Sunday, June 8, 2008

Salmon and Pinot Noir

Two weeks ago at our self described Lobsterfest the four wines opened ranged from very poor to good. Though two of them were delicious with the lobsters they were not stand alone wines or a wines that really made one take notice. One wine, the 2005 Rochioli Chardonnay, was a major disappointment.

The 2004 Rochioli Pinot Noir that we drank with grilled Alaskan Copper River King salmon more than made up for my disappointment in that Rochioli chardonnay. The color was a medium red with some transparency at the edges. On the nose one immediately got cherries and raspberries. The taste was more new world than old world, and was definitely fruit driven as the red fruits really stood out. There was good acid and a very light grip of tannin on the finish. The finish was not long, but it was still very tasty. Nothing about the wine was overdone. Even for an entry level wine from Rochioli they did a good job on this.

That said, the 2003 Calera Mills Vineyard was, in my opinion, as good as California pinot noir gets. The wine was dark to the edges and with one sniff a person could tell that this was a serious wine. The fruit was darker, while suggesting cherries and super ripe raspberries, but it added another dimension with a layer of clean dirt and minerality. Add just a hint of oak and it made one eager to taste this wine. There was one other aroma going on in the nose and wonderful as it was I could not put my finger on what it was. It just added an extra dimension. While linking the winery website I took a minute to read the description of the Mills Vineyard and they suggested that the wine had a hit of cedar and that is exactly what that other aroma was. Not strong but it was definitely cedar or rosemary.

We decanted this one for one hour and that improved each of the above mentioned components. They all carried over to the taste. The wine was ripe without being sweet and there were some wonderful tannins and acidity to balance things out. Throw in a very long finish that gave just a tiny blast of tannin at the end and everyone was eager for a second glass. It cut the richness of the salmon and just added another dimension to the meal. This was an excellent wine and one that makes me happy that there is one more in the cellar. It has several years head of it but may not last past next years Copper River salmon run.

The evening started with two, local Kinkead Ridge wines, a 2006 white Revelation and a 2007 Riesling. The Revelation was tart enough that I tried it with the salmon and liked it as well.

Add in a Farotto Nicoise, full of farro, tomatoes, green beans, tuna, and hard boiled eggs with an olive oil and red wine vinegar dressing, a small salad, a sweet potato dish and a strawberry, raspberry and blueberry shortcake to end the evening and it was a great day. Good friends, good food and good wine. Life is good.

1 comment:

Emily said...

Hi Dan, We're having a salmon recipe contest and giving the creator of the best recipe 15 lbs. of wild salmon! If you'd like to enter your recipe, please do so at