I have no doubt that many of the folks who read TERP are also a fan of Cathy's blog. I have described Noble Pig as being like that proverbial box of chocolates. You never know what kinds of things you will find in any given post. Sometimes a post will end up in a place totally different from where it started. You do know that you can expect to find an endless variety of recipes (and doable ones at that), great wine tips, gorgeous photos, and plenty of fun anecdotes on her family - particularly her two beautiful boys. (I'm not sure how I feel though when I learned from there that my gyno really does notice if my toenails are polished or not.)
One major theme of the blog that anyone who has been following it for the past few years has been enjoying is the creation and development of Noble Pig Vineyards. We have watched it grow from just "the vineyard property" that she would visit regularly, to a working winery. It has been an exciting trip for her, and no less so for those of us following the story.
Once the wine went into production, I was more than ready to try it. After all, I had felt in some small way that I was part of the whole enterprise. Besides, Cathy seems like such a lovely person and I am more than happy to support her efforts. On a less emotional note, I haven't really drunk much in the way of Oregon wines, so this would also be a new taste adventure for me.
I was thinking I would order some at holiday time when I could bring bottles with me to parties to share. I found I just couldn't wait. I was growing more impatitent to try it. I would have it all to myself!
I had a choice of pinot noir, or pinot gris. I opted for two bottles of the pinot gris for now. If I'm having it around to drink and cook with at home, it makes the most sense as my husband only drinks white wine.
I probably should have purchased more than two bottles since the shipping cost me more than the wine itself. Oh well. I'm sure it's going to be worth it.
Along with the wine, they also sent a card with specifications on how to best chill it, and a cute little wine cork key ring. Two days later my printed receipt arrived with a sweet, handwritten thank-you card. What service!
I didn't want it to be shipped to my home since I'm not often around to receive packages, so I had them ship it to my office in Connecticut. I didn't really consider what day it would arrive. It happened to be the day that I am at my NYC office. I'm glad that whoever signed for it and put it on my desk was honest. The labels on the box clearly state that there is alcohol in the package. The way they drink in my office, I wouldn't be surprised if someone decided to take it for himself. :-)
So once I had my wine home, the next big decision would be what I was going to make with it. The website suggests fish, pastas, and spicy Asian food. Many websites on food and wine pairings say to stay away from things that are too acidic since the wine itself is acidic (like citrusy foods or tomato sauces). I'm not a fish eater. I'm trying to cut back on pasta as we're still working on the gluten thing (and gluten-free pasta tastes better with a strong sauce). Chicken was the obvious choice, but what?
In the end, I decided to go with a very classic meal. One comfort food I'm known to be passionate about is roast chicken. Something so classic and simple was perfect to have with my wine.
I split a whole chicken from Feather Ridge Farms and laid it on top of some lemon slices and fresh rosemary sprigs (another pick from my limited garden), rubbed the outside a paste made of garlic, thyme, salt and olive oil. The I roasted it at 350 for about 45 minutes (I know some folks like to roast at higher temps, but the ladies who sell me the chickens always tell me they roast best at 350.)
To split a chicken, use kitchen shears and simply cut up one side of the backbone and then down the other.
On the side were some green and wax beans, lightly steamed and then sauteed with a little red pepper flakes and oregano in olive oil. I even splashed a little wine in the pan.
Also some mashed potatoes. I have about a hundred variations on 'taters, but this one I think is my favorite. I saute shallots in lots of butter (sort of like pierogi filling) and mash that into yukon golds.
Now for the wine.
Here's the pour into a glass. Can't wait to take a sip.
I'm terrible at wine tasting. I can't taste those "subtle notes" this fruit and that herb. I have a hard time describing the things I taste in wine, so please forgive me if my assessment is less than professional sounding.
At first the wine gave a pleasant tingle on my tongue. I love it when wines do that! Then it just felt simple without anything really jumping out at me. It was very drinkable with no bad surprises. It went down easy. The more I tasted it though, the more things I noticed. I was tasting something different every time, particularly after I ate some food with it.
I took this photo to show what it was like having a nice relaxing evening at home with a friend's wine. I had been at a conference all day, so it was nice to change into comfortable clothes, stick my hair in a nice sloppy ponytail, cook and eat one of my favorite dinners, and top it off with some nice wine.
Can't wait to order more of this. Definitely something to consider for the holidays. I have to make sure I try the pinot noir next time.
I also think this wine would be excellent in risotto - another one of my favorite things to cook.