Last week was Open That Bottle Night (see below), an evening when many wine lovers decide to pop the cork on a wine they had forgotten was in their cellar, had always wanted to open but for some reason neglected to, or had longed to try.  As for me, I was excited to taste the 2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, sent to me as a sample; I will be chatting with Florent Merlier, Winemaker at Van Duzer Vineyards, in the next few weeks. Merlier fashioned this wine with a subtle similarity to those produced in Burgundy, his home.  It’s no secret that I love the Burgundian style of Pinot Noir and this wine has a lovely American twist.

But what to pair with the 2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir? A few weeks ago, I read Provence 1970 which tells the tale of six culinary greats who converged in the South of France during that summer.  Besides Julia Child, James Beard, M.F.K. Fisher, and others was Richard Olney, the recluse of the group.  His first book, “The French Menu Cookbook”  had just been published and he was living in Provence while leading the charge towards a new “culinary bohemianism” in the world of French cuisine.  Lucky was I to find a recipe for Chicken Breasts and Zucchini with Marjoram from the 40th anniversary edition of Olney’s cookbook, “Simple French Food” published in 2014.  If you follow my recipes, you’ll know that I only share those that are delicious and easy to prepare.  This recipe met both criteria and was a wonderful complement to the wine with its French undertones.

Intense aromas of rich red fruits, succulent black cherries, white pepper, and vanilla were a lovely introduction to the 2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($32.).  On the palate, tastes of juicy cherries and ripe red fruits were lifted with a gentle acidity and satin like tannins which led this balanced wine to a lingering, spicy finish.  Although the wine was more than satisfying to sip on its own while preparing dinner, the marjoram notes and creamy texture of the dish brought forth more spice and fruit.  Just wonderful.

2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Chicken Breasts and Zucchini with Marjoram


  • 1lb zucchini (thinly sliced)
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh flowers and leaves of marjoram (substitute 1/2 teaspoon finely crumbled dry, if necessary, or switch to fresh tarragon)
  • 2 Large chicken breast halves (skin, bones, and fat removed cut into 1/2 by 2 inch strips)
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


Step 1
In a large heavy skillet, toss the zucchini, seasoned, in 1 tablespoon butter over a high flame for about 6 minutes until barely tender and hardly colored.
Step 2
Toss in the marjoram and put aside.
Step 3
In the same pan, with the other tablespoon of butter, over a high flame, toss the seasoned breast strips for no more than 3 minutes. They may stick at first; gently displace with a wooden spoon.
Step 4
As soon as they become firm and rubbery, return the zucchini to the pan, toss the two well together, add the cream, swirl, and toss.
Step 5
It's ready when the cream reaches a boil.
Step 6
Serve with a pilaf and enjoy!

Chicken Breasts and Zucchini with Marjoram

Cheers! ~ Cindy

Which wine did you choose on Open That Bottle Night?  Please join a live Twitter Chat on Saturday, March 14, at 11 a.m. ET, via the Twitter hashtag #winePW.  You are encouraged to share notes about the bottle you opened and the food paired with it.  Of course you can just drop by Twitter and chime in with your thoughts of some of the following Open That Bottle Night pairings found below! I’ll see you on Saturday, March 14…

Culinary Adventures with Camilla paired Roasted Flank Steak with Goat Cheese and Caperberries + La Marea 2012 Mourvèdre

Tasting Pour is sharing Chenin to Sheepie?  Brava Cava! #Winewpw #OTBN

Pull That Cork served Crozes Hermitage and Braised Lamb with Puréed Root Vegetables for #winePW 10

Curious Cuisiniere paired Entrecote Bordelaise (Steak: Bordeaux Style) with Red Oak Vineyard Meritage

A Day in the Life on the Farm served up Michigan Red with City Chicken

Girls Gotta Drink is sharing A Priorat Wine Masterpiece: 1974 Scala Dei

Vino Travels paired Fattoria dei Barbi Brunello and Pappardelle with Bolognese

Grape Experiences is sharing Wine and Dine: 2012 Van Duzer Willamette Valley Pinot Noir and Chicken Breasts and Zucchini with Marjoram

Wild 4 Washington Wine paired A Special Oregon Pinot Noir with Eastern North Carolina Inspired Ribs #OTBN #winePW 10

Rockin Red Blog is sharing Celebrating #OTBN on #WinePW

Cooking Chat paired Avocado Chimichurri Beef Tenderloin with a Reininger Carmenere

ENONFYLZ Wine Blog is sharing Friends, Food and Wine; An #OTBN To Remember #winePW.


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  1. Reply

    I never cook with Marjoram. Need to fix that. Red wine paired with chicken…well done. This is a recipe and pairing folks need to try at home. Not complicated as stated. Thank you.

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