Tuesday, March 20, 2012

#262 - Strawberry Caprese With Ponzi Rosato & Vadouvan Roasted Chicken With Marc Hebrart

Quickie today.

A lunch and dinner recap for cataloguing purposes.

Lunch:  Strawberries, cherry tomatoes, mozzarella, basil, evoo and balsamic with baguette and butter

A slight alteration from a favorite Monday lunch with the inclusion of the strawberries, taken from Around My French Table (still finding uses for that book in nice ways).  Much like the French pot chicken from the same book, we had good grub, tasty grub, and grub we probably won't make again.  Well...it fall into a 'maybe' category.  Something about the utter freshness of a traditional caprese with its olive oil playing with the cheese and tomato in such a pure way was missed here.  Nonetheless, this had a hot patio feel to it.  Pleasant, slightly sweet strawberry juice added a nice change of pace.

The 2010 Ponzi Rosato ($15 - Winery) was a shocker.  A rosé of pinot noir, it was all beautifully cooked pork chop with herbs, pinky meat juice and bone, with virtually zero fruit. Sa-Vory!  As savory a rosé as we've ever had, making for a more than merely pleasant diversion.  We'd buy more.  This has a big place.  But since it's not available in town, with shipping and such, it puts it into a realm of thinking twice about it.  Low 20s?  Ummm....

Pairing:  The two times we've eaten downstairs at Chez Panisse, Becker Lane pork loin alla toscana was the entrée.  Both times, we felt only this place could taste like that.  The first time, pork loin, strawberry ice cream and cherry tomatoes played prominently in the menu.  This lunch left a near carbon-copy impression of that meal.  Except no Boz Scaggs or Boz Scaggs wine.  Nice stuff that echoed a unique, gosh-darn good experience.  Pairing Score:  87

Dinner:  Vadouvan-rubbed roasted chicken with Israeli couscous and yellow beets with honey, dill and cumin

Solid chicken, with the idea taken from The New York Times from a few weeks ago.  And probably chicken we wouldn't make again.  Pleasing Indian spice hit though with moist chicken that mingled well with the couscous.  Roasted yellow beets with honey, dill and cumin was the star this night.  Also a recipe taken from Around My French Table.  Delicous touch of natural sweetness with the honey, dill and cumin bringing a pretty depth of flavor where everything seemed to be popping off in the right stages.

The NV Marc Hebrart 'Cuvée de Reserve' Premier Cru ($44 - WDC) was a bit of a disappointment.  Disgorged April 2011.  80% pinot noir and 20% chardonnay, 57% from 2008 and the rest from 2007 and 2006.  Lime peel and orchard fruit to open with medium-to-low acid play.  Biscuity, like lime biscuits stuffed with crated, older oranges baking in the sun at times.  To us, it came off a bit tired for the price.  We had to dig hard to find any sort of minerals, leaving us wanting so much more after each sip.  Certainly changed as the meal progressed, we just weren't particularly interested in those changes.  And the acid really fell off a cliff as it warmed up.  Nice enough, just not want we currently want from good Champagne.  $30 good, not $44.

And the pairing didn't trip us in any special manner.  Nothing got in the way.  Best that can be said.  Pairing Score:  82        

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