Friday, April 13, 2012

Friday Feature: Portobello Mushrooms with Pinot Noir

Who here doesn't like mushrooms?!  (PLEASE don't raise your hand!)  Ok, ok... mushrooms are definitely an acquired taste, but as I've gotten a tad older, I've come to appreciate their subtlety as well as the various array of flavors all sorts of mushrooms provide.  Portobellos can be made stuffed, sauteed, grilled, steamed, marinated, as sandwiches... and the list goes on and on...

Portobello Mushroom Melts
(Photo and recipe at BBC Good Food)

Portobello Mushroom Sandwich
(Photo and recipe at: Taste of Home)

Portobello Mushroom with Onion and Balsamic Reduction
(Photo and recipe at Planet Forward)

And, of course, the traditional pairing with Portobellos is definitely Pinot Noir.  Pinot is known for it's earthiness and mushroom flavors, if made in the old world style.  Here are a few fancy Pinots that might suit your fancy:

If you're looking for something in the "value-price" range (<$20) try this $18 1.5 L bottle of PN II from Anthony Road Winery.  For $18, I'm surprised at the quality of this wine.  Remember that the price of Pinot's is all relative.  In most cases, you cannot find one of value below $50 that is still representative of a Pinot Noir.  But if you want something a bit more sophisticated, grab Anthony Road Winery's Pinot Noir label that I reviewed last week:
You won't be disappointed with this oaky, delicate, earthy, and cherried Pinot Noir.  It is one of my favorites to date!

If you're looking to splurge, I suggest finding an old-world Burgundy bottle.  These can be tricky to buy and without knowing much of the region, you'll either find a winner or a bottle you'd like to toss.  If you can afford the investment, then by all means, go for it.  But if you want to play it a bit on the safer side, I'd try some of these other suggestions, first!

(Photo from Google Images)
I will admit that Rex-Goliath is an "old faithful" when it comes to being in an [inexpensive] wine-buying bind. I've purchased it several times for large family gatherings or last minute arrangements with friends.  This used to be one of the best valued Pinot Noirs on the market, but since it's raised in popularity, I've found that it now lacks that characteristic Pinot Noir flavor like many bulk-produced Pinots.  Still, you can find it everywhere and anywhere (even in Pennsylvania) and it'll do the trick if you're looking for an inexpensive Pinot.

Other wine regions to try include Carneros (from California) and Russian River (from California), but the selection nation-wide is scattered.  These tend to be a bit more intense in oak and cherry flavor, drawing away from the earthiness of other regions, but it's still worth a shot if you're trying out Portobellos!

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