Pairing with Pot Roast?
It's actually a braised beef shoulder roast and it simmers on the stove for 3 hours. It will be roasted with carrot, celery, lots of red onion, mushrooms, potatoes, crushed tomatoes, fresh rosemary and fresh thyme. I am a Washingtonian, so WA wines are appreciated, though not necessary.
Also, first course is a mixed green salad with pear, gorgonzola, toasted nuts and a champagne vinaigrette... thoughts on that too are welcome.
Thanks in advance.
Sticking with the Pacific Northwest...with the first course I think you need a white. Try one of the Sineann whites (Gewurz), or the Raptor Ridge Pinot Gris.
For the braised beef, move to a red. Again, Sineann has some options but I think the O'Reilly's Pinot Noir and the Sharecroppers Pinot Noir and Cabs from Owen Roe are good choices. Maybe the Cab will be too big for your dish, though. Another great option is the Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir from Oregon/Willamette. Should have the right amount of weight for your recipe. Medium bodied style Pinot Noir.
For something different, try Spanish Tempranillo blends or Australian GSMs (though stay away from fruit-bombs).
My first call, for the main, would be an Italian, Amarone. I know that this NOT from WA, and sorry, but the description hit the "Amarone" nerve with me.
For a similar salad, sans Champagne vinaigrette (wife uses a house-made chunky bleu cheese), we grab for a Montrachet. For domestic whites, I loved the old Sullivan Napa Estate Chardonnay, but the plot is no longer there (replanted with Merlot), and it's just not the same. Now, I'd opt for a Chateau Burbank (yes, THAT Burbank), but it will not be easy to find. It's a US equal to most lesser Montrachets, if you could find it.
Sorry that I could not stay in WA, as they have some wonderful wines, but in my experience, none screams, "drink me!" with this menu. Maybe others will have some great local suggestions.
The pot roast has one clear preferred wine, IMO... nebbiolo.
Why ? Although many rich reds will work fine here (Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, Malbec, Rhone reds, Tempranillo, Brunello etc.....).... 3 special elements stick out for me as being particularly Nebbiolo-friendly: the Rosemary, Thyme, and mushrooms. Also, Neb is such a great match for "stewing" meats, shanks, osso buccos, etc....
My 2nd choice would be tempranillo, given that Rioja is such an over-the-top great match with Gorgonzola which is a major flavor note in your salad. While Rioja doesn't match the salad in it's entirety, you can have it on the table during the salad course to really sparkle your palate with at least a few nibbles of the gorgonzola & rioja.
As for the salad... I have 3 wines in mind, and the composition of the salad will vary slightly depending on your final wine selection. In order of interest would probably be:
1) SAUTERNES. For this wine, switch from the cow's milk gorgonzola to a sheeps-milk roquefort. .... Sauternes will match the pears, cheese, and toasted nuts deliciously. De-emphasize the greens a bit here, and go light on the vinegar in the dressing.
Note the problem w/ wine-matching here is that Gorgonzola is largely a red-wine match while pears are largely a white-wine match.... Sauternes finesses this situation perfectly by just swapping in the roquefort.
If not sauternes, there are other things you can do involving Muscat, Riesling, and Chardonnay. If Muscat or Riesling, emphasize the pears with a hint of cinnamon, and substitute Emmental for the Gorgonzola. If chardonnay really emphasize the toasted nuts, use nut oil and a chardonnay-based champagne in the vinaigrette, and substitute the gorgonzola with a tremendously chardonnay-friendly cheese essence such as Chevre or Gruyere.
Lastly, you might look at Sauvignon Blanc... balance the pears with sufficient mixed greens and substitute Chevre for the Gorgonzola... this should be quite delicious actually.
If you wish to stick with the Washington State theme then Cabernet for the pot roast and Chardonnay for the salad are pretty obvious calls. If you want the pot roast to be way over the top fabulous match for the Washington Cab, throw a chunk of Parmesan reggiano rind into the pot roast and/or serve the roast with parmesan dust/slivers atop to taste or a chunk in a side plate. The combo of flavors here is extraordinary.
For me, pot roast is usually good with a cab franc/merlot based bordeaux (St. Emilion, Pomerol). But given that you're actually braising the shoulder, the flavors should be meatier, stronger, and more flavorful. A lot of red wines would go well. Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot, Nebbiolo, Grenache, etc. and their various blends. I would choose the wine depending on the fat content of your shoulder. The higher the fat content, the more full-bodied and tannic wine you can choose.
And given that your salad is a first course, I'd stay away from sauternes. Mike is right that sauternes is a good match with gorgonzola (I don't think the switch to roquefort and a sheep's milk cheese is particular helpful, as they're both blue), but sauternes as a first wine is too rich and would deaden my palate. I go with Bill and the suggestion of Montrachet. I also like Meursault with nuts.
I'm not too familiar with WA wines as most stores in NY do not carry a wide selection. But my two favorite WA wineries are Snoqualmie and Chateau Ste Michelle. They both offer good value and a wide variety of well-made wines. I've not had their chardonnays, but the Snoqualmie Naked Riesling and the CSM 'Dr. Loosen' Riesling from Eroica are both pretty versatile and should be good complements to your salad. The sémillon from CSM is pretty good at less than $15 too. For your pot roast, the Snoqualmie Reserve Cabernet is tasty. CSM has a couple of specific vineyard driven cabernets and syrahs (Indian Wells?). Maybe your local merchant can better recommend a specific one.
Many years ago, I had a very similar salad with an Oak Knoll Chardonnay (Oregon, but still...), which was the perfect match.
The red suggestions above are all fine, but just to throw something else into the mix... what about a Portuguese blend like Finagra Esporao (cab sauv, aragones, trincadeira)? Not inexpensive, but interesting, and appropriately hefty for pot roast.