Cooking with Nick: Pork Shoulder and Dumplings, Walla Walla Wines

While not quite a full month from our last dinner party, Nick and Chen have baby boy #2 on the way soon, so we thought to kick up the timing for this one. Our food theme was Asian, with Nick on a Momofuku kick, and me loving Andrea Nguyen’s Asian Dumplings. We made braised pork shoulder with black sesame green beans and steamed vegetable dumplings; the pork shoulder went nearly 8 hours and for that great fall off the bone, nearly melt in your mouth effect, you’ll need to go that long.

For the wine, we started with Spring Valley Merlot from Walla Walla, WA, then to Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir from Willamette Valley OR, and then had the delightful indulgence of drinking The Contender and In the Rocks Syrah from Reynvaan Family Vineyards in Walla Walla, WA (and yes, the picture on their homepage is what Walla Walla looks like). This was a special treat, as we all love Syrah from that area, and I personally was excited to try the first vintage of wine from a family I know, have spent time with and respect, the Reynvaan’s.

Washington & Oregon Wines

I love drinking wine from that part of the country, not just because I lived six years there, and not only for the sentiment of knowing something personal about the wine, winery or vineyard, but because it tastes so particularly of the place (also known as terroir, but I won’t call it that). It’s fun to remember a hot July day driving through the mixture of wheat fields and vineyards, seeing the grapes starting to swell and turn purple, getting that excited feeling in my gut that harvest was right around the corner. In this instance, of the Reynvaan’s In the Rocks Vineyard, I remember walking through this rocky stretch of land before the vines were planted, feeling dusty and thirsty, and just imagining that day in a few years when wine from that place would be in a glass to drink. Pretty sentimental, maybe even schmucky, but pretty cool. Both wines were simply beautiful, and had their own character and charm. Get on the waiting list now, because they are going to be hard to come by in a year or two.

More information about Walla Walla wines, wineries and vineyards at the Walla Walla Wine Alliance. If you think about planning a trip, this is a great place to go for a long weekend of wine tasting, and great food.

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