Thursday, December 29, 2011

#240 - Linguiça, Potato-Kale Hash & Manchego With '07 Vallado Tinto

In July of 2010, we paired this wine with duck leg stew and a tapa spread.

Delicious wine by itself then, but not delicious with the food.

I remember the flavors and pairing of that meal pretty well.  Reading that post now after seeing how this wine showed last night, it's pretty obvious that it wasn't ready to go a year and a half ago.  Tannins were just opening and becoming accommodating enough then but everything else hadn't come out of its shell quite yet.  Throw on a gravy-like duck leg entrée and the fact that Portuguese reds typically scream for food less subtle and stewish, I don't think the wine had much of a chance.

Portuguese reds want simple, bold flavors with less complete integration.  They want a little char, a little bitter, a little starch.  They want rustic to match their rustic guts and then use that as a launching pad to expand out from there.

Last night's meal was that and the wine was true to form.  Textbook, really.  Mrs. Ney nailed it.  The wine tasted like War by itself.  All iron and blood with churned up earth.  With a bite of potato-kale hash and linguiça, an expanding balloon of dark but sparkly and round plum completed the delicious frame and turned this wine into one of the best showings of a $20 wine we've ever had.

I thought this wine was worth every bit of the $20 price tag a year and a half ago but probably not much more.  I was wrong.  This one's plays well above its price and has plenty of drinking life ahead.

Food:  Linguiça, potato-kale hash, marinated manchego, fig-almond cake and baguette

Paulina Meat Market sliced linguiça next to a modified Pyrenean potato-kale hash (cake) from a recipe in The New Spanish Table cookbook, using one sweet potato mixed with regular potatoes, onions, garlic and olive oil while omitting the pancetta.  It's sort of like a Spanish tortilla minus the egg.  With the linguiça on the side, it turned into a deconstructed hash with the cake falling apart on the plate and becoming one of the more perfect bites of food in months.  Soul-satisfying stuff here.

Manchego marinated in extra virgin olive oil with rosemary, bay leaves, garlic and black peppercorns.  The addition of bay leaves and black peppercorns is a new one for us, usually sticking to simply rosemary and olive oil.  Winner, winner with the bay leaves and peppercorns.

Baguette for dipping in the marinade - wasn't needed.

A Spanish fig-almond prepared cake that's been sitting in the cupboard for awhile.  Not a sweet cake, staying just on the right side of savory with only a natural sweetness from the figs tempered by the almonds.

Dense and delicious, it served as a post-meal finish only nominally resembling dessert but settling like you want a dessert to settle, becoming a great coda to the meal.

We've abandoned the tapas spread recently as we sort of exhausted it in 2010 (like plantain chicken), moving away from  Spanish/Portuguese wines this year in favor of Washington, Champagne, white Burgundy and other regions we've wanted to explore.

Great return here and this food seemed a perfect platform to showcase this wine.

Wine:  2007 Quinta do Vallado Tinto Douro ($20 - Binny's)

Grape: Touriga Franca (30%), Touriga Nacional (25%), Tinta Roriz (20%),
Sousão (5%) and Vinhas Velhas (20%)
Region: Douro Valley
Vintage (WS):  96  A cool, wet spring and summer cut yields by 20 percent, but ideal harvest weather delivered optimal ripeness

I've said pretty much everything that needed to be said about this showing.  It's at a great place right now, just starting stretch its legs, like our new dog after we wake her up from a long nap to get her outside.  Up, stretched and ready for business.  Absolutely tasted like War.  Great touches of iron, blood and earth by itself that would be delicious by itself in the afternoon with a cigar.

With food, the nicely integrated (seemingly grilled) plum showed up with wee (not twee) touches of Asian spice that announced its Portugueseness.  Savory, medium-dark and dry, it's a confident bugger, pushing out its chest without being overbearing in the least, with tannins in a great place and alcohol entirely woven into its structure.

We had this one in July of 2010 and then again at the winery in September of 2010.  It's never shown this well.  Not even close.  Beautiful stuff worth so much more than $20.  Years left.

Pairing:  94  Can't ask for much more

Tasted like vacation.  Like a moment on vacation with all its newness, sense of place, sense of time in the day, sense of having nothing to do, no work to go to and having a surprisingly delicious meal at a restaurant chosen on a whim on a beautiful day with lazy inclinations in your bones and knowing that for now, at this time, you're not accountable to anybody or anything.  We have a meal like this and know it's going to be remembered with fondness.

So playful.  The wine highlighted the kale beautifully with the potato rounding out the edges in the wine and the linguiça perking up a spicy, earthy, gritty goodness.

I liked this meal.  Can you tell?

No comments:

Post a Comment