I thought I would try Wine Blogging Wednesday again, having enjoyed #13 (Like Wine for Chocolate). I was kind of hoping for another one with a food/wine theme, which this is not.
As I am not particularly confident where wine is concerned, I was thinking I'd write mostly about the food. I see WBW as a chance to try some new things, get some ideas, and learn a little about why I'm partial to certain wines. I enjoy drinking wine a lot , but tend to repeat the old favorites over and over. I guess I'm looking for a little push.
I still thought I'd make a nice dinner to go with the wine, but I've been busy, what with painting the apartment, a friend's wedding and related events, and some work travel. So, in the end I didn't really plan anything particular to go with pinot noir. This WBW topic is New New World Pinot Noir which means one which does not come from the West Coast of the US, or France.
I remembered having tasted some Pinot Noirs ( Pinots Noir?) I really liked, but I found I couldn't remember what it was I liked about them. I thought it would be good to be able to compare the new stuff to something more familar, so I used this theory as an excuse to buy a bottle of 2002 Saintsbury Pinot Noir for comparison purposes. (I also once had a marked-down bottle of a particular-vineyard Fess Parker Pinot that knocked my socks off, but I didn't see it around-probably just as well, as I think it cost a bundle, full price.)
For the WBW wine, I got, for $10, a Brancott New Zealand Pinot Noir, with last year's date. I picked this bottle, because I drink Brancott Sauvignon Blanc a whole lot; it is pretty much my house white.
Just to have some company (and an idea or two) I invited my friend Ilene to join me in sampling the wine. We tried the Brancott first. We liked it. This is what we found to say about it: Light, gulpable; we tasted cherries, but more as an aftertaste, really. It was it was very pleasant to drink along with food-kind of refreshing. We thought we noticed some oaky business somewhere in there.
Then we poured overselves each a second glass, of the Saintsbury one, and looked at the two together. The Saintsbury one was darker, but less brown toned. It tasted much more complicated, though we were at a loss to identify most of the flavors. Plums? The taste lingered longer after a swallow, and it was richer and sort of velvety.
"It tastes more like, well, wine," said Ilene, who is about as much the wine pro as I. I agreed with her, though I couldn't tell you what that means. Anyway, that was the one we drank some more of, and we were very happy with it. I certainly wouldn't kick the New Zealander out. But- if I'm going to pick a red of that affordable, gulp with your food ilk, it probably isn't my first choice.
Two of us, on a work night, did not finish either bottle. But no fear, neither will go to waste, nor will you escape from food talk (unless, of course, you stop reading abruptly). I'm finishing the Saintsbury one tonight, and the remains of the Brancott were added to color and nicely flavor some Pear Preserve with Pinot Noir and Cinnamon, a recipe from Christine Ferber's Mes Confitures.
To make this preserve you need 2 3/4 lbs pears, not too ripe
4 cups sugar
juice of a lemon
a cinnamon stick
1 cup jar of apple pectin jelly
a cup of pinot noir
Peel, core, and stem the pears, and cut them into 8 wedges each. Put them in a preserving pan or other suitable cooking vessel with the sugar, cinnamon stick and lemon juice. Bring to a boil, stirring gently. Pour into a glass or ceramic bowl, cover with parchment, and refrigerate overnight. Pour the macerated pears back into the preserving pan and add the wine and jelly, stirring gently.
Bring to a boil, turn down some, and simmer for 15 minutes. With a slotted spoon, divide the pears among some sterilized 8oz ball jars. This recipe will fill 5 or 6 jars. Now, bring the liquid to a boil again, and boil stirring for about 5 minutes. Check the set , and ladle over the pears in your jars, to nearly the top. Cap with the two piece lids, and process in a boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Cool overnight and test for seal by pressing the tops- no boing? Good. If it boings, refrigerate and use first. Note: I generally use the simpler,european method of sealing, but went with the hot water bath here because my pears were very very firm, that is to say, rock-like, and I felt the extra cooking couldn't hurt.
You are supposed to let these mature (only for a month or so- not to worry, this isn't wine, only jam), but the remnants in the preserving pan were pretty tasty. Note: These are quite big pieces of pear, which I think is classy in preserves, but you might want to dice them if you want to increase spreadibility. Now, I am really wanting to copy my daughter, and make some preserves with melon, but first, I must paint the dining room, and then put all the furniture and books back where they belong.