Thursday, December 30, 2010

#147 - Scallops, Soba & Chard With '02 Prager

I'd like to reiterate my hatred for HTML code.

Especially third-party HTML code put in by me and left dormant for a year that gummed up the works.

Brilliant stuff, Christo.

So...some catch-up.

Food: Scallops, soba noodles and swiss chard

Monstrous Halsted Whole Foods scallops (nice people over there), four each and too much food, really. Nice crust, slightly rare and a little sweet. Seared in salt, pepper and bacon fat and sprinkled with ponzu. No home scallops since June (?). Way too long.

Soba noodles sprinkled with sesame oil as a starch. I love them, Mrs. Ney, I think, tolerates them. Something about the raw, almost dark wheatiness about them that hits me right.

Chard cooked with shallots, lemon thyme, bacon fat, orange juice, ponzu, aleppo pepper
bacon and topped with pomegranate seeds. Mountain of rough, delicious, clean-you-out goodness. As we all look back on the past year and reflect on how we've grown, I came to marginally enjoy grapefruit juice...and respect the quality and tastiness of chard. Dandelion greens can still go to hell.

Mrs. Ney didn't expect much from this meal. Turned into a mountain of yumminess on the plate with flavors diverse and jumping everywhere.

And with a nice companion in the glass.

Wine: 2002 Prager Riesling Smaragd Durnsteiner Kaiserberg ($20 - WDC)

Some facts:

Grape: 100% Riesling
Designation: Smaragd (min. 12.5% alcohol, max. 9g/L of residual sugar - translation: the best, most balanced stuff)
Vineyard: Durnsteiner Kaiserberg (poorest soil, most sloped, farthest west vineyard in the Prager line)
Price: $20 - Wine Discount Center swoops in and gets tons of Prager like this one that may not have a huge shelf life and Parker or Wine Spectator gave a published short drinking window but are still drinking quite well. This one probably had a $50 release price.

Light orange peel and lemon right away with a smoky edge that came off like flint shavings. Slight but always present mineral core with a maple/orange custard finish. Lithe and almost pretty. Probably would have been stellar a few years ago but served us well. Fading but still lively enough acid to keep everything in place and nearly mouthwatering. Liked it. Almost loved it. Almost. Not as much precision and elegance that we've got from the Steinreigl bottlings but pleasing, friendly stuff here.

Pairing: 88 Welcoming, accommodating and even playful. We'd do it again

Tons of maple custard in the wine with the scallops that enhanced the medium-brown sear on the bivalve goodness.

Pleasing enough with the soba noodles, enhancing the orange notes and all minerals and rainwater with the chard.

The back-and-forth play led to a great diversity of flavors with nothing turning ugly. While not bowled over by anything, this was well-cooked food served with an interesting, inviting wine still showing well enough for us.

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