CV, the Wine Guy, talks Pinot Noir, Salmon & Cedar!
‘Tis the (short-lived) season for fall salmon! This week, CV guides us in the right direction: not just with wine pairings for salmon, but also with his recommendations and recipe for cooking salmon. This just in: the typical wine pairing for salmon is… Pinot Noir! Yes, white fish and shellfish are best with white wines, but for salmon, the first choice pairing is Pinot Noir.
Pinot Noir #1: Shooting Star 2012
Wine Maker: Jed Steele
Geographic Region: Lake County, California (north of Sonoma & Napa counties)
CV Says: Lake County is considered to be the step-son of California’s wine growing regions. It is a famous wine-growing region, just not as famous as Napa or Sonoma. One of the neat things about Lake County is that the land was/is very affordable in comparison to land in Napa or Sonoma, so wine makers can afford to offer their wines at a better price. This is the second label by a famous wine maker, Jed Steele. Shooting Star is considered to be the “declassified” bottle of Pinot Noir from Jed Steele. He makes a good deal of Pinot Noir, and this is the second-tier, lower price point option.
Pinot Noir has subtle flavors of cherry and strawberry. It’s a very dry wine. Pinot Noirs are medium-bodied wines, and that’s one of the reasons why it goes so well with salmon — because it has a very delicate flavor. It won’t overpower the salmon.
Pinot Noir #2: Line 39
Wine Maker: Bob Borman
Geographic Region: Central Coast, CA
CV Says: Line 39 is a value-driven Pinot Noir, from Sonoma Coast, California. As a general rule, Pinot Noirs are more expensive wines, across the board. This is made by a fellow by the name of Bob Borman, who’s been involved in value wines for over 30 years, and Pinot Noir is his specialty. He’s not a grower; he’s a wine maker and blender. He will buy grapes and make wine, or buy Pinot Noirs that have already been made, and then blend them. That’s a very, very, very big business — a tremendous amount of wine on the market is made that way. His job is to get the grapes, or wines, and make a new, more affordable wine. Making or blending wines in this way makes more expensive varieties more accessible and available to the masses. Bob Borman makes several varieties of wine, both white and red, but he is particularly known for his Pinot Noir.
This is a light- to medium-bodied, fruit-driven wine. This will have a nice cherry, strawberry flavor, with a great finish.
+ A note about the region of choice for these two wines: If we went with our friends from Oregon (where Pinot Noir rules the land), we’d been looking at much more expensive bottles. Staying in California allows us to feature more accessible, affordable Pinot Noirs.
Salmon & Cedar Planks:
Now that we’ve got the important stuff out of the way, let’s talk salmon. The Co-op is currently carrying wild, fresh Coho Salmon (never frozen) for $8.99/lb, and wild Sockeye Salmon (previously frozen) for $11.99 lb. We also now have gorgeous Western Red Cedar Smoking Boards (see below) for sale, $19.99 each. Cedar Smoking Boards are the perfect accessory for salmon, and the recipe for baking salmon on them couldn’t be easier.
Cedar Plank Salmon
1. Place salmon, skin side down, on dry cedar board (no salt, no pepper, no oil, no butter — nothing!)
2. Put salmon in oven3. Turn oven temperature to 375 degrees
4. When oven reaches temperature, it’s ready!
(This is for salmon that might be a tad undercooked, which is just how CV likes it. You can play with it a bit — may take 16-23 minutes for your own perfect salmon.
5. Pour yourself a glass of Pinot Noir and serve!
+Some prefer to pre-soak their cedar boards, but I prefer the dry smoked flavor.
Regarding our new Western Red Cedar Smoking Boards:
These boards are made by Steve Matthews, a craftsman and contractor who lives in Whatcom County, who is a good friend of mine. This second-growth cedar was harvested on the shores of Lake Whatcom and run through an Alaskan mill — a portable saw mill — and cut in thick slabs. It has been field-seasoned for 3-5 years. One of the unique aspects of these cedar boards is the thickness of it. It’s a dense piece of beautiful wood. These particular board are being used at select restaurants in Whatcom County, and now available at your Co-op! It’s the perfect way to cook salmon — it’s all natural; it’s northwest. These are reusable boards; I’ve been using the same board for years. It can also double as a serving board. You do need use an oven mitt when removing it from the oven, but the board can go right on the table, and you can serve the salmon straight from it. The boards are available now, just next to the salmon, for $19.99 each.