Pinot Noir Wine Club
May Pinot Club
You'll remember that last month's wine was a selection of Willamette Valley Pinots from Sineann; this month we're also featuring a Willamette Valley wine: Owen Roe Eola Hills-Amity Pinot Noir. (Owen Roe Winemaker-owner David O'Reilly was a founder and partner in Sineann wines). I thought it would be interesting to compare winemaker styles.
We feature a lot of wines from Owen Roe at Farmstead, particularly as club offerings (Sinister Hand, Abbot's Table), but this is the first time that we've offered one of their Pinots to the Pinot Noir Club.
The Owen Roe Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir is made in a hedonistic, over-the-top style more typical of cult California Pinots than of Oregon's more structured offerings. It is fleshy, weighty and saturated with berry and cherry cobbler flavors, accented by sweet pie spice, vanilla bean, and mocha toast. velvety and broad, it finishes long and sweet. BIG.
International Wine Cellar says of the '06 vintage: 90 points -- Saturated red. Spicy redcurrant, cherry and pomegranate aromas are complemented by baking spices and mocha. Fleshy red berry and cherry compote flavors offer impressive depth, turning sweeter with air. A weighty style, with abroad, velvety texture and a long, sweet finish. "
The predominately Jory soils in the Amity-Eola Hills are very well-drained and volcanic in origin. These small mountains in the heart of the Willamette Valley can gather greater heat units than the surrounding Pinot Noir sites. What makes this area truly unique is the tremendous cooling breezes that channel through the Coastal Range which create great diurnal temperature swings. A result of the heat is darker fruited wine than those of the same soils in the Dundee Hills. The long cool evenings impart fruit vibrancy, acidity, and spice.
A majority of the fruit was farmed attentively by David and Jean Beck from their eponymous Crawford-Beck Vineyard. Their bowl-shaped vineyard is located near Amity and lies atop a ridge with the Pinot Noir vines fanned across each of the slopes.
The Eola Amity Hills are situated in the heart of the Willamette Valley and accumulate greater heat units than the surrounding areas while receiving late afternoon cool winds from the gaps in the Coast Mountain Range. This additional heat allowed Owen Roe to harvest perfectly ripe fruit in spite of the unusually cool temperatures of the 2007 fall. The volcanic soils in these low lying hills produce Pinot Noir with fragrant red fruits and complex earthy spices this vintage is a classic for the Pinot Noir varietal.
Recipe (provided by Michael Lemaire) Roast Chicken and Potatoes 2 to 3 servings
I love roast chicken and make it often. This recipe captures the delicious juices as they drip down on a pan of potatoes. The quality of the resulting chicken will depend on the quality of the chicken you buy so buy the best. This will make a succulent accompaniment to Owen Roe's delicious Eola Hills pinot...Smack! Smack!
2 1/2- to 3-pound chicken, gizzard packet removed (reserve for another use, if desired)
Freshly ground black pepper
2 teaspoons sweet paprika or chopped thyme leaves (optional)
2 to 4 tablespoons salted or unsalted butter, at room temperature
For the potatoes
5 to 6 medium potatoes, peeled and cut crosswise into 1/4-inch slices, then precooked (see NOTE)
Freshly ground black pepper
Leaves from 1 sprig of thyme
1 tablespoon cold salted or unsalted butter, cut into very thin slices (optional; preferably using a mandoline or V-slicer)
For the chicken: If necessary, slightly lower the middle oven rack so the chicken will be situated in the middle of the oven as it roasts; preheat to 425 degrees.
Rinse the chicken and dry with paper towels inside and outside. Rub it with a generous amount of salt and pepper on the inside and outside, plus paprika, if using. Rub with the butter. If you want a more attractive result, use kitchen twine to truss (tie together) the legs.
Rub a little butter or canola oil on a roasting rack; place the bird on it.
Prepare the potatoes: Season the partially cooked potatoes lightly with salt and pepper and place them in a small or medium ovenproof baking dish, arranging the thyme leaves between the slices. Place the slices of butter over the potatoes, if desired.
When ready to roast, place the roasting rack with the chicken directly on the middle oven rack, with the potatoes positioned directly below to catch the chicken's juices, making sure there is enough headspace so the heat is not blocked from circulating under the bird.
Roast for 50 to 60 minutes, looking through the oven window to make sure the chicken does not burn. Test for doneness by piercing the bird where the leg is at its thickest. If the juices run clear, the chicken is done. If they are still pinkish, roast for 10 minutes and check again. If the potatoes are turning dry or becoming too brown, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
Let the chicken rest for 15 minutes before serving. Carve the chicken and divide the pieces, along with the potatoes, among individual plates. If using the thyme, season just before serving. Serve hot.
NOTE: Precook the sliced potatoes by placing them in a large saute pan; cover with water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; cook for 10 to 15 minutes; they will not be cooked through. Transfer to a small or medium ovenproof casserole dish.