Pig, Pinot and Brewer-Clifton

So, what wine goes best with pig cheek?  How about pork hooves?  Or what enhances munching on Porky’s cracklin’ skin?

Why, anything from Brewer-Clifton, of course!

Terry and I had the great good fortune to join Greg Brewer, Steve and Chrystal Clifton, and some of the sommeliers who were winding down from running World of Pinot Noir, a grand event held this year at the Bacara Resort in Goleta with about 130 Pinot producers from around the world. 

Greg and Steve hosted this little get-together (coined “Pig and Pinot”) for their friends and new acquaintances (read, Terry and I) inside their production facility in Lompoc on Sunday past.

What a treat.  The guys opened all of their 2011 Pinot and Chardonnay releases, along with their new sparkling wine.  That alone was about fifteen bottles.

But to enhance the festive mood, Greg and Steve generously opened over twenty bottles from their library of their past vintages.  This included some of their inaugural wines from 1996. 

They offered generous pours of five vintages of Pinot from the Clos Pepe vineyard.  Our favorite was from 2003.  With some tannins still present to give the wine some structure, we tasted cherry and inhaled fragrances of the forest floor.

But then we went to the Chardonnays.  We did a vertical tasting of the Mount Carmel.  My introduction to Brewer-Clifton was the 2005 Mount Carmel.  I had a fairly snobby opinion about California Chards – too oaky and buttery with no sense of the underlying varietal.  Then I opened the ’05 Mount Carmel.  It was so much more than delicious.  It has finesse, with delightful notes of green apple and grapefruit.  It fills your mouth with flavors that build and last.

We had the pleasure of tasting the Mount Carmels of 2000, 2001, 2003, and 2005, along with the current 2011.  The highlight was the 2000.  Terry said, “Complex with good balance and a long finish with layers of flavor.  Excellent taste of stone fruit.”  We both rated it 97-98.

The hosts served up some tasty vittles but the highlight was the whole pig.

Zak Walters from Salt’s Cure in West Hollywood was tasked with preparing the 50-lb piglet.  He had a 5-foot wooden box where the somewhat pre-butchered animal wrapped in wire (to ease handling) rested on top of boulders.  After six hours of slow cooking it was ready, and it was magnificent.  And it married so well with both the Pinot and the Chardonnay. 

We asked Greg and Steve to include us on any future events (but Terry was getting pretty rowdy, so I’m not confident).

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