Thursday, November 20, 2014

TWIB Notes: This Week In Bottles

Wine-Searcher does a fantastic job with their 'Producer Portraits.'

I learn buckets with each one. Ponzi this week (40% of their production is pinot gris?). La Rioja Alta last week (They make albariño in O Rosal?). Good stuff.

Quickie round-up. It's 'clean out the freezer' time again.

Monday: Mustardized chicken and asparagus with mashed potatoes, served with 2008 Domaine Fourrier Bourgogne Blanc ($30 - Vin Chicago)

Take freezer breasts, try a "velveting" technique because you hear that's a thing, make a pan sauce with whole grain, dijon and ground mustard, broil the asparagus in the leftover fond, make mash (leave the skins on, you fussy-pants people - skins be good for ya). Put all of it on a plate and go to town. Simple. Basic. Good.

Fancify it with good wine. Frenchy-focused food, so open Frenchy-French wine. It works. This entry-level bottling from Domaine Fourrier has been sitting in the house for over three years, slowly getting lost in the shuffle. Sometimes, the wine you have starts to lose its cachet. You forget why you bought it, why it was a good value, why the person selling it to you thought it was so good (feels like an Amy or Sean rec.). It becomes just another bottle in the house. Then you open it, jus' cuz, gotta drink it, and say, "Holy Hell!"

Jumpy minerals, sparkly Asian fruit mixed with French pear, and a creamy, slate-like accent that makes quality, simple white Burgundy so damn good. Still young. Throw this one in with Domaine de Roally, serve them to people who don't think there's value to be had in France, and show them why they're thinking like a silly person.

A "what do we have in the house?" meal executed so well went to happy-slappy places with this wine. Slid right in with the mustard.

Tuesday: Skirt steak fajitas with green sauce, flour tortillas and Mexican rice, served with 2010 Noon Eclipse South Australia ($40 - Binny's)

Not much to see here. Move along. Every other year we have fajitas. This is why it's every other year.

Recipe. Freezer skirt steak was a little chewy and NEEDED cumin. We like cumin. Cumin good. See you in 2016, fajitas.

The Noon Eclipse was $40, marked down from $80 at Binny's. I don't know how it happened, but this wine took a grenache-shiraz-cabernet-graciano blend with 10% cab and made it taste like all that is bad about cabernet. Hot, baked currants and cinnamon dominated, tasting like K-Mart Christmas potpourri puked up in my glass (Wine Advocate loved it - natch). It's still young and still hot, but there's not much here to make want to see how this integrates down the road, particularly at this price.

We hoped for New World grenache juiciness here. We got a cab-ish bully. Not great.

Wednesday: David Tanis Thai white fish and shrimp cakes with peanut-ginger dipping sauce and arugula-cucumber-golden tomato salad with said dipping sauce dressing, served with 2013 Charles Smith Riesling Columbia Valley Kung Fu Girl Evergreen ($12 - Whole Foods)

Winner Dinner of the week. A David Tanis recipe from NYT Cooking (Capital-G Great site - they did a bananas job with that reorganization!).

Two alterations. Skipped the scallops altogether, opting for cheap shrimp (with swai--still don't know what that is, but it's mild) to add some textural contrast and beefiness. And dumped in a big glop of green Thai curry sauce, which led to a touch more homogeneity to the total flavor, but also brought a poo-load of depth, particularly when the dipping sauce was added. This was another meal, when we're poor, where we're thankful that our house is oddly well stocked. Nearly all of the ingredients were in the kitchen.  (And grand total for the food that was used? Less than $8.)

Asian fish cakes and Asian salad. Simple. Easy-Peasy. Filling. Clean. Good. Want Asian flavors? Don't want to do a lot of work? Here you go.

The Charles Smith Kung Fu Girl brought a "Yes, Please" balance to the meal. #43 on the 2014 Wine Spectator Top 100 list (disappointing list this year - felt a bit recycled - glad to see 2011 Portugal vintage get the love, though). Fancy Asian lime dipped in honey, with a spritz-like lightness. Touch of peach. Lilting. Pleasant. Bouncy. This is one that needs to remain chilly. It loses its bounce and become a bit ordinary as it warms up. But it was rather perfect with the fish cakes. Not $12 perfect, either. Great stuff. Less so with the salad, as things became a touch muddled, but big winner overall with this wine. $12? House riesling for the next year, me thinks.

No comments:

Post a Comment