Pork, the other white meat, is a nice alternative to beef, chicken or lamb. In particular, I love pork tenderloin, that wonderful loin muscle which would correspond to filet mignon in beef. It is often baked whole, then sliced and served with some kind of slightly sweet sauce.

Here’s a recipe using fresh sage and Marsala wine. This recipe is for two people, so double it for four.

Pork Tenderloin With Fresh Sage and Marsala

1 large pork tenderloin (1 1/4 to 1 1/2 lbs.) trimmed and cut in half crosswise.

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

3 Tbsp. unsalted butter

1 c. medium sweet Marsala

1 Tbsp. chopped fresh sage leaves

Preheat oven to 375 F. Season pork tenderloin with salt and pepper. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a 10-inch skillet or sauté pan over medium-high heat. Sear the pork until brown on all sides; no more than 5 minutes. Save the pan and the juices for the sauce.

Transfer pork tenderloin to an oven roasting pan and roast until the internal temperature reaches 140 F (maximum 30 minutes). Move tenderloin to a cutting board and tent with foil.

Scrape brown bits from the bottom of the roasting pan and pour off with the juice into the sauce pan. Under medium-high heat, add 1 c. of the Marsala and reduce by half, or until it starts to thicken. Remove from heat and add 1 Tbsp. butter and chopped sage. Stir until butter melts.

Get tips on free stuff and fun ideas delivered weekly to your inbox

Ladle a little sauce on the platter or plates. Slice pork into 12 medallions and arrange them for presentation. Pour remaining sauce over the top.

Pair this with Ken Brown’s 2013 Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir. Brown is the local master of pinot noir. This wine is charming and bright with a dark garnet color, lively fruit forward aromatics and rich, expressive flavors. Aromas of deep red cherry are interwoven with ripe strawberry notes accented by hints of cinnamon and licorice. The lush aromatics give way to classic pinot noir fruit expression enveloped in well-balanced, soft tannins. The wine culminates in a rich, harmonious finish.

The grapes were harvested from the following vineyards: 48% Rio Vista, 22% Buona Terra, 8% Nielson, 8% Rita’s Crown, 6% Radian, 5% Zotovich, 3% Clos Pepe. The backbone of the wine is pinot noir from Rio Vista Vineyard, located at the eastern end of Sta. Rita Hills where slightly warmer temperatures result in luscious dark cherry aromatics and smooth tannins in the wine.

The year 2013 is hailed as a near perfect vintage across the state of California, described as “early, even and excellent.” A lack of rain during the harvest season also contributed to grape quality. The wine aged 11 months in French oak barrels with 30% new French oak and was bottled on Sept. 9, 2014.


John David Finley is a freelance writer and author of the cookbook, "Sacred Meals from our Family Table," which features Santa Barbara County wines. He can be reached at jd.finley@comcast.net.