Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Duck Pâté with 2013 Forlorn Hope Ost-Intrigen And 40-Clove Chicken With Palmina Sparkling Barbera

A dishwasher-less Monday lunch and dinner.

The horror!

I think it was Oscar Wilde, or perhaps the band Cinderella, that said it best: "You don't know what you got 'til it's gone." (Oh, holy crap. There's a Best of Cinderella CD?)

Lunch: Homemade duck pâté, manchego cheese, sweet potato tapenade and ciabatta mini-buns, served with 2013 Forlorn Hope "Ost-Intrigen" Ricci Vineyard Carneros St. Laurent ($32 - Pastoral)

Saveur duck pâté recipe, followed to the letter, except for using pancetta instead of bacon. Easy to make (relatively) and quite delicious. Ducky, with great balance. Everything in the pâté serves a purpose and did it very well. Trader Joe's "anejo" manchego cheese. It's older and better than the standard stuff at TJ's, tasting gosh-darn close to the good stuff. Sweet potato surprise in the form of tapenade, adding pickled mustard seeds and olives to a fine-dice of sweet potato. Sweetish, pickle-y, and briny, all in one bite. Ciabatta to rip and top.

Very good lunch made better by the wine. The Forlorn Hope St. Laurent, the first time we've had this grape, follows a similar pattern when comparing it to all the other Bonné-inspired wine buys-and-drinks over the last year. Lighter, lower alcohol, almost ethereal, with fruit that's distinctive, swirly, very pure, and nearly always surprising/delicious/bright/new. Some are mossy in a good way. Others have had nice twigy-leafy notes. All have been at least intriguing, mostly quite good, with a few being 'hot-damn!' great. This St. Laurent is ALMOST a hot-damner. Medium body, trending towards light but never goes there. Rose petal nose. Bursting dark raspberry/blueberry coulis, with background floral accents keeping everything savory and tart. A bit top-heavy/front-loaded but stretched out a bit throughout the drinking, becoming a touch longer. A happy wine, offering a poppy acidity and mineral cut. Like a pinot noir and gamay had a baby, then they put a California-fresh sheen on it. Liked it muchly.

And helped along by the fact that it admirably slid right in with the food, snuggled up warmly and got very cozy. We'd do it again, cuz it was good.            

Dinner: Chicken with 40 cloves of garlic, gnocchi and Proveçal yellow tomatoes, served with 2013 Palmina Sparkling Barbera SBC ($32 - Winery)

Saveur recipe again (with the addition of sage and oregano to the cooking liquid), last had in July with Scholium Rhododatylos. This pairing was oodles better. Garlic and garlic with a side of garlic for this food. Then, some more garlic. Five HEADS. Even pre-roasted, as was done here, that's a lot. If you don't like garlic, this meal is the bane of your existence. If you do, it's eff'in perfect. Great chicken, doughy-delicious gnocchi, and anchovy-heavy tomatoes Provençal. If I searched this blog for 'tastes like Love,' I'd probably get 200 results. This meal is near the top.

Palmina just started making sparkling malvasia and barbera in 2013. We had the malvasia for New Year's Eve. THAT was a good NYE. This barbera is a licorice-blackberry bomb, while staying lightly effervescent. Both the malvasia and the barbera aren't the bestest, most complex sparklers we've had. But we'd drink both by the bucket. They're wines with a smile on the face.

And the barbera was nearly perfect with 40-cloved chicken; countering, turning, adjusting so nicely. A little more oregano in the food might have made it perfect but we were just fine.  

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