Chicken and Mushrooms Paired with Pinot Noir

What goes perfectly with a bottle of Pinot Noir from Mendocino? A simple, but delicious dish of chicken and mushrooms served over pasta or rice.
By Michelle M. Winner

Chicken and Mushrooms Paired with Pinot NoirMaxim Ermolenko

When I went to interview Jeff Hansen the winemaker for Lula Cellars at the tasting room in Mendocino, California, he wasn’t there. Lula Cellars is a small production, premium label located in the “Deep End” of Mendocino County’s famed Anderson Valley. Winemaker Jeff Hansen, a thirty-year wine industry veteran, produces world class Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Dry Gewurztraminer, Rosato and Sauvignon Blanc wines, made entirely with grapes grown in vineyards from Mendocino County, California.

I was told in advance that Jeff was a hands-on type who works closely with the crew in the cellar and keeps a watchful eye on the development of the grapes in the vineyard. He’s the guy responsible for all wine making as well as overseeing the 20 acres of vineyards that Lula Cellars farms. Meanwhile where was he? While I waited for him to turn up, I chatted with the friendly guy minding the tasting room while he poured me a few tastes.

Jeff has been making wine for 28 years, the last 5 at Lula Cellars in Mendocino. He has worked with both European and American winemakers, so his preference is to marry classic old-world style with modern wine making techniques. Many years ago he left a career in commercial photography in Los Angeles to pursue a career in the wine industry in Napa Valley. The brand “ Lula” named after his grandmother, is very new. Since launching in 2010, Lula Cellars has built a reputation for crafting award-winning wines by keeping true to their goal of  producing high quality, eminently drinkable wines at prices that are reasonable, by selling directly to consumers. Lula Cellars produces 3,000 cases per year, and sells them winery-direct to consumers.

I had just tasted a lovely Pinot Noir when the phone rang. It was Jeff. “I’m here, where are you?” I asked. “Bottling emergency,” he yelled into the phone over the sound of machinery. “Sorry. I will be tied up all day but why don’t you grab a bottle to take with you and taste what I do?” That‘s the best interview I’ve done so far. Here with a recipe from Lula, Jeff recommends his Pinot Noir. Taste for yourself with a bottle available from the winery.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Lula Cellars' Chicken and Mushrooms Paired with Pinot Noir
 
Easy and elegant Lula Cellars' pairs this chicken dish with their Costa Vineyard Pinot Noir.
Recipe Type: Entree
Cuisine: American
Serves: 4
Ingredients
  • 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
  • 1 pound cremini mushrooms, stemmed, cleaned
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, chopped
  • ½ cup brandy
  • 1½ cups heavy cream
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme
Instructions
  1. Chop cleaned, dried mushrooms into quarters and set aside.
  2. Season chicken with salt and pepper.
  3. Coat the bottom of a large sauté pan with olive oil and bring to medium heat.
  4. Add the chicken and cook, turning once, until just brown, 3 to 4 minutes per
  5. side.
  6. Remove chicken to a platter and cover, you will finish cooking it later.
  7. Add a few more swirls of olive oil to the pan and reduce heat to medium-low.
  8. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes.
  9. Stir often to prevent the garlic from burning .
  10. Add the mushrooms to the pan and stir to coat with the oil; season with salt
  11. and pepper.
  12. Increase heat to medium and cook until tender, 5 to 8 minutes.
  13. Add the brandy, increase heat to medium-high and cook until the liquid is
  14. fully absorbed.
  15. Taste the mushrooms and add seasoning as needed.
  16. Add the heavy cream and thyme bundle to the pan and reduce heat to medium.
  17. Return the chicken breast with any accumulated juices to the pan.
  18. Cook on medium-high for 5 minutes then turn chicken and reduce
  19. heat to low.
  20. Simmer for 5-6 more minutes until sauce has thickened and chicken
  21. finishes cooking.
  22. (Make a small cut into a piece of chicken to ensure it is cooked through.)
  23. Discard thyme and serve chicken and mushroom sauce over your favorite
  24. cooked pasta or rice.
  25. Enjoy with bottle of Lula Costa Vineyards Pinot Noir!

 

Michelle M. Winner

Michelle was born with a fork in her hand. As a culinary travel writer and confirmed foodophile she delights in the world-wide discovery of new flavor profiles, spices, salts and herbs. Based in one of the world’s foodie meccas; Portland, Oregon, not far from “Pinot Noir Heaven” Michelle shares food news and chef’s recipes. Her photography has appeared in Saveur Magazine and she has contributed culinary travel articles to Forbes online, WSJ online, Business Insider, Condé Nast Digital Media, Islands magazine and many others. A confirmed globetrotter, she still keeps her bags packed and fork in hand (well . . . except through airport security.)

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2 Comments
  1. Dear Michelle,

    I want to personally thank you for the wonderful recipe that you so graciously showcased us (Lula Cellars) in!! And again I apologize for not being able to meet with you while you visited Anderson Valley last May.
    As you may recall my absents was because of a breakdown of the bottling equipment. Will we are getting ready to release the wines I was bottling last May, and I would like to ship you all of the different Pinot Noirs from that bottling to get your opinion of them. What address, where someone who is 21 or older can sign for them, can I ship them too?

    I hope you will be returning to Anderson Valley in the not to distance future, and will be able to spare some time to taste wines with me. BTW, we have a comfortable guesthouse at the winery which I would like offer to you as our guest to stay in. If you have an evening free I would like to invite you to have dinner with me at the Valleys newest restaurant “The Bewildered Pig” http://thebewilderedpig.com/

    Again, I thank you the wonderful write-up!

    Cheers!
    Jeff~
    707-927-6157

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