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Why Taste Wine at a Wine-Tasting?

“Drink and be merry, for our time on earth is short, and death is forever.” A Toast.

 Gourmet Gallery is planning a week’s tour of Washington and Oregon in June, and there are seven wineries on the planned itinerary. What can we learn in that beautiful setting? When tasting, does one learn the language of wine? Will I be able to identify different flavors–is it peppery, fruity, buttery, full-bodied? If food and wine enhance each other, how is food paired with wine? I am setting out to learn  these things.

Since we are going to PINOR NOIR country, I have chosen to start with that wine. According to WINE LOVER’S COMPANION, the pinot noir grape is the red grape of Burgundy. It is genetically unstable which makes consistency in this vine extremely difficult. Oregon’s long, cool growing season is conducive to the production of some acclaimed Pinot Noir wines. Kevin Zraly writes, “Pinot Noir is a white wine masquerading as a red wine….My favorite wine for lunch is Pinot Noir. Since most of us have to go to work after lunch, the light, easy-drinking style of a Pinot Noir will not overpower the usual luncheon fare of soup, salad and sandwiches. It is a user-friendly wine.” Thanks, Jill, for this info about your favorite wine.

The Chateau Ste. Michelle winery in Woodenville, Washington has a good website that helps with food and wine pairing. Some suggestions for Pinot Noir are grilled salmon and tuna, smoked duck with a cherry sauce, smoked salmon, and because of the tannins and slight pepperiness of this wine, Asian foods such as Chinese barbecued pork ribs.

  Maybe I’ll learn the answer to all my questions. Maybe I won’t, but I plan to enjoy the journey.

Karyn suggested her recipe to go with the aforesaid wine. Let me know how you like this pairing.


2 tsp coarse salt
3/4 tsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. thyme
1/4 tsp. ground allspice
1/4 tsp. ground pepper
4 loin pork chops, about 1 1/4-inch thick

2 tbsp. olive oil
1 lb. red onions, halved and thinly sliced
1 1/2 tsp. sugar
1 sweet red pepper, cut in julienne strips
1 small carrot, peeled and cut into julienne strips
2 tbsp. julienned orange zest
1/4 cup freshly squeezed orange juice

In a small bowl, stir together 1 1/2 tsp. of the salt with the sugar, thyme, allspice and pepper. Rub into pork chops.

For the marmalade, heat oil in a large skillet over moderate heat. Add onions, sprinkle with the sugar and cook until tender, about 10 minutes.  Add red pepper, carrot, and orange zest; cook about 5 minutes or until vegetables are soft. Add orange juice and remaining salt and cook until liquid has evaporated and onion are glossy. Remove from heat.

Rub a grill with oil; gill chops about 4 minutes per side or until cooked through. Serve with onion marmalade.
Serves 4.

Blog assembled by Jo Ann Miller.

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