22 May 2009

2007 Cooper Mountain Pinot Gris

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.


Samantha Dugan said...

Congratulations on the shipping Benito! I'm so excited for you...cannot wait to hear which wine that you have been dying to get your hands on, you have shipped first!! When I read the news you were the first person I thought about, such good news, and lets hope a move that will inspire other states to follow.

Your mussels look fantastic and I love that Bourdain preperation, although I like to do it with clams and use Spanish chorizo, the cured kind...just like that extra saltiness. Bread is all you need...but I have been known to dice up potatoes and let them cook in the broth, what's a few extra carbs right?

Benito said...


It's a pretty exciting development--I don't know what wine I'll order first, but I imagine it might take a while for shippers to catch up with the new regulations.

Dry chorizo is kind of hard to find around here, but with another of his recipes (the one with cream and apples), I liked the way the bacon fat rendered out and flavored the mussels.


Michael Hughes said...

Benito-Fresh Market for real dry cured Spanish Chorizo. Mantia used to have the same brand (Palacios, which just so happens to be my mother's maiden name). Where did you get the Cooper Mt? I didn't know it was available here.

Mussels, blue cheese, bacon, white wine. Heaven. When Joe is in the kitchen at Cafe 1912 ask him to make you some.

Benito said...


Thanks for the tip on the chorizo--I'll definitely be checking that out.

I got this wine as a sample, so I don't know if it's available anywhere around town. If not, I hope someone starts carrying it, because it's delicious and has a great price.