Are You Kidding Me? Rosé for OTBN? #WinePW

Wine Pairing Weekend and OTBN16
This year, our Wine Pairing Weekend group is getting together to share our individual experiences with #OTBN 2016. Please take a look further down in this post to jump to links for all our posts!

Quiet Start to OTBN 2016
Are you familiar with “Open That Bottle Night“? OTBN is an annual celebration on the last Saturday in February wherein you pick a bottle that you otherwise wouldn’t open, and celebrate by doing so, with loved ones, friends, or even by yourself. In addition, people tweet their experiences at #OTBN on twitter. We had an inauspicious start to our #OTBN 2016, since we were on an airplane.  No tears for us, we were returning from a fun skiing/snowboarding vacation in Park City, Utah!

Our sad offering on the actual night of #OTBN 2016, courtesy of Delta Airlines in-flight selections.

Our sad offering on the actual night of #OTBN 2016, courtesy of Delta Airlines in-flight selections.

A Day Late
We celebrated OTBN 2016 just a day late, on Sunday Feb. 29. I haven’t been putting wine away for aging long enough to own some old gems, so I took a different approach.  Instead, I went looking for wines I have repeatedly examined and said “not tonight” for one or another reason.  I quickly settled on two which seemed like they might be a good fit with the pork dish I had in mind for dinner.

Gem #1 iOTA Cellars Rosé of Pinot Noir "Phyllis" 2011

Gem #1 iOTA Cellars Rosé of Pinot Noir “Phyllis” 2011

Gem #1 iOTA Cellars Rosé “Phyllis”
You might rightfully ask how I could possibly choose an “old” 2011 rosé as a gem. Truth be told, I had been avoiding it. iOTA Cellars is owned by our dear friends, the Pelos and the Sandbergs. I had tasted this wine at the winery before release and had remembered not being initially impressed.  My usual preference in rosé is bright, tart acidity, and this wine impressed me at the time as a quieter, deeper interpretation of rosé. Indeed, the wine spent 8 months in old, neutral barrels, very unusual for rosé.  Don and Johanna had said this was a rosé that would benefit from a bit of age, but 5 years?  OK, no time like the present.

iOTA Cellars "phyllis" rosé

Not your everyday rosé, worth a little respect!

iOTA Cellars Rosé “Phyllis” 2011 ($18 from the winery)
Surprise! Either time was a friend to this wine, or my memory is totally off (more likely!). Even at 5 years old, it was 100% fresh and lively, full of fruit and nice, balanced acidity.
Eye: Clear., deep salmon color, tartrate crystals in the bottom of the bottle (this is a good thing!)
Nose: Clean, fresh strawberries including an element of sweetness,  herbs – tarragon.
Mouth: Rich mouthfeel, crisp acidity but not tart. Rich ripe strawberry fruit, gives an impression of sweetness without being sweet.

Now I have a new conundrum, this year’s “Phyllis” is scheduled to arrive this week.  Do I drink it this year, or do I wait?

Aldo Conterno Barbera d'Alba 2006

Gem#2 Conterno Barbera d’Alba 2006

Gem #2 Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba DOC 2006 ($40 at Sunfish Cellars, several years ago, now $99-140 online)
I love Barbera, but I rarely spend more than $20-25 on a bottle. Consequently, every time I looked at this bottle by Giacomo Conterno, I thought it wasn’t a special enough occasion.  OK, here we have a more typical OTBN choice, and it should pair well with the milk braised pork.

Giacomo Conterno Barbera d'Alba red wine

A beautiful color in the glass, 100% ready to drink!

Giacomo Conterno Barbera d’Alba DOC 2006 ($40 at Sunfish Cellars several years ago, now $99-140 online)
Eye: Clear, medium ruby color, purple rim
Nose: Clean, nice Barbera nose. Deep blue fruit (blackberries) a touch of smoke. Nice fruit, even at 10 years.
Mouth: Dark blue fruit, surprisingly high level of tannins (at medium +). Lively acidity.

Wine Pairing Results
Both wines were lovely to be sure; well executed with the grace that a few years of bottle aging can bring. Both were just fine with the meal, but I don’t think either one was the best choice I could have made. The rosé showed just a bit too much bright red fruit to go with the savory elements in the dish.  The Barbera was better in that its fruit was a bit more subdued.  In hindsight, I would have been better off finding a bigger bodied white, an Etna Bianco might have been very nice.  Oh well, there’s always next year!

Wine Pairing Weekend goes to OTBN 2016
Did you participate in Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) too? Come join the conversation about your experience as we hold our monthly #winePW Twitter chat. As always, that chat is the 2nd Saturday of the month–March 12 in this case–11 a.m. Eastern Time, using the #winePW hashtag.

Open That Bottle Night Wine Pairings for #winePW 22

Culinary Adventure with Camilla will post “Dracaena’s Cabernet Franc with Steak au Poivre et Thé”

Curious Cuisiniere is pairing “Teriyaki Salmon and Pinot Noir”

Dracaena Wines will share “When Will Some Day Be? Open That Bottle Now”

Tasting Pour is posting “Steak Diane and Bell Cab Sauvignon”

Rockin Red Blog is sharing “Open That Bottle Night with a Beautiful Italian”

Pull That Cork will blog about “Wine, Friends and Food: Our OTBN and #winePW Evening”

L’Occasion will share “Wines of Les Baux-de-Provence to Enjoy with Steak Frites”

foodwineclick will post “Are You Kidding Me? Rosé for OTBN?”

The Armchair Sommelier will share “OTBN:  A Pipe, a Port, and a Pudding”

ENOFYLZ Wine Blog will be bringing us An Italian-Theme #OTBN

Cooking Chat will be posting “Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom Sauce and a Burgundy”

milk braised pork roast

Try this garlicy, gravy topped preparation the next time you think about a pork roast.

Milk Braised Pork

A classic Italian dish, you can find many different examples of milk braised pork with a wide variety of influences, herbs and spices.  This version is based on a recipe by Molly Stevens in “All about Braising


  • 2 lb. “Boston Butt” pork roast
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and sliced thinly
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp fennel seeds
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 1 Tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2 cups whole milk
  • 1/2 lemon
  • kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 250° F.
  • Trim fat from the outside of the pork, but leave it in 1 big piece.
  • Set aside 1 of the sliced garlic cloves
  • Mix 3 sliced garlic cloves with the chopped sage, fennel seeds, and 1/4 tsp each kosher salt and black pepper.
  • Using a sharp paring knife, cut pockets into the pork roast on top and bottom, filling each pocket with a garlic clove slice mixture.  Keep slicing and stuffing until you have stuffed the roast with all 3 garlic cloves and other spices.
  • If you have time, you can set aside the pork in the frig for a couple of hours or even overnight.  I set my aside for about 2 hours to let the garlic and herbs infuse some flavor into the pork.
  • Place a 5 quart dutch oven on the stovetop over medium heat, melt the butter and add the EVOO.
  • Add the pork roast, browning on all sides. Remove the roast and set aside.
  • Pour off all but about 1 Tbsp of the remaining butter/oil/pork fat.
  • Add the remaining sliced garlic clove and briefly sauté
  • Pour in the milk, allow it to come to a boil and scrape the pot for browned bits of pork
  • Add the pork roast, cover the dutch oven and place it in the oven.
  • Check after 15 minutes to ensure the braise is gently bubbling and not boiling too vigorously.
  • At 45 minutes, turn the pork roast over
  • Continue to braise for another 45 minutes or until the internal pork temperature reads 150° F.
  • Remove the pork and cover with foil
  • Return the dutch oven to the stovetop and reduce the milk braising liquid to a gravy consistency over medium-high heat.  Note that the gravy will have a curdled appearance. Squeeze the 1/2 lemon into the milk gravy.
  • A classic presentation would leave the milk with this curdled appearance, but I recommend you blend the sauce with an immersion blender to make it smooth and more visually appealing.

After giving it a bit of thought, I realized I already know the perfect food for “Phyllis”. With all that bright red fruit showing in the wine, a red fruit integrated into the main dish like this one will be perfect.  Maybe I’ll try one this summer, and another at #OTBN 2021!

Future food pairing for iOTA Cellars "Phyllis" rosé

Future food pairing for iOTA Cellars “Phyllis”


18 Responses to “Are You Kidding Me? Rosé for OTBN? #WinePW”
  1. Although your pairings were not ideal in your opinion the wines and food look delicious! Love the beautiful color of the rose!

  2. Love you chose a rosè. Definitely not the norm for OTBN. It’s amazing too the change in price of the Conterno Barbera.

    • Thanks, Jen. I had to smile when the rosé was just sitting there, waiting for its’ opportunity. I had not looked up the price of the Conterno Barbera d’Asti until after it was open. I might not have opened it if I had!

  3. It certainly isn’t the end of the world when the food and wine pairing isn’t perfect, it happens sometimes. We just eat first and enjoy the wine after if the pairing doesn’t work. Always a learning experience! The milk-braised pork looks delicious.

  4. Even though it was a perfect pairing, that just means you could enjoy the rosé all on its own! The recipe sounds fantastic

  5. Very interesting, Jeff, aging the rose. I have never done that either. I want the recipe for the future Phyllis pairing. i need a good rose pairing with some substance.

  6. As I mentioned yesterday in the chat…the beauty of wine and food pairing is that it’s great if the wine and food enhance each other, but it’s also OK if they don’t. Attaining “peaceful co-existence” is fine by me. Looks like some lovely wine though…and I know your milk-braised pork was on point! Cheers!

  7. Interesting story on that rose, Jeff. Can’t say I have ever held one either. I don’t want to wait until 2021 for that future Phyllis pairing though!

  8. These sound like wonderful wines, even if the pairings were’d ideal. I love the color of that rosé!

    • Thanks, Sarah. I don’t think many Rosé’s are made for aging, but when they are, they make for an enjoyable glass of wine. I agree, the color was just beautiful!

  9. I’ve never heard of milk braised pork before . . . super interesting! You’ve pointed me toward iota before . . . I still need to get on that! The plastic airline glass in the background of that Wente photo made me smile! Cheers!

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] iOTA’s 2011 Phyllis Rosé of Pinot Noir […]

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