Pali Wine Co. takes its name from the neighborhood of Pacific Palisades near Los Angeles, but the grapes are sourced from places well beyond the City of Angels. While I'd like to think that I've got a pretty decent vocabulary, I just realized that I have no idea what a palisade is. With the name of the town it seems to refer to a series of cliffs that resemble the staked defensive fences of the classic palisade definition. I looked up an old palisade and thought, "Oh, it's the same as a kraal in KwaZulu-Natal or an old West stockade." Funny how simple engineering methods keep popping up independently around the world throughout the millennia.
The winery focuses on their favorite west coast Pinot Noir vineyards, and here I got to taste two of their entry level wines.
2011 Pali Charm Acres Chardonnay
Sonoma Coast, California
$21, 14.1% abv.
This Sonoma Chardonnay is mild with notes of cream and vanilla, apricots and dried fruit. Dry but fruity with balanced acidity and a long, creamy finish. It was a perfect match with the dish mentioned below.
2011 Pali Alphabets Pinot Noir
Willamette Valley, Oregon
100% Pinot Noir
$21, 13.3% abv.
I love Oregon Pinot Noir, and this one starts out with a nose of buttered toast and overripe wild strawberries. The palate is smooth and balanced with a good strawberry profile and low levels of tannins and tartness. It went particularly well with the ham in the dish, and I think it could hold up well with mild meat dishes like veal or light pork preparations.
For lunch with Julia on Saturday I made crêpes stuffed with poached chicken thighs, ham, Swiss cheese, and a rich sauce Mornay.
This recipe is dead simple, and I'm not going to write out every detail, but I will note that you'll have everything you need to make this dish on the day after Thanksgiving. Hint hint.
My crêpe batter is just 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, ¾ cup flour, mix and let sit for a half hour, and then dollop onto a medium skillet a third of a cup at a time. Sauce Mornay is just Béchamel with shredded cheese, like you make for homemade macaroni and cheese. The fillings should be easy enough to scavenge from the fridge of leftovers. If you're comfortable with sauces and pancakes, you can easily make this dish with no special equipment and still wow friends and family with a gourmet interpretation of the spoils of Thanksgiving dinner.
And these crêpes are amazing with good wine, which should also be available if you've stocked properly for your holiday meal.
Note: These wines were received as samples.