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Senior editor MaryAnn Worobiec has been with Wine Spectator since 1997. She is the lead taster for Australia and New Zealand wines and California Sauvignon Blanc and "other" whites.
MaryAnn Worobiec

A Match for a Classic Mexican Dish

J Pinot Gris California 2009

MaryAnn Worobiec
Posted: June 20, 2011

I was first introduced to posole—the hearty, hominy-rich Mexican stew—at a restaurant called Pozole that used to be located on a busy part of San Francisco’s Market Street. The restaurant has since closed, but posole (or pozole, as it’s sometimes spelled) has become a regular dish in my repertoire, and it’s what I crave when I want something spicy and comforting.

I make a green version with chicken, but the last batch I made was the classic version, with succulent pork shoulder and a broth that’s bright red from a slurry made with rehydrated dried chile peppers, garlic and onion. I like mine with plenty of Mexican oregano. Just when I thought I had perfected my recipe, I discovered Rancho Gordo’s dried hominy, which is a cinch to cook and adds a more toothsome texture to the stew than canned hominy.

Pairing wine with Mexican food sometimes gives me pause, and posole is extra tricky because of all the toppings: crisp radishes, diced avocado, plenty of shredded cabbage, tortilla strips, fresh cilantro, diced white onion and a squeeze of fresh lime juice. I took my wine inspiration from the fresh lime juice—that bright acidity really makes all the flavors pop, and I wanted my wine to do the same.

I went with the J Pinot Gris California 2009 ($15 a bottle), a crisp and refreshing white with plenty of citrus flavors. The fresh peach and lime flavors were wonderfully bold, and there was something amazing about how it paired with herbal details like the fresh cilantro and dried oregano in the dish. I rated it 89 points, non-blind.

WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for J Pinot Gris California 2009 (87, $15).

• Plus, get scores and tasting notes for more reviews of J wines.

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