Often when we put together wine and food pairings the food comes first, and then the wine. Not this time. Knowing the intensity and flavor of this 2008 deep red vixen from Bennett Valley in Sonoma County, we needed something with gusto to stand up to it. Enter pork belly.
Pork belly is so very versatile and inexpensive -- at around $5 per pound locally -- but you wouldn't know it from many a restaurant menu. The caveat is its preparation -- low and slow. Joe often does this with an Asian influence of Chinese Five Spice, that we pair with Riesling, or a balsamic we've paired with Howell Mountain Zinfandel. We've also paired it with Pinot Noir and Garnacha. The key to the pork belly pairing is always the marinade or the rub.
For the Jemrose Proprietary Blend of 55% Syrah and 45% Merlot we chose the flavors of Provence with Lavender and Balsamic crusted pork belly, charred Brussels sprouts and al dente orzo pasta with an herbes de Provence infused homemade A2/A2 Jersey cow raw milk cheese. We grow our own herbs and Joe makes the cheese from milk we get at Healthy Way Dairy farm in Santa Fe, Texas. Joe performs the magic.
The 2008 Jemrose "Gloria's Gem" Proprietary Blend is dark, intense, lush with a nose of blackberry jam, lavender, espresso and dark chocolate. The tannins have softened making it smooth and cocoa jammy to the taste. 14.2% alcohol by volume, this one was crafted by Winemaker Michael Browne, co-founder of Kosta Browne Winery. Vineyards are planted to Rhone blends (Viognier, Merlot, Syrah, Grenache) in Santa Rosa, California. Gloria's Gem, Jemrose's signature wine was sourced from Cardiac Hill Syrah vineyard and Two Sisters Merlot vineyard, and aged for 20 month in French oak barrels, 50% new. It was released at $65.
Sadly, Jemrose Vineyards is no longer producing this or any of their wines, as the property was sold several years ago to a couple who now grow grapes for other producers, according to former owner Jim Mack. Located in the Bennett Valley AVA, the vineyards are in an area that was part of the devastating Nuns Fire last October. "While the vineyard was hit by the fire, there was no damage to either the vineyard or structures on the property, says Mack."
As of the 2015 vintage, Jemrose Vineyards is no longer producing wine, and all of their remaining inventory has been sold. This was my last bottle, and I wish I had purchased more. I did find some available on a retail site for ~ $60, available for direct ship depending on where you live. Buy at least a couple of bottles if you can find it. This one will be still be drinking well for another several years.