Roasted Salmon and Winter Vegetables … Lovely with a Pinot Noir

Pairing: Roasted Salmon and Winter Vegetables Paired with a 2012 Greywacke Pinot Noir from New Zealand

Food:  Simple, seasonal and low in calories … what could be better? Oh, yeah … it’s delicious, too. For this dish, fry up a little bacon then remove and chop. Toss some cubed carrots, brussels sprouts, cauliflower, and cherry tomatoes in the hot bacon fat. Place vegetables in a roasting pan and roast in a 450F oven for ten minutes. Make some room in the pan for the salmon filets, and reduce temp to 400F for 5-10 minutes until done. Plate up and sprinkle generously with chopped bacon and grated Parmesan cheese. To see more details and nutritional values of this meal, go to A great site.

Salmon Roasted with VegetablesJPG


Wine:  Marlborough, located in the northeastern part of the South Island of New Zealand, is by far the country’s largest wine producer. The region is best known for its Sauvignon Blanc which is the grape that put New Zealand on the wine map. Indeed New Zealand has become famous for making among the best SB in the world. But, the country’s Pinot Noir (most notably Marlborough and Central Otago) is rapidly earning a gold star reputation competing favorably with some of the world’s finest wines. Kevin Judd, founder of the Greywacke winery, earned his stripes with his wonderful Sauvignon Blanc, and now is rightfully gaining a loyal following for his Pinot Noir. For those interested, Greywacke is the geological name of the rock type of the river stones that are in abundance in the soils of the vineyards.


Greywacke Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:  Lovely garnet color. The nose evokes earth and leather, but most apparent is the aroma of hedgerow jam heating on the stove. Wonderful wild cherry and vibrant, sweet tannins are most present on the palate. The sweet char on the roasted vegetables bring out the full flavor profile of the wine. The crumbled bacon and grated cheese on the salmon do their magic to complement the wine. A great pairing.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Roasted Salmon:  Chardonnay (California), Savenniéres (Loire Valley), Pinot Grig (Oregon), Chenin Blanc (South Africa)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  Beet and Goat Cheese Salad, Roast Duck, Mushrooms, Grilled Tuna, Rabbit   … and many, MANY other foods

View the Stunning Marlborough NZ Region:  marlborough new zealand

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Valentine’s Day Dinner … Tournedos Rossini … Elegant, Romantic, & Delicious

Pairing: Tournedos Rossini Paired with a 2012 Robert Oatley Finisterre Mornington Peninsula Pinot Noir

Food: Filet Mignon is synonymous with elegance and romance. And Tournedos Rossini is … well … a breathtaking presentation of this prime cut of beef. And it’s ridiculously simple to make once you’ve got the ingredients. But first, some brief historical notes … the dish is indeed named for the acclaimed 19th Century composer, Gioachino Rossini, who is most often credited with the creation of the dish. Given his famed love of good food, that claim is certainly believable.

Our recipe is based on the notes outlined in the cooking tome (i.e., doorstop), Larousse Gastronomique, originally published in 1938, and encyclopedic in its scope of culinary knowledge. To serve two (you and your sweetheart), sauté two 1.5 to 2 inch fillets of beef in some butter about 4-5 minutes per side for medium rare meat. Remove from the pan and keep warm in a 200° F oven. Lightly sauté in butter two slices of baguette, two thin slices of foie gras, and a handful of fancy mushrooms. Remove the bread, foie gras and mushrooms and keep warm while you deglaze the pan with Madeira wine. The original recipe calls for foie gras and sliced truffles. What? You don’t keep these staples on hand in your pantry? (Sigh) … OK … we substitute chicken liver pâté for the foie gras and morels or porcini mushrooms for the truffles. Both mushrooms are available in dried form in most supermarkets these days. When using chicken liver pâté instead of foie gras, just gently heat up the slices without melting them. Assemble the tournedos by placing each fillet on top of a toasted piece of baguette. Put the pâté atop each filet, then cover with the mushrooms and reduced deglazing liquid. This is an extraordinary meal to serve that special someone. Or, plan on making it together. Sure beats dining out!

Tournados Rossini

Wine:  Finisterre comes from the latin word meaning “end of the earth.” In Roman times, Cape Finisterre on the far western coast of Spain was considered the farthest point west of the known world, hence the “end of the earth.” But, we’re talking Australia here, mate. And that can be argued is the “end of the earth”, at least to us blokes here in northeastern U.S. Mornington Peninsula is a cool, maritime wine growing region just south of Melbourne on the southern coast of the land down under. The cool climate here is particularly well suited to making excellent Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Not as well known as those wines of Western Australia, but well worth seeking out.

Oatley Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:  A beautiful, light-bodied wine with a pale garnet color. A gentle fragrance of dark and red fruits, along with the very pleasant hint of red earth. These aromas carry over wonderfully to the palate with the most pronounced flavors being red currant and wild cherry. The fruit is nicely balanced with a core of acidity that adds an Old World element to this New World wine. A delicate wine that pairs surprisingly well with the more assertive flavors of the beef, pâté, and mushrooms.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Tournedos Rossini:  Red Bordeaux (France), Red Burgundy (France), Barolo (Italy), Meritage (California), Merlot (Italy)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir: Mushrooms, Roast Chicken, Prime Rib Roast, Roast Duck, Grilled Salmon or Tuna

Maps and Views of Mornington Peninsula:  Mornington Peninsula Wine Region

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Hasenpfeffer … Paired with Adelsheim

Pairing: Hasenpfeffer (Rabbit) Paired with a 2012 Adelsheim Pinot Noir

Food:  “Hase” is the German word for “hare”. So, to make this recipe authentically, one might use a snowshoe hare or perhaps a jackrabbit. For those of us who don’t hunt or have access to such wild game, domestic rabbit is quite available at a local butcher shop. Recipes for Hasenpfeffer, and there are a gazillion of them, date back to the 13th century or older in the Westphalia area of Germany. Most all recipes call for a long marinating time (a few days) in some combination of red wine, vinegar, and various spices and herbs, always including black pepper (the English translation of the German word “pfeffer”). We use the recipe from the Luchow’s German Festival Cookbook. The beauty of this recipe is that it does not call for a long marinate. The rabbit pieces are stewed in liquid made with port wine, beef stock, lemon juice, onion, cloves, and peppercorns. We then take the meat off the bones, reduce and thicken the liquid. Then serve it over noodles. It can also be ladled over potatoes or, more traditionally, dumplings. Dig in!

Hassenpheffer with Pinot NoirJPG

Wine:  The Willamette Valley in Oregon produces world-class Pinot Noir, comparing favorably with the wines from Burgundy, California and New Zealand. The Adelsheim winery is located in the Chehalem Mountains in the north Willamette Valley, and the family planted their first vineyards in these mountains in 1972. Pinot Noir pairs beautifully with so many foods … roast chicken, duck, beef, lamb, mushrooms, salmon, tuna … the list goes on and on. Overlooked sometimes is its compatibility with several game animals … quail, wild turkey, venison, squirrel, pheasant … and … here we are drinking it with a well-known rabbit dish … Hasenpfeffer. Delightful!

Adelsheim Pinot Noir

Tasting Notes:  A deep garnet color. The aroma of ripe black cherries combined with the rich woodland smells one experiences while hiking through a forest. On the palate you get cherry again … maybe even cherry cola (a very pleasant taste one sometimes gets with Pinot Noir). One also gets a nice balanced acidity in the wine similar to a Burgundy wine. The light tannins in the wine bring out the pepper in the Hasenpfeffer. Very nice.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Hasenpfeffer: Riesling (Germany). Barolo (Italy), Rioja (Spain), Merlot (Italy), Côte-Rôtie (France)

Other Game That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  Quail, Pheasant, Venison, Wild Turkey

View Oregon’s Beautiful Willamette Valley:  Willamette Valley

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Grilled Tuna with Peach Salsa … and a Yarra Valley Pinot Noir

Pairing:  Grilled Fresh Tuna with Peach Salsa Paired with 2012 Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir

Food:  Simple, simple, simple … fire up the grill or grill pan, marinate the tuna steaks in a little olive oil, salt and pepper, unscrew a jar of your favorite salsa (we like Newman’s Own), add a few slices of peaches to the salsa, grill the tuna, spoon on the salsa … done! Life is so nice when meals this delicious can be made so easily.

Grilled Tuna and Peach Salsa

Wine:  The Yarra Valley wine region is located east of the city of Melbourne in the southeastern corner of Australia in the state of Victoria. Pinot Noir grapes thrive in this cooler climate region of “Down Under”, and the region produces fine examples of New World (more fruit, less restrained) Pinot Noir. And, what an interesting name for a winery … Innocent Bystander. One can only speculate the reasoning behind the name.

A Note about pairing red wine with seafood:  With few exceptions, the lighter, more delicate nature of fish and shellfish is best paired with a white wine. The tannins in red wine will usually overwhelm seafood. However, there are fish that have a more assertive, richer flavor (e.g., tuna, salmon, swordfish, bluefish) that actually go very well with red wines, at least those with little or lighter tannins. Pinot Noir is among the best pairing for such seafood, but there are other possibilities (see below).

Innocent Bystander

Tasting Notes:  A pale red color with some blue tints (very pretty). Bright cherry fruit is the focal point of the nose. Cherry with a little earth and leather are the classic Pinot Noir flavors here. The depth of flavor of the grilled tuna and the spiciness of the salsa play off nicely against the fruit and leather tastes of the wine. And the clean sweetness of the peaches adds a brilliant complementary note. The finish is endless and very pleasant.

Other Red Wines That Pair Well with Grilled Tuna:  Grenache (Spain), GSM (Australia), Côtes du Rhône (France), Merlot (Italy), Cannonau (Sardinia)

Other Seafood That Pairs Well with Pinot Noir:  Salmon, Bluefish or Swordfish (Grilled or Broiled), Halibut with a Rich Mushroom Sauce, Salmon Pâté served with Assorted Soft Cheeses (e.g., Brie, Camembert) and a Baguette

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Chicken and Morels paired with a German Pinot Noir

Pairing:  Chicken and Morels paired with a 2012 Burkheimer Winzer Schlossgarten Spätburgunder Rotwein

Food:  This is a fast, simple, but delicious meal to create. Dredge some boneless chicken breasts in some flour seasoned with salt and pepper, dusting off the excess. In some butter, sauté some minced shallot until just slightly browned. Turn up the heat a bit and add the chicken breasts to the pan and sauté until nicely browned and just cooked through. Remove from the pan (keep warm in a low oven), deglaze the pan with a glass of white wine (saving a few swallows for the chef). Reduce the liquid until most has evaporated, then add the halved morels (or any other mushroom you enjoy). Turn the heat down and cook until mushrooms are just done. Add a few Tbs of cream, heat through and adjust for seasoning. Melt a pat of butter and spoon the finished sauce over the chicken and any accompanying rice or pasta.


Wine:  When one thinks of German wine, one immediately thinks white wine … and the white wine is Riesling. Germany produces arguably the finest Rieslings in the world in its famed Mosel wine region. However, Germany also produces some fine red wines, notably Pinot Noir. Baden, located in the southwestern corner of Germany not far from both the French and Swiss borders, is known for its red wines particularly Spätburgunder (Pinot Noir). Pinot Noir is the most widely planted grape in the Baden region and Baden is the third largest wine-growing in all of Germany.


Tasting Notes:  A pale red, transparent wine, almost the color of a rosé. Aromas of sweet red cherries, with some subtle hints of earth and leather. On the palate, one gets a delicate flavor of cherry cola (yes, this is a desirable trait in many delicious Pinot Noirs). Layers of red cherry and fresh earth are also present. In a blind tasting, I’d guess this wine to be a New Zealand or California pinot due to its prominent flavors of ripe fruit (“fruit forward”). Of course, I’d be wrong! The point is that this German Pinot Noir tastes much more like a New World wine rather than the more nuanced flavors of an Old World wine one might expect from a German wine. The morels in the dish bring out the subtle earthiness in the wine.

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food: Pinot Noir from New Zealand and California, Chardonnay, Red and White Burgundy.

Other Food That Pairs Well with This Wine: Game, Mushrooms, Roast Turkey, Pork

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A Classic Pairing – Salmon, Mushrooms and Pinot Noir

Pairing: Grilled Wild Salmon, Wild Mushrooms, and 2008 Marimar Estate Pinot Noir

Food: Although we love salmon prepared in a variety of ways (seared, poached, roasted, etc), our very favorite is to grill it after briefly marinading it in olive oil, salt and pepper. Saute some wild mushrooms (or cultivated if you wish) in some butter and pour on top of the cooked salmon. We like to serve it with buttered new potatoes and freshly shelled peas. Delightful!

Salmon and Mushrooms

Wine2008 Marimar Estate Pinot Noir Don Miguel Vineyard

Some of the very best Pinot Noir comes from the Sonoma County region of California, north of San Francisco Bay. And the beautiful Russian River Valley is home to some of the most renowned wines. Miramar Estate is located in the southwest corner of the valley. This wine is a fine example of a New World wine (versus an Old World wine). New World wines tend to be more “fruit forward” where big fruit flavors dominate. Old World wines are more nuanced, and have a bit more acidity and earthiness in the flavor profile. Among the most widely known Old World Pinot Noir is Red Burgundy from France.

Marimar Estate Pinot Noir

Tasting: This Marimar Estate has a wonderfully complex flavor profile. On the nose one gets cherry and flint aromas. The palate is an amazing array of flavors. Cherry, hedgerow jam, leather, and earth. The finish combines hedgerow fruits and forest floor. The mushrooms served on the salmon really bring out the scents and tastes of earth and forest floor in the wine.

Other Pairings for Pinot Noir:  Roast Chicken, Duck, Pork, Beef Tenderloin, Mushrooms

Other Pairings for Grilled Salmon:  Chardonnay, Rhone Style Wines, White Burgundy

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