Thursday, July 15, 2010

#98 - Dry-Aged Bone-In Ribeye With '06 Velvet Glove

Best meal in months.

And it was just so much! So much food and so much decadence.

The superlatives certainly flew as we were eating. I settled on 'hedonistic' as the best descriptor.

Kinda went over the top last night, made better by the fact we feel like we're finally are at a place where some of our first big purchases of wine are starting to get to the point where it's not stupid to crack them.

So we did.

Food: 21-day, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye with five-spice tostones, wilted spinach and Oregon blue cheese

Fox & Obel 21-day, dry-aged, bone-in ribeye.

We've had New York strip and beef filet in the dry-aged vein. We enjoy the beef filet the most but there's just nothing wrong with the ribeye at all.

When I say hedonistic, most of it came from the unbelievably rich and gorgeous flavors, but some of it came from the size of the ribeye. Over a pound each and at least 12 ounces of meat for each of us. We've come to the conclusion that nobody needs more than six ounces (maybe even less) of meat. That's the point of diminishing returns but we didn't care last night.

Beautifully cooked to a medium-rare in the cast-iron skillet with salt, pepper and olive oil and then rested on the cutting board to finish off with its own juices on top. Had the wondrous dry-aged flavor that is something other than beef. Something else. Something...

This one had a sausage filling quality to it. Less buttery than the filet and more rough and wild.

And there was just so much! Did I mention that?

Halfway through, I assessed my place in the meal as I approached full and realized I wasn't even half-done. What I thought was an extension of the bone mixed with fat was more meat. Didn't care. It would have been a crime to leave it.

Settled on five-spice tostones after screwing around with paprika and thinking about potatoes. The five-spice performed the best with the wine when we sampled it before the decant, bringing out the big blackberry notes instead of accentuating the oak as the paprika seemed to do.

Now...we loved the ribeye. But the star of the food night was the tostones smeared with the Oregon Rogue River Smokey Blue Cheese. First, the tostones with five-spice couldn't have been a better match with the wine and brought perfect elements of crispiness and subtle sweetness to the meal. But topped with this Oregon blue cheese, something entirely new to us, was simply stunning.

Smoked over hazelnut shells, many on the internet have described the cheese as having a cheddar quality. I thought the particular creaminess may have approximated that but mostly, it tasted like a better, brighter, more delicate and streamlined Roquefort. Where Roquefort (and blue cheese in general) tends to dominate any meal, becoming more a blue cheese experience no matter how judiciously incorporated, this one is just the bee's knees; strong enough to unfortunately drown out the meat with a bite but delicate enough to line up perfectly with the sweetness of the tostones and all five elements of taste that five-spice offers. Never went off the grid as blue cheese can. Never took over. It integrated and ingratiated itself into the rest of the meal with the elegance of an Englishman with white gloves and a top hat. And just couldn't have been better with the wine.

The wilted spinach wasn't touched because when you're this knee-deep in fat, why ruin it. Just go all-in.

Topped off with Smith Island chocolate cake, which brought new definition to "all-in".

Wine: 2006 Mollydooker Shiraz McLaren Vale Velvet Glove ($180 - Berkeley Wine ?)

Bought during the height of our Shiraz love two years ago, that love waned for a bit and has started to kick back up recently. We're starting to think the "fruit bomb" has a place in our world.

It was a ridiculous purchase, a vanity desire, a highly-rated wine (97 - WS, 99 - RP) insanely priced at the height of the world's love for Australian Shiraz with a simply ridiculous packaging (came with a velvet bag). I wanted it because I wanted it, something I rarely do. Usually, it takes me three weeks to buy new tennis shoes. So Mrs. Ney bought it for me.

Just monstrous. 1 1/2 hour decant. Initially, I worried about the oak after reading reviews of people that drank it recently and some showed up on the first sip before the decant. Never really showed up after that, though. Lil bit but nothing distracting and became integrated rather quickly.

Grilled meat, herbs and huge juicy blackberry on the nose. DEEP purple/black in the glass with dark red edges. Massive on the palate, tons of dark berries dominated by blackberry and plum, a wee hint of black cherry mixed in and oodles of black pepper/spice and meat with a touch of bitter dark chocolate. Thick (!) but never approaching sappy. Underlying vanilla throughout and hides the over-the-top 16.5% alcohol beautifully. The joy is in the structure and constantly changing layers. Each sip was slightly different, with the food and on its own, and the finish never stopped. Toward the end, a port-like quality with a bit of caramel/brown sugar that lingered forever.

Could have cut this wine with a knife in the best possible way and is probably the best Shiraz we've ever had.

Pairing: 95 Oh, The Extravagance!

It was our version of a foie gras, truffles, caviar and lobster meal.

Perfect with tostones and blue cheese and one of those pairings I'll remember for years. Less so but still stunning with the dry-aged ribeye.

This meal was different for us in a sense that we're usually astute about getting acid into the meal. This one had none from a food standpoint except for the sort that black pepper tries to bring. The wine was the acid bearer with this one, which put a bigger burden on the wine than we typically want but it delivered.

So much lift, so much matchy-matchy wonderfulness, everything fit like a jigsaw puzzle.

We're going to need some recovery time after last night's fat-feast but we don't care.

That was...something else...something more...just Something...Freakin'...Fantastic.

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