Pairings: Pricey pinot noir showcases humble eggs


Our Wine of the Week, the Fel 2015 Anderson Valley Savoy Vineyard Pinot Noir ($70), is a grown-up wine all the way. It has a certain nobility about it, in a masculine, not a feminine, way.

Think Cary Grant is a nice suit, or Don Draper after his first drink. It’s a suave wine, with an air of both dignity and flirtatiousness. It is a regal wine, a stand-out among its peers, but it is not delicate, as some pinot noirs can be, a quality that has legions of fans but plenty of detractors, too. No one will criticize this pinot noir for being wimpy.

The fruit is bright but not overwhelming, with a sexy combo of Queen Anne cherry and black raspberry. The finish lingers seductively, urging you on to that next sip.

It would be easy to pair this wine with its obvious matches: seared duck breast, grilled ribeye steak topped with olive butter, beef Bourguignon, rare leg of lamb, grilled wild Pacific King salmon, beet risotto, or almost anything with wild mushrooms. Its price suggests you should go high at the table, too.

But the wine is fabulous with humble foods and casual foods we don’t think about when planning a careful pairing. A BLT made with dead ripe tomatoes flatters this wine like a shameless philanderer. Same with macaroni and cheese, especially if you add bacon. A frittata with Caciacavalo, a Sicilian cheese. butternut squash soup, Spaghetti Carbonara and a simple quiche all give the wine center stage and support it like a well-seasoned cast.

For today’s recipe, I’ve reached back into my archives, to a recipe adapted from a book published in 1951, with an introduction by M.F.K. Fisher. Written by Neill and Fred Beck, the book, “Farmers Market Cookbook,” explores the Los Angeles farmers market, a permanent structure unlike farmers markets today.

Use the best ingredients you possibly can and you’ll be thrilled with the results. And for dessert? The rest of the wine, of course.

Farmers Market Baked Eggs

Serves 2

— Butter, at room temperature

2 bacon slices, such as Black Peg brand, fried crisp, drained, and crumbled

1 medium-small very ripe heirloom tomato

— Kosher salt

— Black pepper in a mill

2 large or jumbo backyard eggs (chicken or duck)

— Pinch of minced fresh oregano

2 tablespoons creme fraiche

— Boiling water

4 slices best-quality sourdough bread, toasted and slathered with good butter

— Maldon Sea Salt

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Coat the inside of 2 small ramekins with butter. Cut the tomatoes into thick rounds and set a center slice in each ramekin; reserve the remaining tomatoes for another use.

Season the tomato slices with salt and pepper and sprinkle with half of the crumbled bacon.

Carefully break an egg on top of each tomato. Season the egg with salt, pepper and a little oregano and top with a tablespoon of creme fraiche. Scatter the remaining bacon on top.

Set the ramekins in a baking dish and set the dish on the middle rack of the oven. Carefully pour boiling water into the dish until it comes about halfway up the ramekins. Bake until the whites of the eggs are set, about 15 minutes.

When the eggs are nearly done, make the toast.

Carefully remove from the oven and set each ramekin on a small plate, being sure to protect the plate with a folded cloth napkin. Set the toast alongside, sprinkle with a bit of Maldon salt, and enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date, including “The Good Cook’s Book of Tomatoes.” Email her at