Reviewer’s Note: Sample of the product discussed here was provided to me for reviewing purposes at no cost.
A bottle of 2014 Mark West Black Pinot Noir hailing from California’s Monterey County arrived at our door a few nights ago, getting here in a fashion most serendipitous, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
This wine’s deep, dark color and extroverted aromatics evoke candlelit meals shared in low-ceilinged subterranean grills. Jammy fruit notes of black cherry, plum, and strawberry lock arms with chocolate like drum majors in a parade of enticing scents rounded out by touches of vanilla custard and oak. Full-bodied and smooth with velvety tannins, it delivers the fruits onto the palate drizzled with chocolate and vanilla, along with oak and a slight meaty element that complements its flavor overall.
This is a wine to pair with grilled, braised, or roasted red meats and game birds. It has acidity enough to stand up to firm cheeses and meals with higher fat content, while its subtle sweetness makes it a fun match for dishes that have a bit of spicy heat to them like Asian or Indian curries or Thai-style meat or noodle dishes.
Testament to the versatility of this flavorful wine is how well it performs in the following recipes, shared courtesy of Mark West Wines in anticipation of making whatever intimate Valentine’s Day meal you may be planning even more memorable. If you end up making either or both for that special someone, we’d love to hear what you thought of the wine and the recipes.
BLACK COFFEE CHILE DRY-RUBBED PORK CHOPS
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 2 teaspoons fine ground espresso coffee
- 1 teaspoon brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 2 pork chops, center cut, bone-in, 1-inch thick
- 1 bottle Mark West Black Pinot Noir
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- Combine first 5 ingredients in a small bowl. Rub pork with spice mixture, cover and place in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 hours.
- Add the bottle of wine to a saucepan and bring it to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer and cook for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Place an oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add 1 tablespoon canola oil to the pan and heat for 1 minute. Lay the pork chops in the hot skillet and sear for 3 minutes or until a golden crust appears. If the pan is smoking too much, turn down the heat. Flip the chops and immediately transfer the skillet to the oven.
- Cook for 6-10 minutes or until the thickest part of the pork chop registers 140°. Rest the chops for 5 minutes before serving. Drizzle with red wine reduction and serve.
POTATO CHIP AND SEA SALT MARK WEST BLACK CHOCOLATE BARK
- 16 ounces 72% dark chocolate, finely chopped
- 3/4 cup crushed kettle-style potato chips, divided in half
- 1 teaspoon flaky salt (like Maldon salt)
- Place chocolate in a large, heat-proof bowl over a pan of barely simmering water. Stir until melted and smooth.
- Remove bowl from heat and stir in half of the potato chips.
- Spread onto a nonstick pan into a rectangle, about ¼ inch thick. Sprinkle salt over all chocolate, then lightly press the remaining potato chips into the chocolate.
- Set in a cool place to set for 1-2 hours. Break into pieces and serve.