Thursday, August 4, 2011

#213 - Beet Gazpacho, Moroccan-y Lamb Over Rice & Carrot Salad With an '07 Beaume-de-Venise

I think I can declare the White Sox dead after last night's monkey-hump, which means they'll go on a run.  That's how my declarations usually go.

In other news, check out this week's New Yorker story on the details of the raid on the Bin Laden compound in Abbottabad.  Great read.

Back to the grub and juice.  And back to the recipes of Jamie Oliver along with another 2007 Rhône.

This bottle fell in the same vein as the Domaine Grand Veneur Clos de Sixte from Tuesday, also showing a surprisingly light touch driven by earth and herbs with the fruit supporting the lead actors.

For a hugely ripe vintage that the big critics said was a classic and the smaller (read: probably better) ones calling it overblown and overripe, we've had six or seven on the lower end of cost spectrum that have mostly been quite graceful, restrained and not at all overripe.

While the wine was fine stuff, the food led the way here.

Food:  Beet gazpacho, Moroccan-y lamb over rice and Indian carrot salad

Beet, cherry and pepper gazpacho, served cold and topped with mint.  From The New Spanish Table cookbook.  An intense red in the bowl and pure flavors on the tongue.  So darn coolly refreshing and clean with beets hitting the mouth first in a big rush followed by a framework of cherries and a slight pepper hint at the core.  Delicious.

Moroccan-y ground lamb over rice with carrots, a modified version of this Jamie Oliver recipe of Indian carrot salad, this one made more Moroccan than Indian with the substitution of ras el hanout instead of garam masala, the addition of pistachios and served over a Middle Eastern-style rice.

A base of rice made with coriander, cumin and orange zest.  Ground lamb over the top, seasoned with cumin, pistachio and isot pepper, a delicious and dark spice that tasted like oil-cured black olives and dirt.  A carrot salad next to the lamb/rice pile done up with shallots and a dressing of lemon zest and juice, ginger, cumin and maresh pepper.

It was about the cumin and the Moroccan momma hash, like a Moroccan version of Sunday family food.   Entirely a spice-driven meal with darker spice perked up by the addition of ginger and lemon and the freshness of the carrots.  A back-and-forth beauty in every sense.

Both of us thought that there just couldn't be anything else in terms of flavors that we would want or need.  Pretty great stuff.

Wine:  2007 Domaine de Fenouillet Terres Blanches Rouge Beaumes de Venise ($19 - WDC)

One hour decant as a tart blueberry Fun Dip powder dominated right out of the bottle.

Settled down nicely, turning into a soil-driven wine.  Biodynamic.  60% grenache, 20% syrah, 10% old vines mourvèdre and 10% cinsault.  Another wine where the mourvèdre seemed to play a big part as this one is a different expression of a grenache-heavy wine than I'm used to seeing.

Medium-bodied with a dirt-covered blueberry/blackberry blend framing the wine but more of a seamless and light touch of fruit led by a dash of potting soil and violets and a wisp of smoke.  A bit of a lip-smacking tartness but defined more by the illustration of a lighter-bodied number exploring the lighter end of the darker world, like dancing on the fringes but never delving too deep.  Seamless and almost pretty while leaving me thinking about it more than I thought I would after the first taste.  Tasted like walking the dog and watching a threatening storm on the horizon blow past without hitting.  First relief, then cool breezes, then interesting colors in the sky.

A nice bargain here.

Pairing:  88  Fine enough with some of the spices playing into the wine

Probably would have liked a heftier Oregon pinot noir expression here as some tea and cola would have expanded the flavor interaction a bit more but much to like with the Domaine de Fenouillet and the spices.

The food was the star but the darker hues in the wine played into the cumin, coriander and isot pepper nicely.  Mostly, the wine stayed itself with a few nice plays into the food and that was okay with the both of us.

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