Tag Archives: Five Star Cellars

Five Star Cellars Sangiovese our choice for molasses pork tenderloin

As we head into fall it’s time to start thinking about making the transition from drinking light, refreshing wines to ones that hold more weight for recipes that will warm our bellies on chilly nights.

We’re excited for the move into harvest season — with it also comes the harvest of 2012 grapes — but as this week has shown even though the calendar says fall is here (Sunday is the first day of autumn after all), we’re experiencing a lingering summer.

That leaves us with the challenge of finding a wine to bridge the gap between summer and fall, but still hold up to Ann Vogel’s Molasses Balsamic Glazed Pork Tenderloin recipe.

While the recipe sounds sweet with the molasses and sweetened coconut, we think the acidity of the balsamic vinegar will balance things out. And while you might think of molasses as something to top your pancakes in the morning, and give you a little sugar boost, if combined with the right ingredients its savory herbal notes are able to shine.

It’s these herbal notes that we want to bring out with our recommended wine pairing of the Italian grape Sangiovese. We recently recommended this wine for a pairing where balsamic vinegar dominated in April, and we’re recommending it again for many of the same reasons.

Sangiovese is a nice transition wine because of the grapes’ relatively thin skins. As a result the wine doesn’t carry the weight in the mouth that a hearty winter red might. Instead it’s a medium-bodied wine, with notes of strawberry, blueberry and plum. These fruit flavors are more prominent than the tannins because of the thin skins. The acidity of the wine will accent the herbal flavors of the molasses and browned pork.

For this recipe we recommend the Five Star Cellars Sangiovese. The Walla Walla winery’s 2008 Sangiovese won a double gold at the Seattle Wine Awards.

The winery describes its award-winning Sangiovese as opening with spice and hints of rhubarb on the nose, with bright cherry flavors and acidity in the middle and a clean finish. The wine demands a good meal to balance it out, according to the winery, so why not give the pork tenderloin a try?

What we’re drinking: Petit Verdot

Petit verdot is a red wine grape that traditionally was blended in classic Bordeaux wines.

In the “new world” it is occasionally bottled as its own varietal, but its power is better off lending structure and flavor to blended wines. Think of it as a “best supporting actor” to a Bordeaux or Meritage.

So why blend it instead of letting it stand on its own? The grape was relegated to the wings when it arrived late on the scene. It ripens much later than cabernet or merlot, the “best actors.” When it is added wine has more structure, color and flavor.

Winemakers use petit verdot like chefs use seasoning. The spices this grape add to blends are pencil shavings and vanilla when young, and leather and tar when mature.

In the St. Julien commune of Bordeaux, Chateau LaGrange uses the greatest proportion of petit verdot grapes in its blend. This wine can never be drunk young; but patience will be greatly rewarded.

Recently we’ve noticed petit verdot becoming more of a player on the local wine scene.

We helped out with crush at eleven winery in 2009 and were rewarded with a bottle of wine. It was a spectacular bottle of wine! And well worth all that hard work.

The aromas of Eleven’s 100 percent petit verdot reminded us of second grade when emptying the pencil sharpener with a hint of herbs and cedar. But no worries, there is plenty of fruit. It has a thick and rich mouthfeel, redolent with black fruits, licorice and tar. Did we mention it is rich, smooth and utterly elegant? With a long finish that is silk?

Today, you can buy the 2009 Petit Verdot Yakima Valley Elerding Vineyard for $45. It is a rare and most prized wine. Only 12 cases were bottled. That’s 144 bottles and an Oscar for best actor.

Brynn also recently sampled a Five Star Cellars Supernova, a blend of 55 percent petit verdot and 45 percent cab franc. Both are blending varietals in Bordeaux, but they did wonders just the two of them together. The concentrated finish was full of the cab franc flavors, while the petit verdot was upfront giving the wine a nice mix of bright acidity at first, followed by a full mouthfeel.

The wine retails for $38.