Pairings: Try this warm potato salad alongside pinot noir

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Our Wine of the Week, Siduri 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($40), is a classic illustration of how the varietal expresses itself in this appellation.

The wine is all about subtlety. There is plenty of fruit, but it’s not a fruit bomb.

Instead, subtle suggestions of cranberry, pomegranate, rose petals and Rainier cherries mingle delicately with a lush, earthy foundation that includes hints of minerality, damp topsoil and the floor of a redwood forest after a spring rain.

The wine is infinitely drinkable, though its 14.5% alcohol can sneak up on you, as the wine has none of the heat or suggestion of sweetness that high alcohol levels often have.

I enjoyed my first glass of this vintage with a simple potato pancake, fried in bacon fat and butter and topped with crisp, crumbled bacon.

Years from now, I’ll look back on it as one of my favorite solo coronavirus feasts.

The wine is excellent with risottos, lamb stew, beef Bourguignon, coq au vin, seared duck breast with sautéed mushrooms, braised sausages and cabbage with onion marmalade and an array of other dishes.

In a few weeks, our first tomatoes will ripen and it will be time for the year’s first BLT. You’ll want to have this wine alongside.

For today’s recipe, I keep coming back to potatoes.

First of all, the earthy notes in the wine resonate beautifully with the potatoes and the caraway seeds and the wine’s lively acid refreshes our palates between bites.

Secondly, it’s Memorial Day weekend. If you will be grilling sausages, burgers, chicken, ribs or vegetables, a rich potato salad is the ideal accompaniment.

This one is a Sonoma County treasure from the Marshall House, a beloved restaurant once located in an old Victorian on Second Street in Santa Rosa that is now home to Ca’Bianca.

The most essential ingredient is the bacon fat. Omit it at your peril.

Marshall House Potato Salad

Makes 6 to 10 servings

3 pounds potatoes, such as Yukon gold or russets

1 tablespoon kosher salt, plus more to taste

2 teaspoons caraway seeds

12 ounces bacon, diced

2 tablespoons stoneground mustard

3 tablespoons mayonnaise

1/3 cup olive oil

6 ounces beef stock, preferably homemade

½ cup white wine vinegar

1 yellow onion, cut into small dice

3 tablespoons Italian parsley, chopped

½ teaspoon white pepper

½ teaspoon sugar

3 hard-cooked eggs, peeled and sliced crosswise

— Italian parsley sprigs, for garnish

Put the potatoes in a large pot, cover with water by 2 inches and add the tablespoon of salt and the caraway seeds. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat so the water simmers gently and cook until the potatoes are tender when pierced with a fork.

When the potatoes are tender, drain them thoroughly and let them cool until they are easy to handle but still fairly warm. Peel and slice the potatoes and put them in a wide shallow bowl. Cover with a tea towel and keep warm.

Put the bacon in a medium sauté pan set over medium-high heat and cook until it is just crisp.

Transfer the bacon to absorbent paper to drain and pour the drippings over the warm potatoes. Cover and set aside.

Combine the mustard and mayonnaise in a medium bowl with the olive oil, stock, vinegar, onion, parsley, pepper, sugar and a generous teaspoon or so of salt. Stir, taste, add several turns of black pepper and a teaspoon or so of salt and taste again; correct as needed.

Pour the mixture over the warm potatoes and use a rubber spatula to gently fold the ingredients together.

Put the eggs on top of the salad, season with a little salt and pepper, garnish with parsley and enjoy warm.

The salad will keep for 2 to 3 days in the refrigerator but should be brought to room temperature or warmed slightly before serving.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “California Home Cooking.” Email her at

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