Pairings: Fel 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir a match for fall dishes

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Our Wine of the Week, Fel 2016 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($38), is an impressive coastal quaffer, with generous fruit, gorgeous acidity and a crisp, taffeta-like texture.

Upfront flavors of red and orange raspberry, fresh strawberry, pomegranate, juicy Santa Rosa plum and Bing cherry emerge a second time on the wine’s lengthy finish.

Between those first tastes and the wine’s final flourish, you’ll find little bursts of orange zest, fresh sage, bittersweet chocolate and an earthiness suggestive of caraway seed. There are delicate hints of toast and smoke, too.

The wine is not light and delicate, as some cool climate pinots are, nor is it overly opulent; no one would mistake it for a varietal other than pinot noir.

At the table, the wine is a delicious companion to fall flavors, including winter squash and dead ripe tomatoes, which in turn flatter the wine. You can enjoy it with everything from an end-of-season BLT with plenty of very crisp bacon to a suave risotto MADE with Italian Fontina, pureed winter squash and fresh sage leaves. A fall ratatouille flatters this wine beautifully.

It is also excellent with grilled leg of lamb, rare duck breast and beef skirt steak dressed simply with a little soy sauce and lime juice and served over fresh fall greens.

The wine is particularly good with all types of smoked salmon, as well. Paul’s Smoked Salmon, available at some of our farmers markets, is a great match; combine it with cream cheese or farmers cheese and black pepper for a delicious spread, perfect on little toasts for a delightful appetizer.

Today’s recipe is inspired by a favorite combination, a specialty mushroom from Gourmet Mushrooms of Sebastopol and plump Gulf shrimp. The dish can also be made with scallops, which cook in the same amount of time as the shrimp do.

Gulf Shrimp and Mushrooms in Brown Butter & Creme Fraiche, with Pasta

Makes 4 servings

8-10 ounces dried fettuccini or pappardelle

— Kosher salt

5 tablespoons local organic butter

1 small shallot minced

3-4 ounces specialty mushrooms of choice, such as Maitake, Trumpet Royale, Velvet Pioppini or Alba Clamshell, broken into small pieces

1/2 cup dry white wine

12 large gulf shrimp, heads and legs removed

1/3 cup creme fraiche

— Black pepper in a mill

1 tablespoon snipped fresh chives

Fill a large pot half full with water, season generously with salt and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water boils, stir in the pasta and cook according to package directions. Drain the pasta but do not rinse it.

While the pasta cooks, put 4 tablespoons of the butter into a medium sauté pan set over medium heat and cook slowly until the butter melts and begins to turn brown and gives off a nutty aroma, similar to hazelnuts; do not let it smoke or burn.

Remove from the heat for about 2 minutes. Return to medium low heat, add the shallot and sauté until soft, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the mushrooms and sauté until wilted; time will vary based on the type of mushroom. Season with salt, increase the heat to high, add the white wine and simmer until the wine is reduced to just a tablespoon or two.

Push the mushrooms to the side of the pan, add the shrimp, sauté for 1 minute, turn and sauté until opaque, about 90 seconds more. Do not overcook the shrimp.

Working quickly, divide the pasta among individual soup plates or wide pasta bowls. Top each portion with 3 shrimp. Return the pan to the heat, add the remaining tablespoon of butter and the creme fraiche and simmer gently for about 2 minutes, until it is heated through and just begins to thicken. Season with black pepper, taste and correct for salt.

Spoon the sauce and mushrooms over the shrimp and pasta, sprinkle with chives and enjoy right away.

Michele Anna Jordan is the author of 24 books to date. Email her at

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