Friday, July 13, 2012

#290 - Yakitori Hanger & Yuca With '05 Quinta Do Vale Meão

Or hanging tenders, as the Whole Foods label said.

We didn't know hanger steak had another name like hanging tenders.

Learn something new everyday.

And it's quite a little product. $8/lb as opposed to $14/lb at Paulina. These trimmed and cut into 1 1/2 inch cubes, ready to be skewered so we did it up Asian-style and ate it with our favorite starch and one of our favorite wines.

Food:  Yakitori hanger and onion skewers with yuca fries and arugula salad

Hanger steak cubes marinated in soy sauce, mirin, dry sake, brown sugar, black pepper, garlic and ginger, a Saveur recipe using beef instead of chicken. Meat skewered with yakitori-soaked onions interlaced between each cube. Parsley and mint dumped on top. Well-done hanger. Oops! But oddly delicious nonetheless with the marinade leading the way at every turn. The meat simply became a vehicle for the deep Asian mouth surprise ("That's what she said!").

One of the better batches of yuca fries (with mayo for dipping). Creamy center, crispy exterior with a smooth transition between the textures from inside to outside.

Arugula salad to finish.

Satisfying meal in every way.

Asian-y red meat and Portuguese red works for us. We love the %&# out of it. This meal was no different.

Wine:  2005 Quinta do Vale Meão Douro ($75 - Liquor Pantry)

Grapes: 60% touriga nacional, 20% touriga franca, 15% tinta roriz, 5% tinta barroca
Alcohol: 14.5%
Decant: Open two hours, decanted one hour
Storage: Cellared from receipt to open, stood up for three hours before cracking

A lot of roasted/charred meat on the nose and deep, saturated, inky-purple shimmer in the glass. The nose told the story. So much going on! Alcohol certainly present but never really got in the way. Dark red fruits with perks of black - mostly plum with some blackberry seeds and skin, surrounded by eucalyptus, tons of iron, some fine earth and wet twigs. Beautiful structure, fantastic length, everything we wanted.

Similar to the 2004 in ways with the food. The food shortened what was a tremendously long finish and linger but never too much, especially given the enhancement we got with both the hanger and yuca.

Tough to call this one. I can't pin down whether this was a fully-realized expression or a trend towards the final lap. Big alcohol hit at times that made me think things are starting to not speak to each other as much. Not fully there but a feeling that phone calls aren't being returned and holidays are being skipped.

This is our second tasting of 2005 (first in Lisbon at Chafariz do Vinho Enoteca for $85!) and the wine was certainly strong and every sip told us this is a fantastically well-made wine. We loved it. No question. No reservations. A complex, interesting bottle with a great story to tell. I just found a couple of chapters puzzling.

Pairing:  93  Jumpy enhancement everywhere

As I said, something about Asian red meat and Portugese red. There's just something about it that signifies kinda special stuff to us. Tough to say which food element, the meat or the yuca, brought the better goods in the pairing realm and really no need to. Different, delicious expressions for both.

The hanger shortened the finish a bit but the mint made the eucalyptus note in the wine shoot the front of the line in the best way and really brought the plummy fruit up and out. The yuca, by contrast, retained most of the length in the wine and brought an oddly refreshing iron water number to its core, sort of a pause as it were, between a generous, if a little jumbled, frontal explosion and a great and graceful coda lightly echoing what came before.

Looking forward to the 2006.

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