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Over the Top Taco Night: Pork Carnitas + 2012 Sokol Blosser Big Tree Block Pinot Noir #WinePW #Sponsored

 This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of Sokol Blosser.
Complimentary wine was provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.
However, all opinions expressed here are my own. 

Linda of My Full Wine Glass is hosting the Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers this month with a theme of foods that are hard to pair. You can read her invitation here. There are definitely foods that I find more challenging than others to match. I can't wait to have this group take the mystery out of some of those.

If you are reading this early enough, feel free to jump on our Twitter chat. We will be live on Saturday, June 12th at 8am Pacific time. Just follow the hashtag #WinePW and be sure to add that to anything that you tweet so we can see it. Here's the line-up of articles on the subject...

On the Plate

I don't think Mexican food is so much hard to pair as it is usually something with which I pair beer. Did you know that Americans consume over 4 billion tacos every year?! I didn't either. And I have been avidly devouring The Taco Chronicles on Netflix. So, tacos aren't just on Tuesday for our household. I asked myself: What's the perfect taco wine?

Well, it turns out that it's a little bit more complicated than that. You have to really look at the taco innards to figure out what wine to match. Here are a few of my favorite matches. And I'll share a recipe and my pairing down below. 

If you are serving beef tacos, I suggest a hearty red wine with strong red fruit flavors. Can you say Shiraz?! For chicken tacos, these are a bit lighter, so a lighter white wine will do the trick. However, you don't want it too acidic if have a tart salsa on your tacos. So, try an unoaked Chardonnay for a winning match.

I decided to make a batch of pork carnitas and pair it with a special Pinot Noir for an over the top taco night. Most Pinot Noirs have a bold fruit with a hint of spice. It's perfect for pork carnitas tacos.

Pork Carnitas Tacos

Pork Carnitas
  • 6 to 8 pound bone-in pork shoulder or butt
  • salt, approximately 1 Tablespoon
  • 2 to 3 organic oranges (I used blood oranges, but use whatever oranges you have), sliced into wedges
  • 2 to 3 organic lemons (I used Meyer lemons, but use whatever lemons you have), sliced into wedges
  • 2 shallots, peeled and sliced
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 4 peppers from a can of chipotle en adobo
  • 6 to 8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • Also needed: Dutch oven

For Serving

  • corn tortillas
  • crumbled cheese (I used queso fresco)
  • fresh cilantro
  • fresh salsas

Fresh Mango Salsa

  • 2 ripe mangos, peeled and diced
  • 1 shallot, peeled and diced
  • 1 teaspoon, chopped jalapeño
  • 2 limes
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 Tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 ripe avocado


Fresh Mango Salsa
In a small mixing bowl, combine the prepared mango, shallot, cilantro, and jalapeño. Squeeze the juice to one lime over the top and stir. Cover and refrigerate. 

I made this in the morning and served it for dinner that evening. For best flavor, let the salsa rest for at least 3o minutes. Before serving, remove the salsa from the fridge. Add in diced avocado and the herbs. Squeeze the juice of the second lime over the top and stir. Season to taste with salt, as needed.

Pork Carnitas
Preheat the oven to 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Liberally salt the pork and nestle it in a Dutch oven. Squeeze in the juice of the oranges and lemons and drop the citrus skins into the pot.

Add in the remaining ingredients and cover the pot. Place it in the preheated oven and braise until the meat shreds easily. For my eight-pound piece, I started checking it at about 6 hours and finally took it out of the oven after 7 hours.

Let stand to cool slightly. Remove the bay leaves. 

Then, use two forks to shred the meat and remove the bone. The meat will soak up the cooking liquid and get even more succulent. Serve as is.

Or place the pork on a plancha and cook until you get some nicely browned and crispy parts.


Serve with mango salsa, crumbled cheese, fresh cilantro, and lots and lots of tortillas.

Then let everyone assemble the tacos to their tastes. 

With the Sokol Blossers
A couple of months ago I was invited to participate in a virtual tasting to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Sokol Blosser family. We received the 2018 Bluebird Cuvée Sparkling, 2018 Dundee Hills Estate Pinot Noir, 2018 Old Vineyard Block Estate Pinot Noir (special anniversary bottling!), and the 2012 Big Tree Block Estate Pinot Noir. Then we hopped on a Zoom session with the family, including founders and parents Susan and Bill and the second generation Alison and Alex. The Sokol Blossers are one of the last remaining wine pioneers. In 1977 - their first version - there was no wine industry in Oregon as there is now. 

Alison: Why did you start a vineyard?
Bill: We were certifiable. Crazy. But we were dreamers and we love wine. We enjoyed some of the best Burgundies and Bordeaux from Susan’s dad’s cellar, so it was always an idea in the back of my mind.

Bill explained that their initial thought was to go to California, but they learned that Oregon was the right place to grow Pinot Noir as the Willamette Valley is as close as you're going to get in the United States. Both of them were liberal arts-educated which, he thinks, made them more collaborative. "We thought we would raise all boats at the same time."

I didn't pour the wines that evening because I wanted to figure out the perfect pairings. I'll be sharing all of them soon. We kicked off the tasting with the 2018 Bluebird Cuvée Sparkling because all good parties start with a toast.

Being on that Zoom call was like being around the Sokol Blosser dinner table. What a treat! After Alison shared a photo of her dad in the vineyards wearing a beret, Susan shared, "Bill brought back that beret from France. He wore it all the time. All. The. Time." Bill quipped, that since they were French grapes, "the vines didn’t feel good unless someone with a beret was tending them."

We heard from both Alison and Alex about joining the family business. Alex shared, "When you grow up in a family business, there is a certain amount of inertia. Working harvest is the excitement of the World Series and going to a circus and a really busy restaurant in the kitchen. I don’t think I ever left the wine business. I would just go and work for another winery. I worked for our wine distributor after college. But I was always in the industry. The gravitational pull was too strong."

Alison also said that she never really out of it. She thought she was going to work in corporate America. But she lasted three months until she realized that the wine business was a part of her. She said that there are eight potential partners in the third generation and they are fighting hard to lay the foundation so they don't fall victim to the adage that the first generation creates a business, the second builds it, and the third destroys it.

Reflecting on their 50th anniversary, they all breathed a huge sigh of relief. "We made it!" But, they aren't resting on their laurels. Instead, they are asking: How can we improve our quality? How can we stay relevant? How do we push quality and experience? How do we keep innovating? How can we be good stewards of the community?

To answer that, they have continued to let Alex and his team experiment with different varietals. With sparkling wines, they are continuing to see what's new and what's interesting. They are also putting good wine in a box and exploring alternative packaging. Alison explained, "Boxed wine has a lower carbon footprint. It's more sustainable than bottles."

They recently acquired a mechanical harvester out of France. Alex admitted, "Picking grapes sounds romantic, but when you have to bring in 90 acres before the rain, it’s really not." 

In the Glass
How I only took that top photo, I will never know. I guess I was too busy wanting to shove the tacos in my mouth to take more images of the wine. My bad.
This wine -  2012 Sokol Blosser Big Tree Block Pinot Noir - was Alex's first vintage. He likened making Pinot Noir to catching a whale in a canoe; everything doesn't always come together. But the 2012 was a unicorn year. The dry, cool year lent itself to a beautiful vintage. "I will likely never see another vintage like this in my lifetime." He added that winemaking keeps you humble because you're only as good as your current vintage.
Named 'Big Tree Block' for the giant maple that used to stand sentinel over that vineyard, the grapes are Pommard and Dijon 777 clones in clay loam Jory soil. This is made from 100% organic grapes and aged completely in French oak for 17 months with 42% new barrels.
Full of deep red fruit, the wine is balanced and dense with intense tannins. Its finish has an intriguing citrus note with a persistent finish
Stay tuned for my other posts about the remaining Sokol Blosser wines. 

Find Sokol Blosser on the web, on Facebook, on Instagram, on Twitter

*Disclosure: I received compensation in the form of wine samples for recipe development and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. Oh my goodness. Those tacos look phenomenal, and what a great recipe! I can practically feel juiciness through the screen! Love the photos and discussion of the winemaker. I've been wanting to check out their wines, so hope to soon!

    1. Thanks, Deanna. They ARE delicious and pretty easy to make.

  2. Pulled pork tacos, fresh mango salsa, Sokol Blosser Pinot - definitely over the top! Will you ever drink beer with tacos again? Maybe ordinary ones, right?

    1. Thanks for hosting this FUN event, Linda. I thought the exercise was illuminating.

  3. Now I am craving pork carnitas....I don't have a bottle of pinot noir on hand so I guess I'll stick with margaritas LOL.

    1. So true! They were also good with a heftier Rosé.


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