When the market is full of a lot of big, buttery, and full-fruit California Chardonnays, it's nice to step back and try something with some restraint and delicacy. Oregon is well known for its great small-production Pinot Noir, but don't forget about their whites. For example, I got to try the 2007 Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris Reserve from the Wilammette Valley of Northwest Oregon. 13.5% abv, and an absolute steal at $15. It's Certified Organic and Biodynamic, and was the first winery in the Pacific Northwest to grow all of its grapes under those certifications.
Let's also celebrate the fact that as of July 1, Tennessee residents will be able to order this wine and many others via the Internet! Hallelujah!
Light body, mineral flavors and a touch of wet stone aroma. Nose of violets and other florals, and a mild fruit flavor that includes a touch of lemon on the finish. Excellent all-around balance as regards flavor and acidity. Stainless steel fermentation lets you focus on the wine and its natural flavors instead of oak, which would overwhelm a wine like this.
I've really been craving mussels recently, but I've had bad luck lately trying to get them at my local Costco. There are some other sources around town, but $10 for a 5 lb. bag of good quality mussels from Prince Edward Island is a deal that can't be beat. This past Friday I was successful in my quest! In scrubbing and scrutinizing the mussels before dinner, I only had to toss out three for broken shells, and the few that didn't open might not have cooked long enough.
I turned to Anthony Bourdain's Les Halles Cookbook, which features five classic preparations for mussels. I picked the one that seemed best for a hot day: moules à la portugaise, which is flavored by cilantro, onion, garlic, and chorizo. Serve with some nice crusty bread and a few ears of roasted corn with chile-lime butter, and you're in business. I used fresh, raw chorizo here, which provided great spice and savory flavors.