Pizza, Friends, & Pinot Noir (Bogle Vineyards, 2009 Pinot Noir)

Brand Name:  Bogle
Vineyard: Bogle Vineyards
Vintage:    2009
ABV%:      14%
Varietal:    Pinot Noir
Appellation:   California
Price:        $11 + tax

Tuesday 7:00 pm, after a long day in the glamorous world of numbers, blueprints, and computer monitors, I met my friend at home for some Mates , a type of hot tea. 


While listening to a blend of music by Babasonicos, Los Pericos, et all, and discussing how to fix the world, it was decided that as opposed to enjoying rounds of Mate we would instead open a bottle of wine that was lingering around the room.  The bottle, a 2009 Bogle Vineyards Pinot Noir from California, had been brought by someone during a previous dinner and was waiting for someone to enjoy its structure and flavors.   Since the wine did not reflect any specific region, it implied that the grapes came from one or multiple regions within the state shown on the label, this is typically an indication that the aromas and flavors of the wine will be more about fruit than terroir . By U.S. wine law the region used on the labels denotes the following:  
  • Wines displaying a state name on the label requires 100% of the grapes to come from that state. 
  • Wines displaying the county name on the label requires 75% of the grapes to come from the named county.
  • Wines displaying an AVA (American Viticultural Area) name on the label requires 85% of the grapes come from the named appellation.

The wine displayed a deep garnet color, usual of a younger Pinot Noir.  Pinot Noir wines, typically, are lighter in color and more translucent than other red varietals, a key factor in being able to identify a Pinot Noir.   The “lack” of color in Pinot Noir is due it's due to the thin skin which has lower levels of anthocyanin, blue, violet, or red pigment found in plants. 


On the nose the wine was fruit driven, displaying perfumed violet aromas and ripe notes of strawberry and raspberry indicative of a wine typical of a warm wine producing region and new world style.  A cool region or old world style, i.e. Burgundy, Pinot Noir would have displayed more earthiness thus exhibiting bouquets of undergrowth:  an earthy and leathery quality.

On the palate the wine displayed the characteristics of a general “California” labeled region wine: ripe fruit notes of strawberry and raspberry accompanied by some dried cranberry.   The wine had lingering warmth, moderate acidity, and displayed and enjoyable velvety texture along with smooth tannins.

After the first glass and a long talk our appetite developed and I decided we should prepare a meal to accompany the discussion and the wine.  Having moved in to a new place recently the options for ingredients were limited: pizza dough, bell peppers, mozzarella cheese, eggs, hummus, flour, olive oil, salt, and pepper were the selected ingredients to make a pizza and a faina. The thin crust pizza was made in the oven laden with a thin layer of olive oil, chunks of mozzarella cheese, red and yellow bell peppers strips, and topped off with round slices of hard boiled eggs.  The faina, a type of pizza dough typically made using garbanzo flour, was improvised using hummus and adding eggs and some flour which would later be baked next to the pizza.  

20 minutes later, voilĂ , a tasty meal was ready to accompany the Bogle Pinot Noir.  Pizza is not a meal typically paired with a Pinot Noir, perhaps because most pizzas have tomato sauce requiring a wine with good acidity (our pizza "sauce" was just olive oil); however, the medium plus body of the Pinot Noir and fruit flavors paired nicely with the mozzarella creaminess, the peppery consistency of the pizza, and the earthiness of the faina.


Meal Time w/ good friends: "gallego" & "panchitos"

Salmon & Chardonnay (Santa Barbara Winery, 2010 Chardonnay)

Brand Name:  Santa Barbara Winery
Vineyard: Santa Barbara Winery
Vintage:    2010
ABV%:      13.8%
Varietal:    Chardonnay
Appellation:   Central Coast AVA (Santa Barbara County)
Price:        $14 + tax

Upon return to Los Angeles after spending a week in the cold, grey, and rainy winter of Bogota, Colombia, I met up with a friend to enjoy an evening of travel stories, sunset, and a meal in Santa Monica Beach.   My trip had experience a diet of steaks and thus when Salmon was suggested as the main ingredient for the meal I was excited to explore culinary and wine alternatives.  A trip to the store resulted in the following ingredients:  Wild Alaskan salmon, blue cheese, Portobello mushrooms, potatoes, and yellow and red peppers which would add some color to the plate.  To accompany the soft and oily texture of the salmon and the sharp, creamy and salty consistency of the blue cheese, which were the main ingredients, we selected a reasonable priced 2010 Santa Barbara Winery Chardonnay ($14+tax).     The wine was selected for 2 reasons:  (1) an early vintage chardonnay typically lends brightness to the fruit intensity in the wine and (2) I wanted to complement the creaminess of the dish with a wine offering a similar silky and creamy consistency, a texture typically found in an oaked California wine which developed more body than unoaked versions.

In the glass the chardonnay displayed a light golden tint which indicated some oak barrel fermentation.  Bright fruit notes of apricot, peach, green apple, and nuances of pineapple and vanilla emerged from the glass providing an aromatic and perfumed experience.  On the palate, the wine was a dry, moderately flavored wine with a ripe fruit profile and lingering warmth.  The ripe flavors of tropical fruit such as apricot and pineapple and the warmth caused by the alcohol level were characteristic expected from a wine native of Santa Barbara County which is a wine growing area with abundant sunshine and warm weather conditions.  The wine was moderately creamy unlike other California big buttery Chardonnays indicating that the Santa Barbara Winery wine probably had not gone through malolactic fermentation which typically yields diacetyl, a compound responsible for providing wine a buttery consistency and the scent of butter used in baked goods or pop-corn. 

 Picture by KdD

The wine proved to be a good selection for the meal due to the nose and the flavor profile offered at $14/bottle; its moderately oaked profile and gentle viscosity did not overpower the characteristics of the blue cheese and the creaminess of the salmon but rather it provided a silky bond to connect the creamy qualities of the ingredients.  Furthermore the young ripe apricot and light nuances of pineapple and vanilla added another dimension of flavors to the meal.  The meal and wine were enjoyed while listening to Little Dragon. Here is one of the tunes that accompanied the evening: