Feat. Pinot Noir


Nearly 2000 years ago, pinot noir originated in France. Over the course of that time, it has become that parent (and grandparent) to many other grapes and has been cloned hundreds of times. (VinePair has an excellent in depth history of pinot noir if you’re interested in learning more.) Pinot noir is considered to be one of the hardest grapes to grow and turn into wine. It grows well in cool climates – it doesn’t fare well in climate changes – and the grape is susceptible to diseases and oxidization. That being said, when a good pinot noir is made, it is a good pinot noir. It is one of the lighter red wines out there, in body, color, and tannins. Though it is a lighter wine, it is also complex, with earthy aromas and fruity flavors such as cherries, plum, and pomegranate. This also makes it a wine that pairs well with many different kinds of dishes. Pinot noir also happens to be its own kind of star – it was essentially another character in the movie Sideways. That movie put pinot noir on the map in a way that wasn’t done before.


Food it pairs well with: Chicken; Duck; Salmon; Mushrooms; Steak; Lamb; Trout


Recommended Recipe: Mushroom Risotto from Food Network


  • 8 cups chicken broth, low sodium
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1 onion, diced, divided
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
  • 1 pound fresh portobello and crimini mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 tablespoons fresh thyme, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 tablespoon truffle oil
  • 1-ounce dried porcini mushrooms, wiped of grit
  • 2 cups Arborio rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 cup fresh Parmesan cheese, grated
  • Fresh Italian parsley, for garnish

How to make:

  • Heat the chicken broth in a medium saucepan and keep warm over low heat.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add 1/2 onion and 1 clove garlic, cook, stirring, until translucent, about 5 minutes. Add the fresh mushrooms, herbs and butter. Saute for 3 to 5 minutes until lightly browned, season with salt and pepper. Drizzle in truffle oil then add the dried porcini mushrooms which were reconstituted in1 cup of warm chicken broth. Season again with salt and fresh cracked pepper. Saute 1 minute then remove from heat and set aside.
  • Coat a saucepan with remaining 2 tablespoons of oil. Saute the remaining 1/2 onion and garlic clove. Add the rice and stir quickly until it is well-coated and opaque, 1 minute. This step cooks the starchy coating and prevents the grains from sticking. Stir in wine and cook until it is nearly all evaporated.
  • Now, with a ladle, add 1 cup of the warm broth and cook, stirring, until the rice has absorbed the liquid. Add the remaining broth, 1 cup at a time. Continue to cook and stir, allowing the rice to absorb each addition of broth before adding more. The risotto should be slightly firm and creamy, not mushy. Transfer the mushrooms to the rice mixture. Stir in Parmesan cheese, cooking briefly until melted. Top with a drizzle of truffle oil and chopped parsley before serving.


Recommended CO Wines: 5680’ Vineyards Pinot Noir; Wild Women Wine Pinot Noir; Pleasant View Vineyards Pinot Noir; Augustina’s Winery WineChick Pinot Noir; Bigsby’s Folly Pinot Noir (2105 & 2016 Sonoma Coast, Reserve Sonoma Coast, and Willamette Valley)

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