Monday, June 10, 2013

Knowing Your Pinot

One of the benefits of knowing details about a wine is that it makes it so much easier to figure out the perfect meal to pair it with. Pinot Noir comes in a wide range of styles, so knowing a bit about it beforehand can let you craft a dinner to really showcase the flavors in the bottle. The wines of Burgundy tend to be both rich in ripe fruit and earthy flavors, while the Pinot Noirs of California tend toward bright, red fruit, while the ones coming out of Oregon tend toward more subdued berries.

Knowing we had a bottle of Heron Hill Pinot Noir from the Finger Lakes, I had a good idea of what to look forward to. While we haven't had the chance to try the newest vintage, we enjoyed the release last year, so I had agood idea that we would find a heart, earthy wine, with hints of tart fruit. With this in mind, I headed to the local farmers market to buy the ingredients for a simple, tasty Saturday dinner.

Its still early for some of the best produce, but knowing the market helps. Some greens, just coming into season for some freshness with just a hint of bitterness to match the stone flavors. Sometomatoes from the first harvest fromthe hothouses of New Jersey, sweet and firm, almost like the fruit flavors of the wine. To serve as the base of the meal, some mushrooms to match the earthiness so typical of the best new New York Pinots. With the addition of some black beans cooked in honey and molasses and the aid of some time in the backyard with my grill, some sweet and smokey notes were added to an easy dinner of veggie burritos, and we had an excellent complement to our excellent wine. I only wish I had a second bottle, that I could have enjoyed by itself as I sat in the summer sun preparing dinner.


  1. From the sound of your article, New York Pinot Noir sounds quite similar to classic Burgundy wines? I admit I'm more partial to the fruit forward Pinot Noirs of Oregon and (especially) California, but I'm rather intrigued to try New York Pinot after reading your article. Any idea if these New York pinots can be found for purchase in California?

  2. Specifically, I know Tom Higgins of Heart & Hands Winery in the Finger Lakes chose his vineyard to try to match the conditions of Burgundy. We think some of the best Pinot Noirs coming out of NY aim to match that deep earth and fruit blend that you find in the classic French style. Not sure where you can find NY wines in California, but I know you can finally order wines directly from the wineries.