Meyer Family Vineyards Pinot Noir and Tunisian Couscous

 

I’ve had the great pleasure of knowing Jak Meyer, and subsequently his world-class wines at Meyer Family Vineyards, for years. It would be difficult for me to speak about how much Jak’s work and the work of Chris Carson winemaker – the entire team –  has meant to me and other BC wine-lovers without gushing… but it is important to note that the effusive respect that aficionados have for these wines is earned not given.

Consider that the first vintage from this winery was less than a decade ago, with only 600 cases produced, and now Decanter Magazine, perhaps the pre-eminent wine publication, considers MFV to be “… one of the finest producers of Pinot Noir in the world outside of Burgundy.”

When you’re done lifting your jaw off the floor consider this as well: the National Wine Awards of Canada have voted MFV one of the top-10 wineries in all of Canada twice in the past 4 years! This is in addition to:

  • #1 Chardonnay in Canada
  • #2 small winery in Canada (under 10,000 cases)
  • #1 white wine in BC

… and that’s just in the past 4 years folks. Oh – and if you’re a wine-geek at all, Steven Spurrier (you may remember him being immortalized in the film “Bottle-Shock” with the late, great Alan Rickman playing Steven) has had Jak Meyer to his home in London… to ask Jak to share a little of what’s happening in British Columbia. It was after the first of these conversations that Steven Spurrier came to the Okanagan to taste a great many wines and share his encouraging findings with other wine illuminati.

So you don’t have take my word for it that these wines are stunning quality – but I certainly hope you listen when I tell you as well what amazing value they are! Quality for price, these are some of the absolute finest Pinots you will find anywhere. And as we move into the winter season it’s nice to find some unique dishes to make when having guests over… this recipe for a Tunisian-inspired couscous shows off the MFV wines admirably. I hope you enjoy!

*****

2015 Okanagan Valley Pinot Noir

$22.50 winery price (Club members), 90 points, Great Value

… bright, light, fresh – this wine tastes like a breeze blowing through the Okanagan Falls; everything about this wine is juicy young raspberries and the freshest cranberry sauce. Acid is full/bright/well balanced but shows its best when cozied up next to richer dishes like Beef Bourguignon or Stroganoff… anything with a hint of cream will love this! Vintage after vintage this is one of my #TOPVALUES in Pinot Noir and is one of the best in its class from anywhere in the world.

2015 McLean Creek Road Pinot Noir

$36 winery price (Club members), 91+ points, EXCELLENT Value

… as soon as it’s poured this wine looks for all the world like some of the best of its rivals from Oregon *(Shea Vineyards comes to mind)… deep, dark concentration (for the lightest of red wines) shows how diligent the team at MFV are in the vineyards. This time the aromas are of darker fruit; plums just coming into season/ripening raspberries/even cherry blossom. The acids, whilst young and full of life, are well integrated into the wine and are enjoyable with need of little else than a warm fireplace and good conversation. Silky/mild tannin; truly a world-class/Premier Cru wine and worthy of your best friends 😊

2015 McLean Creek Old Block Pinot Noir

Winery only; $50 (club members only),  92+ points, EXCELLENT Value

… a deep, dark, blackberry hue in the glass; this looks like a wine worthy of contemplation – and it is. A harmony of aromas; blackberry, fully ripe raspberry and raspberry leaf, dark tea, wild thyme give way to a full, vibrant acid bursting with life and nuance. Impressive balance, the full concentration of youthful flavors mimic the aromas beautifully and, combined with the medium+ chewy tannin, give promise of long life and development in the cellar for those with the patience. A true joy already this pairs brilliantly with grass-fed beef but will also appeal to the cigar lovers in the audience!

*****

roasted supreme of chicken with fresh mint & grapefruit

grilled eggplant & zucchini, Moroccan – styled couscous

dried apricots & cranberries, pan jus

This is the perfect time for savory, earthy flavors. This dish brings out the finer characteristics of cumin seeds & roast chicken, and yet keeps it from overwhelming the taste buds (and sending you for a nap) by involving the brightness of fresh mint and tart grapefruit.

Couscous

Ingredients

2 c                   couscous

2 Tbsp             whole cumin seed, ground with a mortar

2                      dried chilies, ground with a mortar (or blitzed in an electric grinder)

2 Tbsp             fresh thyme, finely minced

1                      cinnamon stick

1                      orange, small, zest only (or ½ of a large orange)

1 oz                 dried apricot, finely minced

1 oz                 dried cranberry, finely minced

1 oz                 dried dates, finely minced

 

2 cups              boiling chicken stock

1 Tbsp             extra-virgin olive oil

 

Kosher sea-salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Directions

  1. mix all dry ingredients together extremely well, reserving dried fruit to add later
  2. add boiling chicken stock, wrap tightly & allow to stand for 5 minutes minimum
  3. * note * ratio of wet ingredients to dry ingredients MUST BE EXACTLY 1-to-1
  4. unwrap couscous & fluff gently with a fork. Add minced fruit and taste. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Supreme of Chicken

  1. peel back the skin from the chicken breast & lay mint leaves (barely overlapping – too much will overpower the taste buds) over the entire breast
  2. segment pink grapefruit (to segment is to cut away the skin, then to cut the flesh away from the tough inner skin) and lay segments of grapefruit on top of the mint. Pull the skin back over the chicken
  3. neither mint nor grapefruit should be spilling out from under the chicken skin. Warm a pan with 1 oz of blended olive oil to the point where it almost smokes, and then season & sear the chicken – skin side down
  4. when the chicken turns light brown, flip it over (very carefully & away from you) & add approximately 1 cup of warm chicken stock to the pan for every supreme that you are cooking & bake in the oven @ 400 ºF for 15 minutes
  5. slice an eggplant into “steaks” and grill 1 to 2 “steaks” for each person, remembering to brush them with garlic oil when they come off the grill & seasoning with kosher sea salt & freshly ground black pepper
  6. slice a medium green zucchini into 1” “pillars” or cylinders & grill 4 pieces per person, once again remembering to season them when they are cooked
  7. place the grilled eggplant on the bottom of the plate, with a small mound (approximately 1 cup) of the couscous on top of that
  8. put zucchini “pillars” against the couscous
  9. after removing the chicken from the oven, brush it lightly with roasted garlic oil. Allow it to rest for several minutes, then slice it on the bias into 4 equal pieces. Place the chicken directly on top of the couscous
  10. spoon the pan-jus around the outside of the plate & garnish with dried fruit, fresh grapefruit segments & more fresh herbs *(thyme, Italian parsley)

 

*****

I hope that you enjoy the recipe and make the chance to sample some of the brilliant work coming from Meyer Family Vineyards, Pinot Noir and otherwise; invite friends/loved ones over, cook some great food, drink some beautiful wine and create a memorable evening! If you would like to know more about MFV I invite you to read a previous article of mine regarding the 2013 vintage release from them. My personal thanks to Jak and his entire team for their support in the creation of this article.

As always, I look forward to continuing our conversation:

on Twitter @AStudentofWine

on Facebook @The Chef and The Grape

 Sláinte!

 

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