Thursday, August 7, 2014

Goat Rendang With 2011 Luis Pato Fernão Pires Beira Atlântico

Indonesian goat rendang with a Portuguese red that's made with 94% white grapes.

Goofy? Nuts?


This was a perfumey, delicious meal unlike anything we've ever had.

Saveur recipe, using goat (from Farm City on Devon), macadamia nuts, jarred lime leaf and low-fat coconut milk. Otherwise, everything else followed to the letter. Put over a pearl barley-farro mixture, topped with pomegranate seeds and mint, served with a side of roasted, multi-colored carrots spritzed with the juice of roasted lime.

We were mostly shocked with how perfumey everything was, in a good sense though, abutting the property of "Holy crap, that's perfumey!" but never falling into that lawn (really stretching it with that metaphor. Screw it. I'm leaving it).

Light, bright goat that never became overwhelmed by the healthy amount of fresh spice and four-hour simmer. This was balanced food offering fireworks in our mouths without becoming a spice bomb. Pomegranate seeds and mint freshened things up, pearl barley-farro starch tamed the rough edges. Just everything you'd want from new food. If we went to a restaurant for the first time and I ate this, 10 more visits would follow to chase that great first experience.

Served with 2011 Luis Pato Fernão Pires Beira Atlântico ($28 - Lush), a blend of 94% fernão pires and 6% baga. So...94% is the white grape, ferñao pires, and 6% is the red grape, baga. Yet this wine is a red with the color, strut, and complete feel of a floral red wine. Smelled like Oregon pinot noir (ringer for Ponzi), tasted like the fruity-floral first half of a Beaujolais, and had a bass guitar background beat of a Loire cabernet franc. Red berries and white flowers, with bitter cacao nib notes. Wet tobacco leaf at times. Medium-to-light but with wild guts and verve in every sip. Pretty finishing lift that summarized everything that came before quite beautifully. Read about it here. Luis Pato is a wonder. We might be taking a side trip in a month or so.

See that Nat Decants food and wine pairing widget to the right? Put in beef rendang and baga shows up, so we ran with it. Fernão pires is a spicy, floral white grape (maria gomes by another name). Baga is a red grape with high acidity and produces wines with surprising structure for how light it can come off. Mix those two together and we got a wine that stood up rather admirably to the spice in this dinner. It retreated from the challenge for a split-second with every bite and sip, only to come back stronger and more fully than it was by itself. It was complete, lifting, refreshing and entirely interesting with this food, changing into about eight different expressions with each slightly different food bite combination, with every expression very much welcome and fascinating, with a great Portuguese dirt note throughout.

I don't know how this worked at this level, but it did.  

Eat more goat, people. And drink wild Luis Pato wine with it.

It makes both better.

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