Knez Pinot Noir (and Turkey Chili)

Food and wine pairings are elusive.  Sometimes you can struggle to devise the perfect food to match with that special bottle of wine, and in my opinion, sometimes you stumble across a perfect wine pairing when you leats expect it.  I had one of those moments last night with a bottle of Knez Rosé and a big pot of turkey chili.

I threw a pot of chili together with the minimal amount of work required (being Sunday night, and all).  It was a very rustic meal- some browned turkey seasoned with cayenne and cumin, and a whole mess of vegetables.  I softened the whole thing with a bit of water and white wine and let it bubble away.  In the end I cracked a couple of eggs to poach on top of the simmering chili.

Then I discovered I was thirsty.

I happened to have a bottle of Knez’ Pinot Noir Rosé chilling in the fridge, so as I was tasting my chili for seasoning I pulled out the bottle, and took a sip.  Fireworks!

This was the best food pairing I never thought about.  The wine was crisp and cold- full of bright strawberry flavors and  a racy minerality I wasn’t necessarily expecting.  It was a delicious foil for the heat and substantial meatiness of the chili.  This wine is light pink- almost orange- and just a touch cloudy (possibly a result of the very natural Knez wine making philosophy).  Like a lot of well-made, natural wines, Knez’ Rosé is simply more expressive than its conventional, mass-produced counter-parts.  The wine is alive, and has something specific to say about the place where its fruit is grown.

Peter Knez is the new owner of the famed Cerise Vineyard in Anderson Valley where the fruit for this wine is grown.  Knez’s estate manager is Anthony Filiberdi, also co-winemaker of Anthill Farms. Anthony and Peter are dedicated to producing wines of purity and place- if you worked a vineyard that looked like this, I guarantee you would be dedicated to protecting it too.

The wine is farmed organically and biodynamically, with an emphasis on “stewardship of the land”.  This is a sensible philosophy, especially for any agricultural-based professional- without the land there can be no wine.  Their philosophy is “hands-on n the vineyard, hands-off in the barrel room.”  I assume this non-interventionalist approach towards fermentation is partially what makes the wine so expressive.  It’s simply not gagged and bound by a bunch of manipulative processes.  Instead you can taste the  product of carefully, responsibly grown grapes from a spectacular little micro-climate, fermented.  Simple.

And perfect with a bowl of turkey chili.

Who would have guessed?