As a parting shot before retiring from the exhausting business of helping old ladies decide between one $5 bottle of wine over another, one of our favorite wine people at Wine Discount Center recommended a wine from a appellation I didn't even know existed.
Wine Discount Center is easily one of the best wine shops in the city, maybe the best for its sheer variety, frequent turnover and three people (down to two) that work there who have been unbelievably helpful and taught us a lot over the years.
The times I've been asked about wine and how to navigate the seemingly insurmountable amount of information you have to know in order to understand even the basics and avoid drinking bad wine, Wine Discount Center has always been the example. Find a shop employed with good people that share your taste and pick their brain to death.
WDC has also become akin to going to the toy store as a 12 year-old, sifting through the Star Wars action figures to find the Gamorrean Guard or Nien Nunb.
Spending an off-day going to different wine shops carries with it the same feeling as my mom running errands to Paul's, K-mart and Target and I get to do a complete sweep of every Star Wars section. I'm 12 again.
But I digress.
Food: Chicken piccata with mustardized potato and asparagus
What was supposed to be a rather thrown-together meal, cleaning out the fridge before vacation, turned into something pretty great.
It's just chicken piccata. But it didn't end up that way.
Some of that had to do with the sauce. Instead of reducing a half-cup of chicken broth down to a quarter-cup, Mrs. Ney reduced a cup and a half down to a quarter-cup, making for an intense, darker, earthy sauce coupled with capers, kalamata olives, butter and a good amount of lemon juice.
It resulted in a more concentrated and delicious version of chicken piccata.
Even though we just had mustard asparagus the day before, the asparagus, too, had to be used up along with potatoes. Things were bordering on 'old' in the fridge and cupboard. So, mustard-drenched grilled asparagus with a sort of mustard dry potato salad made sense. We worried about it being mustard and mustard with a side of mustard but it wasn't. Turned out great, especially with the wine.
Wine: 2006 Clos Uroulat Cuvée Marie Jurançon Sec ($23 - WDC)
I stupidly assumed that Jurançon was some sub-appellation of Jura near Burgundy and based on chardonnay. It's not. It's located in southwest France near the Pyrenees, is known more for its sweet wines based primarily on the same Gros Manseng grape as the dry offerings and produces intense wines on the darker end of the white spectrum showing pineapple, melon and banana flavors.
This was a dry version, 90% Gros Manseng, 10% Corbu.
All honey and cat pee on the nose and on the palate right out of the bottle. Tight and funky. We were told to decant this, something we've never done with a white. Gave it a 2 1/2 hour decant on ice and it opened up beautifully.
Very concentrated flavors of honey, banana, green pepper (!), pine needles, Pine-Sol, smoked pineapple, maybe nutmeg? and a sort of brighter oil. Good viscous body with a smooth finish. Rich.
Never had anything like it. As a very basic description, it has small similarities to a Heredia white. Only in the same, very broad realm but serves as a starting point to describing it.
And given its concentration and verve, it should be age-worthy.
Completely unique to our world and we'll be buying more. Great stuff.
Pairing: 91 - Made a very good meal something pretty original and great in our world with the wine
The food was a darker version of what we expected.
But the wine brought it to a place populated with 12,000 different flavors, changing all the time. Something new with each bite and something to ponder and figure out each time.
Piccata is Italian but this tasted French Country, something that seemed to fit with a wine and region we've never had.
Tasted right and just.