Tuesday, October 23, 2012

#305 - Five Spice-Rubbed "Hanging Tenders" & Sweet Potato Fries With '10 Owen Roe Lady Rosa Syrah

During a wine tasting at Owen Roe last May, as we became a lil tipsy and frolicked in the joy of the wine we were tasting, a flurry of box-checking next to the wines we loved and wanted to purchase left us in a state of confusion afterwards.

"What in the heck did we just buy?"

It wasn't until a couple of weeks later, when we received the wine, that we saw what happened that day.

All we know is that we bought three of the Lady Rosa Syrah so...we must have liked it. Right?

That question was answered last night and, while this one still needs some time, happy smoky loveliness in the glass was the result, something that played into the five spice-rubbed meat and sweet potato goodness to a point of pretty enough pairing pleasure, if not perfection.

Food: Five-spice "hanging tenders" with sweet potato fries and adobo-orange zest mayo for dipping

"Hanging tenders" being another name for hanger steak. $7.99/lb at Whole Foods. Stupid-great bargain here for beef with juicy, luscious depth and meat that takes to rubs like Romney to platitudes.

Rub of five-spice, smoked hot paprika, soy sauce and garlic, seared medium-rare, rested, sliced, mint dumped on the top.

Alexia sweet potato waffle fries (with a coupon, we got these down to two bucks!). Dipping mayo flavored with adobo sauce from a chipotle can and orange zest.

Meat and starch. But more. It's a house favorite. Gussy up some good cheap meat with deep spice and flavor up some mayo to dip a starch into because that's the truth.

And pop a wine that wants the largesse.

Wine:  2010 Owen Roe Lady Rosa Syrah Yakima Valley ($40 - Winery)

Three hour decant (and triple decant) and it merely budged just enough to offer a peek into what it's going to offer in the coming years.

Reticent fruit with plums and blueberries deep down there but cranberry showing more right now. Delicious, three-dimensional smoke blowing everywhere. Like somebody just started a huge mesquite smoker right next to a roaring brush fire, which personally sounds a little dangerous. Complex, spicy and swirling smokiness that also tasted like somebody was experimenting with putting cloves into the fire to, you know, just see what happens. And then thought that was quite genius so dumping an entire shaker of black pepper on top of it would be even more genius ("There are no bad ideas, Lemon. Just great ideas gone horribly wrong.").

Silky, juicy, yet trending towards thicker texture here and tannins not entirely getting in the way but every once in awhile saying, "Hello. Remember me? I'm still here." A finish that was strangely reminiscent of smoked peaches, bringing a bright changeover to an admirable acid lift.

A bit confused right now, like a precocious 10 year-old that has thoughts and won't shut up about them. But this seems to be heading towards being something quite delicious. All the elements are there to offer a smoky, peppery, meaty number with nicely low-ish alcohol for a syrah (14.3%). As this ages and the elements begin to streamline, integrate and calm down, the complexity of this wine could be something special. Everything is in place. We'll check in a couple years.

Pairing:  89  A wine that's just a puppy but food flavors that chiseled its way through to reveal some nice surprises

A lot of matching up of flavors in the spice realm helped to pry open the wine. On its own, it came off a touch too thick and bucking. With food, a relaxing of its muscles occurred in the wine with less of a proclivity to thump its chest, like a therapist got it to say, "Well...I guess it really all started with my father...."

We saw more interesting smoke and deep spice in the wine with a bite of sweet potato fries and adobo mayo. We saw more complexity overall with a bite of meat and mint, bringing it to a place of near balance and loveliness.

This is going to be a good wine. Not yet, though. Just too young in every respect.

But with this food, it was like a free extended movie preview where nearly all its secrets were revealed. The preview didn't tell us what the pace, flow and payoff is going to be but what we saw told us that we'll stand in line and gladly pay to see the entire movie.    

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