Thursday, June 9, 2011

#197 - Chicken Piccata, Roasted Potatoes & Arugula With '09 Coenobium Lazio Bianco

Tasted like feet.

On a recent trip to Wine Discount Center, Mrs. Ney asked for a funky white wine recommendation and that's what she got - this wine that's the definition of a funky white with an interesting story behind it.

Organically grown by sisters of the Cistercian order, the juice of the grapes see prolonged contact with the skins and isn't fined or filtered, resulting in an old school wine from an old school Benedictine group of sisters housed about 60 km north of Rome in Lazio.

The $27 price tag and how it showed last night wouldn't make us run out to get more and, not being Catholic, I can't fudge the rules and claim it as part of my tithe, but in the deliciously oxidized white wine world, it had its moments.

Food:  Chicken piccata, roasted potatoes and arugula

A longtime weeknight meal heavily in the rotation that became supplanted by Sandwich Day a few years ago, it was nice to return to the simplicity and tasty lemon-caper-chicken juice goodness that is chicken piccata.  Homey stuff.

Chicken stock reduced a touch longer than normal, offering a touch more of a salty angle but never distracted while bringing a more concentration to the sauce, making for a more chicken essence.  The standard chicken piccata recipe:  chicken breasts dredged in flour and fried up, reduction of chicken stock, unsalted butter, olive oil, capers, lemon peels and parsley cooked and reduced in the chicken breast pan with the leftover fried bits.

Roasted russet potatoes done up with olive oil and rosemary, sea salt and pepper.

Simple arugula salad to finish.

Homey, familiar flavors in the best sense and a nice return to a house favorite.  Well-seasoned floured breading, caper brininess throughout without dominating, bright lift from the lemon peel, all the stuff that makes chicken piccata, an American spin on an Italian style, good stuff.  And the leftover reduction on the plate offered a delicious dressing to sop up with the arugula.  Nothing fancy but hit a spot.

Wine:  2009 Monastero Suore Cistercensi Coenobium Lazio Bianco IGT ($27 - WDC)

Grapes:  45% Trebbiano, 35% Malvasia and 20% Verdicchio

Feety.  Pretty feety.  In a good way.  Tons of residue floating around in this unfiltered offering, bringing an almost yeasty richness to an unusual and, at times, tasty wine.

Falls into the oxidized white realm offering a sherry note throughout with pear fruit juice and wee touch of smoked olive oil popping up here and there.  Brighter and lighter than other oxidative offerings we've had though with an acid lift at its core that kept the (mostly undistinguished) fruit front and center and minerals jumping around back to front.  Honeysuckle and sherry nuts with a bit of pear would be the best summary, coming off like a strange Rhône white and a Jurançon had a baby and then someone stuck their sweaty foot into it.  Malvasia asserted itself nicely, lending a touch of cream to edges that needed it.

Don't know if it ever got out of the 'interesting to try' world, though.  Layered and intriguing but missed that extra layer to make it something more than interesting.  A more focused minerality would have been welcome and for a wine with a 12.5% ABV, the alcohol separated itself out on occasion.

Pairing:  84  Little to recommend but a pleasing enough match with the minerals and salt

This wasn't a salty meal in the least but the best part of the pairing came from the intermingling with the minerals in the wine and the salt in the food.  Made everything come off rocky and 'of a place,' which was nice.  Made a wine that was interesting but not necessarily distinctive and focused into something that tasted almost that.

But overall, there wasn't much that made the pairing something wanted.

A chilled and open bottle of Quinta do Crasto Branco from the fridge brought to the (coffee) table just to see how it would perform made for a more pleasurable mingling of flavors with the wine's honeydew water and minerals offering something to refresh and cleanse some of the darker, briny elements of the sauce in the chicken piccata.

No comments:

Post a Comment