Thursday, October 14, 2010

#123 - Walnut-Pomegranate Chicken With '06 M. Cosentino Pinot Noir

On a night that was destined for a leftover extravaganza, coffee and a nap brought the energy to make a prepared meal.

It's been some time since we had walnut-pomegranate chicken.

Previously served with Heredia Bosconia of some vintage, we gave another wine that we've become tired of looking at on the shelf a try.

On that, we're drinkin' the damn Rumball oh-so soon.

Food: Chicken with walnut-pomegranate sauce and a mâche salad

Two chicken breasts subbed for thighs in the recipe (linked above). The breasts propped up on the plate with a chunky walnut, Spanish onion, cumin seeds, touch of saffron, a pinch of brown sugar and pomegranate molasses concoction spread on top and all around the plate with pomegranate seeds sprinkled on top. A touch of sweet, a hit of earth and spice, rustic, substantial and delicious.

It's one of those meals that you forget how good it is and lament the fact it fell out of the rotation.

Mâche salad to finish.

Wine: 2006 M. Cosentino The Wines Pinot Noir Solano County ($15-ish - Cork & Beans in Cleveland)

Didn't expect much. More of a "get it out of my sight!" pairing for the night.

But a big surprise here.

Not abundantly complex but... Creamy cherry on the nose and something that resembled a creamy bright cherry custard on the palate, showing typical and solidly put together pinot noir character followed by some baking spices and maybe some vanilla with a smooth, medium-bodied finish bringing a pleasing and proper tartness.

Not a big wine even with the 14.7% alcohol but a solid everyday pinot noir drinker. I know we didn't spend more than $18 at Cork & Beans in Cleveland for this and in that range, it probably one of the better $15-18 basic pinots we've had (they're always such a hit-and-miss game). Held together quite well, showed beautifully and informed us once again that under $20 California pinot noirs tend to outshine Oregon pinots in the same category.

And the entire Cosentino line always seems to play a bit above its price tag.

Pairing: 90 Almost surprisingly great

With no expectations and a "fine, whatever" attitude towards the wine, everything worked quite nicely, thank you very much.

The creamy element in the wine filled in some of the gaps of the earthiness in the chicken and walnut-pomegranate sauce, serving to not only complement the meal but nearly tasting like a integral part of the recipe.

The tiny touch of sweetness on the finish worked with the touch of sweetness in the sauce and the baking spice notes fell right in line with the cumin and earthy elements.

A bit more complexity in the wine would have took it to such great heights but for a meal that almost wasn't a meal and a cheap wine, we ate and drank oodles better than both of us thought just two hours before.

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