Rick's Pick: 2005 Maison Bouachon Gigondas Duc de Montfort

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The Rhone Valley has two part: the Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone.  Northern Rhone is known for 100% Syrah or Viognier wines whereas the Southern Rhone is known for Grenache based blends.  Gigondas is an area within Southern Rhone, which means the wines are predominantly Grenache blends, but have a unique characteristic all their own.  The 2005 Duc de Montfort from Maison Bouachon is a great example of typicity.

APPEARANCE

Color: Clear Brightness: Star Bright Red Color: Ruby Rim Variation: Pink representing a few years of age Viscosity: Medium Plus with minor tear staining

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NOSE

Condition: Clean Intensity: Medium Plus Aroma: Youthful Fruit: Black Cherry, Red Cherry, Plum Earth: None detected Other: Violets, Cola, Leather

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PALATE

Sweetness: Dry Body: Medium Fruit: Black Cherry, Red Cherry Earth: None Detected Alcohol: Medium Acidity: Medium Plus Complexity: Medium Plus Finish: Medium Plus

Black fruits and red fruits come together one one of my favorite wine regions.  Gigondas is like the little brother to Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a little bit of Rosé production, but dominated by red wine.  Gigondas has a Mediterranean climate, unlike Northern Rhone, which has more of a continental climate.  The main geographical identifier of Gigondas is the Dentelles de Montmirail, which is a small mountain range dividing the region into two areas.  One area is hotter, while the other is cooler.

I found the 2005 to have just the right amount of age (although it'll get better).  Food pairings with this wine can be fairly easy—tonight we opted for grilled pork tenderloin with balsamic fig reduction sauce, and it was off the hook!  Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.

Cheers!

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Pork Shoulder with Potato & Butternut Bake

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INGREDIENTS

5 LB shoulder of pork 1 small onion, peeled 1 TBSP flour 10 OZ dry cider 10 OZ vegetable stock 3 large potatoes 1 Butternut squash Butter Parmesan cheese sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Score the skin of the pork.  Place pork in a roasting pan skin-side up.  Cut the onion into wedges and place slightly underneath the pork.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375ºF and cook for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove pork from roasting pan, place roasting pan over burners on low and sprinkle flour in mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn heat up to medium and gradually add cider and stock.  Mix together until you have a smooth gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste. FOR THE BAKE: Pell and thinly slice potatoes, peel and seed butternut squash.  Put a layer of potatoes in a buttered ovenproof dish then layer with butternut.  Layer 2 more times.  Place 2 or 3 knobs of butter on top, pour in 275ml of stock.  Cover generously with parm cheese.  Bake at 170ºF for 1 hour.

What wine to pair?

Do yourself a favor and get a really good pork shoulder for this recipe.  You can see the recipe list and preparation isn't too complicated, so it does well with a nice cut of pork.  Read through the ingredients and preparation and imagine where you're going to taste the sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavors.

Pork is cooked with vegetable stock can get pretty salty, but you'll offset that with the sweet cider.  I find this recipe can be adjusted so there's a good balance of flavors, and sometimes I'll add a TBSP of rosemary just for a little more.

Some of the grapes that tend to compliment this dish well are domestic Pinot Noirs or some lighter Syrahs.  Cabs and Merlots from new world regions aren't ideal, but 1995 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge went well.  That's a Cabernet blend made with some Cinsault.  It didn't overpower the flavors of the pork.  One of these days we'll try pairing it with the Chateau Musar Blanc, which, according to Serge Hochar is his "red wine".  The whites are sublime and might stand up nicely to this dish.

Tonight's pairing will feature 2005 Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape from Southern Rhone.  The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are influenced by Mistral winds, and are grown in in clay and limestone soils, covered with quartz round stones.  I don't believe there's a "perfect" wine and food pairing, but I have fun experimenting and trying new combinations with the hope that one day I'll experience that one life-altering experience that is "the perfect pairing".  Please leave suggested pairings of what you think would be good with this dish in the comments below.  Cheers!

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Rick's Picks: 2009 Domaine Breton Bourgueil Cabernet Franc

Catherine and Pierre Breton are leading a new movement of organic viticulture in the Bourgueil appellation of the Loire Valley.  I've had a few of their wines and have been impressed each time.  Their sparkling wine made from Chenin Blanc is one not to be missed.

I came across Domaine Breton wines at Kermit Lynch, one of my favorite wine shops in Berkeley.  The 2009 Domaine Breton Bourgueil Cabernet Franc demonstrates why this producer is gaining popularity in trendy shops and restaurants in Paris.  There was some distinct chalkiness in this wine as there is in wines grown in Limestone soils.  Limestone is prevalent in the Loire valley, which is nice.

It's a red and it's 2009 vintage.  Do the math and you'll see this wine was harvested about 10 months ago, give or take.  Although young, this Cab Franc was singing like a bird right out of the bottle.  Rich, full and well made.  Here's a few notes:

APPEARANCE

Color: Clear Brightness: Star Bright Red Color: Garnet Rim Variation: yes, pink at the edges Viscosity: Medium

NOSE

Condition: Clean Intensity: Medium Plus Aroma: Youthful Fruit: Red fruits, black cherry, quince Earth/Chalk/Forest

PALATE

Sweetness: Dry Body: Medium Fruit: Black cherry, stewed plum, cola, olive Earth/Chalk/Forest Alcohol: Medium Minus Acidity: Medium Complexity: Medium Plus Finish: Medium

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#WorldCupWine Tasting Notes: 2005 Pago de Larrainzar from Spain

Pago de Larrainzar is a family owned estate winery from Navarra, Spain.

The wine presents an attractive and deep cherry-red color. On the nose, you will distinguish an intense aroma of mature fruit, compote, well assembled with notes of a well-aged wine in high quality barrels. This gives way to hints of minerals, pepper and coffee. On the palate, the taste is flavorful, very mature, appetizing and fruity. It is well structured and has a long finish. Merlot (45%), Cabernet Sauvignon (40%), Tempranillo (15%).

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#WorldCup wines Tasting Notes: 2004 Pizzato Tannat from Brazil

Vivid, dark, red with violet traces in appearance; red fruit, spices, raisins, jam, cocoa nose; it’s a well balanced, good length, and medium to high-bodied, medium-dry wine with fine tannins.

Here's a suggested food pairing to go with the wine:

Ingredients:

240g rack of lamb (2 cars) 120g Sweet Potato 70g onion 50g Pine Nuts 70 ml Dry white wine 80 ml Dry red wine tannat 15g Gorgonzola 6g Garlic 2 bay leaves 1 Orange 1 Egg Salt to taste Thyme to taste Pepper to taste Butter to taste Olive oil to taste

Preparation:

Cleans the ingredients. Make a marinade for the car with white wine, bay leaf, salt, pepper, thyme, garlic and half the onion. Peel sweet potatoes and bring to a boil. When cooked mash until a puree, add the grated orange and blue cheese .. Beat the egg whites and mix gently Bring to boil pinion. Once cooked peel and chop into brunoise (finely chopped). Reserve. Seal the rack of lamb in a skillet with olive oil. Return to oven to finish cooking. In the same pan used to seal the car and without washing, place the red wine and release the juice that was at the bottom of the skillet, add the remaining onion finely chopped. Pass the sauce through a sieve and return to fire. Season with salt, pepper and add the already cooked and chopped pine nuts. Mount the plate putting the mashed sweet potatoes on the rack, drizzle with some sauce and garnish with pine nuts.

Note: If you have not Pinion, need not ask. Seal: Skip the meat in a skillet with hot fat until they are stained with both sides.

Preparation time: 40 minutes + 2 hours for marinating

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Maple-Orange Glazed Ham

Easter 06 I [Ham]
Image by boodoo via FlickrMakes 8 servings.

Sweet and savory meets salty and tart. The ham with maple syrup and OJ will cover 3 of the 4 taste regions on your palate. We add in the cinnamon and cloves to touch on the 4th. With a nice balance of flavors, a balanced wine like a $12 Riesling from Waterbrook will compliment this dish nicely.

3 LB nitrite-free boneless precooked ham 1 cup pure maple syrup ½ cup orange marmalade 2 TBSP orange juice 1 TSP cinnamon ¼ TSP ground cloves

Preheat oven to 325•F. Place ham in roasting pan, make crosshatch incisions with knife. Bake 30 minutes. In small bowl, mix together syrup, orange juice, cinnamon and cloves. Salt and pepper to taste. Brush ham with mixture, then pour remaining mixture over ham. Increase oven to 425•F. Bake for 35-45 minutes more, brushing with glaze every 10 minutes. Remove from oven, let stand for 20 minutes before carving.

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Scallops with Strawberry & Saffron Cream Sauce Pour Quatre

Serves 4 people A quick and easy crowd pleaser.  The strawberries and saffron provide a subtle hint of sweet and sour flavor.  With a heavier cream sauce, a white wine with enough acidity is required to “cut through” the heavy cream.  Without enough acidity, the flavor of the wine will not stand up to the dish. Spann wines have impeccable balance in all their wines.  The Chardonnay/Viognier from the 2006 vintage shows interesting depth of nuances.  Tropical aromas and flavors such as lychee, mango and passion fruit will compliment the strawberry and saffron notes.

INGREDIENTS 8 scallops (large and preferably unfrozen) 4 TBSP butter ½ pint of cream 1/8 TSP. crushed red pepper flakes 2 TBSP. White Wine 1-2 cloves garlic shaved or finely chopped 4 large strawberries sliced pinch of saffron salt to taste toast points (small pieces of bread lightly toasted; not crunchy)

In a small pan mix cream, strawberries, saffron, garlic, wine and salt to taste.  Cook over low heat for 15 minutes.

In a medium pan melt butter over medium heat.  Sautée scallops over medium heat in butter until carmelized, about 3-5 minutes each side depending on size.

Serve scallops sitting on cream sauce and garnish with toast points.

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