Posts Tagged: oregon pinot noir

From Simple to Simply Amazing: Turning a Calimocho into a Cali-Macho

These days, with the advent of the mixologist, cocktails seem to get more and more esoteric with each season. Smoked this, homemade bitters that…we respect creativity, but sometimes simplicity speaks the loudest.
Enter the classic Spanish cocktail, the Calimocho (or Kalimotxo in its native Basque.) Simple enough, it is equal parts red wine and Coca-Cola. This drink has an unusual and varied backstory that we’ll let you research on your own, but suffice to say, it is generally served and enjoyed by Spanish youths during traditional ‘botellón’ parties, or what American youths might call ‘pre-gaming’: gathering together for a few light drinks before heading out for the evening.
Never been to Spain? Well, once air travel is safe again, we highly recommend it. From its wondrous narrow streets,

to its amazing architecture,

to its picturesque parks and plazas,

and finally, to its cheeky restaurant murals, Spain is like nowhere else on Earth.

So, in the iconoclastic spirit of the Spanish lifestyle, we decided to jazz things up with a shot of Branca Menta (the Fratelli Branca’s mint flavored liqueur.) I recommend trying the classic combination first, and then adding a little something more. If the herbaceous tones of Fernet are not your style, you can also try an orange flavored liqueur such as Cointreau, Combier or Triple Sec, which will also work well.

The Cali-Macho
3 oz. (preferably Mexican) Coca-Cola
Start with 2 cups full of ice. Add the red wine. There is an old adage in professional kitchens: Never cook with wine that you wouldn’t want to drink. Well the same goes for wine cocktails. That’s why the Underwood is perfect for the Cali-Macho.

Next add the Coca-Cola. For the uninitiated, you can get Mexican Coke at most Taquerias around town. Besides from having just a bit more spice and depth than American Coke, it is actually still made with pure cane sugar, not high fructose corn syrup. And it comes in a vintage thick-bottomed glass bottle with an old school pop top!

Mix this well and then add an ounce of Branca Menta or your choice of flavored liqueur.

And there you have it. A delicious and refreshingly light cocktail to enjoy throughout the Fall.

From everyone in the Union Family, please stay safe out there and as always, keep those


Photography, Recipes & Text by David L. Reamer. (@dlreamer)

Union Wine Co. Kitchen Skills: Mastering Boeuf Bourguignon

Classic Beef Bourguignon

The one and only Julia Child was often quoted as saying her favorite dish of all time was Boeuf Bourguignon, and who amongst us can refute the opinion of the iconic, influential, (and most likely) original celebrity chef? Ms. Child’s lessons embraced not just classic french dishes, opening up a whole new world to 1960s America, but instead of lots of “Bams!” and British beratings, Ms. Child chose to teach with wit, charm, skill and, of course, a full glass of wine.

I bring this all up because a cursory google search of Boeuf Bourguignon will bring you countless postings of her classic recipe, known worldwide from her book Mastering The Art of French Cooking. And don’t get me wrong, it’s a solid recipe. But ever the iconoclast, I am going to present you with my own take on the French classic. With a little preparation and time management, I promise you will be serving your guests a Boeuf Bourguignon that will knock their socks off!

As winter approaches, soups, stews, and braises become the prevalent choice for warm and delicious evening meals, so without further ado, let’s get to braising.


It’s important to get the right ingredients before you begin. Of utmost importance is a nice quality piece of Beef Chuck with good marbling (lines of fat running through the meat, making it not too lean but not to fatty—your butcher can help with this.) Second is to get a high-quality Beef Stock. I recommend “Stock Options” brand. It has a very low salt content and a good amount of gelatin that you will not find in other beef broths.

To get started, you will need:

3 lb well-marbled beef chuck
1 large carrot, peeled
1 celery stick
1-2 small yellow onions, skins left on
2 cloves garlic, peeled
2 bay leaves
a small bunch fresh thyme—tied with twine
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 slice bacon, 1/2” thick
salt and pepper
olive oil

One full bottle of Underwood Pinot Noir
28 oz Stock Options Beef Stock

Classic Beef Bourguignon

Classic Beef Bourguignon


Carefully cut the beef into several large, evenly-sized chunks. Season liberally with salt and pepper.

Classic Beef Bourguignon


Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

In a cold, high-sided, thick-bottomed pot, add 2 TBS of olive oil and the bacon. Starting with a cold pan and cooking on medium heat will ensure the bacon can render its fat without burning. Once the bacon has a nice color, remove from the pan, increase heat and when the pot is just about smoking, add half the pieces of beef. Sear well on each side. Repeat with the rest of the meat. Set aside.

Classic Beef Bourguignon


In the same pan, place the onion halves, cut side down, the carrots, celery, and garlic and sauté without burning until the color is developed. Set aside. (I keep the pieces fairly large, as they will be removed once the meat is fully cooked.) While the pan is still hot, carefully pour the full bottle of Pinot Noir into the hot pan. Scrape up any of the delicious brown bits (called frond) from the bottom of the pan, as this will add immense flavor to your sauce.

Classic Beef Bourguignon

Once the wine boils, add the beef stock and tomato paste. While this is coming to a boil, arrange all ingredients into a baking dish, making sure not to crowd the meat. Pour the hot liquid into the pan. The liquid should just about cover all the ingredients.

Classic Beef Bourguignon


Cut a piece of parchment paper to loosely cover the baking dish. Some recipes will tell you to cover tightly with tin foil, but I prefer to leave some breathing room to color the meat and help reduce the sauce.

Bake for about 2 1/2 hours. About halfway through, gently flip all the pieces of meat in the pan, re-cover and return to the oven.

Classic Beef Bourguignon


Once the meat is tender to the touch, remove the pan from the oven and let sit for 20 minutes until cool enough to handle. At this point, very gently remove each piece of meat to a large Tupperware container and strain the sauce over the meat, removing all vegetables, herbs, etc. Those can be composted.

I try to do all of this a day before eating so that the cooked meat can sit in the sauce overnight. If not serving immediately, it is important to keep the cooked meat covered in sauce, or the meat will dry out.


When you are ready to serve, sauté peeled Cipollini onions for 5 minutes. Remove from the pan and sauté whole Cremini mushrooms for 5 minutes. Place meat, sauce, onions, and mushrooms in a new braising dish and place in a 350-degree oven, uncovered, for about 25 minutes until everything is hot and the sauce has reduced slightly.

Serve over your choice of mashed potatoes, roasted potatoes or egg noodles.

Classic Beef Bourguignon

Classic Beef Bourguignon

Since we began with Julia Child, I feel it is only fitting to finish this post quoting the ending of her final book, My Life In France:

“…thinking back on it now reminds that the pleasures of the table, and of life, are infinite –
toujours bon appétit!”

Photography, Text and Recipe by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Tips For The Season: Pinot Pomegranate Punch

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot PunchOnce again the season to entertain is upon us. From Halloween straight through the New Year, it’s just a part of life that you will have more guests, throw more parties and have more responsibilities to entertain. But, there is no need to get stressed! One thing we all know about entertaining is that the more you can do ahead of time, the easier—and more fun—it all becomes.

One way to do that is to prep as much food as possible, but another way is to make sure you have plenty of delicious drinks on hand for your guests. And, one of the best ways to check this box is to create a punch or batch cocktail that can be done a few days in advance and stored in the fridge. So, we decided to help out and suggest an Autumnal Sangria style Pinot Noir Punch that has a little bit of a kick but still stays on the fruity side. It can be made up days in advance, and in fact, doing so will only improve the flavors.

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot Punch

Pinot Pomegranate Punch

2 bottles Underwood Pinot Noir
2 C Pomegranate Juice
1/2 C Unsweetened Cranberry Juice
1/2 C Cointreau
1 C Spiced Rum (such as Flor de Cana)
22oz bottle (2 3/4 C) of Hard Cider

Pomegranate seeds
Orange slices
Cinnamon Sticks

Union Wine Co Underwood Pinot Punch

Combine all ingredients. It’s that simple!

Feel free to add or subtract any amounts to best suit your palate. Refrigerate ahead of time and serve cold, over ice or room temperature. Since the orange and cranberries float, place those in the punch as a garnish. The pomegranate seeds, however, will sink, so we recommend putting them in a small bowl and having your guests help themselves.

(Looking for a funky punchbowl and cup set on the cheap? I highly recommend checking your local Goodwill or Salvation Army!)

Never dealt with a fresh pomegranate? Well here is a nifty technique to help get the most from your fruit.


Kitchen tip:
How to deal with a Pomegranate.

Step one:

Gently run a serrated knife around the equator of the pomegranate. The skin is very tough but not very thick, so its best to just barely break the skin to preserve the most amount of seeds.

Underwood Pinot Punch

Step 2:

Gently tear the fruit into two halves. You can then go on to tear the halves into smaller segments.

Underwood Pinot Punch

Step 3:

In a shallow bowl of room temperature water, gently break apart each section. All of the seeds will sink to the bottom and all the white pith will float to the surface, assuring easy separation without mashing any of the seeds. Simply dispose of the rind and all pith and strain the seeds through a mesh colander.  Keep covered in the fridge until party time.

Underwood Pinot Punch


Underwood Pinot Punch

Photography, Text and Cocktail by David L. Reamer.  (@dlreamer)

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Since such a large part of the Pacific Northwest culture revolves around food, we decided to start up a series here on Field Notes that features local chefs who love to drink and cook with Underwood wines. For this post, we reached out to one of the founders of the Portland institution Bunk Sandwiches, Nick Wood.

Nick was raised in Cincinnati, but really cut his teeth in New Orleans, cooking for several fine dining restaurants, including Brennans and Martinique Bistro, before relocating to Portland. Because of this, on his days off, Nick loves to return to the cuisine he feels most comfortable with, Creole. When we asked Nick to come up with a recipe using the Underwood Pinot Noir, he immediately suggested Marchand de Vin, a Creole take on a classic French sauce, literally meaning “Wine Merchant”. We had never even heard of this sauce but apparently it is a mainstay of all the best  restaurants around New Orleans.

It’s a pretty simple recipe and one that is guaranteed to knock the socks off anyone lucky enough to indulge. Make sure to enjoy with some crusty French bread and plenty of Underwood Pinot Noir!

Marchand de Vin Sauce

Marchand de Vin Sauce
(the best sauce you’ve never heard of)

** Serves 4 people **


3 garlic cloves
3 shallots
4 green onions (tops reserved)
8 large cremini mushrooms
1/2 lb tasso or smoked ham
1 can Underwood Pinot Noir
1 QT beef stock
unsalted butter
salt & pepper
Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 lb steak, such as bavette or tri-tip


Dice first 5 ingredients, setting green onion tops aside for garnish.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Season steak well with salt and pepper. Heat a wide, heavy bottomed pot, add 2 Tbs of olive oil and sear steak on each side. Place steak on a sheet pan and finish in the oven, 5-10 minutes depending on size. Set aside to rest.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Place beef stock in a small pot and reduce by half, keep warm.

Heat up the large pot again, (leaving any steak bits in the bottom), add 2 Tbs of butter and 2 Tbs of oil to the pot and sauté top five ingredients on medium heat for 7 minutes, stirring frequently so as not to burn. Season lightly with salt and pepper.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Without lowering heat, slowly add the can of Underwood Pinot Noir and bring to a simmer, continuing to stir for 5 minutes.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Add warmed beef stock gradually with a ladle and let liquid reduce by half, about 10 minutes. Stir occasionally to prevent sticking. Turn off heat and add 2 Tbs of butter and a generous splash of  Tabasco and Worcestershire to taste.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Slice your steak, arrange on a serving platter, and cover generously with sauce. Garnish with green onion and Enjoy!

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

And special thanks to Nick for spending his day off hanging out and sharing his culinary prowess.

Chefs at Home Series: BUNK’S Nick Wood

Text and Photos by David L. Reamer (@dlreamer)

Employee recipe: Pinot Poached Pears

Here at Union Wine Co., we put great emphasis on the individuality of all our employees and try hard to encourage and support their personal interests and goals. Recently, one of the newest members of our sales team, Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano, admitted to being an avid and accomplished home cook.

Patrizio’s original passion was for acting (he even had a role in a Spanish Soap Opera!) but over the years found himself attracted to travel and other pursuits. He has lived all over Europe but was raised in Madrid in a home constantly bustling with friends and relatives. Every holiday, his mother would fill the kitchen with food to entertain their many guests, and one of her staple desserts was red wine poached pears. She would make them every year and it quickly became a highly requested tradition by everyone who visited.

Patrizio has evolved his mother’s recipe to include the Underwood Pinot Noir, because he says the combination of tannins and fruit forward flavor work perfectly to complement the aromatic spices as well as the sweetness the pears.


Pinot Poached Pears


4 Bosc pears. Not overly ripe or too soft.

1 bottle of Underwood Pinot Noir

2 cloves

1 star anise

2 cinnamon stick

2 long strips of orange peel

½ cup of sugar

4 or 5 cardamom pods (optional)


Combine all ingredients (except the pears) in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer for ten minutes.  While simmering, peel the pears, cut in half and hollow out seeds with a melon baller or paring knife.

peel the pears cut in half and hollow out seeds


Place the pears into the poaching liquid, reduce heat to low, simmering for about 20 minutes. Try and turn the pears every 5 minutes so that they cook and color evenly.

Pears will be ready when cooked through but still firm.

, simmering for about 20 minutes

Let the pears cool at room temperature and then refrigerate for three hours. During refrigeration time, turn the pears often to ensure an even coating.

Place the pears on serving plates. Put the poaching liquid back on the stove, bring to a boil, and reduce it to a syrupy consistency. Let the liquid cool and strain while gently drizzling the pears. For an even better result, serve with vanilla ice cream, vanilla/whipped mascarpone cheese or cool whip.



Patrizio Zarate-Zambrano brings with him a deep passion for wine and an extensive knowledge of the industry that spans the globe. With family from both Spain and Italy, he has lived all across Europe. Now residing in Cincinnati, although the scenery may have changed, his home is always filled with delicious food and great wine. When he’s not cooking or playing racquetball, he’s out walking with his two beloved rescue dogs.


Photography by David L. Reamer