Wednesday, May 25, 2011

#192 - Ropa Vieja-ish Flank Steak & Yuca Fries With '06 Mas De Maha

With this, our last bottle of the 2006 Villa Creek Mas De Maha has been drunk.

Our love was quick and firm with this wine, becoming infinitely more firm when we found out how perfect it went with Cuban and Cuban-inspired food.

That's been a pairing that sits in the top-five in our food and wine world, anything Cubany with Mas De Maha and you got yourself a party in your mouth and everyone's invited.

Last night was the best yet.  The wine found itself a second life about a year ago, turning from a Tempranillo-dominated show with the Grenache and Mourvèdre serving as a great supporting cast to something more light and subtle with all sorts of raspberry notes in every form possible exploding everywhere.

A price drop on this wine about a year and a half ago from $31 to $22, probably caused by the Parker review that limited its drinking window to 4-5 years out from bottling, left me leery that it would last if I jumped in and bought a case.

That's too bad because it's sailing along in its second life quite well right now.

And again, with Cuban-ish food, we had a pairing last night that touched the realm of perfect.

Food:  Roja vieja-ish flank steak and yuca fries with pan sauce mayo

Flank steak marinated à la "Flank Steak With Garlic, Oregano, Orange and Cumin", courtesy of the New York Times.

One red pepper, one green pepper, one red onion, roasted garlic: sautéed.  Chariot Gypsy wine, reduced; beef stock, reduced; one can Muir Glen roasted tomatoes; simmered with cinnamon sticks, cloves, fresh oregano, bay leaves and a splash red wine vinegar.

Meat prepared separately.  Medium-rare flank steak served over a heaping mound of pepper-onion-tomato business that mimicked all the flavors of Cuban-style ropa vieja, just without the shredding of the meat and long stewing.  Came off Californian in the sense of taking old preparations from other cultures and giving them a fresh take both in preparation and taste.  Beautiful stuff that tasted like an elevated deliciousness while still being about to taste every ingredient put into it.

Yuca fries served with mayo combined with tomato-ey liquid spooned from onion-pepper mess.  Probably the best mayo dipper yet and that's saying something.

That's it.  Meat and fries.  No vegetable or green this time due to the fibrous wonder that was Semiramis.

What we got was an entirely wanted meal in every sense.  Stupid Great Stuff.

Wine:  2006 Villa Creek Mas De Maha Paso Robles ($22 - Binny's)

60% Tempranillo, 20% each of Grenache and Mourvèdre

Go here to see the progression of the last five drinkings of this bottle.  Saw some graying around the edges in October only to see it found its second wind for Super Bowl Sunday.  Last night's showing confirmed what we thought in February, this one had a solid and long second phase and was just waiting for itself to settle down and find it.

Drinking wonderfully right now, exhibiting all the characteristics we've seen in the past but in a softer yet vibrant way.  The Tempranillo is, for the most part, done strutting its stuff though some particular Tempranillo-type leather popped up on occasion.  The band is gone, the music's wound down and the Grenache and Mouvèdre have taken over for the after-party.  Tons of delicate raspberry notes, vacillating between seeded and seedless, sweetened and unsweetened, bunches throughout the meal with a low-alcohol raspberry liqueur holding serve underneath.  The finish has become a touch shorter and softer but the acid is still quite present and keeps the three-act play in line.  Wonderful secondary flavors of cinnamon, clove and darker fruit juiciness that played right into the ropa vieja and showed as if they weren't going to disappear or get out of whack anytime soon.

Such (and still) a lovely wine and tasted like it was made for the food.

Pairing:  97  If there's a God, He made this

Or that's what it felt like anyway.  Something otherworldly and the definition of exactly the type of melding we want now and always.

There's still a California freshness to the Mas De Maha that slid right into the cracks of the Californian freshness of the Cuban-inspired preparation of the food.

If someone was ever skeptical about how food and wine go together, we'd give them this meal because it would be impossible to ignore how the meal became so much more with the wine.

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