Cooking to the Wine: Acquiesce Grenache Rosé with a Glazed Stuffed Pork Loin Roast (And A Visit to the Winery) #WinePW

Don’t get me wrong friends, I love Napa and Sonoma; however, there’s more to California wine than these two counties. They’re famous for good reason, but sadly, they tend to overshadow all the other amazing areas making wonderful wines in this state –– a lot of which are making wines that are far more wallet-friendly to boot! Since we moved back to California five years ago (Wow, how the time has flown!) Greg and I have been making a point to try to visit and get to know more about these areas, and it has been incredibly rewarding.

Case in point, last year we decided to spend a weekend in Lodi, which is basically directly east of the Bay Area where we live. I admit that it’s easy to overlook this region as it’s home to a lot of big brands, making a lot of big, jammy wines that aren’t always all that well-made. As is often the case though, taking a closer look can be very worthwhile. 

For one thing, this is an area with a lot of winemaking history (in US terms anyway), since they’ve been growing wine grapes since at least the 1850s. The region is particularly known for its old vine Zinfandel, as they have vines dating back to the early 20th century. 

Lodi is also home to one of California’s most comprehensive sustainability certification programs, Lodi Rules, which looks at many aspects of grape-growing and winemaking across various spectrums. (You can find out more about it here.) The program is so rigorous that it has even been adopted by wineries in other countries. (For example, Golan Heights Winery in Israel, which we took a look at in a couple of posts, is certified under Lodi Rules.)

History, old vine Zins, and sustainable winemaking are all reasons enough to give the area a second look, but we also found several wineries working with unexpected grapes, making wines with a lighter hand than one might typically expect from this region.

Acquiesce Winery & Vineyards
was one of these spots that surprised and delighted us with their wines. Flying in the face of everything one expects of Lodi wine, this winery makes only white and rosé wines from Rhône grape varieties.

The Tiptons had purchased their vineyard property not with the intention of making wine, but simply to have the joy of living in the country. In the meantime, Susan fell in love with Rhône’s white grapes after trying a white Chateauneuf-du-Pape from BevMo! She tried to search out more, but they can be tricky to find, and that ultimately sent her down a new path. She elaborated on this point in an interview with Wine Business Monthly:

“I basically tried to buy more of it as a wine drinker and then when I couldn’t, just explored the possibility of planting it here in Lodi,” Tipton said. “I started with Grenache Blanc and really loved what came out of that and planted the other varietals. I wanted to focus on whites and do them right. I always felt that the white was like a second-class citizen in a winery. It was like, ‘Here’s a white and then let’s talk about our beautiful reds,’” she said.


Susan Tipton. Image borrowed from Acquiesce's website.

Making wine started out as a hobby, but it took off. Once she decided to start making her own wine, she and her husband pulled out the majority of the Zinfandel that had been planted on their 18-acre property – the grapes of which they’d profitably sold up until that point – and replanted 10.5 acres with white varieties including Grenache Blanc, Picpoul Blanc, Clairette Blanche, Bourboulenc, Roussanne, Viognier, as well as Grenache for Rosé. The new label took its name from a K.D. Lang song the couple liked.

Despite being known for big red wines, Lodi’s warm, Mediterranean climate with cool evening breezes turned out to be perfect for these white Rhône varieties. (It’s, after all, quite similar to their home region.) However, finding information on making white wine proved tricky, as there was a lot less info available than for red wines. She enlisted a friend to help her out, and brought on Heather Pyle Lucas, as consulting winemaker. Lucas was one of the founding winemakers at Opus One Winery and now lives in Lodi, making wine at Lucas Winery with her husband. “I was the winemaker, but she was my coach,” Susan explained to us on our visit. Nowadays, it’s basically her and her husband doing most of the work in the winery, plus a few helpers at various points during the year.  

Greg and I at Acquiesce in 2019. (Note: Our tasting was comped, as I’m a member of the wine industry. No other compensation was received and all opinions are my own.)

When Greg and I visited Acquiesce last year, Susan guided us through the tasting and graciously showed us around her winery. One feature of the tasting experience I particularly loved is that each wine is poured with a small bite to give you an idea of how to pair it at home. They even shared recipe cards, so that you can recreate some of their pairing suggestions for yourself. In addition, they have many of the featured condiments for sale in the tasting room.


Here’s are very quick tasting notes for the wines we tasted on our visit and their pairings. You can find more details and current vintages on their website

Note: All prices listed here are for the current vintage listed, rather than for the vintage listed here.

Picpoul Blanc 2018

Price: $28

Tasting Notes: Green apple, citrus, white flowers, and white grapefruit. The citrus notes, particularly the white grapefruit, intensify further on the palate.

Pairing: Green olive tapenade on a pita cracker, which brought out more minerality and a savory note in the wine. It was also recommended with oysters and other seafood. (Check out this recipe for crab cakes paired with a French Picpoul.)

Grenache Blanc 2018

Price: $26

Tasting Notes: Perfumed with big white flower blossoms, white peach, tangerine skin, and a little grapefruit. This is their signature variety, as it was the first one they planted.

Pairing: Cheddar with violet flower confit. The goal was to bring out more of the wine’s floral character, and I also found it brought out the piquancy of the cheddar in a nice way. This pairing was a particular favorite with those working at the winery. Susan mentioned she also really enjoys this wine with sushi, as well as with steak tartare, as it helps cut the fattiness of the meat.

Clairette Blanche 2018


Price: $28

Tasting Notes: Honeysuckle, really bright tangerine, along with other mixed citrus notes, as well as a touch of tropical fruits on the nose. The wine became more savory on the palate, showing notes of fennel and other herbs, as well as potpourri.

Pairing: Spicy white bean dip on melba toasts. The pairing smoothed the wine out further, giving it an almost creamy mouthfeel in the combo. It was also recommended with Mexican food (which I think makes sense given how the spicy white bean dip worked), as well as raw scallops. It also works well with a wide array of cheeses.

I actually grabbed the recipe card for the simple, tasty spicy bean dip.

Belle Blanc 2017


Price: $34

Tasting Note: A mixed bouquet of flowers draws you in on the nose. Grapefruit pith, white peach join in on the palate, with white stones on the finish. This wine is an homage to the Chateauneuf-du-Pape blancs that piqued Susan Tipton’s interest.

Pairing: I don’t believe we had a pairing with this wine at the winery, but we brought a bottle home and really enjoyed it with a roasted chicken with lightly sweet soy-chili sauce.

Viognier 2018


Price: $26

Tasting Notes: Pear, small white flowers, a mixed fruit bowl, and lavender. Showed finesse on the palate. (Viognier can be viscous and weighty on the palate, this one was much lighter.)

Pairing: Mango chutney served on cheese. The wine becomes even lighter on its feet when had in the pairing.

Sparkling Grenache Blanc 2016

 Price: $55

Tasting Notes: White flowers, some blanched almonds, brioche, mixed citrus. Very pretty.

Parings: We had this one on its own at the winery, but I noted popcorn, sushi, and fish and chips as possible pairings.

Grenache Rosé 2018


Price: $25

Tasting Notes: The wine had a very pretty nose of cherry blossoms, crushed berries, and cherries, with a touch of cream. It was bright and tangy on the palate, with strawberries, raspberries, cherries, peach, flowers, and orange skin.  On my second tasting,  I also picked up a light hint of spice and a very light herb note on the finish.

Pairing: This was paired with a cherry pepper jelly on a cracker, and we loved it so much that we could not resist buying a jar.

Grenache Rosé & a Stuffed Pork Loin Roast

I'm pretty certain I started conceiving the idea for the dish I’m sharing here below on that very afternoon, because  I noted goat cheese and pork topped with the cherry pepper jelly in my notebook and the idea stuck in my brain since.


I got very similar tasting notes upon opening the bottle at home a few weeks ago, and the idea for this dish began to take shape. I decided to stuff a pork loin roast with goat cheese, as I’d originally planned, but added some greens, herbs, and almonds, then glazed it all with the cherry pepper jelly.
Butterflying a pork loin sounds tricky, but it’s actually pretty easy once you get the hang of it. If you’ve never done it before, check out this YouTube video for a little instruction. Sometimes, pork loin roasts come cut in half from the butcher, although it can be hard to tell when they’re tied up with kitchen twine. This turned out to be the case with mine, but the halves were large enough that I was able to butterfly the two smaller portions. You could also just sandwich the filling between the two halves and call it a day. 

In addition, I decided to roast some delicate squash along with the pork, as I thought the wine would be able to stand up to the light sweetness. I topped the squash with some pomegranate seeds and more almond slivers for extra color and texture. 

The squash seemed a perfect option for fall, but you could easily swap in other vegetables that more seasonal at other times of year.

The wine worked beautifully with the stuffed pork – just as I’d hoped! It was solid with the squash as well but didn’t sing in the same way. That said, the fact that it worked as well as it did with the lightly sweet squash makes me think that this wine would be a great option for Thanksgiving, where we tend to have so many different flavors on the table.


Given that this was a fair amount of meat and that there were only two of us to eat it all, we had several chances to try several other wines with this dish. A California Chardonnay and a Gamay Noir from Tessier Winery both worked solidly well with the dish overall, although this rosé was still my favorite with the pork. The juicy Gamay perhaps worked a bit better with the squash.



pork, squash, fall, autumn, goat cheese,
Servings: 6 to 10 (depending on the size of the roast)
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Glazed Pork Loin Roast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Kale with Delicata Squash

Glazed Pork Loin Roast Stuffed with Goat Cheese and Kale with Delicata Squash


  • 1 (3 to 5 lb) pork loin roast (this roast was about 4 lbs)
  • ¼ tsp allspice (or as needed)
  • ½ onion, diced
  • 1 cup chopped kale (spinach would also work well)
  • 4 to 6 sprigs of thyme, divided
  • About ⅛ cup chopped sage leaves, divided
  • 4 to 8 oz goat cheese (I used approximately 6 oz for a 4 lb roast)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (divided)
  • 2 to 3 Tbsp cherry pepper jelly (feel free to substitute another flavor of your choosing)
  • 4 small delicata squash, thinly sliced (cleaned and seeds removed)
  • ¼ cup pomegranate seeds
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cooking oil, as needed
  • Cooking twine


  1. Preheat the oven to 325 F.
  2. Sweat the onion in a lightly oiled pan over medium to medium-high heat until soft, translucent, and cooked through – about 12 to 15 minutes. Add the kale and continue to cook until the leaves are softened as well. Season with salt and pepper. Pick the leave from two to three of the thyme sprigs and stir into the mixture along with the sage.
  3. If the pork has been butterflied and tied (as in the case of the one pictured), open it up and separate it into halves. (If the halves are large enough to butterfly, do so carefully.) If it’s all in one piece, slice the pork roast almost through, so that it can open like a book. Open it up to lay flat, cut side up. In either case, once the pork is cut, place a sheet of plastic wrap over the pork and pound to flatten.
  4. Sprinkle the meat all over with salt, pepper, and allspice and rub into the meat. Sprinkle and spread the goat cheese on the meat, leaving about a ½ inch of space from the edge of the meat. Spread the onions and kale on top of the goat cheese, followed by half of the almonds. (If the pork came precut into two pieces that aren’t thick enough to butterfly, you can sandwich the filling between the two halves and secure it with cooking twine or toothpicks.)
  5. Roll the pork up, then tie it with kitchen twine. Using a brush or a spoon, spread the jelly in a thin layer over the rolled pork.
  6. Place the delicata squash in a greased roasting pan and sprinkle salt, pepper, a pinch of allspice, and the remaining thyme and sage on the squash. Nestle the pork in among the squash slices. (Note: If you’re working with a single larger piece of pork, add the squash to the roasting pan halfway through the cooking process.)
  7. Place the pork in the oven and roast until a meat thermometer registers at least 145°F. (As the pork rests, it will continue to rise in temperature another 5 to 10°.) Depending on the size of the piece of meat and how it was cut this timing can vary widely from about 1 to 2 hours. (For example, the pork roast used here came in two pieces, which were each butterflied, rolled, and stuffed. These two smaller pieces took about 1 hour to cook. If the roast had come whole, it would’ve likely taken two hours.) Be sure to stir the squash periodically, through the cooking process.
  8. Remove the pork from the oven once it has reached its ideal cooking temperature and let it rest for 10 minutes. If you’d like a little additional browning on the squash, allow it to continue to cook while the pork rests, or place under the broiler for a minute or two.
  9. Once removed from the oven, top the squash with the remaining almonds and the pomegranate seeds. Slice the pork into rounds and serve with the squash.


This recipe gives various options for process and cooking times, as these can vary widely depending on the size of the pork loin roast and how it was cut. If you’re working with a smaller piece of pork or if your roast came cut into two pieces, as was the case with the one I purchased, your cooking times will tend toward the lower end – about 90 minutes with 15 to 20 minutes prep time in advance, for a total of about 1 hour and 50 minutes. In this case, it makes sense to add the squash to the roasting pan with the pork from the beginning. If you’re working with a larger piece of pork, you might choose to add the squash after 45 min to an hour. For larger cuts, cooking times could be up to about 2 hours and 30 minutes with 15 to 20 minutes prep time in advance, for a total of about 2 hours and 50 minutes. In either case, the majority of the cooking time is inactive.

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The rest of the members of the Wine Pairing Weekend (#winepw) blogging group are also exploring US wines from lesser known areas, hosted by Susannah of Avvinare .You can read her invitation here. Be sure to check out the rest of the group's posts: 


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  1. That looks SO fantastic, Nicole. I don't think to do pork roasts often, but I might have to fix that soon.

    1. Thanks Camilla! It turned out very tasty and we had the leftovers in lots of tasty, delicious ways.


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