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Rare steak, exotic mushrooms with butter and red wine – perfect for this elegant WALT Pinot Noir.

Rare steak, exotic mushrooms with butter and red wine – delicious with this elegant WALT Pinot Noir.

Welcome back to Drink Wine With Dinner®, my friends!

Hope you enjoyed yesterday’s post, featuring the amazing PBS video, Julia Child Remixed – Keep On Cooking!

I mentioned then that I’d be posting about my food and wine doings for Drink Wine With Dinner® Day.

Since I had a gorgeous bottle of Pinot Noir to look forward to, I opted to sauté up some good steak, and keep it really simple so I could show off the wine.

I trust Julia would have approved…


A pair of lovely filets, sauteed in olive oil and bacon fat, served rare.

A pair of beef filets, sautéed with bacon fat.

“Beef with Burgundy” is the long-standing French pairing tradition; and, of course, the red wines of Burgundy, France, are primarily based on the Pinot Noir varietal.

This means I’m starting with a “Geographic” pairing (the first of “Rosina’s Five Non-Rules of Pairing Wine and Food”), which I’ll build on.


Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, which I'll saute in brown butter. Double umami!

Shiitake and maitake mushrooms, which I’ll sauté in brown butter. Great with steak, great with Pinot!

Big question – Do you know about umami? It’s considered the “fifth flavor” (after sweet, salty, sour, bitter); and the flavor effect that umami creates is often called “savory” or even “delicious.”

I’ll do a full post about umami soon, and I’ll fill in a lot more details for you.

The reason I mention it here, though, is that foods high in umami partner especially well with Pinot.


Thrace Bromberger from WALT is a wonder friend and wine-judging colleague.

Thrace Bromberger from WALT is a wonderful friend, and a savvy wine-judging colleague.

In creating this simple pairing, I built in several umami elements, to “steer” the dish even more toward the wine.

This particular Pinot Noir, WALT’s 2013 “Clos Pepe” from the Santa Rita Hills AVA in Santa Barbara County – as well as the winery itself – rank among my very favorites.

On our recent Sonoma trip, my childhood friend Maria and I beelined to the WALT tasting room off the town square.


My glass of WALT Pinot Noir casts its shadow onto the tasting menu at the winery.

My glass of WALT Pinot Noir casts its shadow onto the tasting menu at the winery. We tasted five wines total.

My wine-judging buddy at WALT, Thrace Bromberger, set us up with a private tasting on the comfy shaded porch. With generous pours of two WALT Chardonnays, then three Pinot Noirs, Thrace and her colleagues guided us through a leisurely comparative tasting.

(More details about WALT, with tasting notes, coming soon.)

The WALT 2013 “Clos Pepe” Pinot that Maria and I decided to bring home with us showed so many of the characteristics that I love about the Pinot Noir varietal.


A close-up of the WALT "Clos Pepe" Pinot.

A close-up of the WALT “Clos Pepe” Pinot.

With fresh berry and cherry, tea (Earl Grey?), subtle vanilla, spice and toastiness from French oak, plus rich earthiness and a hint of black pepper, the wine showed a beautiful balance of good acidity, soft tannins and clean, bright fruit.

It kept evolving in the glass, with a rich, supple texture and a long finish. Though this Pinot is extremely complex, it’s restrained and elegant too – hallmarks of superior vineyards and careful winemaking.


These wonderful little "marble potatoes" – just a little bigger than hazelnuts – cook up tender and rich in butter and broth.

These wonderful “marble potatoes” – just a bit bigger than hazelnuts – cook up tender and buttery rich.

With this in mind, I decided to keep my meal, especially my steak, really simple, so that the WALT Pinot Noir could shine as the star of the meal.

I cooked my side dishes of string beans and tri-color “marble potatoes” with just butter and chicken broth, and I’ve sketched out the methods, below, for the steak and mushrooms.

Steak – Method:
Hot cast-iron pan, a little bacon fat, salt and black pepper; sear hard on both sides to get a good crust, lower heat and cook rare. Remove steak, let it rest 5 minutes, slice thin. Meanwhile, deglaze pan with red wine and stir in a pat of butter, spoon over meat.

Mushrooms – Method:
Heat clarified butter until golden brown. Stir in chopped mushrooms, cover and cook over low-medium heat. When they begin to soften, stir in 1/3 cup dry red wine. Cover and stir occasionally until mushrooms are cooked through and liquid is absorbed.


Steak dinner and WALT Pinot Noir – Happy Birthday Julia Child!

Steak dinner, WALT Pinot Noir – Happy Birthday Julia Child!

By the way, I don’t often cook with this much butter (since I’m Italian, olive oil is more my go-to), but it is Julia Child’s birthday, after all… 😉

The wine pairing worked beautifully. The earthy mushrooms, black pepper and touch of smoky bacon all matched and emphasized similar flavors in the WALT Pinot.

And as for umami – The bacon, the mushrooms, the sear on the steak, and even the broth built this “fifth flavor” into the meal, and succeeded in making it even more Pinot-friendly.


Organic string beans from the farmers market, cooked with butter and broth...

Organic string beans, cooked with butter and broth…

It’s a great example of the way that very simple cooking can be exactly what a superb wine needs.

By supporting the wine’s flavors, and not overpowering the lighter body that’s typical of Pinot Noir, this straightforward steak dinner brought out the best in the wonderful WALT “Clos Pepe” Pinot.

I hope you’ve been discovering and enjoying delicious wine-with-food pairings of your own. And I hope you continue to do so – during Drink Wine With Dinner® Month, and beyond…


Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes” and more in Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction!. Special Price – $7.95!

Do You Have Your Copy Yet??? Don’t miss “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules” of Food and Wine Pairing, “10 Wines ~ 10 Pasta Recipes,” and lots more in my fun, foolproof ebook, Drink Wine With Dinner® ~ An Introduction. Special Price $7.95 – Download Yours Now!

Until next time, my friends –
Cheers and happy tastings,

PS ~ Want to nab a *free* membership in the fun, interactive Drink Wine With Dinner Club, and get tasty content delivered straight to your Inbox? Just *Click Here* to join instantly!

And as always, please be sure to grab your *free download* of “Rosina’s 5 Non-Rules of Wine and Food Pairing.”

It’s the best way I know to help you make the foods *you* love taste even better!

Email me anytime at Rosina@DrinkWineWithDinner.com with comments or questions. I look forward to hearing from you!

Cheers once again,