Thursday, January 26, 2012

#246 - TK Chicken & Pea Risotto With '09 Daniel Chotard Sancerre

Weird winter.  Great winter.

The kind of winter in Chicago that doesn't make me feel like winter is never going to end.  The kind of winter I like - something that feels more like an extended respite from nice weather as opposed to typical Chicago winters, which usually feel like a test of one's soul.

Last night's meal tasted like spring, or a precursor to spring, or an announcement of a forthcoming spring - helped by the fact that it's felt all winter like spring will, in fact, arrive.  Past winters rarely offered such building hope so early or at all.  Nice thing, that.  Kept me spry.  Maybe not this spry, but spry enough.

Spring flavors and spring wine in the dead of winter that hasn't felt like the "dead of winter" in the least.  If you run into someone in Chicago griping about this winter, tell them to shove it.  This has been awesome.

Food:  TK Chicken, pea risotto and mâche salad

$4-4lb. baby chicken kickin' it Thomas Keller style.  Good chicken, just the right amount of salt in the skin with good enough meat.  Served more as an accoutrement to the brilliant and springy pea risotto, which was just the tops.

Pea risotto made with leeks, onions, chicken stock and peas.  All four flavors bled into the arborio starchy-oozy goop so beautifully.  I can a bit sappy about the arrival of spring.  It's probably baseball-related more than anything.  But meals like this I remember for a long time.  They become part of some sort of psychological transition from winter to spring.  It did last year with a very similar meal (and a spectacular Sancerre).  This one falls into that same vein, made mostly possible by the deliciousness of the risotto.

Whole-grain mustard to accompany the chicken and both of us thought it kinda made the meal, turning it into a meal with a wee-bit of a Frenchy direction, broadening things out and completing it.  Basil and parsley dumped over everything.

Mâche salad to finish.

We were giddy after eating this meal.  The wine had a baseline goodness that helped as well.

Wine:  2009 Daniel Chotard Sancerre Blanc ($25 - Binny's)

Imported by Kermit Lynch.  Put that on a bottle and it's in the cart.  Sustainably farmed, organic composting, extended time on its lees until bottling, no malolactic fermentation, bottled unfined and unfiltered, all the goodies.

A smoked grapefruit note with some of that smoked grapefruit used to make a creamsicle defined the wine.  A minimum goodness and quality found in every aspect.  Perfect dryness. Nice minerality defined by its limestone chalky core with a touch of flint.  Solid acid.  Touch of chive.  Nice background citrus led by lime.  Medium length to the finish.  A lot to like. A quality Sancerre in our world.  We didn't fall in love with it but tons of quality floating around to very much like.

Pairing:  92  Boosted by the springy notes in such a great way

The entire meal was a surprise to both of us.  We expected chicken and pea risotto with a wine to match and we got something so much more, becoming a meal to remember for weeks as opposed to a meal we might forget in a week or less.

The wine excelled most with the risotto. Every element found a harmony in the best possible way.  But the quality of the winemaking was demonstrated by how it showed with everything on the plate, displaying a nice backbone with chicken and mustard, even the mâche.

Brilliant meal.

Pitchers and catchers = less than a month.

No comments:

Post a Comment