If you love Pinot Noir you probably have heard of the PinotReport. It’s a wonderful newsletter written and published by Greg Walter, former Wine Spectator Editor. Greg calls himself the writer, taster, editor, publisher and chief bottle and wine glass washer for PinotReport. In 1981, Greg took a job as an editorial assistant for The Wine Spectator. He had a 14 year career with them, rising from editorial assistant to senior editor and ultimately serving six years as the magazine’s president. He left The Wine Spectator in 1994. He has since written a book and been a consulting editor and publisher for several magazines through his firm, The Carneros Group.
As I read the first line of the PinotReport, I knew it was something special. He says that his fascination with a great Pinot Noir is as much about the people involved in making the wine, the wine regions, and the foods that match well at the table. – in short, the lifestyle surrounding the wines. (sound familiar…?) If you’d like to read the PinotReport newsletter you must have a subscription. You can subscribe here.
I sent Greg a bottle of the Passaggio 2012 UNMARKED Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir a few months back for review. I have held my breath ever since (well, not literally but you get the picture) Much to my surprise, I received an email this week stating that my Pinot Noir had been reviewed in the PinotReport. Needless to say, I was a bit apprehensive to open the email. When I did, I was very surprised and humbled. The Passaggio 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot got a 92.
Cooking with The Sassy Kitchen – Passaggio Pinot Noir Braised Lamb Shanks
This evening with The Sassy Kitchen was so much fun, and a lot of people are waiting for this recipe!! So here we go…straight from The Sassy Kitchen.
4 Lamb Hind Shanks. 4 to 5 pounds total weight. *
3 Large Carrots
2 Large Stalks Celery
1 Small Yellow Onion
1 Small White Onion
5 Cloves Garlic
12 Oz Tomato Paste
4 Cups Water
2 Cups Passaggio Unmarked Code Seven 2012 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2 Cups All Purpose Flour
1 Tsp Chopped Fresh Rosemary
8 to 10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme**
4 Bay Leaves
Salt and Pepper
Heavy, well sealing Dutch Oven.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Give the carrots, celery and onions a rough chop and smash the garlic cloves. Put them in the food processor. Chop until you have a chunky “paste”. Set aside.
Put flour in a bowl and season well with salt and pepper.
Coat Dutch Oven liberally with olive oil and place on the stove over medium high heat. You want a HOT pan.
Dry Lamb Shanks with paper towels then coat them with flour. When the pan is hot, work in batches. Be sure not to crowd the meat and steam it – not brown it. Brown the meat well. Take the time to get it browned well on all sides. Set aside to rest and cool just slightly.
Drain the fat from the pan. You really don’t want all that extra meat fat in this dish. Add a little more olive oil to the pan and then add the vegetable mixture and salt and pepper to taste. This should be sort of searing as well. Cook while stirring for 15 to 20 minutes. You’ll want them brown but not burned. Move it to one side of the pan and add the tomato paste. Let this “brown” too. You will see it go to a richer deeper red. Stir both the vegetables and the tomato paste, separately for about 5 minutes and then blend them together.
Reduce heat to medium, add the Passaggio Pinor Noir and stir well. Let the wine reduce for a few minutes. Add the rosemary, thyme, bay leaves and water. Stir until well blended.
Place the lamb shanks in the pot. They should be almost totally covered. Place the lid on the Dutch Oven and put it in the oven. Total cook time is about 3 hours. Check and turn the lamb shanks in an hour and a half. If the liquid has reduced too much, add some water. (Skim fat if needed)
I served the lamb shanks over roasted garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes. I got the recipe from watching Lidia’s Italy. Click here for the link to Lidia’s garlic and olive oil mashed potatoes.
For the plating I also added some Chardonnay carrots. (recipe coming soon)
** For the Thyme, either tie with kitchen twine so you can easily pull the stems out OR remove the leaves from the stems and toss them in.
***I was serving the next day so I transferred them to a smaller, cool pot and refrigerated them overnight. They reheated well the next day. About 30 minutes in a 400 degree oven and they were up to temperature and ready.
An old phrase you might hear around the winery is “rack to bottling” – which means get the wine ready for bottling by racking it to a tank.
Yesterday I racked the 2012 Passaggio UNMARKED Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir to tank. These grapes came from the Petaluma Gap area of the Sonoma Coast. The Sonoma Coast extends from San Pablo Bay to Mendocino County. The Petaluma Gap area extends from the Pacific Ocean to San Pablo Bay. This area produces some of the best Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah. Wind and fog are its trademark and the word “Gap” got its name from the actual gap in the mountain that stretches from the Pacific to the town of Petaluma. The early morning fog, intense heat in the afternoon, and very cool evenings are a great growing climate for Pinot Noir.
The 2012 Passaggio UNMARKED Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ready for bottling on August 16th, 2013.
Stay tuned for more!!!!
- Shine On, Sonoma Coast (courtneycochran.com)
It’s one of my favorite parts of wine making…I love blending. The 2012 Passaggio UNMARKED Pinot Noir is ready for blending. This wine comes from a single vineyard on the Sonoma Coast. I am very excited about bottling it on August 16th. But before we do, we have to get it ready!!!
Stay tuned for more photos and videos of the 2012 Pinot blending and bottling…