Tuesday, September 7, 2010

#113 - Thomas Keller Chicken With A Red Instead Of A White

There's a difference between "yeah...that's good" and "that's what we want."

Oodles of meals exist in the world that we're more than happy to eat, would leave us satisfied and just generally are fine, good and tasty.

But that doesn't mean it's what we want.

Red wine and chicken falls under the former but not really the latter.

Food: Thomas Keller chicken with roasted potatoes and mâche

You know the bird and how to cook it. This one with a brighter skin taste and exceedingly juicy white meat. Roasted potatoes with a linguiça spread taken from The New Portuguese Table leftover from lunch that, while delicious at noon, turned into ridiculously good with a few hours to marry. Essence of linguiça in spreadable form. That exists? Yes...yes it does. And it's linguiçalicious.

Simple mâche salad to round it out.

An easy, tasty meal before vacation to the land where the aforementioned cookbook originated.

Wine: 2006 Umathum Pinot Noir Unter den Terrassen zu Jois ($15 - WDC)

We were sick of looking at it in the rack. Just entirely sick of looking at the label.

A clarified medium-deep red in the glass, bit of river mud on the nose right away. Closed at first, showing a mixture of plum and red raspberry with some muddled spice and tea notes.

Opened up after about an hour to show a more delineated, brighter fruit profile of the same fruit with a little cinnamon and just a wee bit of a Darjeeling tea note. Nice tannins kept everything in line.

Nothing special but outperformed many Oregon pinots in the $15 price range. Certainly got better as the meal went on.

Never got out of the realm of a change-of-pace pinot noir and didn't distinguish itself to any great degree but no complaints, really.

Pairing: 84 Just don't dig red wine and chicken

It's fine. But both of us aren't mad-crazy for coq au vin either. I missed the minerality that a white Burgundy offers along with some tropical/white wine fruit notes that brighten up the meal and play with the salt, skin and spices. Something about the greater range white wine offers with chicken lures both of us. More possibilities.

Red wine and chicken tastes...limited to both of us. To each his own, I guess.

There were moments of pleasantness, though. Played well with the potato-linguiça spread for the most part and the fruit in the wine really came out with the breast meat while the cinnamon showed up nicely with the leg and thigh.

If put in front of us, red wine and chicken would be eaten and liked. Just not loved or really wanted.

It's the Judd Apatow films of food and wine pairings. Seen the style, know the jokes and don't need to see it again.

A Note: Last week, a quick meal of fancy maccarone pasta with Bari tomato sauce and Trader Joe's sausage turned out pretty great for what it was. Better than that, actually. It was freakin' stellar. Started with the 2007 Tarì Agliancio Caggiano ($16 - WDC). Bracingly rough tannins and none of the floral/bright blackberry I have come to like from this wine. Needed roasted meat to get it anywhere close to working well with food and I don't even know if that would have helped. Some inconsistency with this wine in my world.

So we cracked a Portuguese wine, the 2008 Flor de Crasto ($12 - WDC), the baby brother in the Crasto line of goodness. Rather shockingly, worked just fine with the pasta (87 Pairing Score). All cinnamon and Mounds bar. Pleasing bitter dark chocolate, some Asian spice notes, more subdued fruit but a roundness and bargain tastiness that played well above its $12 price. Not saying I liked it better than the Quinta do Crasto Old Vines Reserva...but it was close. Very close in many ways.

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