The holiday season is filled with good wine, food and friends. Even though Thanksgiving was a few days away we once again gathered with our friends Cherie and Mark to wine and dine. Furthermore, since they love Pinot Noir as much as we do, I wanted to introduce them to an excellent Pinot Noir producer: Loring Wine Company. I had enjoyed Loring’s 2011 Rosella’s Vineyard a few months back; it was such a delightful Pinot Noir that I knew I not only needed to try more of Loring’s Pinots but I had to share them with friends. One note I must share before we dive in, when I am entertaining guests, I get caught up in enjoying the evening and tend to forget to take pictures of food; furthermore, when I do remember to take photos they tend to be not as high of quality as I would like to share with you because it is often an afterthought and rushed. So please excuse my not so great photos.
Graham Family Vineyard 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir: This wine poured a very soft ruby with orange highlights into the glass. This light Pinot Noir was exquisitely crafted with aromas of bright red fruit and spice on the nose; following through with flavors strawberries, red cherries, raspberries dance across the palate and setting the stage for a touch of spice and licorice mixed with a pure earthiness that followed through the finish. This Pinot Noir was light yet bold with lively flavors and balanced acidity. It contained 14.3% alcohol. 93 pts The Pinot Report. SRP $46.I found it very well crafted and delightful. I recommend this wine!
Rosella’s Vineyard 2013 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir: This Pinot Noir poured a vibrant cherry red into the glass. It met the nose with aromas of ripe red fruit, mellow spice and rose petals. On the palate this wine seduced with flavors of ripe red cherries, strawberries, red plums with round spice and pepper. This is a complex Pinot Noir with layers of flavor, round acidity and light in body and finish. It was not as developed as the 2011 Rosella’s Vineyard I reviewed in the article “More Friendship, Fun and Wine,” but with a few more years in the bottle I believe this will develop into every bit of the same bold yet elegant Pinot Noir. It contained 14.3% alcohol. SRP $46. 94 pts The Pinot Report. I enjoyed this wine and recommend you buy several bottles and store let it develop in the bottle for a few more years.
Gary’s Vineyard 2013 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir: This beautiful wine poured a ruby/cherry red into the glass. On the nose this Pinot Noir dazzled with red and black/blue berries, spice and candied violets. This was the biggest and most complex of the three Loring Wine Company Pinots of the night. On the palate Gary’s Vineyard Pinot Noir brought round flavors of red cherries, strawberries, black raspberries and blueberries as a firm foundation for mellow baking spices with a touch of toasted leather, smoke and licorice. This wine demonstrated excellent wine making skills with beautifully concentrated fruit along with round acidity and elegantly restrained tannins that lingered on the palate. This wine contained 14.3% alcohol. SRP $46. 94 pts The Pinot Report. It was a beautifully crafted Pinot Noir that drinks well now and will only get better with more bottle time. I highly recommend this wine!
I wanted to pair these three lovely Pinot Noirs with a meal to accentuate their elegance and quality as well as the fall season. I chose to make Roasted Cornish Game Hens with Pumpkin Seed Pesto with Saffron Risotto with Butternut Squash. Both dishes turned out fantastic if I do say so myself! The hens were easy to prepare and came out of the oven a gorgeous golden brown (no I don’t have a picture! L). The pesto rub inside the skin and garlic rub outside the skin added wonderful flavor that danced beautifully across the tongue with all three Loring Pinot Noirs. The risotto recipe was courtesy of the awesome Ina Garten so you know it was easy to follow and delicious! The creamy texture coupled with the salty pancetta and sweet squash was again a perfect combination with all three Pinot Noirs! I was truly pleased with the wine and food pairings of this evening. Because my photos are lacking and both of these dishes were easy to prepare and turned out just like the pictures of these recipes, please visit my Pinterest Recipe Board with the previous links to see the beauty of these two recipes.
I will let Brian Loring explain his wine making philosophy in his own words:
My philosophy on making wine is that the fruit is EVERYTHING. What happens in the vineyard determines the quality of the wine – I can’t make it better – I can only screw it up! That’s why I’m extremely picky when choosing vineyards to buy grapes from. Not only am I looking for the right soil, micro-climate, and clones, I’m also looking for a grower with the same passion and dedication to producing great wine that I have. In other words, a total Pinot Freak! My part in the vineyard equation is to throw heaping piles of money at the vineyard owners (so that they can limit yields and still make a profit) and then stay out of the way! Since most, if not all of the growers keep some fruit to make their own wine, I tell them to farm my acre(s) the same way they do theirs – since they’ll obviously be doing whatever is necessary to get the best possible fruit. One of the most important decisions made in the vineyard is when to pick. Some people go by the numbers (brix, pH, TA, etc) and some go by taste. Once again, I trust the decision to the vineyard people. The day they pick the fruit for their wine is the day I’m there with a truck to pick mine. Given this approach, the wine that I produce is as much a reflection of the vineyard owner as it is of my winemaking skills.
I strongly encourage you to visit the Loring Wine Company web site to learn more about the winery, view their entire portfolio of wines and order these three wines!
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with these three exquisite Loring Wine Company Pinot Noir’s is It Don’t Mean a Thing (If it Ain’t Got that Swing) by the legendary Tony Bennett, featuring Lady Gaga off of the new Cheek to Cheek album. Now before you think I have lost my mind please hear me out. Loring’s Pinots were smooth and classy (obviously like Tony Bennett); however, they also had some complexity and a unique style (Gaga). Therefore, taking all of those qualities into effect you have classy, smooth and stylish Pinot Noirs with layers of unique and complex flavors that are all their own. I am not a Gaga fan but I recognize the lady sure can sing. I like the sound of these two unique and very different artists coming together to produce a holistic sound that is all its own. I wonder if Brian Loring likes it too.
Get your own bottles of Loring Wine Company’s Pinot Noirs and let me know what song you would pair with them. Cheers!