Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Rib-eye, Onion Rings, Potatoes & Cheese Sauce With 2006 Venge Cabernet Family Reserve

We don't eat rib-eye, we don't have cheese sauce, and we don't drink cabernet.

It's not what we like. So we don't eat or drink it.

Cabernet always feels like a bully to me with food, injecting itself into the pairing conversation to a point of forced inclusion that ultimately leads to utter domination.

I hear people talk about wines at cabernet tastings and say that 'this needs a thick, fatty steak. I'd buy a case!'

To that, I say, "How many steaks are you eating? Cripes!" There's a point of diminished returns. Steak of that ilk is a once-a-year thing in our book. It's like eating Chicago pizza. I shouldn't have to plan my food coma BEFORE I eat.

That said, last night was that once-a-year time, accompanied with a once-every-five-years cabernet drinking. And we got a good one.

Loosely based on Sam Sifton's Steak Mock Frites. Rib-eye bathed and basted in butter and bacon fat, seared a rather gorgeous medium-rare. Delicious juicy suck-age. Fatty. Sloppy. Happy. Fried onion mound of goodness. VERY thinly sliced onions, battered, fried. Potatoes followed to the letter from the recipe, coming off like twice-baked potato boats. Cheese sauce made with 8-year white cheddar to dip, dunk and slather where and when we chose.

Not a green veggie in sight. It was weird, wrong, and utterly delicious. And we'll be having it again in about five years. We say if you're going to take the dive, you TAKE THAT DIVE. Here, that's exactly what we did. Fat on fat on fat. G - O - O - D, Good.

Served with a bottle of 2006 Venge Cabernet Sauvignon Family Reserve ($60 - Binny's), marked down from $120 for some odd reason three years ago.

Decanted about an hour before eating, as the tannins needed settling and the tartness needed to be better integrated. We hit a very fine spot with that hour of air. More red currant fruit than the blackberry so many reviews said. Ripe, but not bombastic in the least. Herbal with pretty hits of sage. Wood fully integrated and bringing a pretty roundness. Thicker but never viscous. Pretty wine. Only complaint was the lack of a long finish. Most of the joy came from the mid-palate with a ordered, but rather dramatic tapering off to the end. We wanted more length, but were happy with all the joys that came before.

Happy pairing here, as expected. Fatty meat, Cabby weaving. They're best buds. Toss in the cheddar-cab hug and we had a pairing cuddle and embrace. Not our bag, but we respected the two-step.

Tasted like the fanciest that Applebee's could hope to achieve.

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