Tons of catch-up to do. A messed up left hand and vacation (forthcoming and our 100th post!) has set me back a few days.
It's funny to constantly be reminded what wine can do for a meal.
The first one was an example of one of our favorite meals - so clean, fresh and filling - that once again informed us that rosé is really the only way to go with it.
The second one was an example of a fair-to-middling meal utterly taken over and elevated to such great heights by the wine, stupefying us as to how such a thing could have even happened.
#1 Tuna Niçoise with 2009 Domaine Collotte Marsannay Rosé ($17 - WDC)
I'll just plagarize myself as typing is a process right now.
Tuna Niçoise will Clean you out!
Seared rare tuna with cherry tomatoes, black olives, capers, green beans, potatoes on arugula and parsley with (lemon-infused?) olive oil drizzled everywhere and two hard-boiled eggs for me.
Just a big abundance of food that never gets old. Acid from tomatoes, bitterness from arugula, brininess and earthiness from the capers and olives, carb hit from the potatoes with great, fresh Whole Foods tuna - a bit less of it this time, which was prudent.
We have it six to twelve times a year. Kind of resets the food clock with its mountain of fresh goodness.
Paired this time with a 2009 Domaine Collotte Marsannay Rosé made from pinot noir. The Saintsbury Vin Gris of Pinot Noir might be the best we've ever had with tuna Niçoise but this one performed admirably. Softer, bright and pure, showing mostly strawberry cream. Enough backbone to stand up to mostly anything on the plate but not tannic or aggressive in the least.
A pleasing rosé for a reasonable price offering something a bit more distinctive than a run-of-the-mill pink. We might like a rosé to bring a bit more in a darker, more complex vein but it was light and fresh in an Ugly Betty sort of way.
A solid 88 pairing score. No complaints at all and just reassured the notion that there's not much better than tuna Niçoise and rosé is the only way to go in our world.
#2 Falafel, pita, tomato salad and cucumber yogurt with 2006 Villa Creek Mas De Maha ($22 - Binny's)
Lots of tasty flavors with the meal. Everything represented but the falafel came out a little toasty and the pita a little crispy. It was a quick dinner right before vacation with our minds more on that. Some parts were delicious and the falafel was kinda great, if a bit overcooked.
But something happened on the way to the forum. I've written about our love for Villa Creek Mas De Maha (60% tempranillo, 20% each of grenache and mourvèdre) in the past. It's awfully great with Latin food, especially anything with a Cuban bent. When we had it with hanger, plantains and tomato salad, it was pretty revelatory, like we found one of the perfect pairings that exist in the world. Something happens to the Mas De Maha with spice and tomatoes. It takes the entire plate of food with those elements by the hand and leads it to the promised land.
In the past, it's been with meals that were good on thier own. With this one, it picked up the plate by the back of its pants and said, "get your ass to the land of goodness!" I can't ever recall a meal so lifted to such a better place by the wine.
A 95 pairing score due to what was an archetypal example of what wine can do to and with food.