This week in Anderson Valley, we saw the first hard frost of the season. On the farm things are changing rapidly. Figs and Asian pears are fading, quince and persimmons are starting to ripen. The herb garden didn’t fare well, but a few hearty herbs like the Calabrian oregano – I snuck back in my suitcase years ago – and flat-leaf parsley made it through just fine.
Here at Three Dog Farm, most of our meals are anchored with a walk through the orchards, row crops, kitchen garden and forage areas, all the while considering the wine, the protein and the pantry. In this case, I had Twomey Cellars Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2018 on my mind as I walked around. I like this wine…a lot. As a cook, I steer clear of powerful wines with food, and that’s one of the reasons I love Anderson Valley. I want the vineyard to speak.
In choosing a food wine, I look for freshness, bright fruit flavors and acidity. A wine should make the food taste better, and in turn, the food should preserve the wine’s characteristics, instead of muting them. I don’t have line-in-the-sand rules when it comes to wine pairing.
In this case, I tasted the Twomey Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley 2018 at the winery, and thought…‘ripe raspberry, sour cherry, great acidity, no barrel notes getting in the way, picked at the right time. Classic Anderson Valley Pinot. That Boudin Blanc sausage I grabbed yesterday will be perfect. What do we have at the farm?’
Calling All Sausage Lovers – A Local’s Tip for the Best in Mendocino County
Boudin Blanc is a sausage typically made from pork, chicken, rice, cream and dried herbs. I’m particular about my meat purveyors, and Taylor’s Sausages, just over the Oregon/California border, makes some of the best dried and fresh sausage I’ve ever had. However, local’s tip…Lemons Market in Philo and Roundman’s Smokehouse on the coast also make great sausage. If you’re here for a visit, stop by one of our farm stands for accompaniments, then grill some up with your favorite Anderson Valley wine.
- I chose my wine
- I chose my protein
- It was time to walk the farm
I started in the orchards. While there were gorgeous Asian pears still on the trees, I thought maybe that’s a bit too sweet. The quince looked just about right. I wasn’t sure how I would use them yet, but they have a low sugar content compared to apples and pears, perfect for pairing with Pinot Noir. Then, I picked some figs. Again, I didn’t want anything too sweet, so I grabbed some that were just shy of ripe. Sweet ingredients, especially without some acidity for lift, can dull a wine. The Fuyu persimmons were a no-brainer. I had them on my mind even as I was tasting the wine the day before. I chose firm persimmons so I could shave them nice and thin.
Next, I went looking for greens to add bitterness and contrast to the orchard goodies. I found a head of fennel unfazed by the frost, and after tasting a few of the fall greens we’d recently planted, I settled on a vibrant patch of arugula, growing wild under the olive trees. Some flat-leafed parsley for garnish…onto the kitchen!
By this point I had a pretty good idea of where I was going with this meal. Roasted fennel and quince as the base of one dish; use persimmon and arugula for a crudo of sorts, and the figs for an accompaniment to the sausage.
When you live out in the country, a well-stocked pantry is a must, and Anderson Valley has some of the best pantry supplies you can find! I grabbed:
- An apple balsamic vinegar from The Philo Apple Farm
- A Cabernet vinegar from Long Meadow Ranch
- Laychee fresh cheese from Pennyroyal Farm
- Piment d’Ville Pepper
- ½ a loaf of Fort Bragg Bakery sourdough
- Some salt-cured lemons from Wickson Restaurant, at The Madrones in Philo
The recipes, in all honestly, were crafted as I prepped…
Farm to Table Purveyor: Three Dog Farm- Anderson Valley
A November Harvest Feast & Chef Rationale
There are some big flavors in these dishes, but the idea is restraint. Take the salted-citrus dressing or the cabernet & apple balsamic vinegars…less is more. Too much and it overpowers the wine. You want to bite into little hints of acidity and salt that lift the dishes.
Eating…after the pictures, we sat down to eat our creation. It delivered. The Twomey Pinot Noir never lost a beat as we sampled each dish. I could taste each ingredient on its own and together as a composed dish. As was the intent, the food elevated the wine. The wine elevated the food. It’s that simple.
Matt, Owner Three Dog Farm (which just to so happens to be right across the street from Twomey Cellars)
Anderson Valley Purveyors of Pantry Staples at Three Dog Farm:
- Pennyroyal Farm Laychee goat cheese
- The Philo Apple Farm & Farm Stand Apple Balsamic Vinegar
- Long Meadow Ranch at the Madrones Cabernet Vinegar
- Boonville Barn Collective Piment d’Ville Pepper
- Disco Ranch in Boonville – great spot to pick up a wide range of local olive oils & goodies
- Velma’s Farm Stand fresh produce, flowers, olive oil – farmed biodynamically
- Gowan’s Farm Stand fresh produce, vinegar, olive oil
~ Chef Matt Barnes, Owner of Three Dog Farm
Phone: (707) 895-WINE