Pinot Noir is considered, in general, a light, fruity red wine, an ideal companion for salmon or other fatty fish and, perhaps, chicken. But Pinot Noir, depending on where it is grown and vinified, can have enough structure, character and weight to stand up to beef. It depends on the Pinot Noir grape, the region and the winemaking.
Many New Zealand Pinot Noir can work with beef.
New Zealand. I love this country. While visiting New Zealand I was amazed that in any restaurant I could order a glass of quality Pinot Noir and pay $4 Canadian. This was 10 years ago. But the wines have only increased in quality while still offering value for reasonable prices. It’s a gorgeous country, a Shangri-La. I remember standing by the roadside near Christchurch on the South Island. On my left I gazed at the aquamarine waters of the Pacific Ocean. I then looked to my right and gasped in awe at the snow peaked Southern Alps. It was like standing on a Caribbean shoreline and at the base of the Swiss Alps all at the same time.
The Marlborough region of New Zealand is no doubt the country’s most famous and well-developed wine region and it is on the South Island. Stoneleigh is also one of the most renowned wineries of this region. The company produces fruit forward, delicious, reasonably priced and consistently good wines year after year.
Their Pinot Noir 2012 is one of the best value-for-dollar gems offered through the LCBO, CSPC 54353, $19.95. Black cherry and strawberry come through on the nose and palate, followed by some peppery tones, medium weight and refreshing acidity. Delicate tannin and a hint of minerality come through on the finish. I love this wine. This particular vintage received a silver medal at the 2013 Intervin International Wine Awards and a silver medal in the 2013 New Zealand International Wine Show.
Diverse soils comprise the Marlborough region. In fact, the region has 87 different soil profiles to be exact, with various properties and characteristics that affect the character of the wine. In the Stoneleigh vineyard of Rapaura, the soil is stony and once the bed of an ancient river. Dry, warm days and cools nights produce grapes and therefore wines with fruit forward concentration and a good backbone of natural acidity.
This particular Pinot Noir will complement a range of beef dishes. Try herb-crusted beef rib roast to complement the 2012 Stoneleigh Pinot Noir.
For the herb crusted rib roast recipe you’ll need an inexpensive but whole bottle of Pinot Noir. Try the Pelee Island Pinot Noir (CSPC 45617, $10.95. Do not use a $20 Pinot Noir for cooking. Place a beef 4-rib roast on a rack in a roasting pan. In a food processor or mortar and pestle add ¼ cup of mixed peppercorns and grind. In a small bowl mix the crushed peppercorns with 3 tablespoons of kosher salt, 2 tablespoons of fresh thyme and 2 tablespoons of fresh rosemary. Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil to the mixture. Coach the outside of the roast with the peppercorn mixture. Let the roast stand for about 1 hour. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 450 F. Make sure the oven rack is on the lower third. Roast the beef for about 20 minutes. Reduce the heat to 350 F and continue roasting for about 1.5 to 2 hours. Use a thermometer inserted into the center of the meat. Let the thermometer register 110 F. Then pull the beef from the oven. Set it on a platter. Let it sit for about 40 minutes. The roast will continue to cook. At 130 F, the roast will be medium rare.
Discard fat from the pan juices. Set the pan over 2 burners. Add 1 cup of inexpensive red wine, bring to a boil and deglaze the pan, scraping up the hard bits. Pour the pan juices into a cup.
Cook ½ cup of chopped shallots in 1 tablespoon salted butter. Cook until translucent. Add the wine mixture from the cup, along with the remaining wine in bottle, and boil over high heat until mixture is reduced to 3/4 cup, about 10 minutes.
Add 2 cups of beef or chicken broth and continue to boil over high heat until mixture is reduced to 1 1/2 cups. Whisk in 3 tablespoons of butter until it is melted and incorporated. Season sauce with salt and pepper if needed. To carve the roast, slide a carving knife along the inside of ribs to separate the meat from the bones, then cut the ribs into individual bones. Slice the meat and serve with vegetables and Pinot Noir jus.
Stoneleigh’s Pinot Noir has enough weight to stand up to the beef. Its crisp acidity will nicely offset the saltiness in this beef rub.
Category: EVERYTHING FOOD AND WINE