Thursday, May 19, 2011

#190 - Hanger Steak Adobada, Potatoes & Arugula With '08 Firehouse Red

Hey, look, I spelled hanger steak right.  I'm growing (shakes head).

I didn't expect a $15, short-windowed wine would need an hour and a half in the decanter.

A half-hour wasn't nearly enough, leaving us with a wine that, for over half of the meal, offered little outside of new oak and tannin.  We could feel that it desperately wanted to get there, wanted to come out and play but once it did, much of the food on the plate was already consumed.

Zinfandel was the call with this meal.  Or the similarly-priced Schild Estate GMS.

We hadn't had hanger steak in five months and this one was one of the best we've had and it very much wanted a better pairing to help it take off.

On a baseball note, the Angels haven't scored a run in 21 innings.  Runs are important. They help you win games.  In the immortal words of my former baseball coach, "I think if we score more runs than the other team, we might have a chance to win this one."

Just a thought.

Food:  Adobo-marinated hanger steak, potatoes with Michael Symon Worcestershire mayo, arugula and chimichurri 

A recipe from The Week magazine that sounds delicious and it was.  The only alteration was the use of specific chilies, going with ancho, casabel and mulato.  Not spicy hot, just tons of depth all over the place.  Chilies dominated but it was the secondary flavors that lingered so well.  Cloves and allspice jumped out with everything coming together to create a taste somewhat foreign yet deliciously familiar.  A perfect medium-rare sear.  Five months since the last hanger steak meal?  Really?

Potatoes done up in rosemary, sprinkled with chorizo bits and served with Michael Symon Worcestershire mayo.  Essentially, Mrs. Ney wanted mayonnaise and everything else was coming along for the ride.  The meal far exceeded that expectation but this was Good potato-chorizo-mayo business.

Arugula salad tossed in chimichurri (parsley, mint, oregano, sherry vinegar and extra virgin olive oil) with more chimichurri on the side to do as we please, something that ended up helping the wine open up more quickly with the greens and hanger.

It was better meal than Mrs. Ney thought.  Delicious stuff and made us realize how long it's been since we'd had what used to be a staple in our house.  Hanger steak done well is some great stuff.

The end result made me lament the choice of the wine.

Wine:  2008 Tamarack Cellars Firehouse Red Columbia Valley ($15 - WDC)

#49 on the Wine Spectator Top 100.  The definition of a kitchen sink blend with eight grape varieties coming from all over Washington with even each of the varieties coming from multiple locations.  For instance, the blend in 37% Cabernet.  The Cabernet grapes came from five different vineyards alone.  30% Syrah from three different vineyards, 16% Merlot from five different vineyards, and so on.

Half-hour decant.  On the nose pop-n-fresh, creamy smoked raspberries.  Held back by tannin and oak on the initial sip but didn't seem like so much that a quick decant wouldn't cure.  I was wrong.

Took forever to get out of the gates with the oak and tannin being stubborn little buggers.  Once it did, it became almost quite interesting.  The initial nose showed up on the palate with a nice core of creamy red and black raspberries with a proper touch of liquid smoke and medium length.  But the shock to us were the currant/graphite/pencil shaving notes.  We don't drink Cabernet.  Just don't.  And the Cabernet character left me simultaneously intrigued and mildly turned off.  It was the oak that was the turn-off.  Once the oak dissipated a little, the pencil case shavings became more graphite-like and turned interesting but with the short decant and how it showed with most of the meal, we couldn't really get a great sense of the potential of the wine.

Pairing:  78  Confused and jumbled, curious but ultimately not much to speak of

If we just had a big bowl of arugula with a ton of chimichurri dumped all over it, this might have been a delicious pairing because that's really the only thing that worked.

Best with the arugula and chimichurri and almost good with a bite of hanger steak and a ton of chimichurri on it.  Apparently, the wine needed a hefty herbaceous blend and/or bitterness from the arugula to cancel out some of the oaky tannin and get to the goods.

We ate well and that was enough last night.  

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