Last month was the first time I participated in #WinePW. I had so much fun I decided to participate in October. This month’s theme is “Fall Fruits and Wine Pairing.” As the weather starts to cool down (okay I live in Dallas so I am still waiting for this blessed event) I begin to turn my attention to all the great fall fruits and vegetables. Additionally, I am a firm believer in the Italian “table culture” so I pair food with just about every wine I review. Furthermore, though I do not change the wines I drink based on the seasons I do adjust the foods I cook; therefore, #WinePW 5 is a great segway into fall food and wine pairings!
#WinePW was created by David Crowley. I encourage you to follow David’s blog Cooking Chat. This month’s #WinePW 5 is hosted by Culinary Adventures with Camilla. Additionally, check out all these great entries to #WinePW 5; just reading the titles made my mouth water:
Pumpkin Lasagna with Halter Ranch’s Côtes de Paso by Culinary Adventures with Camilla
Squash and Sausage Soup with Pumpkin Cornbread and McKinley Springs 2010 Bombing Range Red by Tasting Pour
Linguine with Roasted Carnival Squash and a Garnacha by Cooking Chat
Pinot vs. Syrah – Pork Tenderloin with Fig & Apple Sauce by Confessions of a Culinary Diva
Apple Cider Pork with Red Cabbage and Oak Aged Apple Cider by Curious Cuisiniere
Harvest Fruits – Maple Crisps with a Riesling by Eliot’s Eats
Carmelized Almond Apple Upside Down Cake with a Late Harvest Riesling by A Day in the Life on the Farm
Forgotten Fire Late Harvest Riesling with Warm Apple Crisps by Grape Experiences
Peach and Ginger Cobbler and Tablas Creek Petite Manseng by ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
Autumn Puff Pastry Tart and La Crema Chardonnay by It’s Okay to Eat the Cupcake
Wines for a Sweet and Savory Fall Harvest Meal by Foodwineclick
Autumn Pumpkin Food Flair by Vino Travels – An Italian Wine Blog
Butternut Squash Risotto: White Wine or Rosé by Pull That Cork
I decided to embrace both sides of fall fruit for #WinePW 5, savory and sweet. When I think of savory fruit fall dishes I think apples and pork, and with fall comes some of the best apples on the planet: Honeycrisp Apples. Unfortunately Honeycrisps are not available in local farmers markets in Dallas because they require a different climate to thrive. However, they are abundant in all the area grocery stores! I love pairing apples with pork so after decided to cook with apples my next step was to hit Pinterest and find a recipe. I found the perfect recipe from Food and Wine Magazine: “Pork Chops with Apple, Fennel and Sage.” I have pinned the recipe to my board so you can make it yourself by clicking here. This was the quintessential fall recipe: leeks, fennel, apple (it called for Fuji but I used Honeycrisp), sage, hard cider and pork chops. It was easy to make, delicious and enjoyed by my entire family.
The next step was to decide what sides to prepare with this delicious main dish. I chose to make a wild rice pilaf cooked in chicken broth. Once the rice was done cooking I added finely chopped dried cranberries to add a bit of fall zest to the dish. In addition to the rice I added a veggie side crafted from Brussels sprouts (chopped in food processor) and sautéed with chopped pancetta, a shallot and a touch 100% pure maple syrup. This was a delicious savory fall meal that needed a sweet fall ending; therefore, I chose to complete this meal with homemade Blackberry Cobbler. As a late summer/fall fruit blackberries are plentiful at local farmers markets right now. I have been a subscriber to Southern Living Magazine for 20+ years. It is a great source for southern cooking! The recipe I used for Blackberry Cobbler is a Southern Living Magazine that you can find on my Pinterest board by clicking here; it was quick and easy, containing only 6 ingredients. Of course no cobbler is complete without homemade vanilla ice cream as a topping; the warm crust of the cobbler lightly melting the ice cream – Yummy!
The final step remained, what wine to pair with this delicious meal to complete my #WinePW 5 “Fall fruit and Wine Pairing.” I had made a savory fall fruit entrée with a sweet fall fruit dessert so the wine had to balance out both courses as well as pair with pork without overpowering it, and don’t forget the wild rice pilaf and savory/sweet Brussels sprouts. There are many wines that could have stood tall to this challenge but as a wine writer I had one in mind from the start…
Solena 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir: This wine poured an elegant bright ruby into glass. On the nose it offered delicately balanced aromas of red cherries, strawberries, and spice with a light touch of wet stone. On the palate it delivered with elegance flavors of tart red cherries, black raspberries and strawberries, with a touch of white pepper, espresso, menthol and earthy underbrush. This wine was juicy but refined as the acidity and tannins were balanced and rounded out the overall mouth-feel. This cool climate pinot noir spoke well of its terroir offered an earthiness mixed with the fruit that begged for another sip. It was crafted of 100% Pinot Noir in the McMinnville AVA of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This wine was made from grapes that were hand harvested and hand sorted, undergoing cold maceration proceeding fermentation for 18 days of skin contact, followed by 100% malolactic fermentation for five months, aged for 11 months in French oak (28% new), and finally bottled unfiltered and unfined. This wine contained 13.6% alcohol. SRP $50. I recommend this wine as it is drinking beautifully now. Additionally, this wine will age well for years so pick up a few bottles, some for now and some to enjoy in 5-10 years!
This beautifully balanced Pinot Noir was a perfect accompaniment to both the savory fall dinner as well as the sweet fall dessert. The Solena 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir was a sophisticated wine that met perfectly with all the flavors of dinner: the nuttiness of the rice, the savoriness of the pork dish with the crisp acidity of the apples, the licorice flavors of the fennel and the tanginess of the cider sauce, the sweet and salty aspect of the Brussels sprouts. Finally, the sweetness of the Blackberry cobbler was the perfect final ending with the blackberries bringing out the dark fruit of the pinot noir while the acidity of the wine cut some of the sweetness of the ice cream. It was an awesome dinner and wine pairing if I do say so myself…my mouth is watering just thinking about it!
A word about the Solena Estate from their web site:
Soléna Estate began as a way to explore winemaking with other varietals grown in neighboring appellations while the family’s young Domaine Danielle Laurent vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton District matured. In May, 2007, Danielle and Laurent added the spectacular 100-acre Hyland Vineyard in the McMinnville AVA to their estate vineyard holdings. Today Laurent and Danielle are producing Pinot Noir from their estate vineyards as well as Pinot Gris, Merlot, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, and Late Harvest Riesling from select sites throughout Oregon and Washington.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with my delicious savory and sweet fall fruit dinner and Solena 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir is Uncertain Smile by The The. This song goes back to my 90’s alternative days. Whenever I hear this song I feel fall. Now I know fall is technically not a feeling and yet for me crisp, cool morning, leaves turning orange, yellow and red, football, hockey; these things bring out a feeling of contentment in me. The fall fruit meal was a meal of contentment built on the bounty of the fall harvest. The Solena 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir with its delicate balance between fruitiness and terroir is a wine of contentment. And Uncertain Smile by The The offers a melody of contentment. I can listen to this song while sitting outside on a cool fall evening in front of a fire, eating the meal I prepared and sipping on the delicious pinot noir…now that’s fall!
Please join #WinePW next month as Sarah of Curious Cuisiniere hosts on November 8th; theme: Creative Thanksgiving Pairings!
Make your own delicious fall meal and pair it with Solena 2011 Hyland Vineyard Pinot Noir and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!