Our Wine of the Week, Enkidu 2010 Russian River Valley Tina Marie Pinot Noir ($45), is a lovely wine for this time of year. With 14.4 percent alcohol, the wine is rich and plush on the palate, with a suggestion of warmth that is welcome during these chilly days.
Flavors swirl like a plume of smoke ascending skyward, carrying black cherry, black raspberry, allspice berry, clove and anise along for the ride, with hints of stone and something resembling dried sage mingling with the other flavors.
The finish reverberates gently until the next sip and the wine's elegant acidity refreshes the palate.
The wine is an ideal match with the comfort foods we crave right now. Toss some crumbled bacon into homemade macaroni-and-cheese and you'll have a feast. Braised short ribs, braised lamb shanks, osso buco, papardelle Bolognese, cotechino with lentils, traditional cassoulet and prime rib with parsnip puree are all flattered by this handsome pinot noir. Coq au vin, a wonderful mid-winter dish, is another great match, as is almost anything with mushrooms — polenta with mushroom ragout, for example, or seared duck breast smothered with sauteed maitakes.
The wine can kick off an evening meal beautifully, and if you'd like to serve it at as an aperitif, pair it with this simple red onion tart. The bacon makes the match soar.
Red Onion and Bacon Tart with Creme Fraiche and Chives
Makes 1 large tart
— Pastry for Savory Tarts (recipe follows)
4 to 6 bacon slices