Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Roasted Chicken, Salsa Verde & Arugula With 2010 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly +1

Spiral - Netflix - all 40 episodes - do it now. Season 5 may drop as early as spring 2014.

The Dagueneau Silex is magic in a bottle. If pushed, that's most likely my favorite wine.

Here, the Blanc Fumé de Pouilly, at half the price, gives you almost everything you want from the Silex. Instead of Silex's 120 different flavors, you get only 72. It's a shame so many people in our lives tell us that they'd never spend x number of dollars on a white wine. That's kooky talk. There's nothing like Dagueneau wines. Nothing in the least.

This 2010 was no exception.

Food: Roasted chicken, Symon salsa verde, arugula, bread and butter

Roast your chicken how you like roasting your chicken. We're a hybrid of Thomas Keller and Michael Symon roasters.

Symon salsa verde. Keep this mostly true to the recipe, because anchovy, caper, garlic, shallot, parsley, mint, some sort of hot pepper, olive oil, red pepper flakes, lemon zest, salt and pepper together is a witches' brew of flat-out stupid-greatness. Added smoked almonds and tarragon this time. Do that. Because it's good.

Arugula salad with olive oil, white balsamic and pomegranates seeds on the plate with the chicken and salsa verde, because, after chicken Milanese deliciousness in that form, combining everything into one bite is a party in your mouth and everyone but the people you hate is invited.

Baguette and KerryGold butter.

Put me in coach. The slump feels like it's very much over.

Stunningly good meal.

Wine: 2010 Didier Dagueneau Blanc Fumé de Pouilly ($55 - Binny's) & 2012 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre Blanc ($26 - Binny's)

It's like Louis-Benjamin made the most delicate Thai basil cream accented with grapefruit peel with this 2010. Some heft here. Some weight, but never weighty. Light gray minerals playing with tarragon on the mid-palate, lifted by citrus notes towards the end that continued to change, showing lime one time, lemon another, even a strange grapefruit hybrid business once. All of it kept changing, fusing a basket of herbs with a basket of citrus with a basket of delicate minerals in about every combination. With his wines, the flavors don't really matter though. With Dagueneau wines, it's in the precision, balance and adjustments with food.

With many wines I like, I could tell you relative accuracy what you're going to taste with flavor descriptions. Though kind of annoying in general, flavor descriptors can mostly hit the mark. "It's like smoked plums and blueberry Whoppers had a baby." With one wine I like, that's what it tastes like. As I work my way up the "like" scale, it gets a touch more difficult to convey the grace and joy a certain wine brings but I can get close. With Dagueneau and maybe a dozen other wines I've had in my life, it's a "just drink it. I don't have the words." With the Silex, there are no descriptors, only comparisons. Drinking it is like watching Roger Federer five years ago. Trying to describe it only ruins the otherworldly spectacle.

In the course of a year, any year, there's maybe a handful of things that come to define the best of that year. Maybe it was a vacation, a portion of a vacation, a calm in a vacation, a quick human exchange, a long conversation, a great walk, a moment that feels stolen, something hilarious your dog did, maybe even something stupid like finding a great coat that makes you say, "There's just isn't a better coat that exists on this planet."

Small stuff, even silly stuff, that seem to make a year, when compiled, feel like a pretty darn good year. Things that make you say, "This wasn't so bad, really."

Sounds silly but every time I drink a Dagueneau wine, I feel like it's quite possible that, in the moment of drinking it, that moment just might make it into the handful of moments. It touches that deep of a nerve.

The 2012 Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre is a house favorite, particularly with veggies and even more particularly with greeny-green veggies, like springy peas, favas and such. Sitting next the Blanc Fumé de Pouilly though, as we went back and forth between the wines, it didn't stand a chance.

Pairing: Full of face-slapping joy

I saved the Reverdy for bites I didn't care about, like ones with too much arugula or salsa verde. The Dagueneau was drunk with the best, most balanced ones, because that was Happy in the glass.

There were two or three bites and sips in this meal that were some of the best I've had this year. And this was a great year for food in our house.

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