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From Tehran to McMinnville: Maysara's 2015 Jamsheed Pinot Noir + Joojeh Kabab with Mast-o Khiar

Updated: Feb 13, 2023

This month the Wine Pairing Weekend writers are turning their spotlights on BIPOC winemakers. That's the acronym for Black, Indigenous and People of Color, if you are unfamiliar. David of Cooking Chat is hosting this theme for the third year in a row. Read David's invitation.


As I mentioned, this is the third year we've looked at this theme. And, each year, I walk away with a list of new bottles to find from BIPOC winemaker. This year, here's the line-up...



More BIPOC Winemaker Pours


The first year that we turned our eyes towards BIPOC winemakers, it was 2021 and Nicole of Somm's Table hosted. I shared Sweet Potato Risotto + J. Moss 2018 Rosé of Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley and Truffle Chip-Crusted Goat Cheese Truffles + McBride Sisters Brut Rosé In 2022 David of Cooking Chat led the discussion and I posted a Cherry-Kissed Pairing: Maison Noir's Horseshoes and Handgrenades + Steaks in a Cherry Pan Sauce.



And, though not for a BIPOC-themed event, I poured the Brown Estate Zinfandel 2021 with braised spareribs. Brown Estate is Napa Valley's first Black-owned estate winery. In 1980 the Brown family purchased the ranch, planted grapes, and began growing fruit for other vintners. In 1995, the Brown children began making their own wine.


From Tehran to McMinnville: Maysara Winery


This year, the winery I decided to highlight is Maysara Winery. Co-founded by husband and wife team Moe and Flora Momtazi, this is now a family affair with their three daughters, Tahmiene, Naseem, and Hanna all playing an instrumental role in building the winery as winemaker, head of sales & distribution, and event manager respectively.


Moe was born in Tehran, the capital of Iran, and was raised in a family of farmers and educators. His grandfather was a farmer in Iran who tended his land without the use of chemical herbicides and pesticides. Moe and Flora immigrated to the United States in the early 1980s and purchased what is now the Momtazi Vineyard in 1997. Like his grandfather, the Momtazis practice holistic farming methods and have achieved the Demeter certification for a biodynamic vineyard.


I actually got my hands on two bottles of wine from the Maysara Winery - this 2015 Jamsheed Pinot Noir and their 2020 Maysara Winery Arsheen Pinot Gris. While we enjoyed the Pino Gris, it was the Pinot Noir that captivated us. So, I switched directions and am sharing that pairing instead. But, if you are interested in the Pinot Gris pairing, I already shared Maysara Pinot Gris with Kuku Sabzi, Salad-e Shirazi + (Failed) Tahdig.


In My Glass


When I poured the 2015 Maysara Jamsheed Pinot Noir, Jake loved it and even asked for a second pour. That's a rarity for him. Jamsheed, according to legend, was an ancient Persian king who was able to oversee his entire kingdom by simply peering into his wine chalice. A single varietal, this is 100% Pinot Noir grown biodynamically in the Momtazi Vineyard. On the nose, I got lots of black fruit. On the palate, all of those aromas of black cherry, blackberry, and currant were mirrored with added layers of subtle smoke, redwood duff, and cracked spices. Well-balanced and with a lengthy finish, this was a beautiful wine.


On My Plate


In honor of the winemakers' heritage, I opted to pair the Pinot Noir with Joojeh Kabab with Mast-o Khiar, Iranian chicken skewers with a yogurt sauce.


Joojeh Kabab

  • 1 pound chicken thighs, cut into 1-1/2 inch cubes

  • 1 teaspoon saffron strands

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper

  • 1 small onion, peeled and thinly sliced

  • 1 cup whole milk yogurt

  • 1/4 cup freshly squeezed lemon juice

  • Also needed: bamboo skewers, grill or grill pan


Place saffron threads in 2 Tablespoons hot water. Allow to bloom for 5 minutes. In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the saffron water, yogurt, salt, pepper, and lemon juice. Fold in the onions, then add the chicken. Massage the marinade into the meat. Cover and refrigerate overnight for the best flavor. You can let it stand for as little as three or four hours if you don't have overnight.


Before grilling, take the chicken out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before cooking. Soak the bamboo skewers while the chicken comes to room temperature.


Skewer the chicken pieces onto the skewers and grill until cooked through. If you don't want to grill, you can bake these in a 400 degree Fahrenheit oven for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve with rice, pita, and Mast-o Khiar. I also served blistered green beans.


Mast-o Khiar

Makes approximately 2 cups

  • 2 Persian cucumbers, thinly sliced or small diced

  • 16 ounces Greek yogurt or labneh if you can get it

  • 3 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs (I used parsley, cilantro, basil, tarragon, mint, and dill)

  • 1 garlic clove, finely grated or pounded into a smooth paste with a pinch of salt

  • salt and pepper to taste

  • 1 Tablespoon, chopped pistachios (walnuts are traditional, but I had pistachios in the pantry)


Mix all of the ingredients together in a medium mixing bowl. Use within three days.


That's a wrap on my 2023 BIPOC offering for #WinePW. We will be back next month we'll be looking at Petite Sirah with Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm at the head of the discussion. Stay tuned!

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4 Comments


Linda Whipple
Linda Whipple
Feb 12, 2023

I haven't heard of Mayasara until now. Will be on the lookout for this biodynamic wine. I can imagine those flavors with the grilled chicken skewers. Yum!

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Camilla M. Mann
Camilla M. Mann
Feb 14, 2023
Replying to

Thanks for reading, Linda. Yes, Maysara is closer to your neck of the woods. I hope you find some. Cheers.

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robin
Feb 10, 2023

I have heard such wonderful things about Mayasara, but have yet to taste their wines. You know it's on my list being biodynamic! The pairing sounds delicious. I'm keeping that recipe close at hand!

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Camilla M. Mann
Camilla M. Mann
Feb 10, 2023
Replying to

I hope you do track down a bottle or two. And do make those skewers. They are SO good! Cheers.

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