By LaGayle ~ March 16th, 2010.
While my family and I do not eat much pork, we do enjoy it on occasion. As I started planning another challenging wine pairing meal, I remembered the garlic seasoned broiled pork chops that my aunt used to make. I cannot remember the last time that I had a pork chop, but the more I thought about it, the more I craved them. I find it interesting that I mention that we donâ€™t eat a lot of pork, yet this is the second meal in this series that has included pork. Oh, well, I guess this series has given us a reason to splurge.
The day was beautiful, which is not always the case at this time of year in Seattle, so I decided to take advantage of the great weather and cook outside on the grill. As I began planning the menu and thinking about those garlic flavored pork chops, I decided to plan around a somewhat Italian-seasoned meal. The menu included salad made with hearts of romaine, garlic seasoned grilled pork chops, roasted garlic zucchini and tomatoes, and pesto spaetzle. Now, the spaetzle is a German egg noodle, but it was seasoned with pesto so I thought, â€œWhy not?â€
Again, I referred to my favorite book, What to Drink with What You Eat, by Andrew Dornenburg and Karen Page and decided to try a Pinot Grigio and a Zinfandel. I headed to a local wine shop with the intention of buying an Italian Pinot Grigio to go with our Italian-themed meal and a Washington State Zinfandel since we love to feature Washington State wines. I ended up selecting the 2008 Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio and the 2008 The Pines 1852 Old Vine Zinfandel, which it turns out is actually an Oregon wine.
When I arrived at the shop, I asked the shopkeeper for directions to the Washington Zinfandel section, and once I was there I found the The Pines Old Vine Zinfandel. I specifically asked about it being in the Washington section since the label indicated it was an Oregon winery.Â I was told that the winery is in Oregon, but that the vineyard is in Washington in the Columbia Valley. Upon returning home and doing some research, I discovered that the vineyard is located in the Columbia Valley of Oregon. So, we had an Oregon Zinfandel rather than one from Washington. Disappointing to not get what I was expecting, but the wine does come with a good story and even an Italian connection. The Pines Vineyard is one of the oldest in the Northwest and was planted by an Italian stone mason in the late 1800â€™s.
While we enjoyed both wines, the unanimous choice as to which paired best with the pork chops was the Zinfandel; although, we all agreed that, on its own, we preferred the Pinot Grigio.
2008 Tiefenbrunner Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie IGT (Alto Adige, Italy): Greenish straw yellow in color. Pears and hay come through on the nose; more pears on the palate. Medium-bodied and crisp with a long finish. A slight fizz on the back end. A refreshing sipper.
Quality: 3.5 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 4 bangs for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle), $13.99; Available elsewhere, $10 to $18
2008 The Pines 1852 Old Vine Zinfandel (The Pines Vineyard, Columbia Valley, Oregon): Deep ruby red in color. Aromas of butter, buttered popcorn, oak, and cinnamon lead to flavors of red fruits and cocoa. Good fruit but not overly fruity. Medium-bodied and lively with medium, very drying tannins and a long finish. A bit of heat on the back end.
Quality: 3 stars (out of 5)
QPR: 1 bang for your buck (out of 5)
Where to buy: Esquin Wine Merchants (Seattle), $38.99; Available elsewhere, $39
Filed under: American Wine, Challenging Wine Pairing, Food & Wine, Italian Wine, Oregon Wine, Pinot Grigio/Pinot Gris, Red Wine, White Wine, Wines Over $25, Wines Under $15, Wines Under $20, Wines Under $25, Zinfandel