La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: I Will Sleep!

I’m not sleeping well these days. Are you?

I should stay away from social media and news programs. But knowledge is power, and I feel a need to fortify myself with information. Rather than being fortified, however, I am left with a feeling of impending doom.

A retreat to the kitchen where I could immerse myself in the meditative process of cooking redirected my thoughts to a safer, saner place. 

It was easy to get wrapped up in the heady aroma of chopped fresh herbs.

Washing soil off the earthy mushrooms was a labor that reminded me I was cooking from the earth, not from a package.

Shallots and fennel slices softened together while aromatic hazelnuts toasted in the oven.

That feeling of impending doom? Replaced by a kitchen full of delicious scents!

This Mushroom Ragu over Butternut Squash Ravioli is a modification of a recipe from Food and Wine, October 2015.

Of course, I had the perfect wine to go along. La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. This is the winery’s inaugural Oregon Pinot Noir, is made using 100% Pinot Noir grapes and is aged 9 months in barrel.


I opened this bottle earlier in the day, before my kitchen was filled with aromas that could be distracting.  A little plate of cheese was a good accompaniment.

The bright garnet color sparkles in the daylight. Ripe fruit aromas of red and black cherry mingle along with dried herbs, a hint of vanilla and dusty cocoa.

The palate continues the black cherry notes along with cinnamon stick, earth and red licorice coming in on the mid-palate. Supple tannins join lingering cherry notes and lively cool-climate acidity.

This Willamette Valley Pinot Noir was nuanced yet flavorful enough to pair well with the mushroom ragu.  Earthy notes in the wine were certainly well-matched with the earthy mushrooms. Baking spices mimicked those in the ravioli and the wine’s acidity was a pleasant contrast to the ravioli’s creamy texture. Hazelnuts, which grow right next to the vineyards in the Valley, seemed to bring out a hint of nuttiness in the wine.

I was able to focus for an entire evening on rich textures and flavors, and a gorgeous wine to elevate the whole experience. I was full of hope, finally, for a worry-free, good night’s sleep!


Serving with a hearty mushroom dish;

Drinking on a quiet evening to encourage calm;

A Pinot Noir drinker who enjoys a medium-bodied wine, yet filled with flavor.

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2 comments to “La Crema Willamette Valley Pinot Noir: I Will Sleep!”

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  1. Barb Hokel - Jan 17, 2017 Reply

    Your writings are always so eloquently done! I love reading them.

    • Sue Navratil - Jan 18, 2017 Reply

      Thank you Barb! I actuallly DID sleep well after that wine and mushroom ragu!

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