It is somewhat ironic that I named my blog Paprika & Pinot. Of all of the red wine varietals that I have tasted and loved over the years, I seem to have a really hard time finding Pinot Noirs that I really like. There are many many Cabs, Merlots and Syrahs that I just adore, but very few Pinots. I am not a big fan of fresh and fruity wines, and it seems like most of the Pinots I have tried have those characteristics (that is just a personal preference and not intended to be a criticism of that style). In my study of wines, all signs point me to Burgundy for the Pinots that I seek; earthy, elegant and silky. My problem here is that the good stuff from Burgundy is really expensive and needs to age for a long time to reach its peak. So, how am I supposed to figure out if Burgundy is worthy of the hype before it is time to move into a retirement home?
For those who are not sure what that last point was about, Burgundy is a region in France and all the red wines from region must be 100% Pinot Noir (by law!). The fancy wines from Burgundy are considered among the best in the world and can age for 30 or so years before reaching their peak.
And then something happened that changed everything for me and Pinot. I went to a winery called David Bruce. On the way from San Francisco to Monterey for a wine tasting trip a year ago, we stopped in the Santa Cruz Mountains to break up the trip. It was pouring rain that day and we were there very early so conditions were not ideal for the best tasting experience ever. This visit, however, gave me the encouragement to continue looking for that Red Burgundy that I know is out there for me.
Most of the David Bruce wines are released after a few years of aging, similar to most wineries I have been to. On the day we visited though, they were pouring a 10 year old Pinot, and if you bought a case, the wine was 50% off. I did not know that California Pinots could even age for that amount of time. We were absolutely blown away by this wine. Rich and earthy, silky with dark fruit aromas and a spicy profile, this wine was unlike all of the other fruity and light Pinots that I had ever had. It was wonderful. And at $16 a bottle after the discount, an unbelievable value.
This wine could hold its own with so many food pairings. Tonight I complemented its silky luxury with some grilled filet mignon. In addition to the steaks, I prepared a dish that used the leftover baked potatoes from the fridge that were in desperate need of a new purpose. I sauteed coarsely chopped onions and mushrooms and sauteed them in olive oil with a generous amount of spices (salt, onions powder, garlic powder, paprika, thyme and chili powder) and added in the cooked potatoes. It was a perfect complement to the steaks and the lovely 01 David Bruce.
It is sad when you think a case of wine will last forever, and after giving some away, sharing with loads of friends and simply enjoying the stuff, one is down to the last bottle. I am confident that the anxiety over this wine leaving our lives simply means that David Bruce has done a hell of a job making a fantastic Pinot. And at $16 a bottle, I could not be more appreciative.