Tuesday, October 11, 2011

#227 - Dry-Aged Filet And Potato Cakes With '05 Clos Apalta

Anniversary Dinner!  Number Seven.

Crap.  Now I have the Grizzly Adams theme song in my head.

With a sick dog, we didn't have the option to celebrate the occasion out on the town, but last night we got flavors that didn't taste like home flavors, so mission accomplished in many ways.

A carménère/cabernet blend is not home flavors (or 'out' flavors either).

A roasted vegetable chimichurri.  Not home flavors.

A zucchini/carrot veg medley.  Not home flavors.

The whole meal didn't taste like home and we liked it.

Don't need it again but we liked it.

Food:  21 day dry-aged beef filet, potato cakes and zucchini/carrot medley with chimichurri

Fox & Obel dry-aged beef filet.  Bone-in, which was new and odd to us.  Great rare to medium-rare.  Simple salt and pepper sear.  Tasty but came off popcorny.  Less buttery and well-marbled than previous cuts we've had but settled into the realm of perfectly good, fancy beef without leaving a particularly large impression on us.  Middle of the pack in our dry-aged world.

Potato cakes made with Rogue Smokey Blue cheese.  Best part of the meal along with the chimichurri.  Soft and gooey playing well with the great char dancing with the blue cheese.  A dollop of chimichurri, made with roasted vegetables to mimic the days it typically takes to get to the point of chimichurri authentic goodness (made with balsamic instead of red wine vinegar), with the cakes were the winner of the night.

A zucchini/carrot vegetable medley that reminded us of mid-tier restaurant 'out' food but gussied up with a drag through the chimichurri pile.

We liked this food, enjoyed this food, and probably won't have it again.

So...a South American accent on the plate to mingle with the carménère and beef to go with the cabernet in the wine.

Should have approached goodness and it did.

Wine:  2005 Casa Lapostolle Clos Apalta Colchagua Valley ($80 - Sam's)

Grapes:  42% Carménère, 28% Cabernet Sauvignon, 26% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot
Vintage (WS):  93 Drink or hold Long, moderate growing season consistent through all valleys. Reds show lots of ripe, soft tannins; Cabernet excelled.

#1 on the 2008 Wine Spectator Top 100.  This one started out at $60, shot up to $80 the day WS named it #1 and currently sells for $120.

Two hour decant and it needed three or more.  Big blueberry nose before the decant but a wall of tannin.  After an hour in the decanter, tons of dark, dark chocolate on the nose.  Herbed up red fruits on the nose at the start of dinner.

Tons of evolvement over 3 1/2 hours but settled into a wine that wasn't quite ready.  Big boy. The tannins settled down nicely but mostly (delicious) secondary flavors showed throughout the bulk of the meal, showing solid lead-graphite mineral-type elements wrapped in charcoal briquets, dark chocolate, sage-driven herbs and a long, nearly great finish.  Dry, dry, dry in a good way (driest wine I've had in a long time).  Fruit was sufficiently hidden most of the meal but towards the end, an intense blueberry and smoky red fruit component popped up, bringing the wine into a nice balance.

We missed the decant on this one but enjoyed watching it evolve and open up, tasting its evolution at each point.  Given that we had very little feelings about this wine as it sat in our cellar, the fact that it wasn't quite ready was okay with us.  Cabernet just isn't our bag and the cabernet right now is certainly leading the party.

A well-made wine that would please a lot of people, pleased us, but nothing we'd drop the dollars on to watch it progress.

Pairing:  88  Had a fancy steakhouse feel to it and we don't have any compulsion to eat at fancy steakhouses

There was nothing technically right about the interaction between the potato-chimichurri combo and the wine but we probably liked that best.  A lil acid perk in the wine showed through and something that echoed a carménère personality popped up, which is what we wanted more than anything from this wine and didn't quite get.  Nothing in the world of great with the beef but not too shabby with the veg medley and chimichurri.

In the end, it was a wine that tastes like an New School winemaker from the Old World making wine in the New World but trying to get Old World characteristics in there while satisfying the New World cab lovers with its generosity of big flavors.  In other words, I could taste the thought process a bit in the glass.  A serious wine, just not really a seriousness I want to listen to.

The entire business last night tasted like a nice evening out at a Chicago steakhouse where we went with the notion that this trip was just for funnsies, have a nice meal at a ridiculous price and most likely never return.

And that was the result we got at home as well.

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