With our outdoor food and wine festival fast approaching, I am steadily making my way down the list of wines that our exhibitors will be pouring on site. With some, a sip alone is all it takes to lead me down the pairing path. Usually, it's a dancing acidity, herbal note, or texture that gets me going and I simply must pair it with a dish. This was what happened when I tasted Ruff Pinot Noir, from 80X Wine Company. There was something about both its texture and fruit profile that drew me in.
One experimental evening at home, I surprised myself by noting how incredibly oaked reds (not brooding oak, but well integrated oak) went with Caribbean foods that use allspice and clove. This is because of the similarities in spice notes captured in wines with oak treatment. This type of pairing causes a raised brow on the suggestion, but you will never be happier for trying it! Trust me, it's really good. Going on this notion, and getting a feel for the Ruff Pinot Noir, I paired the wine with oxtail!
About Ruff Pinot Noir and 80X Wine Company
Just like oxtail and its allspice hints from the seasoning, you get some of that in this Pinot Noir, given its delicate oak treatment. On the nose, scents of red berries, fennel, and some vanilla jump out. On the palate, the red berries remain, and herbs like bay leaf come into the mix. The Ruff Pinot Noir comes with medium+ acidity, and that just adds to this wine's pleasing pairing nature.
Our pairing of oxtail with this wine allowed the protein and fats to further limit the tannins and support the berries in taking centre stage. This, coupled with the allspice 'same sameness' (allspice in the food and mouth-feel of the wine from oak), made this meal sing.
80X Wine Company is a virtual winery that sources its grapes from the Niagara Peninsula. I've got their just-released When Pigs Fly, 2021, Rosé, and I cannot wait to try that too!