I had four great wines leftover from the Crimson Wine Group TasteLive Event and had Julia coming over for lunch. Time to break them all out and enjoy some good food as such wines deserve...
We started with a spinach-yogurt soup with a vegetable broth base and a healthy splash of the Chenin Blanc/Viognier blend. I had to play around with this some, but sea salt, white pepper, (maybe a little Madras curry powder) and a final grating of nutmeg delivered a delicious soup more reminiscent of saag paneer than something out of a red and white can. The two white wines were enjoyed with the soup, saving the reds for...
Ferran Adrià. El Bulli. I'm not a big fan of molecular gastronomy, though since I haven't actually tried it, I can't judge the various foams and powders. And I once passed over an offer to pick up the other half of an El Bulli reservation (made a year ahead of time, and the couple divorced before the promised anniversary dinner, the settlement leaving the lady with both halves of the seating). It would have involved flying to Spain to have dinner with a complete stranger that involved driving up a mountain and.... That wasn't a good life choice at the time for a variety of reasons, mainly because it was short notice and would have cost a fortune.
But recently I was enchanted by one of Adrià's staff dinners featured on Serious Eats. It looked simple yet delicious, and I left it as an open tab in my Chrome browser for a couple of weeks. Couldn't stop staring at it, and had to make it. Fire roasted peppers, thin slices of pork loin (often sold as thin boneless pork chops around here), and a simple blend of olive oil, parsley, and garlic.
This is one of the most delicious things I've had in a long time, and it's so stupidly simple I don't know why it isn't a staple on menus all over the country. Cheap, as well. And one of the best parts is that the oil blend really accentuates a great parsley flavor, which you often don't get from mere garnish. The prep is simple, the execution doesn't demand too much, and if you're concerned about roasting peppers you could always use the jarred version.
But let's not forget to talk about the wines, which were incredible.
Pine Ridge Chenin Blanc & Viognier
79% Chenin Blanc, 21% Viognier
$14, 13% abv.
Crisp and acidic, lemony touches. I've always enjoyed these grapes for table whites, and while this one verged on tart, I think it would be a great picnic wine, a term I use with high affection. Serve with cold chicken and potato salad and that acidity will have a perfect complement.
2009 Pine Ridge Chardonnay Dijon Clones
$34, 14.1% abv.
Light and mild with tropical fruit aromas that give way to a light peach flavor and a smooth mouthfeel. Great balanced acidity and overall structure. It rested in French oak for nine months, but bears no resemblance to caramel popcorn or buttered toast. I Can't Believe It's Not Burgundy. It went well with the soup and the first few bites of the pork, but I was very excited to revisit the reds.
2008 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Rutherford, Oakville, & Stags Leap, Napa
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
$54, 14.1% abv.
Cherry pie, touch of spice, black cherry, black pepper, long finish. An excellent, well-structured Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that had mild tannins and provided a fruit note that went great with the fire roasted peppers.
2008 Pine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon
Stags Leap, Napa
91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 1% Merlot
$80, 14.7% abv.
Plum, cassis, touches of cedar and chocolate, tannins are still firm but they're going to be oh so delicate in a few years. Outstanding balance and I find the grape combination fascinating. Highly recommended, and the next time I have this wine it will be with a rack of lamb or a bone-in pork loin roast.
Note: These wines were received as samples.