I hear Jurassic roars when I drink Pinot noir. It’s not the black grapes that gave their lives for me. It’s Sam Neill.
Snapshot – New Zealand Pinot Noir
The setting: the Pinot 2013 Conference, at an after party thrown by Neill’s Two Paddocks Winery. I happen to love that Pinot grown in New Zealand’s Central Otago region, so how could I decline the glass Sam offered me? His glinting wit, charming accent, the dapper button-down shirt, his rock-star status, and the amazing New Zealand rock band called The Eggs pounding out love in the background—
Sam didn’t treat me like a giddy girl running up to gain his favor, but I was. He’s the coolest guy, with a cigar in one hand and a glass of his Two Paddocks Pinot in the other. He slayed me, and I’m no dinosaur!
Craggy Range 2010 Te Kahu Hawkes Bay Pinot Noir
Joseph Drouhin Laforet Bourgogne Pinot Noir 2010
Mud House Pinot Noir Central Otago 2010
Argyle Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2010
2009 Seresin “Leah” Pinot Noir Marlborough
Belle Glos Clarke & Telephone 2012 Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Felton Road Pinot Noir Bannockburn 2010
Grilled Salmon, roasted pork chops, BBQ—Pinot Noir can hold its own against highly spiced, greasy foods which happen to be summer’s specialties! I love serving Pinot with venison. In fact, friends line up for thirds when Pinot and venison are on the menu, be- cause it’s a unique, earthy match made in heaven that I learned about while touring New Zealand.
The Unforgettable Kiss
At this year’s 3rd Annual New Zealand Wine Day in Chicago, hosted by moi, New Zealand’s phenomenal Pinot Noir wines stood out. Yes, yes, NZ winemakers craft great Sauvignon Blancs, but that’s not news. This year, folks couldn’t stop raving about the Cervena venison we paired with the NZ Pinots—drooling, raving, and asking for thirds. This venison has show-stop- ping standards of tenderness.
My co-host for the event was Clive Dougall, Wine- maker for Seresin Estate. He’s the essence of New Zealand with his Kiwi lingo and stories of NZ food and wine pairings, such as venison and roasted duck. We all wanted to travel home with him! His “Leah” Pinot Noir will forever be linked in my memory with that mouthwatering Cervena venison—the most perfect smoky, earthy, savory pairing.
About Author: Jessica Altieri
Wine goddess Jessica Altieri—aka “Just Jess”—wants to change the way consumers buy, taste and experience wine. “From Wall Street to Wine Street,” Jess has captured the ears, eyes, and hearts of wine lovers around the globe, sharing and creating unique wine lifestyle experiences with digital and social media. A respected Millennial-age professional wine judge, Jess is a Certified Sommelier, California Wine Appellation Specialist® and former NCAA scholar athlete. She founded the world’s fastest growing digital wine lifestyle network, Wine Channel TV Digital Network, in 2009, and works with some of the world’s leading brands, trade associations and lifestyle companies. Jess has built a multi-platform digital network including the recently launched Wine Judges Corner, the world’s only digital online community dedicated to wine competitions, award-winning wines and wine judges. Jess has appeared on CNBC, ABC, WGN, and ESPN Radio with unique wine, food and lifestyle segments that make shopping for your next fine wine as much fun as eating ice cream. In 2013, Altieri published “Kiss My Glass: “No-BS” Wine Buying Guide. Jess Altieri’s tagline: “Wine is just a conversation waiting to happen!”