Tuesday, April 24, 2012

#272 - Polenta Panini & Roasted Beet Salad With '10 Palmina Malvasia Bianca

Winery website recipe eaten with a wine from the winery recommended for the recipe.  Or the other way around.  Potato, potahto.

They usually get it right.  And this one was right, delicious, pure, springy, new and just gosh darn wonderful.

I was thrilled enough with two Palmina reds to join their wine club because we typically have a jones for varietals grown in places not typically grown.

Palmina covers much of the better-known Italian grape spectrum and our experience with three of them, a nebbiolo, barbera and this malvasia, has just been the tops.

Lunch:  Polenta-anchovy-caper panini with lemon-yogurt dip and roasted beet salad

Recipe here.  Trader Joe's polenta cakes dredged in flour, egg and panko.  Filled with a paste made from anchovy, capers, garlic, EVOO and salt.  Deep-fried off until golden.

Lemon-yogurt dip to accompany the panini made from Greek yogurt, parsley, lemon, EVOO, salt and pepper.

Splendiferous!  Light with a depth only anchovies and capers can give. The sort of depth that gets all dirty  upfront but finishes with such a lift and freshness.  Great stuff.  Having them again, no question.

Roasted beet salad, also from the Palmina website and also a pairing rec with the wine.  A paste made from walnuts, anchovy paste, garlic, orange zest, orange juice, lemon juice, EVOO, salt and pepper, slathered all over the beets (after roasting), chopped up and thrown over arugula.

Probably the best beet prep we've had and we've had good beets. Sorta gremolata-y with a finer chop and more moisture.

One might think this meal was anchovy-heavy (which turns most of my customers off to the point of interrupting me constantly when I tell them the specials to express their firm and unflinching displeasure for the existence of anchovies) but it wasn't in the least.  When anchovies do what anchovies do, they're some of the most delicious things on the planet.

Great meal, new and needed, with a pretty great wine.

Wine:  2010 Palmina Malvasia Bianca Larner Vineyard ($26 - Winery)

Beautifully floral, to the point of Mrs. Ney comparing much of it to Perfum de vi Blanc.  Springy flowers giving way to an eruption of dandelions everywhere, with a sense that this wine is made for drinking on an 80-degree day after a long string of 50-degree days.  It's a wine of a time, a time where what's in the glass should pay homage to a sense of physical change happening.

Great saltiness at its core with bright lemon curd, a touch of tropical fruit notes and a hefty body that never wandered into heaviness.  Stayed bright, perfectly medium-bodied and complex with wonderful lift when needed.  Started to lose a wee touch towards the end but never lost that feeling of how great of a textbook malvasia this one is.

Want more.

Pairing:  92  Just spectacular and new with the polenta panini, a bit too dry with the beets

Fired on all cylinders with the polenta panini.  Those crazy Palmina people nailed it.  We thought the malvasia by itself was something pretty great.  The panini brought even more precision and clarity to the wine.  The saltiness, instead of showing itself as a delicious salty-fancy olive oil note that came when drunk by itself, served to expand out the flowers and citrus into something so broad with the panini.

The beets accented the dryness of the wine to the point of it losing some degree of complexity.  Didn't hate it but didn't love it either.

Overall, a pretty great meal that felt somewhat needed.

Fancy, delicious patio food and wine in many ways.

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