Thursday, May 24, 2012

#278 - Yogurt/Saffron-Marinated Top Sirloin & Potatoes With '04 Resalte de Peñafiel De Restia Crianza

A Selbach-Oster dinner at Yusho on Tuesday left me contemplating buying another cellar.  Mr. Johannes made the night something to remember. Great guy.

Home classic revisited yesterday after a moderately long absence.

The 'home classic'-ness came from a marinade of saffron, onions, yogurt, ginger, lemon juice and olive oil.

Stupid great with bison and '07 Duorum Reserva.

So good with flank steak and duck fat potatoes that it trumped Portuguese buggy-bear love, the '04 Quinta do Vale Meão.

With the ubiquitous pan-Mediterranean flavors in the marinade, your wine direction is pretty open, but we've always loved the Spanish-Portuguese connection, something with a smoky, mineral undertone.

Ribera fits like a glove.

Food: Yogurt/saffron-marinated top sirloin, rosemary-garlic potatoes and arugula salad

Whole Foods top sirloin this time. Good meat but loaded with connective tissue, something top sirloin typically has and typically leaves us buying something else. Medium-rare, great nuggets of char, the marinade oozed into the meat beautifully and most bites were happy-slappy. Didn't finish it. If bison or flank or hanger were there, I'm betting that plate would have been clean.

An almond, gaeta olive, parsley, sherry vinegar, paprika, garlic and olive oil tapenade glop over the top of the beef. It's Spanish delight.

Rosemary and garlic roasted potatoes with a piquillo pepper yogurt dipping sauce. Hello, friend. It's been awhile.

Arugula salad to finish.

This meal didn't reinvent the wheel but was such a great walk down memory lane.

Beating a dead horse here but after Monday's fava-corn-avocado salad with delicious chicken and salsa verde and mahi mahi tacos upon our return, these were the flavors we missed in Portland; something that bores itself into your food soul. Food that wakes up your senses.

Shame we didn't stock up on the wine for this meal.

Wine: 2004 Resalte de Peñafiel de Restia Crianza Select Harvest Ribera del Duero ($17 - Binny's)

#23 on the 2011 Wine Spectator Top 100.

Dirt cheap and all Ribera. Rare thing, that.

Dominated by the region's signature smoky notes, this one was a surprise given its lack of black fruit. All dark-dark-dark red berry and cherry notes mixed with a touch of tobacco and a very pretty mineral core that kept everything in line, swirling and refreshing. Leans more toward dry as the smoke isn't as sweet as many from the region.

Opened about a half-hour before and liked its place. Over the course of the hour-and-a-half meal, it showed a great arc, constantly (and subtly) changing to an end of something more basic yet still defined. It's a wine that gives the appearance of bigness but never goes all the way there, as good Ribera does so well.

In the end, it had that Ribera 'it' factor in spades, all wrapped in an under $20 price tag.

It's not going to blow you away with its individuality. It's just going to give you all the Ribera goods in a right and proper package.

Pairing: 90 Familiar and simple and delicious at every turn

The yogurt, saffron and onion in the marinade slid right into the minerals in the wine to great effect, tightly linking each to the other. Smoke in the wine with the char on the meat = good. Same with the rosemary-garlic potatoes and the dark fruit deliciousness.

No weird turns on the night, just food with a big, yet graceful Spanish core and a Spanish wine with the nuts to stand up to it without being a bully.

Great dance.  

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