Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Brandade & Fava-Corn-Avocado Salad With 2006 Marc Hebrart Special Club

Puréed fish and stupid-fresh salad with the best showing of Marc Hebrart in our limited Marc Hebrart world.

This is fancy Champagne that's still a little tight after seven years off the vine and two years in bottle. But it comported itself quite nicely with this food, never leading the way but never stepping back, always standing shoulder-to-shoulder with what was on the plate and leading to a meal that expanded out and opened up so much space in which to frolic and enjoy.

Food: Brandade and fava-corn-avocado-tomato salad

Best home brandade yet. Third one, I believe. The key may have come in using Fustini's white balsamic (crap. now I want that lemongrass mint business) instead of lemon juice, offering much greater and more integrated acid depth than previous versions. You buy that. It's not cheap but if you're making food, why not MAKE food?

Jacques Pépin brandade recipe (natch), using rice milk instead of cow. Salad of fava beans, corn, avocado, tomato, onion, lemon thyme and parsley, tossed with white balsamic and olive oil. It's our favorite summer salad with Colicchio Thai-style watermelon-radish certainly in the mix. Baguette to dip, dunk and dive.

We knew this would be good, just not as wide in flavors and goodness as it was.

More home happy food.

The wine helped to bring "the happy."

Wine: 2006 Marc Hebrart Millesime Special Club ($75 - Howard's)

Some wine reviewers write notes that don't show up in your mouth. Some do. And some write so well and with such precision it's impossible to get it out of your head when drinking the wine. Terry Theise is one of those. He says comté cheese and that's what you get. Nutty and slightly funky stuff with green apple and lime fruit that was tuxedo-ed up, all sparkly and glimmering with fanciness. One small bead stream. Dirty gray rocks from the mid-palate down, finishing with salt and what seemed like a touch of soy sauce to me. Fantastic medium length. Think it has more expansion and breadth to offer.

Tech specs: The blend is 55% pinot noir and 45% chardonnay, from vineyards in Mareuil sur Ay, Oiry and Chouilly. The wine spent 50 months on its lees and was disgorged on May 3, 2011.

Great stuff. We'd buy this again and worth the price tag.

Pairing: Did what good Champagne does - Makes. Life. Better.

Something salty and seaside-grown might have been good here. An albariño. Vermentino. Maybe a Muscadet. But Champagne is a versatile and forgiving bugger, even when flavors in the bubbles and food aren't singing the Taste Buds & Molecules song. Here, they weren't, necessarily. But as good Champagne does, it pauses and adjusts to make for a pairing that gets gosh darn close to great. With the brandade, it stayed itself, yet shed some of its citrus freshness, substituting dirt and cheese for it. That got into the blended fish, potato, garlic business in broad ways. Less so with the salad, as it became a touch more simple, but a good, refreshing simple with confident thoughts.

Good meal here. Good pairing. Completely happy.

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