Wednesday, July 7, 2010

#94 - Lamb Loin Roast & Gazpacho With '08 Hamacher Pinot Noir

Nothing was technically wrong with last night's meal.

Farmer's Market lamb loin roast seemed like something we should try, especially for $12. And it's Try New Things Summer, so why not?

But we won't be doing it again.

It was fatty and fatty with a side of fat. And a bitch to make.

Food: Lamb loin roast with mâche and pomegranate seeds topped off with a green grape, cucumber and almond gazpacho and Syrian bread with za'atar-infused olive oil for dipping.

Lamb loin roast crusted with a World Market chimichurri dried spice blend that looked kinda sad as a chimichurri spice blend but worked for this. It was fine meat, cooked well, brighter than most lamb and satisfied a lamb craving. But that's about it in its barest form. It was sort of like craving a soda on a brutally hot day after seeing a fast food commercial with its soda in the value meal crammed with ice and little bubbles jumping out of the glass. Then someone gives you a lukewarm Mark IV "cola" and says, "Try this." Sure, it'll do but...not really. It's the only fast food ad that works on me. Well...that and new products at Taco Bell on occasion.

But I digress. The lamb was a little better than that and probably a little more than a little. It was only that for about one pound of lamb, we each got about four ounces (if that) of meat. It was a fat fest. Sure, who really needs more than that but we're not talking about need. We wanted more.

The winner of the night was the za'atar-infused olive oil with Syrian bread for dipping paired with the wine. Mrs. Ney made a run at making her own za'atar but came to the conclusion that, with a Middle Eastern market three blocks away and a container of the stuff costing $2, we're good. Falls under the "Should I change the oil in the car myself or just give Jiffy Lube $30 to do it?" category. At Jiffy Lube, it takes ten minutes. Plus, they vacuum the car and everyone there is nice. We're good.

Green grape, cucumber and marcona almond gazpacho with a tiny bit of Greek yogurt (yes, yes - we jumped off the "authentic" train - shove it) for consistency was freakin' delicious and paired with a verdejo-vuira blend hardly worth mentioning (all ruby-red grapefruit). Fresh as all get out with a subtle white pepper hit. Ended the meal with it instead of starting as Mrs. Ney wasn't going to eat, drink wine, enjoy herself and then have to get up and wrestle with a bony, fatty lamb.

Everything with the meal was set up for the wine. Lamb, pomegranate seeds, a solid, understated spice base, even sesame seed bread. Should have been in the pinot noir wheelhouse.

And it was. It just wasn't anything inspiring.

Wine: 2008 Hamacher Pinot Noir "H Series" ($23 - WDC)

No complaints. Right out of the shoot, it tasted like someone had dropped a roasted quail with a cinnamon-raspberry glaze on the ground about five feet from a pile of fertilizer picked it up and sucked on it.

And it's a Luisa Ponzi collaboration...of the Ponzi Ponzi's.

Great stuff, almost haunting with nicely defined layers. It was that gamey funk that made it something pretty great at first. Unfortunately, it blew off rather quickly and settled into a run-of-the-mill pinot. Nice in the entry-level sense and certainly worth the money, playing above the Castle Rocks of the world. But it was sort of the Bizarro A to Z Pinot Noir. Big, flashy opening act that settled into your standard caper offering little outside of a few chuckles. Kinda blew its wad right out of the box. Who knows? Maybe a year on it will give it more of a spine.

Completely drinkable and almost pleasant. We just felt like we were chasing Act I all night.

Pairing: 82 Everything was present but felt a little hollow

It was like watching Tropic Thunder. The first twenty minutes were spectacular and you adjust your seat on the couch in anticipation for a raucous good time. And then the rest of the movie happens. Sure, there were a few laughs along the way and it wasn't too long, it never felt like you wasted your time but you could feel the point where the pot buzz wore off on the writers and they spent the next two months chasing the unique high that wrote the first twenty minutes.

The za'atar-infused olive oil became the time portal back into goodness, though. All that delicious funk in the wine magically reappeared with anything that had the za'atar-infused olive oil on it.

I'm sending Ben Stiller some za'atar olive oil in the mail as we speak.

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