Tuesday, July 27, 2010

#103 - Figgy Duck, Brussels Sprouts & Farro With '06 Domaine Des Tours

Another example of "good luck finding it" but if you should, it's a fine example of an entry-level Rhône red, even as the price has steadily increased around town since we first bought it.

Nobody can seem to get their hands on any of the Domaine Des Tours, the third-level bottling from the Châteauneuf-du-Pape winery Chateau Rayas, though it's grown at a different site.

The wine director at Blackbird even said recently it's become impossible to score any lately.

We've never had a Rayas. But the Domaine Des Tours has served us well. Its big brother, the Chateau Des Tours, is the flagship wine at the separate site owned by Reynaud of Rayas with the Domaine Des Tours being the second bottling at that vineyard.

We had the Chateau Des Tours just a month ago with bison flank steak and mushroom tart. We were pleased with the pairing, not perfect but entirely happy and would do it again. The Chateau Des Tours is better crafted and usually about $10 more but the Domaine Des Tours has a place in our heart.

Heck, where before Rhône reds were more of a dalliance with us, they're quickly becoming something quite needed and loved in our world.

Food: Duck with fig sauce, Brussels sprouts and chestnut farro

Whole Foods duck breast glazed with a brandy-garlic reduction, cooked medium rare in rosemary. Black mission figs sauce on the side. Brussels sprouts salad with red onions and mahon cheese cooked in pancetta fat with pancetta chips on top. Big mound of chestnut farro.

Hadn't had duck in a long time and had only had medium-rare duck a couple of times this year. That's odd. And having it last night wasn't something both of us especially craved or needed. It was more of a "we haven't had it in a long time" kind of thing.

And then we ate it. It's funny how you forget how satisfying and stupid delicious something can be.

The duck and duck fat with the brandy, garlic and rosemary stuck in my cheeks and I rued the time when it was going to go away. Just seeped into the cheek lining in such a beautiful way.

The Brussels sprouts salad was nearly as good. Usually made with shallots and parmigiano-reggiano, the red onion and mahon brightened it up and, touched with the pancetta fat, surpassed the previous preparations completely in deliciousness. Might have to change. Always loved it (surprisingly as Brussels sprouts weren't even on my tasty rader three years ago) but we might be changing.

Farro is natural with duck but a better bite was the Brussels sprouts salad with some farro. Something about the brightness of the salad and the darker, earthy quality in the chestnut farro that made for a meal in itself.

Great stuff that put duck dinner right back on the docket.

Wine: 2006 Domaine Des Tours Vin De Pays Vaucluse ($17 - WDC)

Grape: Grenache, Counoise, Syrah, Cinsault, Merlot, Dious
Appellation: Vaucluse, the large, mostly bulk wine-growing area east of CDP
Vintage (WS): 93 Ripe, pure and balanced reds, with fresh flavors and bright finishes. In the mold of 2004/1999 but slightly more concentrated; whites superb

Showed similar to how it did in the past, with a brighter edge, losing the cherry fruit note and gaining a more integrated and deeper raspberry fruit. Somewhat similar to a pinot noir, like, as Mrs. Ney said, a cross between a California and Oregon pinot noir. Still undoubtedly a Rhône but it had a similar acidity mixing with the raspberry fruit at times. Played light with less of a alcohol hit upfront than it showed in the past. Some earth and brush. Slowly going but in a great place right now.

Pairing: 90 Didn't miss Pinot Noir with duck one bit.

Well...maybe a tea note but that's it.

With the duck, it showed a purity of fruit on the mid-palate with a perfectly delicate amount of acid that was delicious. Just as this wine might have been perfect with fig tart late last year, the fig sauce and the wine marched to the same drummer all night. Figs and Rhône = happy campers.

Maybe better with the farro. Became a little darker with fine tannins perking up. And it was shocking acceptable, even nice, with the Brussels sprouts salad. Never know with greens and occasionally finicky Rhône reds, as the Domaine Des Tours has been for us.

Not good in the least with the delicious pancetta chips, though. The alcohol showed up and dramatically shortened the finish.

It was a complete meal with a great bargain wine.

Missed ya, duck. You're good stuff.

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