Wednesday, December 16, 2009

#15 - Cassoulet, Mustard Asparagus & Oregon Sparkling Rosé

It's freaking cold!

And a cassoulet fit the mold.

We could have gone a multitude of wine directions with a cassoulet, mostly hanging around in the rich red arena. But there's some latitude here w/r/t the exact preparation of the cassoulet.

So we went in a different direction, thinking the yeasty, bubbly qualities of a sparkling would play nicely with the salt in a cassoulet and the rosé/pork match would fit well.

Food: Cassoulet with Dijon Mustard-Soaked Asparagus

Duck, pork, chicken thighs and veal sausage with white beans, bread crumbs and traditional French spicing.

Got the veal sausage from a new Lincoln Square addition called Gene's Sausage Shop, a revival of the traditional sausage shops long gone in the Lincoln Square neighborhood with a bit of a gourmet, niche shop feel to it. It's huge and has every kind of meat product you could imagine along with many other little products that are a tad hard to find. It's a scaled-down version of Fox & Obel that's right around the corner. Worth it.

The cassoulet, usually an intensely rich dish, came off much more medium-rich than expected. Not cassoulet-coma-inducing. Pretty great. Do you want some? Cuz we have some. In fact, we have it by the ton now.

Wine: 2007 Argyle Sparkling Rosé Dundee Hills - $40 Wine Discount Center

52% Pinot Meunier, 48% Pinot Noir

Pinot Meunier is a grape used in the making of champagne to bring a richness and body to the wine, something I didn't know until I just looked it up.

All strawberry with a little rose petal. Nice balance and finesse, alive, bubbly with a quality approaching elegant. If this was $25, it would be a steal. $40 makes us think twice but would consider it. Would probably be wonderful with a pre-dinner snack of ham charcuterie-type products.

Pairing: Useful, Pleasant But Not Resplendent

Things were merely slightly enhanced. A kick here, a kick there.

Maybe more importantly, nothing turned funky. In fact, with the mustard asparagus, something I expected to get a tad weird, it held up.

Overall, the rosé complimented the unexpected lightness of the meal. It was a meal that sat well and I don't think a Zinfandel, Shiraz or Rhone would have accomplished the same result.

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