Pairings in Paso: Aaron Petite Sirah and Pomegranate Braised Pork


By Jennifer Knoll

With the abundance of local produce at my fingers tips seasonality plays a colossal role in what I choose to cook throughout the year. And for wine, it is certainly the same. Crisp whites in warmer months and richer reds in the winter and rôse, well rôse is for all year!  While it's true there are no rules when it comes to wine, but when the chill is in the air nothing quite satisfies like cooking a meal that loiters for hours on end (think braised, roasted, slow cooked, baked) Winter dishes call for winter wines.

So for the Sunday of my birthday (Sags' rule!) I treated myself to a sumptuous yet easy-on-the-wallet meal with one of my most cherished red Paso Robles wines, Aaron Petite Sirah. Hand crafted by ultra atomic wine maker, Aaron Jackson, who's goal is to make the biggest, most flavorful  Petite Sirah under the Paso Robles sun. This superstar is packed full of big flavors and lives up to its maker's motto. You will find hints of dark brambly boysenberry and currant, radical silky spice, brooding aromatics and hints of lusty smoke.  An ideal match for a slow braised pork shoulder that simmered for hours in pomegranate and orange juice, red wine, garlic and fresh woody herbs.

So in the words of Aaron, "Life should be outrageous, Go Big or Go Home" and Happy Birthday to me!

Braised Pomegranate Pork
2 ½ - 3lb pork shoulder (or butt)
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt & pepper
5 cloves peeled garlic
1 cup pomegranate juice
1 cup orange juice
1 cup red wine
½ cup balsamic vinegar
A few springs each of thyme & rosemary

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large oven safe pot heat olive oil. Generously season pork with salt & pepper.  Sear pork on all sides. Add garlic and stir until fragrant. Pour in rest of ingredients. Cover pot, place in oven and cook for 3 hours, turning occasionally. Serve with polenta or mashed potatoes.

Jennifer Knoll is a lifelong resident of Paso Robles. Growing up in the wine business and being surrounded by farmers she developed her serious fetish for wine and food.  She is also the Assistant Tasting Room Manager at Tablas Creek Vineyard