Last night was an example of a pairing that didn't work but we didn't care one bit.
The wine was that good.
Food: Veal chops, pan-roasted potatoes, cherry-shallot relish and arugula
Veal chops the size of your head!
Seriously, each one was about 8-9 inches long.
From Paulina Meat Market and not cheap in the least, they were delicious for what they were. We're indifferent towards veal. It's fine enough. These were bright, spongy, cooked a perfect medium-rare and with a little lemon, could easily have gone well with a nice white wine.
Pan-roasted potatoes with a roasted garlic mayo for dipping. A bit of a staple. Good stuff.
The shallot-cherry relish was made with saffron, chestnuts and sherry vinegar in an attempt to help the pairing. While good enough, it became a bit superfluous after trying it with the wine.
It was a meal put together a bit on the fly. After going through five different wine ideas to pair with the veal, when we settled on the wine, a few things had to be quickly adjusted.
But it was also a good meal, a tasty meal and probably a meal we won't be having again anytime soon.
Our veal quota for this five-year period has been met.
Wine: 2006 Flor de Pingus ($70 - Binny's)
This is what we like about wine!
Sure, we drank it WAY too young. We killed a baby. But with reasons.
The Flor de Pingus is Peter Sisseck's second wine from Pingus winery in Ribera del Duero. At a tenth of the cost of the flagship wine, it's a window into the world of Pingus without having to take out a second mortgage in order to do it (the 2005 is currently selling for around $700).
The third wine, the Pingus PSI, we chronicled just a few weeks ago. All of Mr. Sisseck's wines are biodynamic as of the 2005 vintage.
Reddish-purple in the glass, it had a shimmering sparkle to it. Very pretty.
On the nose, sweet smoke and wild berries. By itself right out of the bottle, it was itching to get out. Such a glorious wine right away. Subtle vanilla bean core with an indistinguishable black/red berry fruit burst. Dark and haunting. 45 second finish. Ribera to the bone but a bit less wild in our experience. A Big Boy wine with polished edges but very tight as expected as the fruit wasn't delineated yet. We couldn't for the life of us figure out what the fruit was, just that it was a jumble of red and black berry fruit along with something resembling smoked black cherry.
But beautifully sweet tannins, making us think it's not far off from being ready. Many on these interwebs have said five years and it'll be finding its stride. I can only spitball on that. I simply don't have the experience with such things w/r/t nailing it down to a window. But if I were to do such things, three years seems reasonable to open the window. It's not far off. Many elements were already showing itself and it wasn't out of whack, just that the fruit was very resistant to revealing itself.
One hour decant and it should have been much longer. That was the price we paid for the timing of the meal and deciding what wine to drink. It got better as the meal went on (two hours-ish) but it continued to conceal its seemingly true expression. Solid acidity but it has more to reveal as well. Even saying all of this, it's, right now, a gloriously balanced wine and something that was infinitely interesting to drink.
Gonna be a keeper and might become a big favorite in a few years (three years and again in six?).
But that's the reason we drank it. We wanted to know this wine because it's still available around town and frequently $10 off. That won't be the case if other vintages of the Flor de Pingus are any barometer.
Pairing Score: 75 A bust but we didn't care
New pairing scores based on a 100-point scale. Don't like the 100-point scale and find it to be diametrically opposed to the inherent beauty of food and wine? My blog. Not yours. We'll give it a go.
With very little feelings about the veal and the gorgeousness of the the Flor de Pingus, the pairing wasn't even on the radar.
Initially, we planned on drinking a bottle of the 2007 Paul Hobbs pinot noir Ulises Vineyard, another wine that maybe is a wee too young but could conceivably be drunk now.
Terrible with the shallot-cherry relish and merely acceptable with the veal. Surprising to both of us, it was pretty solid with potatoes and roasted garlic mayonnaise.
But again, the meal didn't matter. We found what should be quite a spectacular wine in a few.
We're still learning but, last night, we had something that screamed "put me away."
Going through that, finding that out first-hand with such a good wine and still loving it, helps us remember.
And as has been the case with other wine from the region, nothing sits as well as Riberas. Next time, it will be paired with a simple salt-and-peppered hanger steak, which should be perfect.
By golly that is and will be good stuff.