We’ve reached Day 9 of the 12 Days of Wine 2021!
We are heading to the Ribbon Ridge AVA in Oregon’s Willamette Valley for today’s Wine. This is a Pinot Noir from Utopia. Sounds like the perfect place to go, doesn’t it?
Utopia 2016 Pinot Noir Paradise, Estate Reserve, Ribbon Ridge
We interviewed & tasted through several wines with Dan Warnshuis the owner and winemaker at Utopia when we visited in August. The Paradise stood out to me.
This wine is an Estate Reserve. We opened this with a Coravin to taste with our pairing and were shocked to find it thin with a short finish. We later opened the bottle, and here was the wine I remembered. It just needed some air.
Tart fruit and spice notes, elegant and silky, full without being heavy. I found black currant, eucalyptus, leaf and leather. It is has a bit of savouriness. I also found notes of cherry cola.
You can find it on their site where it retails for $75
Angus beef in garlic & 5-spice with blue cheese butter, cherry jam & fresh rosemary
We paired it with thinly sliced Angus beef, grilled in garlic & 5 spice, topped with blue cheese butter & cherry jam & rosemary.
I decided from my previous tasting that this wine would stand up to beef. I wanted to tie in the 5-spice so searing the thinly spliced angus beef in garlic and 5-spice added those flavors. I topped it with cherry jam to pull out the fruit notes and blue cheese butter to add a lushness.
The beef was in thinly sliced strips, rubbed with garlic and sprinkled with 5-spice then seared on a grill pan. The blue cheese butter was just blue cheese mashed into soften unsalted butter. Our little spoon had the beef on the bottom topped with a dollop of the blue cheese butter with the cherry jam over the top and fresh rosemary sprinkled on.
The wine was excellent with the food, even on the first night when it had not yet opened up.
Utopia Vineyard and Winery
Earlier this year we received a couple of samples from Utopia and did a few pairings that you can read about
We spent an evening at the Utopia Cabin in Ribbon Ridge, enjoying dinner on the deck with Utopia owner and Winemaker Dan Warnshuis. After a relaxing dinner with several of his wines he took us down to the winery (which is just down the hill).
This property is just right up the road from the estate vineyard, making it a quick trip to get fruit to the winery at harvest, and a quick trip to work for Dan.
The Cabin, has amazing views during the day and at night….the stars! We had a brilliant stay and the following day had an opportunity to visit the vineyard and tasting room. It was early August, and it was HOT, so our time in the vineyard was limited. We quickly ducked back into the coolness of the tasting room.
Dan is the current President of the Ribbon Ridge AVA. This forward-thinking AVA made up of free thinkers, actually got together and agreed to a Statement of Principles. This tiny AVA is a pioneer in sustainability. They are eliminating petrochemical sprays, herbicides, & protecting water supplies.
If you want to know more about Utopia you can visit their site.
This delicious bite has thinly sliced Angus beef, rubbed with garlic, sprinkled with 5-spice, seared then topped with blue cheese butter, cherry jam, and rosemary. It is perfect with a Pinot Noir that has a bit of complexity.
- Angus Beef
- Fresh garlic
- Chinese 5-spice
- Unsalted Butter
- Blue Cheese
- Cherry jam
- Fresh rosemary
- Soften your unsalted butter
- With a spoon mash together your butter and blue cheese (a rule of thumb would be 2 parts butter to 1 part cheese, but cheeses will vary in intensity)
- Thinly slice your Angus beef into pieces small enough to fit in the bottom of your spoon
- Cut a clove of garlic in half and rub It on your pieces of beef.
- Sprinkle the beef with 5-spice
- Oil your grill pan
- Sear the beef over high heat to your doneness level. Mine was about a minute per side to keep it a little rare.
- Place the Beef in the spoon
- Add a dollop of the blue cheese butter
- Drizzle on some of the cherry jam
- Finish with fresh rosemary
As with all of our spoon recipes, there are no quantities. Adjust to suit how many you need to prepare! These are small so a little goes a long way.
Robin Renken is a wine writer and Certified Specialist of Wine. She and her husband Michael travel to wine regions interviewing vineyard owners and winemakers and learning the stories behind the glass.
When not traveling they indulge in cooking and pairing wines with food at home in Las Vegas.