A quick one before a quick sojourn to the Cleve to do some eating.
It's clean-out-the-freezer week in the Ney house.
Food: Lamb with mole, sweet potatoes and mâche and parsley salad
Lamb from the freezer. Mole from the freezer.
Quality medium-rare on the lamb and the mole (from a duck and Quinta do Vale Meão meal last month) still popped.
A simple meal but still tasty for what it was.
Mole can be a bit tricky when pairing it with wine. Really depends on the type of mole you're working with. What comes through first? Chocolate? Chile? Earthy? Is it smooth or biting? How earthy is it? How much back-end heat does it have? It's all a bit of a fine line since the wine must first stand up to the mole.
Wine: 2006 Concha y Toro Merlot Marqués de Casa Concha ($16 - WDC?)
Both of us thought it could have been a cheaper syrah on first taste.
Earth first with touches of bitter chocolate, not the freshest, deepest plum but serviceable, certainly some tobacco and green vegetable notes on occasion. Some heat.
A decent QPR wine but nothing outstanding by itself. In the mid-teens, it's about what you'd expect. Best thing going for it was that nothing came off strange or disjointed and the dominating earth notes went well with the food.
Pairing: 85 Probably one of the better food pairings for the quality of the wine
The wine wasn't outstanding. The food wasn't outstanding. It's freezer week.
But both were solid enough. And together it worked, making the entire experience better than if each were consumed by themselves.
Individual notes would be pointless (though it was pretty great with the mâche). This was the sort of catalog wine that's nice to have around for meals such as this one - above cheap crap wine, from a good producer (we used to drank the Casillero del Diablo ALOT once upon a time), doesn't get weird with food and doesn't cost so much that you feel like you should drink it with a critical eye.
Just enough distinction to think, "Not too shabby for $16."