There were several good dinners consumed in California and more than several wines. Pictured above are two wines we drank with an unusual braised pork dinner. On the right is the 2005 Helios Cabernet Franc from Corison winery while on the left was a completely new wine to me, a
2004 Cartuxa, Evora, Tinto Colheita from Portugal.
The Helios was young and fresh with tart blueberries and some darker cherries in the taste. There was also a slight vegetable hint to it that I found appealing. Good acid, moderately low alcohol and young, green tannin balanced out a full fruit flavor. The Cartuxa was a darker wine in both color and taste, and also tasted a little riper. Definitely dark, sweet cherries and deep dark plums were prominent. The tannins were a little softer and it was a little lower in acid than the Helios, but the finish was long and flavorful. On my initial sip I felt it was going to finish a little sweet, but that didn't happen. Both were nice wines.
The braised pork was a shoulder that had been cubed and marinated in a dry rub for a couple of days, then braised in white wine, milk and tomatoes. It was very good and a surprising hit. The sauce cooked down and would make the most wonderful cream of tomato soup. I liked both wines with the pork but would give the nod to the Helios for the slightly higher acid.
Earlier in the week there was a rib eye roast that was seasoned simply and cooked in in a moderate oven. I always make it a habit to take a bottle of wine with me so this year for the first time I took an Ohio wine, Kinkead Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from the 2004 vintage. Like the title of this piece says, taking an Ohio Cabernet to northern California is rather like carrying the coals to Newcastle to help the city burn a little more. It was a very good wine that is now at its peak. The tannins have matured and softened a little but the wine retained good acid and its currant flavors. Good match with the rib roast and not out of place in any way in some very good company.