The colder weather in the Sierra Foothills is gradually coming to an end these last days of March.  With the imminent return of Spring our work in the vineyards has begun, and along with it a craving for simple, one-pot meals.  With SOGGÉ 2015 Russian River Denatale Pinot Noir in mind, we have a wonderfully filling and tasty pairing suggestion to satisfy any appetite.

This recipe, called Stracotto, comes from New York Times Cooking and is an Italian pot roast easily prepared with minimal ingredients including plum tomatoes, red wine, fresh basil, yellow onion, garlic and chuck roast.  After slow-cooking for at least 3 hours, the meat becomes fork-tender, the tomatoes cook down into a deeply-flavored gravy and, as all the best meals tend to be, tastes even better the following day.

Ordinarily, one may reach for a Cabernet Sauvignon, or perhaps even a Sangiovese to pair with the robust flavors in this dish, but we find our 2015 Pinot to be an excellent companion.  The wine’s juicy, red fruit flavor of ripe cherries and spice bring to the forefront the lush tomato sauce laced with sweet carrots, onion, and basil.  The richness of the beef is met with elegant tannins tying all the notes nicely together.  Delicious, bold California fruit meets these depths of flavors perfectly.

We hope you enjoy this food and wine pairing as much as we do.  Salute!


ITALIAN POT ROAST
(Serves 4)

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 large cloves garlic, peeled
  • 1 (3-pound) rump or boneless chuck roast
  • 4 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 pound onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 ribs celery, chopped
  • ½ cup robust dry red wine
  • 1 cup seeded, chopped plum tomatoes or well-drained canned plum tomatoes, seeded and chopped
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • ¼ cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

PREPARATION

  1. Cut the garlic into thin slivers. Pierce the meat in many places with the point of a knife and insert the garlic slivers into the holes.
  2. Heat 2 tablespoons of the oil in a heavy 3- to 4-quart heatproof casserole. Add the meat and brown it well over medium heat. Remove it from the casserole. Add the remaining oil and the onions, carrots and celery. Saute them until moderately brown.
  3. Stir in the wine and cook for a few minutes, scraping the casserole. Add the tomatoes, tomato paste and basil. Season the mixture with salt and pepper and return the meat to the casserole.
  4. Cover tightly and cook over very low heat for at least three hours, until the meat is very tender. Turn the meat a few times during cooking.
  5. Remove the meat from the casserole. To serve immediately, skim the fat from the surface of the sauce, then puree the sauce in a food processor and reheat. Otherwise, refrigerate the meat and sauce overnight. Remove any congealed fat from the sauce and puree the sauce in a food processor. Reheat the meat in the sauce before serving.

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