Monday, December 13, 2010

Pinot Noir Pairs

Thanksgiving is but a distant memory now, a pleasant one mind, who wouldn't enjoy spending that special holiday with good friends sitting around a big oak table (heavenly chandelier above) and a view of the Atlantic. Our hostess has a very attractive quality; she's a great cook but she is also completely unflappable, she casually prepares tasty canapes, makes the gravy, mashes the potatoes and fries her delicious artichokes with a kitchen full of rowdy guests with not so much as a furrowed brow. This year she also made roasted kale, we devoured the earthy, crispy treat in between sips of champagne.

So I have been on a kale quest lately, surprisingly it is sold in our local supermarket (produce not its strong point, but I won't hear a bad word against our funny little IGA!) I have also been experimenting with dishes that go well with our Pinot Noir; recently I made a turkey risotto with mushrooms and sage (still going strong in the garden) and back in October when I picked my cranberries in the dunes I made a spicy ginger, cranberry and Pinot Noir sauce, and added a little dollop to the risotto, all the elements worked well with the Pinot; creamy, earthy and tangy with a hint of perfume from the sage. Cranberries go surprisingly well with Pinot because of the tartness, (a very sweet fruit sauce would not be such a happy union) a great way to get a sauce to pair well with Pinot is to well........add some Pinot.

Pinot Noir is a very versatile food wine, it is capable of handling a wide range of flavors, you can drink it with your turkey and your grilled fish and of course lamb, duck is a winner. Kale has an earthy, velvety quality, add the smokiness of the bacon and you have a good Pinot pairing. I served the kale dish with steak, some would say a heavier wine is required for beef, but hey, it all tasted pretty darn good, I think we should eat the foods we like and drink the wines we like and not be too dogmatic about such matters, most of us are too busy to worry about getting that perfect match, but, there are of course some spectacular pairings..........

I am a huge mushroom fan, it's a 'meaty' vegetable (good for the vegetarians at the table) and when paired with Pinot it's a magical match made in heaven; earthy and luscious; a sensual affair. As this will be a regular feature (Pinot Noir Pairs) expect to see some sexy fungi dishes from my repertoire.