip-off: cinnamon, chicory, dried cherry, and earthy fruitcake with a hint of redwood tips. Full, rich Russian River flavors of black cherry soda, cola, and Dr. Pepper, finishing briskly; framed with a little prickly tannin, it’s neither silky nor too grippy.
By the way, the Dutton-Goldfield tasting room makes for a nice stop along Highway 116, whether you’re going tree-shopping in West County, or just driving out to the coast. I can’t wait to try their Riesling, due out this spring.
I turned to Zazu Restaurant & Farm’s chef Duskie Estes for advice on the pairing. Holiday ham? Bacon theme, Estes’ stock-in-trade? Nope. Lamb meatballs, a hearty winter dish all the same. Says Duskie, “Here is the recipe that had me voting for myself on the show (Next Iron Chef). You, too, can make it at home and then you’ll understand why I just couldn’t vote for second best . . .”
NEXT IRON CHEF LAMB MEATBALLS
1/2 # ground lamb
1/2 # ground pork
1 onion, diced small
3 tablespoons pistachios, roughly chopped
2 tablespoons sour cherries, roughly chopped
zest and juice of 1 lemon
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
1 tablespoon harissa
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
in a bowl, combine all the ingredients. Form into balls. Cook to medium, serve with mint
chutney and yogurt.