Wine Wednesday

The Crusher Pinot Noir 2012

“This wine rains kisses in your mouth.” –Insatiable By Gael Greene

The first Wednesday of every month is Wine Wednesday! Spectacular wines under $10.00. Yep. Under $10.00. Sometimes wine is less expensive where I am, but most of the time it’s more expensive. Hopefully that means that I will pick wines that are well below the $10.00 limit for most of you.

I will post wines that I particularly like. I am no specialist by any means, but I do love wine. I know the basics of the different varietals, what regions generally produce, how wines are made, but this space is all about preference. We all like what we like, and you might like what I like too. I will post food pairings and why those pairings are suitable for the specific wine.

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Clarksburg Vineyards’ Crusher Pinot Noir 2012

Price: $9.99

Variety: Pinot Noir

Previous Awards or Ratings: Silver in Monterey Wine Competition, 2014; Silver in Critics Challenge Awards, 2014; Silver in San Francisco International Wine Competition, 2014; Silver in Tasters Guild International Wine Competition, 2014

I love Pinot Noir. I’d say it’s my favorite varietal. Which is bad. Pinot Noir is a finicky grape…which means that it makes expensive wine. That’s why this price point is closer to the $10 limit. My apologies; I want to choose wines that are a little lower on the scale to account for regional difference in price point.

Because Pinot Noir is such a difficult grape to grow, the wine it creates tends to be incredible. I like to think that winemakers pick Pinot Noir as their favorite child and shower it in kisses and care resulting in a lovely, smooth experience.


This Pinot Noir is really great. It has fruit flavors that aren’t overwhelming like black cherry with a slight cedar undertone. This wine, for lack of a better word, also tastes savory. When I taste it, I picture it pairing well with a dish that is also rather savory. The winery recommends pairing the wine with a mushroom risotto. That’s easy to picture because mushrooms are rich in savory flavor, or umami. I paired this wine with a caramelized onion pasta brought together with a Greek yogurt sauce.

Onion and parmesan cheese are high in umami, while caramelized onion also has a sweet flavor to play into the fruit notes of the wine. The Greek yogurt is creamy and slightly sour mirroring the smoothness of the Pinot Noir and overall subtle acidity.

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Pasta with Greek Yogurt and Caramelized Onions

Adapted from Food 52

Serves 4

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium yellow onions, roughly chopped

½ pound pappardelle pasta

1 cup 2% Greek Yogurt

½ cup Romano cheese, grated (or Parmesan)

Salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onions and reduce heat to medium-low. Season with Kosher salt and cook slowly (about 30-40 minutes), stirring every several minutes. When the onions begin to turn brown, turn the heat to low until the pasta and sauce is prepared.

2. While the onions are cooking, heat a large pot with salted water until boiling. Add the pappardelle and cook until al dente. Turn the heat off and combine about ¼ cup pasta water with the yogurt. Stir until creamy. Add pasta water until the desired texture is reached (no more than ½ cup pasta water).

3. Drain the noodles and add the yogurt sauce. Stir until combined and yogurt is heated with the residual heat of the pot. The yogurt should turn slightly chunky from the protein amount—you are not doing anything wrong!

4. Add the sauced pasta to the browned onions still on low heat. Toss together. Add salt and pepper to taste followed by half of the cheese. Turn heat off completely.

5. Serve immediately with the rest of the cheese sprinkled on top of the plates.


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