Farewell dinner at Kiawah.

Pali Riviera Pinot Noir 2010, Sonoma Coast

Cost: $19-21

What: This is a delightful, refreshing, pleasant wine perfect for sipping by itself or with light summer meals.


It is a light ruby color, with a mild cherry aroma containing hints of spice. The flavors are fruit-forward, with black cherry, blackberry, spice and raspberry. There are layers of flavor, but it is not an overly complex wine.

The wine has light tannins after spending 10 months in 30% new French oak.

Pali also has a nice 2010 Charm Acres Chardonnay from grapes grown in the finest vineyards on the Sonoma Coast. The color is golden straw, with aromas of lime and honeydew melon. The tastes are green apple, pear and some pineapple, with the most intense flavors coming early.

The cooling influence of the Pacific Ocean allows the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes to ripen slowly and evenly, giving them more flavor.

Winery: After building a successful insurance and actuarial consulting company, Tim Perr and Scott Knight founded Pali Winery in 2005, naming it after their hometown of Pacific Palisades, just west of Los Angeles. Many of their wines are small lot artisanal Pinot Noirs that carry the names of various neighborhoods in the town.

The winery and tasting room are located in Lompoc, Calif. The winery produces a line of less expensive wines under the Tower 15 label, which focuses on Cabernet Franc/Merlot, Barbera, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Grenache Blanc and a Rose.

All the wines except the Proprietors’ Reserve and large format bottles come with screw caps.

Goes with: We had this with pizza while watching a hilarious wine movie, “French Kiss,” with my wife Teri, her sister and brother-in-law and two of their friends during a trip to Kiawah Island. We were laughing so hard we almost forgot about the wine.

Mary Jo, Teri and Liz try to eat between giggles.

It went well with the spicy pizzas, but also would pair with lamb, duck or roast pork, especially on a grill. It also would go well with some hearty soups and stews. And it would be perfect for sitting around the deck with some munchies such as cheddar or gourmandise cheese and walnuts.

The week at Kiowah was spectacular as we took turns cooking and going out for great dinners. The carryout pizza was the simplest food of the week, but it made for a great event.

Teri’s sister and brother-in-law Russ and Mary Jo Russell rented the house and brought their friends John and Elizabeth Post. And they invited us to join them. This was the third time Russ and Mary Jo had rented the house so we know they enjoyed it. We did, too.

The house sits near the tee of a par-3 hole on one of Kiawah’s five golf courses.  Between the screen porch and the tee is a large pond that also wraps around the side of the tee. And in that pond were two alligators. On previous trips Russ named the large one Butch. We didn’t name the smaller one.

Nobody wanted to get close to Butch.

We’d watch Butch every day and run over to take his picture. We watched large birds wade past his perch and do a double take when they saw him. They always seemed to walk faster until they got out of his reach.

The night we had the Pali we decided to watch “French Kiss.” Liz had told us about it earlier in the week and secretly ordered in from Amazon. It was delivered right on time and we decided to camp out in one of the bedrooms to watch it while eating pizza and drinking the Pali. We couldn’t figure out how to hook up the DVD player in the living room.

We had a blast eating pizza, drinking wine and laughing ourselves silly. The women all hopped into bed like they were having a pajama party while the guys settled into comfortable chairs closer to the television. That says something about the difference between men and women, but I’m not sure exactly what. The men all had sausage and pepperoni pizza, and the women mostly had other stuff.

The wine, the pizza and the movie, as well as the great company, all meshed together into one great evening, the next to last night of the trip. The following evening the Posts grilled steak and scallops that we paired with great Champagne and Treana White. It was a glorious way to end a magical week.

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