It’s been a few weeks since I’ve shared a wine review. My family and I have all been fighting what seems like a never-ending cold. I finally felt a little more like myself this past weekend, so we opened a bottle of Elouan 2017 Oregon Pinot Noir. This Pinot Noir is made with grapes grown in the temperate climate and fertile soil of the Oregon coast. Pinot Noir grapes thrive in cooler temperatures. With a long growing season and the gentle sunlight that’s plentiful in the higher latitudes, Oregon provides the ideal growing conditions for these delicate grapes. In crafting this wine, the winemaker sought to reinvent Oregon Pinot Noir. By sourcing and blending fruit from three distinct terroirs along the coastline from North to South, each selected for the unique characteristics of the grapes they produce, the winemaker created a wine that has incredible depth of flavour and vibrancy while maintaining the purity and bright acidity for which Oregon Pinots are famous.
Imagine making a tomato sauce with basil. It’s a beautiful sauce, sweet and pure of flavour – everything that tomato sauce is know for and loved. But then you add a pinch of Greek oregano and freshly ground fennel seeds along with the basil. The flavours harmonize and marry so well together, they produce a sauce that’s rich, bright and unique with the characteristics of each herb, but still distinctly classic – a tomato sauce reimagined. That’s how I like to think this wine. A distinct and classic Pinot Noir. The grapes are harvested when the canes are uniformly copper in colour from the base to the tip. This ensures the grapes have reached peak maturity and the wine will be free of any unripe or green notes. It’s then aged for 10 months in both seasoned and new French oak barrels.
This Pinot Nois is a vivid ruby colour. It’s spicy on the nose, reminiscent of incense smoke – heavy on vanilla and Cuban tobacco with hints of sandalwood, molasses and jasmine. On the palate, it’s bright and light bodied with soft tannins, featuring the flavour of ripe strawberries eaten on a summer evening on the patio by the fire ring. As the wine breathes, the flavours transition to their deeper, richer counterparts – voluptuous black cherries, tart Thanksgiving cranberry sauce, subtle undertones of molasses and mild oak with barely a hint of raw cocoa. The finish is long, clean and leggy with a touch of acidity. I served it with old school winter comfort food: slow-cooked braised beef shanks on elbow macaroni. (Find the recipe below.)
This was a distinctive Pinot Noir which kept me interested from the first sip to the last. It’s also budget-friendly, retailing for about $22 USD. And, as usual, this is not a sponsored post. I purchased this bottle and the notes and opinions are my own. Find out more about this Pinot Noir here.
Slow Cooked Braised Beef Shanks with Pasta
This is a classic recipe for braised beef shanks, cooked in the slow cooker until tender. I serve this over pasta, but you can serve it with mashed potatoes or with creamy polenta.
- 2 lbs beef shanks
- 1 TBSP olive oil
- 1 small onion, chopped
- 1 carrot, chopped
- 1 celery stalk, chopped
- 6 cloves garlic, sliced
- 2 TBSP tomato paste
- 1/4 cup dry red wine
- 1 (14 oz) can petite diced tomatoes in juice
- 1 stalk rosemary
- 1 cup beef broth
- 1/2 tsp crushed red pepper
- salt and pepper, to taste
- 8 oz. elbow macaroni
- 2 Tbsp butter
Heat the oil in a large skillet. If the shanks are fatty, remove as much of the fat as possible. Season the shanks with salt and pepper. Sear in hot skillet until brown on both sides. Transfer to the slow cooker.
To the oil in the pan, add the onion, carrot and celery. Sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook a minute longer. Add the tomato paste and stir to incorporate. Pour in the wine and bring to a simmer. Add the canned tomatoes and beef stock. Return to a simmer. Pour over the meat in the slow cooker. Add the rosemary, red pepper and salt and pepper, to taste.
Cover and cook on low 8 – 10 hours.
Half an hour before serving, remove the meat to a plate and set aside to cool slightly. Pour the vegetables and sauce through a sieve into a fat separator or large bowl. Return the veggies to the slow cooker. De-fat the sauce either by using a fat separator or a bulb baster. Pour the sauce back into the slow cooker with the vegetables. Use a fork to separate the meat from the bones, then break the meat into large chunks and stir back into the slow cooker. Taste for seasoning and adjust if necessary. Cover and continue cooking on low for 30 minutes longer.
Meanwhile, cook the pasta in salted water according to the manufacturer’s directions. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. Add the butter and stir until melted. Season with salt and pepper.
To serve, place the pasta on a plate and spoon the braised shanks and veggies over top.