Thursday, September 23, 2010

#117 - Duck Risotto With '07 Jiménez-Landi Sotorrondero

Take two on getting rid of bottles we're sick of looking at in the rack.

And last night was another case of the food vastly outshining the wine.

In the end, we were okay with that. Enough came through (just), nothing was necessarily bad, we weren't left wanting for the most part and things were pretty much in line.

But that's a ton of qualifiers.

After reading the recipe, something a tad larger/darker/rustic seemed to be the way to go. After tasting the food, something with more finesse (a good pinot noir, most likely) would have served us better.

Nothing bad, but nothing particularly inspiring.

Food: Duck risotto with pancetta and chorizo

Taken from The New Portuguese Table, a cookbook that so far seems to have more bold flavors than what we experienced recently in Portugal, what resulted was a dish dripping with suave, silky, subtle depth.

Main ingredients of duck legs, Spanish chorizo and La Quercia pancetta, modifying the duck breast and prosciutto recipe a bit. A sort of stew made with the various meats, white wine, orange juice and zest, onion, butter, parsley, olive oil, chicken stock and duck fat stewed together and then folded into the risotto as it was coming to a finish.

The risotto itself came out beautiful. Just the right amount of creamy starch oozing off of it with nothing turning gloppy. Seemed folded in at the right time, with the stew-like concoction tasting integrated into the risotto but keeping enough separation to taste like a complete dish instead of a risotto-flavored meal.

Both of us were shocked how light it came off. Substantial enough to be filling but light enough to feel clean and good. Loved it. Every bite.

An arugula salad to top it off and cerignola green olives on the side.

Wine: 2007 Jiménez-Landi Sotorrondero Méntrida ($31 - Red & White)

Grape: 85% Syrah and 15% Garnacha
Region: Castilla - La Mancha
Appellation: Méntrida

To plagiarize myself again, from #79 in May when we had the Jiménez-Landi estate bottling from two years previous with Spanish-style skirt steak with onion-potato gratin:

"Located smack in the middle of Spain near Madrid in the province of Toledo, Méntrida, unlike most Spanish regions, has a fair amount of cabernet, merlot and syrah being grown. The region was mostly known for mediocre rosés for years but a few wineries, Bodegas Jiménez-Landi being one of them, has created a great track record for making solid wines of late."

The estate bottling was a merlot/tempranillo/syrah blend and we probably missed its window. Some stewy notes on that one. Tasty enough though, as I recall.

This one, a more idiosyncratic blend for Spain in some ways with this much syrah, came out only slightly better.

1 1/2 hour decant. Before the decant, intense gamy notes on the nose. The house smelled like duck and that could have played a role but it smelled like some slow-roasted game was well on its way to be charred beyond recognition with a buttered and burnt toast note. Intense stuff.

On the palate, big smoky-sweet plummy notes with some coffee and toast, hibiscus tea and a hint of maybe old blueberry. A touch rough but it kept its structure throughout the meal. Minerally mid-palate with the initial fruit receding to the background and a blackberry note kicking up. Small tannic bite at the end that wasn't unpleasant.

Overall, just enjoyable enough. "Adequate" comes to mind when thinking about it but that's not necessarily damning it with faint praise. But we don't need more of it.

Pairing: 85 Mostly made me think of other options to pair with this type of food goodness

We weren't opening another bottle. This wine was just good enough.

But I wondered how so many different wine options would have played with this bowl o' goodness (pinot noir, Heredia red, grenache-heavy Rhône?).

Small enhancements though. The wine brought out the meaty, darker notes of the chorizo a touch more and if we had an olive, then ate the risotto and had a sip, the orange in the food jumped out a ton more.

But the pairing was more of a companion than an enhancement in the end. Nothing buried, nothing hurt, nothing overwhelmed.

No complaints, just not much of note really happened.

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