December 12, 2017
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Pinot Noir and Pork Tenderloin and Fennel with Cranberry-Ginger Relish

By: Jeff James
November 17, 2017

Pinot Noir and pork tenderloin is a tried and true union between an elegant and refined red wine and mildly flavored meat, and this month’s recipe inspires the enhancement of both.

Pinot Noir grapes are small, thin-skinned and delicate. They grow in relatively small clusters and they generally produce a much smaller crop than other grape varieties. They do not tolerate weather extremes well and they need to be handled gently throughout the winemaking process. Given all of these challenges why would anybody want to grow Pinot Noir grapes? Well… because well-made Pinot Noir can be absolutely spectacular. These challenging elements help to explain why Pinot Noir can often cost more than many other wines, and also why this varietal has been consistently growing in sales and popularity much faster than many others.

While Pinot Noir originally gained prominence in the Burgundy region in France, local Pinot Noir from Sonoma County - and in particular the Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Carneros and the soon to be recognized Petaluma Gap appellations - are widely recognized as being some of the very best Pinot Noirs anywhere. 

The delicate body of a finely crafted Pinot Noir pairs very well with the tender texture and muted flavors of a pork tenderloin, both of which are augmented by the layers of spices and flavors in this month’s recipe. The fennel, ginger, honey and butter balance nicely with the natural acidity in the wine and the anise and black pepper accentuate the dark fruit, cherry and berry notes in the wine. The tannic structure, modest sweetness and complex aromas imparted by the oak barrels utilized in the production of a fine Pinot Noir only add to the complexity and gratification that this highly-nuanced wine can exhibit so well.

While we all try to recover from the devastating fires that have impacted us so personally, please consider buying a bottle, or a case, of locally grown and produced wine to help support this very important part of our local economy. Thank you, and Cheers!


Jeff James is the founder and co-owner, with his wife Judy, of Stony Point Vineyard and James Family Cellars. Their Cotati vineyard and winery have consistently produced award-winning wines. Jeff can be reached at or 707-548-2294. Visit their website at