It’s been well established that we’re BIG FANS of BACON around here. Sara threw Dave a surprise BACON Dinner Birthday a few years ago, and we’ve also hosted a multi-course BACON winemaker dinner here at the winery, as well as been featured at a similar event at The University Club.
So when one of our favorite wine and travel writers, Caitlin Hodges, unveiled her latest pairing creation with one of our wines, it was a dream come true to discover that BACON is a key ingredient.
Hodges, who authors and curates the Sips N Tips website, created her Wine Country Potato Salad specifically to pair with our 2018 Titan Willamette Valley Pinot Noir! (In case you missed it, she also recently whipped up a Grilled Ahi Tuna Nicoise Salad to complement the 2020 Prelude Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir AND a Mediterranean Lamb Dish to highlight Rhapsody Pinot Blanc.)
About the recipe (shared below), she says:
There are a few things that are guaranteed whenever I take a trip to Santa Ynez Valley wine country: great wine, beautiful scenery, tri-tip sandwiches, potato salad. Yes, potato salad. Now, this wine country potato salad that I’m talking about comes from Los Olivos Grocery and believe me when I say it is not your average potato salad. It’s loaded with bacon, olives, garlic and lots of pepper, and it hits the spot between wine tasting stops.
In addition to the recipe, she shares her review of 2018 Titan, writing:
When I tried Bells Up Winery’s 2018 Titan Pinot Noir recently, I knew it was a perfect accompaniment to my version of Wine Country Potato Salad. Notes of black pepper, baking spice, and the characteristic earthiness of Oregon Pinot Noir give a savory quality to this wine that compliments the rich, umami flavors of the potato salad. The bright red fruit flavors and balanced acidity of the Titan Pinot Noir kick in to provide a palate-cleansing flavor contrast between bites of luscious potato salad.
For the best tasting experience, allow the Titan Pinot Noir to open up for at least an hour. This Pinot Noir is bold and can easily age for 7-10 years, but if you want to drink it on the younger side like I did, an hour or so in the decanter will allow the wine to oxidize slightly. As it opens, the flavors and aromas become more recognizable and distinct. It is worth the wait to allow this wine to open up!
Sips N Tips’ Wine Country (BACON) Potato Salad
The bright red fruit flavors and balanced acidity of the Titan Pinot Noir kick in to provide a palate-cleansing flavor contrast between bites of luscious potato salad.
- 1 lb red and yellow potatoes
- 12 oz bacon
- 1 tbsp minced garlic
- 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
- 1 tbsp whole grain Dijon mustard (if you can’t find whole grain Dijon, just double the amount of regular Dijon used)
- 1 tsp kosher salt (approximate amount, season to taste)
- 1 tsp freshly cracked black pepper (more to taste if needed)
- 3/4 cup Kalamata olives sliced
- 3/4 cup scallions, chopped
- parsley chopped, to taste
In a large pot, add the potatoes and cover them with water. Bring water to a boil and cook potatoes until fork tender.
While potatoes are cooking, cut bacon into approximately 1 inch pieces.
Once the potatoes are cooked, drain the pot and move the potatoes to a cutting board to cool. Once cooled, cut the potatoes in half or quarters if needed. You should have fairly large, bite-sized chunks for the salad. Set aside.
Return the large pot to the burner. Add bacon and cook until crispy. Remove bacon bits with a slotted spoon, leaving bacon grease behind—you should have about ¼ cup. This will form the base of your dressing (now do you understand why this potato salad is so good?!).
Turn off the burner temporarily and allow the bacon fat to cool slightly before proceeding.
Over low heat, add garlic to the bacon grease and cook for 1-2 minutes until it is fragrant and slightly browned. Add apple cider vinegar, pepper, salt, and both Dijon mustards (regular and whole grain). Whisk until well combined. Carefully taste the dressing and adjust seasonings if desired.
Once the dressing is seasoned to your liking, remove from heat. Add potatoes back into the pot with the dressing and fold gently to mix.The potatoes will slowly absorb the dressing over the next several minutes. Add bacon, Kalamata olives, and sliced scallions. Mix well, and continue to stir every few minutes until all of the dressing is absorbed. Add parsley once potato salad is mostly cooled.
If you like your potato salad to pack a punch, you may want to add more black pepper. The Los Olivos Grocery potato salad—the inspiration for this recipe—doesn’t shy away from the pepper. Plus, the kick of pepper pairs beautifully with the Titan Pinot Noir!
One last note from Caitlin: “If you can’t find the time to make a trip to the region, considering purchasing wine from reputable Willamette Valley winemakers instead. Bells Up Winery is a great place to start! They have something on the wine menu for everyone, from the complex-yet-refreshing Prelude Rosé of Pinot Noir, to the mineral-driven Helios Seyval Blanc, to earthy, peppery Pinot Noirs and even a Syrah from the Walla Walla Valley AVA in Washington. Purchasing from Bells Up means supporting a small, family-owned and operated business that is driven by a passion for producing and sharing fine wine. There’s nothing better than that!”