2015 Slavcek Sivi Pinot, Slovenia

Sivi Pinot is Slovenian for Pinot Gris or Grigio. Although just across the border from one of the premiere white wine regions of Italy, Friuli, this is not what most Italian Pinot Grigios look, smell or taste like.

Look at the color. It’s a beautiful pale salmon. It almost looks like a rose. I guess you could also call this orange as it does lean that way. The color comes from contact with the skins as in red wine making. Just a little contact goes a long way with Pinot Grigio as the skins are more grey than white or golden. The skin contact not only adds some color but loads more to the wine.

The nose is yeasty and biscuity. There is some toast and nutty notes with very ripe pear, figs, dried fruits and a hint of citrus. This has some body to it without being heavy or dull. The acidity helps there by keeping it fresh and vibrant. The finish is slightly bitter but I don’t mind as I think it adds another level of complexity to this interesting wine.

If you have heard of orange wines but have not had a chance to taste on look for this. If we can get it in Vermont, I’m sure it’s available in most major metro areas. I think it’s a great introduction to the genre from a 200 year old winery and a steal at under $15.

Light Pasta for a Cold, Wintry Night

Penne, Roasted Cherry Tomato, Tuscan Kale and Rapini

We felt like some pasta on Sunday night but didn’t want anything too heavy. I think this Penne with Roasted Cherry Tomato, Tuscan Kale and Rapini did the trick. It’s hearty enough without giving you that tired feeling after eating it. Drizzled with some really good Extra Virgin Olive Oil it was perfect with a Slovenian Pinot Grigio.

I’m a chef and don’t follow recipes when I cook at home. I look at recipes to get an idea of what a dish is supposed to be or what I want it to be. I then do what I want. I find that it always turns out well. I wish that the average home cook had that same mentality and confidence. Look at a cook book or recipe and then go for it! With that in mind, below is the ‘recipe’ for the dish above.

16 ounces Penne Rigate (We used whole wheat which I did not like. The texture is off. Use a good brand like Barilla or DeCecco)

1 clove garlic, thinly sliced

Canola oil

Extra Virgin Olive Oil

1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved

1 bunch Lacinato Kale (Tuscan Kale), cleaned and roughly chopped

1 bunch Rapini (Broccoli Rabe), cleaned and roughly chopped

Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano Cheese

Bring 4 quarts water to a boil. Add a pinch of Kosher salt and then add pasta. Stir. Cook until al dente, about 10 minutes.

After the pasta has been cooking for about 2 minutes, bring about a tablespoon canola oil in a saute pan to medium heat and add the garlic. Cook for a bout 2 minutes.

Add the cherry tomatoes and toss. Cook for about 2 minutes

Add the Rapini and Kale. Stir to mix. Add a few ounces of the pasta water. Cook about 4 minutes.

Drain pasta and add to pan with kale and tomatoes and rapini. Add a few tablespoons Extra Virgin Olive Oil and toss to coat. Place in large bowl (or several small bowls), top with some cheese and serve with more olive oil for drizzling.

Serves 8