Tuesday, February 14, 2012

#251 - Blood Orange & Black Olive Tuna With '08 Antica Terra

Boy, the 2008 Oregon pinots are going to be a fun follow.

I have no idea if I'm going to love them but the development and life should be a long, great romp.

If only a touch more fresh acid on the finish existed.  IF. ONLY.

Right now...right now...the 2007 Antica Terra seems to be more together, more composed and expressive of what it is and is going to be.

The 2008 is a bit scatterbrained but precocious.  The talent is there but too many thoughts are floating around in its brain to know what it wants to be.  "I want to be a scientist!  I want to be a astronaut!"

There's no doubt this is going to be a good wine.  Right now, it's a waiting game. Delicious stuff but too all over the place to enjoy it by itself.  With food, with the best freakin' tuna on the planet, the wine followed the food lead like a good little soldier waiting for its time in the sun.

Food:  Blood orange, black olive and pomegranate seed tuna over frisée with Seeduction bread, rose petal jam and Kerrygold butter

Still.  Best.  Tuna.  Ever.  

Ubuntu in Napa and this tuna last January were two of the biggest surprises and best meals we had last year.

Can't say much more than what's already been said about this food.  Mrs. Ney added beets in the past and it was delicious but not particularly needed to get to such great heights.

The recipe:

Tuna: 12 oz piece: crusted with:
      (1 tsp coriander seeds
      1/2 tsp pink peppercorns
      1/2 tsp szechuan peppercorns
      seeds from 5 cardamom pods
      1/2 tsp fleur de sel
      4 thin slices peeled ginger,
      mashed all together in mortar & pestle - from Around My French Table)
Blood orange suprèmes and gaeta olives (shallot, thyme, cumin seeds, walnut oil)
All over frisée
Seeduction bread, Kerrygold butter, French rose petal jam

Probably the cleanest meal with some of the prettiest flavors in the world.

Deathbed meal in many ways.

Very good with the wine but we wanted the Ponzi/Ken Wright acid we've had with this tuna.

Wine:  2008 Antica Terra Pinot Noir Willamette Valley ($45 - WDC)

Bursted out of the glass upon first pop.  Screamed "BLAH! I'M OUT AND PROUD!!" with huge darker red fruits, twiggy mud, smoke and spice right away, bucking all over the place.  Threw it in the decanter 15 minutes before eating and it settled to a nice point.  Very young right now but tamable.

Swirling darker red fruits with a touch a creamy dark chocolate and a touch of mud dominated.  A big one.  Bit of tea but not prominent.  Bit of forest floor but not prominent.  Tasted overall like everything that Oregon pinot is but no single element or group of elements are taking the lead right now.  Not muddled, just not settled or showing direction.

That said, it's certainly enjoyable at present to an extent as it's showing some great structure, nice pause-worthy sips and chockablock with wonderful New World pinot nuggets.  I wonder how dark and brooding it will end up being.  Seems heading that way.  We worry about the acid finish.  Somewhat flat on the finish.  We missed the lift on the finish that provides that great Oregon coda, summing up all that came before.

Antica Terra, a wine from Maggie Harrison of Sine Qua Non fame, is too good not to buy at least once a vintage.  We thought that after the 2007.  The 2008 confirmed such things and seems like a prime candidate to see how a wine from a very ripe Oregon vintage settles in the hands of a good winemaker.

We didn't get into Oregon wines until the 2005 vintage so we haven't experienced this level of ripeness over time.  We liked this one well enough to think about getting another and following.  Could be an education.

Pairing:  89  It was about the tuna as it always is but the wine mostly kept up

A minimum level of pinot noir goodness sufficed here.

But without a match-matchy acid to match the pomegranate seeds, we both found it lacking that last great, important pairing element.  Some nice spice match-up helped and the wine had the guts to stand up to the olives in a pretty way, turning the wine darker, more gnarly and medium-bodied, like a glimpse into what it might become.

It was a pairing that was more "in the end, this was good" more than "by golly, each bite and sip is delicious!"

We really liked the flavors.  The flavors in the wine didn't extend the enjoyment of everything in its totality though in ways we've had in the past with other Oregon numbers and similar tuna preps, like Ponzi, Ken Wright and Evening Land or the Champagne wonder that is Larmandier-Bernier Rosé de Saignée.  Stayed in the conversation but never seriously challenged.

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