Thursday, November 12, 2015

5 proteins with Pinot Noir make a party at The Partisan with Native Flora's fabulous wines (11-11-15)

Last night we joined our friends Denise & Scott Flora for the amazing wine dinner set up by the team at the Partisan under Chef Nathan Anda. They worked hard to pair the amazing wines and did a pretty awesome job.
All those in attendance had a ball. While we arrived quite early (no traffic on the holiday and a free space out front) I ordered a drink called The Regulator made from Cabeza Tequila, Hagman's Sloe Gin, Dolvin Genepy (a type of vermouth) and lime; think softened margarita without the salt but much more punch and no sweetness at all. I loved it.
We sat down (there were 30-something total attendees) and the first wine was poured:
2014 Native Flora "Solstice Skies" Riesling (all the wines are from Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Oregon) which Scott explained was their second vintage of the wine, The first vintage was to "get rid of the diesel" and this was to see "how dry we can make it." Success for sure, because even Will loved it and only likes super-dry Rieslings. There is a mineral intense nose and I loved the intense mineral finish on the tongue as well as the wine's real strong acidity. It was paired with Smoked Mackerel Crudo, Pickled Apple & Celery Leaf (which seems to be such a silly garnish for my taste, or lack of it). The fish was fatty indeed and the wine fought that, but every now and then a large salt crystal was too much for the wine and indeed the palate. I love mackerel sushi and this was supreme, but a little less salt would have been welcome, or perhaps a finer salt.

Milk-Poached Pork Loin arrived with persimmon, Walnut & a Celery Root Puree. This dish was heaven as it was cooked in milk, sous-vide and then seared so the edge was a bit crusty, even if there were large pieces of fat (which I cut out). It was tasty and the persimmon actually reminded me of a slightly sweet potato with tropical finish. The wine was 2014 Native Flora "Karsts of the Andaman" Pinot Blanc and the tropical finish was a perfect match.

I love carpaccio and the 35 Day Aged Beef Carpaccio came so simply prepared with EVOO, Arugula, Salt & Pepper. The pepper was negligent and Scott grabbed the pepper mill and hit the carpaccio with a splash at every table giving it just the pop that it needed as this was served with the 2014 Native Flora "Jolly Rancher" Rose that we all adore so much and can live up to any spice.  It is so structured and made from a blend of co-fermented Pinot Nor & Pinot Blanc, but then floated with Malbec berries on top (which carbonically ferment and explode) for that Jolly Rancher punch, so aromatic of the candy, but bone dry. Scott calls it "heresy in a bottle." I asked our super-handsome server (that's another story), Russell, where the meat came from and we were told a farm in Maryland called Laurel Delight.

The best course all night was the Autumn Spiced Boar Sausage with Squash Puree which was quite spicy, full of flavor and declared by us all, "what a boar!!" I adored the fried sage leaves on it and the intense flavors which paired so finely with 2012 Native Flora "Next Time" Pinot Noir.

The superb and elegant 2013 Native Flora "Jaguar Reserve" Pinot Noir arrived with the Boar Ham with Foie Gras Grits and Red Wine Shallots. The grits were the highlight og this dish and the Pinot Noir was a perfect match yet again. The meat was a feral wild heritage pig (a lot was spoken about the animal and it's heritage back to the times of Columbus) which was brined 5 days and cooked 9 hours. Tasty yes, but a bit on the chewy side.

There was no dessert, but we were all full anyway and we all had a great time enjoying these novel dishes paired with these blow-your-mind wines that again are only available by direct sales from Native Flora due to the extremely small production. Well worth getting your hands on it. We do!