Last month I had the opportunity to meet and dine with David Mirassou, the sixth generation owner of Mirassou Winery, at Uva Wine Bar. He was in town for a bottle signing the next day at the Alberni LDB and was with his rep, Rebecca Yates-Campbell, enjoying some of his California Pinot Noir.
I think this picture does justice in showing his affable, gregarious nature that is so very Californian that my hubby and I fell easily into conversation about our old home state.
I always remembered Mirassou Wines as representative of California’s Central Coast, near Monterey, but he told me that nowadays the wines are made in Sonoma County, from Sonoma as well as Coastal grapes.
What I didn’t realize is that Mirassou is the oldest continuous family winery in America. The winery dates back to 1854 when David’s great-great-great-grandparents Pierre and Henrietta Pellier sailed from France carrying vines cuttings that Pierre sustained during a ship water shortage by inserting them into potatoes. In California, their daughter, Henrietta, married Pierre Mirassou, and it was his name that stuck to the label. Their children, Peter and Justine, sold alter wine during Prohibition, but it was their son Edmund who really expanded their vineyards in Monterey County. His children, Daniel, Peter, and David’s father, Jim, made a whole lot of upgrades in the vineyards and cellars, and produced the crisp white wines I drank back in the 1980s. And here we were, sitting with the heir to this historic wine estate, and he’s reminding me of half the men you meet around Sonoma County: good humored and easy going.
At Uva, we drank his 2008 California Pinot Noir and it paired beautifully with my risotto pancetta, stewy in texture and mushroomy in flavor. The pinot also stood up to Bill and Rebecca’s squid ink linguine and I can only imagine how perfectly it went with David’s pork chop.
The reason is, this is a very food friendly and approachable pinot that is easy to drink and even easier to pair with comfort food. The fruit is forward, ripe and full of red currant and black cherry and plum. It’s soft in the mouth, and very well balanced with notes of earth and spice, but it never strays too far from its juicy core of ripe, concentrated fruit. A flush of acidity cleans up on the finish. This 2009 Pinot Noir is sure to be a crowd pleaser over the holidays.
Then, David showed me how to take pictures with my new iPhone4. I saw him fondling his own iPhone like a new pet, so I got my own out and fumbled with the camera settings. My first attempts came out dreadful until he showed me how to work the flash and review functions. Finally, a decent shot was had, topping a lovely, cozy evening.
Two weeks later, we tried his 2009 California Pinot Grigio, a bright lively thing perfect for starting off the evening at an American Thanksgiving dinner. (Yes, some Canadians do that.) It has rich, ripe fruit along the lines of citrus, peach, and apricot, as well as the pits that grow within them, plus an exotic whiff of gooseberry. The mouth is crisp and fresh, but has mouth filling body owing to the fruit ripeness. Its zesty, clean finish leaves the palate cleansed for the next wine.
Both the Pinot Noir and the Pinot Grigio sell for $15 here in Vancouver, which make them terrific values for California wines. As a pair, they are perfect to take to any holiday dinner.
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