As the nights and days cool, and the green leaves go gold and and fall to the ground, our attention turns to comfort food and wine to go with it.
For Sue and I, that means Italian food. Nearing the end of a long Spring under lockdown, when we were released but still concerned, we went for these three red blends made from Italian grape varieties from Four Brix, Lucas and Llewellyn, and Montinore.
Now here we are solidly in Autumn, but at another transition: it’s Election Day, and a good time to once again turn our attention to comfort food and wine, which again means Italian. Later this week, we have Primitivo and Zinfandel from Miraflores in El Dorado, then we compare and contrast a Turley Zinfandel with an Italian Primitivo. We’re pairing these wines with food inspired by The Godfather movies.
But today, we again turn to biodynamic Montinore (and that’s not because, based on all of my friends talking about day drinking today, you can drink more biodynamic wine without getting a hangover!)
Oregon’s Montinore grows the typical Oregon grapes like Pinot Noir. But winemaker Rudy Marchesi also grows Lagrein and Teroldego vines to honor his Italian roots; his grandparents came from Northern Italy, and this heritage grew in him a passion for wine making and sustainable farming that led to his purchase of Montinore in 2005 and transitioning Montinore to organic and biodynamic wines. He also experimented with Italian grapes Teroldego and Lagrein, both from Northern Italy and related to Pinot Noir. The vines are now ten years old, and Montinore sells single varietal wines of Teroldego and Lagrien and a blend Rosso di Marchesi Quinto Atto that includes that Italian mainstay, Sangiovese as well as Nebbiolo, both which come from Washington State.
Night 1 main course: Meat and meatless kale lasagna
Night 2 main course: Italian Pot Roast
With these wines in mind, the following evening my family and I prepared an Italian Pot Roast in the Instant Pot which we served over mashed potatoes. So good!
2016 Montinore Estate Lagrein, Willamette Valley, OR
ABV 12.9%; SRP $40
While one of its parent varieties is Pinot Noir, Lagrein is vastly different. Known for its inky, purple color, Montinore Estate’s 2016 Lagrein offers a chewy mouthful of black cherry, blackberry, anise, and dried herbs.
Color: Plum flesh, fuchsia brightness when swirled in the glass, very dense, may due to the fact that it is unfined and unfiltered.
Nose: Roses, carnation, English rose garden, lots of florals with strawberry and raspberry,
Palate: Very light in body, fruit forward, mellow acidity, raspberry, rhubarb, loess, iron, clean granitic mud,.
Pairing: We both wanted rich fatty foods with this wine. Sue wanted salmon, and I wanted a ficelle with cured meats and cheeses drizzled with some herbed vinegarette and a picnic with this wine. Sue loved this wine with our salty salami which brought such lovely fruit in the wine, and tamed the salt in the food. We loved the LaTur which is one of our favorite Italian cheeses. Together they are just bliss. Most fabulous with the Toscano. I also really liked brie with the wine, with pate, it would have been even better. Fresh basil is fantastic with the wine. Fantastic with the salad. The wine went better with the meat lasagne over the veggie lasagne, however it loves the kale in the veggie lasagna. The pot roast with all the herbs was a home run.
2016 Montinore Estate Teroldego Willamate Valley Oregon
ABV 12.6%; SRP $50
Montinore Estate’s Teroldego cuttings come from the Italian vineyards of Elisabetta Foradori, the world’s most prestigious grower of Teroldego. The 2016 Teroldego offers a zesty palate with a bounty of red fruits, including cranberry, pomegranate, loganberry, and dried dates.
Color: Very dense, medium plus density and Hugh, ruby, bright pink rim
Nose: The nose is all about the fruit in this wine. Plum, blueberry, blackberry, rich dark fruit, carnation, baking spices, forest floor, a little bit of mint, like working in the garden next to the mint plant and you brush it or step on it.
Palate: Plum, blue fruit, this is not jam, it is fresh plum, eucalyptus, juniper on the finish, resins, this wine is so clean on the palate. Clean, fresh and vivacious. I got more fruit in this wine when in a Rhone glass.
Pairing: I wanted this wine with a roasted beet salad with goat cheese and walnuts accompanied by a margarita pizza. Loves the arugula in the salad. Kale really stands up to the wine. Fantastic with the lasagne. It appreciated the meat more than the veggie lasagna, but was great with both.
Fantastic with Italian cheeses. We loved it with the pepper crusted Toscana. So great with the prosciutto bringing out a sweetness in the salty prosciutto and a sweetness in the wine. Fabulous with salty salami, Pecorinno. It really loves the basil. We were mixed overall on the salad; it needed a bit more oomph, I would rather do a bruschetta on eggplant, or even a caponata. The pot roast with this wine was also terrific.
INSTANT POT ITALIAN POT ROAST
Cut 1″ deep, narrow slits in the roast, insert garlic, season with salt and pepper.
Set Instant Pot to Sauté setting.Heat 1 T oil and brown onions, then add carrots and celery and cook 2-3 minutes more.
Remove and set aside.
Add 1 T oil and brown roast on all sides.
Pour in beef bone broth, tomato paste, tomato sauce, wine, vegetables, bay leaf, thyme, oregano, basil, and seal the lid.
Bring the Instant Pot up to full pressure by using Manual.
Cook for 45 minutes.
When time is up, use the quick-release method to lower the pressure.
Serve on mashed potatoes, pasta, or polenta.
While most well known for their Pinot Noir, in addition to these two Italian varietal wines described above, Montinore makes a fun sparkling wine (read about it here), and a range of other white and red wines including a dessert wine from Pinot Noir, and a red wine blend that speaks to Rudy’s Italian heritage by blending 47% of the well known Italian grape, Sangiovese, with the lesser known Teroldego (15%) and Lagrein (15%) with 23% Pinot Noir.
We paired the Rosso a while ago with pasta and meatballs, but I never published our notes, in part because a sample came of the next vintage which we wrote bout here along with two other Italian red blends; you’ll also find a recipe for Sue’s grandmother’s biscotti.
Rosso di Marchesi “Quarto Atto” Teroldego, Lagrein, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese
ABV 14.2%; SRP $25
I bought two bottles of this wine with an industry discount when I visited September 2018 during a press trip.
47% Sangiovese, 23% pinot Noir, 15% Teroldego, 15% Lagrein
Color: “Perty” is what I told Sue; it’s plummy, with a pale brown rim.
Nose: Cherry cola, cherry pipe tobacco, mint, cooking sage, eucalyptus, dusty earth, dry and dusty, black licorice.
Palate: This has a really bright palate compared to the heady nose, lots of minerals and acidity on the finish, pomegranate, cranberry.
Pairing: So wonderful with our pasta and meatballs, The spices of the meatballs (oregano, fennel, garlic) is so friendly with the wine. It is so good, making it a fine Italian for Italian. Fabulous pizza wine. We thought about a meatball sub, lasagne, anything with Italian sausage. With this wine, Marchesi wanted to a blend that would be approachable and affordable, easy to drink and enjoy. We can attest to his success!
Coming soon: Montinore’s new “Orange” skin contact wine!