Woodenhead Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2008 $38
Russian River Valley is a long time hot spot for California Pinot Noir. This is a hidden gem of the appellation. Woodenhead Winery was founded by Nikolai Stez and Zina Bower to make Burgundy in a California style. That's saying something much more honest than most wine makers would admit.
They make Pinot Noir from a few different appellations in nothern California, but I really like their Russian River wine. It is intense yet elegant, ripe yet reserved, a classic California Pinot Noir with a classic Russian River nose: blueberries, strawberries and plenty of dirt.
Nikolai cut his teeth on the appellation as assistant wine maker for Burt Williams at the first iteration of Williams-Seylem winery. Using many of the classic techniques and garagiste attitude, the wines are honest and remind me of the classic Willliams-Seylem wines of the early 1990's.
The wine most of all is delicious. Try it with grilled salmon and veggies. If it's too cold outside for you to use your grill, some lightly pan seared duck breast would work. As always, it's great with the right cheese.
Banon Cow France $10 each
A classic and beautiful cheese from Dauphine. It's all cows milk and is wrapped in chestnut leaves that have been soaked in eau de vie. Creamy and mild when young, with age it develops a lovely light blue mold that adds plenty of punch.
Salamino di Fichi Calabria, Italy $26 each for 8.1 oz
A pressed blend of figs, nuts, and candied citrus in the shape of a small salami. Cut into small rounds just like you would with a regular salami to enjoy with your cheese. A specialty of Cosenza, a beautiful province of Calabria, in the tip of Italy's boot.
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