Thursday, March 18, 2010

#50 - Wine Can Chicken & Saffron Risotto With '89 Heredia Tondonia White

Made it to 50!

Ever had nuts, honey, pear and cantaloupe mixed with hairspray and gasoline?

We have...last night.

Food: Wine can chicken, saffron/pistachio risotto and Brussels Sprouts with bacon

First, saffron/pistachio risotto is in the top 20 of food-type concoctions on the planet. Mrs. Ney has started to put a red chili pepper in with the chicken broth (used to make the risotto), giving a hint of spice that made it even better.

Same wine can chicken preparation as last time. No glaze. Salt and pepper rubbed all over the chicken and left, standing up, in the refrigerator for 24 hours, making the skin quite crispy with a great rustic color. No more glaze. This is good stuff.

Brussels sprouts done in bacon fat with bacon pieces (and a little parmesan?).

Tasted Spanish-influenced with the saffron and almost Californian with the pistachios, Brussels sprouts and freshness.

Wine: 1989 López de Heredia Viña Tondonia Reserva Blanco ($40 - ?)

Aged six years in barrel, four more in bottle before release, 90% Viura, 10% Malvasia.

DEEP gold in the glass, much deeper than any Heredia I've seen. Very little nose. On the palate, VERY dry, nearly bone-dry if it weren't for an almost dessert-like feel in the mouth (had an exceedingly cheap dessert wine - Haut Sarthes semillon - after the meal and it was lighter). Very viscous. A touch of fruit throughout, I got pear, Mrs. Ney got cantaloupe. Oodles of liquified almond and a definite oxidized element. Touch of salt and overall, almost sherry-like.

The finish was a lot of hairspray and gasoline. Unpleasantly so? Only a little. But it threw it out of whack a bit for me. Heredia whites have that alcohol/almost motor oil touch and it usually makes for a spectacular experience when it plays nice with the fruit, nut and dust, was a tad disjointed.

With what I know about aging wines hitting their end, which isn't a lot, I think we may have missed the window here, at least with this particular bottle. It was a complex wine, it was an interesting wine, but it wasn't a harmonious wine. It changed over the course of the meal, but never really stretched its legs.

On the whole, it was better than 85% of the white choices in the house, but I kept thinking about that other 15%. With that said, I've read on the interwebs about Heredia whites closing down for a period only to blossom again in a few years later. Because it's Heredia, we'll buy a couple more and revisit in five and ten years.

Pairing: Merely just fine

We've had this meal with Heredia Gravonia (the new-ish (25 years?), exclusively white vineyard) before and know it works. Different world with the Tondonia for sure, but it didn't have that transcendence we usually get. It fell immediately to trying to figure out the wine instead of enjoying the pairing and all its layers.

Flecks of loveliness with risotto and worked nicely enough with the chicken. No clashes anywhere. Just never great.

But...I'm intrigued enough by the '89 to check out more older Heredia whites, especially given they're still reasonably priced. That includes the '89 again as I'm beginning to be sure as I write this that we simply had a slightly off bottle. All the elements just weren't kicking around, trying to play with each other.

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