Delicious Meals For Delicious Wines: From Rim Rock Ranch

Pinot Noir
Strong cheeses, pasta, red sauce, pork, beef

When making a dinner to go with your favorite Pinot Noir, make sure to compliment it with a good pasta dish. Having pork or beef either as a side or in red pasta sauce will all add to the flavor of the wine. Another great choice is pork in a bold marinade with a side salad with plenty of strong cheeses.

Pinot noir is best served cool-room temperature, 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Serve younger Pinot Noirs in larger, tulip-shaped glasses to suit the fruitiness and older mature Pinot Noirs in smaller glasses, to compliment the wine’s complexity.

Sample Recipe:

Rosemary Roasted Pork Tenderloin:
Original recipe yield: 9 servings
Recipe Courtesy:


1/2 cup apple juice concentrate
1/4 cup Dijon mustard
1/4 cup chopped fresh rosemary
8 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 teaspoon coarsely ground pepper
3 (1 pound) pork tenderloin


In a bowl, combine the first five ingredients; mix well. Set aside 1/3 cup; cover and refrigerate. In a large resealable plastic bag, combine the pork and remaining marinade. Seal bag and turn to coat; refrigerate overnight.

Drain and discard marinade from meat. Place meat in a roasting pan coated with nonstick cooking spray. Pour the reserved marinade on top. Bake, uncovered, at 350 degrees F for 40-45 minutes or until your meat thermometer reads 160 degrees F. Let stand for 10 minutes before slicing.

Serve with a fun, colorful salad with crumbled Gorgonzola and plenty of vegetables.

Strong cheeses, pasta & sauce, beef, chocolate

With a Merlot, you’ll want a hearty cheese dish followed by a sweet chocolate dessert. Fondue is the perfect way to mix cheese with sweets and wine (If you don’t have a fondue pot, you can purchase one pretty cheap at any department store). Have a wide selection of bold cheeses and fruits, and make a choice between cheese fondue and chocolate fondue. If you choose cheese fondue, make up for it by having a small chocolate dessert to follow, like chocolate mousse.

Serve your Merlot in a large mouthed glass slightly below room temperature. Put the bottle in the fridge for 20-30 minutes before serving to lower it to the right temp.

Sample Recipe:

Chocolate Mousse
Recipe courtesy: Alton Brown


1 3/4 cups whipping cream
12 ounces quality semi-sweet chocolate chips
3 ounces espresso or strong coffee
1 tablespoon dark rum
4 tablespoons butter
1 teaspoon flavorless, granulated gelatin


Chill 1 1/2 cups whipping cream in refrigerator. Chill metal mixing bowl and mixer beaters in freezer.

In top of a double boiler, combine chocolate chips, coffee, rum and butter. Melt over barely simmering water, stirring constantly. Remove from heat while a couple of chunks are still visible. Cool, stirring occasionally to just above body temperature.

Pour remaining 1/4 cup whipping cream into a metal measuring cup and sprinkle in the gelatin. Allow gelatin to "bloom" for 10 minutes. Then carefully heat by swirling the measuring cup over a low gas flame or candle. Do not boil or gelatin will be damaged. Stir mixture into the cooled chocolate and set aside.

In the chilled mixing bowl, beat cream to medium peaks. Stir 1/4 of the whipped cream into the chocolate mixture to lighten it. Fold in the remaining whipped cream in two doses. There may be streaks of whipped cream in the chocolate and that is fine. Do not over work the mousse.

Spoon into bowls or martini glasses and chill for at least 1 hour. Garnish with fruit and serve.

(If mousses are to be refrigerated overnight, chill for one hour and then cover each with plastic wrap)

Strong Cheese, pasta & sauce, beef

With the much-loved Zinfandel, you want to accentuate the wine as much as possible. Keep it simple with a classic dish, like red sauce with meat over spaghetti and vegetables. Another option is a nice casserole or lasagna. Have a selection of breads and cheeses on a tray as an appetizer with your first glass of wine.

Serve Zinfandel as you would Pinot Noir, in a tulip-shaped glass at room temperature, or 60-80 degrees Fahrenheit.

Sample Recipe:

Baked Fettuccine Lasagna
Original Recipe Yield: 10 servings
Recipe Courtesy:


12 ounces dry fettuccine pasta
1 pound lean ground beef (optional)
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup red bell pepper, chopped
1 tablespoon butter
1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
1 (4 ounce) can sliced mushrooms
3 tablespoons chopped black olives
2 teaspoons dried oregano
1 cup shredded Cheddar cheese
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1 (10.75 ounce) can condensed cream of mushroom soup
1/4 cup beef broth
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese


Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Cook pasta for 8 to 10 minutes, or until al dente; drain.

In a large skillet, brown beef over medium heat. Drain fat from pan, and transfer meat to a bowl. In the same skillet, cook onion and bell pepper in butter until tender. Stir in tomatoes, mushrooms, olives, and beef, and season with oregano. Simmer for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Lightly grease a 9x13 inch baking dish.

Arrange half of the cooked fettuccine in the prepared dish, top with half of the beef and vegetable mixture, and sprinkle with 1/2 cup of Cheddar cheese and 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese. Repeat layers. Mix together soup and beef broth until smooth, and pour over casserole. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese.

Bake in preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes, or until heated through.

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About The Author, Mathew Guiver">Rim Rock Ranch is located just minutes from Napa on the quiet side of the wine country. Our">vineyard properties have the cleanest air in California!