Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs Paired with On Point “Christinna’s Cuvee” Pinot Noir, California.

Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs Paired with On Point “Christinna’s Cuvee” Pinot Noir, California.

I’m going to go out on a limb and say this is my first vegetarian pairing. Of course I couldn’t make the WHOLE meal vegetarian…I’m just not quite there yet…not that I want to offend any carrot munchers that might be reading this! Since the Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette is a Mediterranean-esque recipe, I decided to throw some lamb into the mix. 

You don’t eat enough lamb! I’ve already decided this for you. You should, but you don’t! Why is that? Lamb, when cooked correctly (i.e. served no higher than a medium-rare cooking temp) is 10x the meat that beef will ever be! The problem is that people have a tendency to cook the arse (ass, if you’re American) out of it, which ends up giving it the texture of an old boot. I think your “end of the year resolution” should be to eat more lamb, if not only for it’s ability to pair EXCELLENTLY with Pinot Noir! This pairing was a given. I would have been stunned if it hadn’t worked!


Named in honor of his wife Christinna, David Rossi has given this wine a simple “North Coast” designation, don’t be fooled though! This isn’t your run-of-the-mill North Coast blend. The grapes are actually sourced from the Londer Vineyard (Anderson Valley, Mendocino), Gaps Crown Vineyard (Sonoma Coast) and Floodgate Vineyard (Russian River Valley, Sonoma), quite easily 3 of the most respected Pinot Noir vineyards in all of California. David doesn’t buy “pre-made” juice for this wine. He puts as much care and attention into it as much as he does his regular Fulcrum wine. He’s also quick to point out that his On Point line shouldn’t be viewed as a “second wine” to Fulcrum.

“Apart from a few minor savings on labels etc., the On Point doesn’t end up being much less expensive to make than the Fulcrum, even though the On Point sells for around half the price.” says Rossi.

As stated in my previous review of the Fulcrum Gaps Crown Vineyard Pinot, David Rossi entered the world of fine-winemaking through a different route than most. With an early success in amateur winemaking, David graduated up to a custom crush facility in Napa where he was quick to receive 90+ point scores from a little magazine called the Wine Spectator. He now makes wine out of Bin to Bottle, a custom crush facility in Napa.


The wine showed predominantly dark berries, plum soft oak and spice, also with a little mocha, toast and cola. Smooth tannins. The fruit gets a little “redder” towards the long and elegant finish. Not “big and fake” in the same way that some Pinot’s can be, especially when encountered around this same price point.

The wine is available from select retailers/restaurants and also through the Fulcrum website for $35.



Recipe for Grilled Eggplant with Garlic-Cumin Vinaigrette, Feta & Herbs

Serves: 3-4
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cooking Time: 10 mins


For the vinaigrette:
1 garlic clove
Kosher salt (but I used Truffle salt)
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
1 small shallot, finely diced
3 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp. cumin
Pinch cayenne; more to taste

For the eggplant:
1 large eggplant (about 1 lb.), trimmed and cut into 1/2-inch-thick rounds
1/4 cup. extra-virgin olive oil and more as needed
Kosher salt (again, I used Truffle salt)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh mint
2 tbsp. coarsely chopped fresh cilantro



1. In a mortar and pestle, add a pinch of salt, the garlic clove and smash together. Add 1 tablespoon of lemon juice.

2. In a small bowl, combine the remaining lemon juice, shallot and a pinch of salt, and leave to sit for 5 mins.

3. Whisk the olive oil, cumin, and cayenne into the garlic mixture. Season to taste with salt or cayenne, if required. Leave to sit for 5 mins

4. Brush the eggplant lightly with a little olive oil, and grill the eggplant evenly on both sides for around 10 minutes.

5. After removing eggplant from the grill, top the eggplant slices with the shallots, feta, and herbs. Whisk the two bowls together to make the vinaigrette and drizzle it on top. Serve.



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