The distinguished family of Virginia wines at Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards recently added a two-year-old red blend to its robust lineage. Easton Blue 2016 is Pippin Hill’s newest label and is the perfect pour for a cool day in the mountains.
The namesake of the signature red was derived from the trademark blue hue found in every Easton Porter Group property. In addition to Pippin Hill, the luxury hospitality group founded by Pippin Hill owners Lynn Easton and Dean Andrews manages four other East Coast properties. Their locations include the vineyard’s sister location, Red Pump Kitchen, in Charlottesville and three exquisite venues in Charleston, S.C. including Zero George Hotel, Zero George Restaurant and Bar and Cannon Green.
Surfacing at the front of Easton Blue are rich, complex notes of bay leaf, red currant and cedar. The depth continues into the wine’s body, emphasizing its leathery traces and hints of lilac, plum and clove. A tobacco-laced acidity is pronounced at the finish with several earthy notes lingering through.
Easton Blue 2016 is available by both the glass and bottle at both Pippin Hill and Red Pump Kitchen. Should you take a bottle home to share, Pippin Hill Executive Chef Ian Rynecki suggests pairing the standout varietal with his from-scratch Cassoulet with Oyster Mushrooms. Check out his recipe below to recreate the autumnal dish at home.
Cassoulet with Oyster Mushrooms
Yields 6 servings
1 pound tarbais beans, dry (can substitute with cannellini)
3 quarts water
3 tablespoons salt
6 ounces slab bacon, cut into 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound boneless pork shoulder, cut into 1 1/2-inch cubes
1 pound fresh pork sausage, cut in half lengthwise
1 large onion, finely diced
1/2 pound oyster mushrooms, chopped into 2-inch pieces
2 bay leaves
4 thyme sprigs
4 parsley sprigs
1 carrot, peeled into 3-inch sections
2 celery stalks, cut into 3-inch sections
1–2 cloves elephant garlic
1 28-ounce can peeled tomatoes
1 quart chicken stock, plus more as needed to rehydrate
4 pieces duck confit, cleaned into large chunks, bones reserved
Cover beans with 3 quarts of water and add 3 tablespoons of salt. Stir to combine and let sit at room temperature overnight. The following day, drain and rinse beans. Set aside.
In a wide stainless steel pot, sear the bacon over low heat for about eight minutes to render out the fat. Remove when finished.
In the same pan, sear the pork shoulder for about five minutes, or until the pork begins to brown. Flip over and cook for an additional five minutes. Remove when finished.
Sear the sausage cut side down for about two minutes, then flip and cook for an additional two minutes. Remove sausage and set aside with the remainder of the cooked meat.
Add onions and mushrooms to the pot and cook for five minutes.
While the onions and mushrooms cook, tie clove, bay leaves, thyme and parsley together using the butcher’s twine and add the bundle to the pot. Then add drained beans, carrots, celery, garlic, peeled tomatoes and chicken stock. Bring to a simmer over high heat. Reduce to low and cover, cooking until beans are almost tender, about 45 minutes.
Remove carrots, celery and bay leaf, clove, thyme and parsley mixture. Add the bacon, pork shoulder, duck confit and sausage to the pot and stir.
Transfer the mixture to a 300-degree oven and cook, uncovered, until a thin crust forms on top, about two hours. Add more chicken stock throughout as needed.
Continue to cook for an additional two hours, or until a nice brown curst has formed on top. Serve while hot.
Pippin Hill Farm & Vineyards is located at 5022 Plank Road, North Garden.