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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

French Roots in Dundee Hills: Drouhin Reds with Lacquered Baby Back Ribs #Winophiles

Updated: Jul 15, 2023

This month the French Winophiles are looking at New World ventures of French Wine producers. Cathie of Side Hustle Wino is hosting; read her invitation.


All of these posts will be live between Friday, July 14th and Saturday, July 15th. Here's the line-up...


Back in December 2020, the group did a similar theme of Oregon and Bourgogne Tied Houses. When I saw this event's focus, I circled back to see what my colleagues had found. You can read my post Galette au Chou + 2017 Résonance Pinot Noir. I had a 2021 Résonance, but wanted to try something new as well. I landed on comparing the wines of Joseph Drouhin, from Burgundy, with Domaine Drouhin, from Oregon. "French Soul + Oregon Soil" reads the latter's website. The group primarily paired those wineries. Cathie also included these suggestions in her invitation...


  • Château de Beaucastel-Tablas Creek

  • Tattinger-Domain Carneros

  • Louis Roederer Champagne/California

  • Pommery Champagne/California

  • Michael Grassier France/Tenet (CSM)

  • Cheval Blanc-Cheval Andes

  • Rothschild-Escudo Rojo

  • Joseph Drouhin Burgundy/Oregon


I still have a post to share about my visit with Jason Haas of Tablas Creek from May. Soon!


But, for this event, my pairing was inspired by Jen of Vino Travel's BBQ Brisket with Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir post from our previous event as well our Fathers' Day luncheon. I decided to make oven-roasted baby back ribs and pour both the 2020 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Rouge and 2021 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir.


In Our Glasses


Given that the topic is New World ventures of French wine producers, I am going to start with the French roots of this duo.



I poured the 2020 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Rouge, a single varietal from Burgundy. The first plantings of Pinot Noir in Burgundy date back to 150 BC; this wine is 100% Pinot Noir.


Joseph Drouhin founded Maison Joseph Drouhin in the late 19th century. with vineyards in Côte de Beaune, Côte de Nuits, and Chablis, al of their estate grapes, beginning with the 2009 vintage, are certified organic. A estate utilizes a balance of traditional and modern techniques in winemaking and in the vineyards, including plowing, leaf removal, hand-harvesting, open fermenters, and fermenting and aging in oak.


The 2020 Joseph Drouhin Bourgogne Rouge pours a bright, clear ruby color. On the nose, it is fresh and fruity with lots of red and black fruits, but there are some mild earthy undertones. On the palate, the line has light tannins and a structured elegance.


Let's move to the Oregon side of the Drouhin holdings where they have a 235-acre estate overlooking the Willamette Valley. I poured the 2021 Domaine Drouhin Oregon Pinot Noir from the Dundee Hills of the Willamette Valley.



Domaine Drouhin Oregon was Robert Drouhin’s vision of an Oregon estate winery that could rival the great vineyards of Burgundy. What began as test plantings of cloned Pinot Noir rootstock, Domaine Drouhin now has 130 acres of hillside vineyard with the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines. All are farmed sustainably and L.I.V.E. certified.


Also a single varietal, this Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir is completely hand-tended and hand-harvested. While similar in color to its French counterpart, this wine was more complex in both bouquet and palate. On the nose, I noted red fruits layered with redwood duff and the earthiness of tobacco. On the palate, there was a hint of floral and the warmth of vanilla.


Interestingly, every single one of us preferred the Oregonian Drouhin wine!


Celebrating Jake


I served this last month for a Fathers' Day lunch at one of our best friends' patios. While Mike had both of his boys with us, Jake was solo because R is living in Santa Cruz doing summer school and D was off at the beach with his two best friends from high school as that was the only day all three of them were back on the peninsula. Jake didn't seem to mind. He had his celebration the day before when we drove up to Santa Cruz with friend and they did a crazy mountain bike adventure.



I'm glad that he didn't seem to mind being without our boys on Happy Fathers' Day.


On Our Plates


This is a super simple, super repeatable process and results in amazing fall-off-the-bone quality. You can use any spice blend that you like. I used a Cowboy Rub from local-to-me Quail & Olive.


Ingredients

  • 1 rack of pork baby back ribs

  • Also needed: foil, baking sheet, barbecue sauce

Rub

  • 1 cup organic dark brown sugar

  • 3 Tablespoons Cowboy Spice Rub (or whatever you have)

  • 1 teaspoon ground smoked paprika

  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper


Procedure


The night before, or first thing in the morning, prepare the rub. Combine all ingredients, and mix thoroughly until well blended. Coat the ribs. With your hands, pat the rub onto both sides of the ribs, going heavier on the meaty side. Refrigerate for as many hours as you can; I ended up leaving them for 8 hours.


Right before you want to cook them, preheat the oven to 225 degrees Fahrenheit. While the oven heats, take the ribs out of the refrigerator to warm up.


To roast, wrap the ribs in aluminum foil and place them - meat side up - on a sheet pan and put them in the preheated oven. Set the timer for 3 hours.


Reduce the heat to 180 degrees Fahrenheit. Cook for another 2 to 3 hours. The longer you cook them, the more tender they will be.


Gently unwrap the ribs and paint them with a thin coat of barbecue sauce. Return them to the oven - raise the temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit - for 10 minutes or so. The sauce will begin to char.


Remove the ribs from the oven, place them on a cutting board, and chop them into individual servings (the meat should almost be falling off the bone at this point, so this will be easy). Serve with more barbecue sauce and loads of napkins because eating ribs is a messy endeavor. Enjoy!


I also shared a German-style potato salad, corn, and a green salad.


And for dessert, I bought - event-appropriate - ice cream sandwiches!



That's a wrap for my offering for July's #Winophiles event. But, as I mentioned earlier, I will be doing a feature on Tablas Creek Vineyard, in Paso Robles, that has ties to Château de Beaucastel, in the Rhône. Stay tuned!

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