Our Wine of the Week, Freeman Vineyard and Winery’s 2013 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is a suave beauty, a stellar expression of the Russian River Viticultural Area. The bouquet is warm, subtle and engaging, as a pinot noir’s aromas should be.
On the palate, you notice the wine’s silky texture before anything else. It has that ethereal quality, as if tiny dancers in satin toe shoes were twirling over your tongue. Flavors seem to emerge from the back of your mouth first, with a rich, earthy darkness, like beautiful topsoil giving way to dried black raspberries, a hint of wild game. At the very front of the palate, you’ll notice pretty little fleeting bursts of strawberries. It’s everything a true pinot noir lover could want.
The wine is a natural with the dark meat of turkey, especially from the fuller-flavored heritage birds. It will flatter sweet potatoes, provided they are not slathered with additional sweetness. If they are topped with baby marshmallows, don’t let them near this wine.
The wine shows itself beautifully when paired with winter’s root vegetables, especially celery root, parsnips, beets and carrots. For today’s recipe, carrots are paired with pecans, which when lightly toasted are lovely with the wine, too. Served warm, this salad is a great addition to your holiday table.
Try to use Nantes variety carrots or the pale yellow carrots that are often called “white,” as their delicate flavors and textures will enhance the match with this lovely wine.
This recipe is from “The Good Cook’s Book of Salt & Pepper” (Skyhorse Publishing, 2015, $18.99).
Carrot Salad with Black Olives, Pecans, Pomegranates and Feta
Serves 6 to 8
2 pounds medium carrots, trimmed, peeled and cut into 1/8-inch diagonal slices
4 ounces shelled pecans
2-3 ounces oil-cured black olives, pitted
— Flake salt
1 tablespoon best-quality red wine vinegar
2 teaspoons ground cumin
— Pinch of ground clove
4 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil, plus more to taste
2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian parsley
4 ounces feta, broken into small pieces
— Black pepper in a mill
— Smoked salt, optional
1/3 cup fresh pomegranate arils
Put the carrots into a steamer basket set over boiling water, cover and steam until tender when pierced with a fork, about 7 to 9 minutes. Set aside to cool to room temperature.
Meanwhile, put the pecans into a small heavy sauté pan set over medium heat and toast until fragrant; do not let the pecans burn. Set aside.
Chop the olives.
When the carrots have cooled, put them into a medium bowl and season lightly with salt. Add the vinegar, cumin and clove, toss, pour in the olive oil and toss again. Add the toasted pecans and the olives, along with the parsley and feta.
Toss gently, season with several turns of black pepper, taste and correct for salt, using smoked salt if you like.
Transfer to a pretty bowl, scatter the pomegranate arils on top and serve at room temperature.
Michele Anna Jordan has written 24 books, including the new “Good Cook’s” series. Email her at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog, “Eat This Now,” at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.