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The other half of a big wild King salmon fillet.  WWJD (What Would Julia Do)?

Poached in butter with flowering chives.  More steamed asparagus (now WAY beyond the age Orik would consider fit to eat) on the side.

This is boring, but I fell into a reflexive house pairing for this.  It was so clear it would be good.

2016 André Bonhomme Mâcon-Villages "Vieilles Vignes"

Anyone who reads these posts can see that there are two kinds of wine I really like:  (1) glou-glou natural "soif" wines and (2) generally organic but not "natural" lowish-cost wines with very attentive vinification and high typicity.

This familiar face is one of the latter.

It's hard not to repeat what I say every time I drink this:  in a good world (and in the world that existed when I was in college) there would be huge amounts of really good, affordable white Burgundy.  But in our world, along with The Pandemic, systemic racism, murder hornets, the fascist takeover of America, and Capitalism, we have to deal with the fact that there no longer are.

But there are some -- and this is one.  It does everything you want a white Burgundy to do, on an admittedly small scale, but for an incontestably fair price.

There's a reason I drink shit-tons of this wine, year in and year out.

And man did it love the salmon.

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I read all these threads about these fabulous dinners people have at home, with photogenic, obviously labor-intensive food, and legendary bottles.   I can't speak for anybody else on this board, bu

If I'm not enjoying wine when I'm seventy, then my nieces and nephews are going to be stuck with a shitload of wine they won't know what to do with.   Or my next wife, who by then should be almost

Whaddya mean? That's more than half the meals I serve. Tossed with great care, I might add.

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On 6/13/2020 at 12:07 AM, Sneakeater said:

2019 Chëpìka Catawba

Based on this recommendation, I have now ordered the maximum number of bottles one is allowed to order from my go-to wine shop. The Lenape would be proud; perhaps even the Canarsie would.

6 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

Why did I used to have such trouble crisping fish skin?  Now that I know how to do it, it seems so easy.  What was I missing?

Better pans?

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I usually hardly have any lunch.  But today there was a leftover I wanted to finish without having it for dinner.  So not only did I have lunch, but I had a big lunch.

So when the time came for dinner, I wasn't nearly hungry enough for the as-usual heavy meal I'd planned.  I pivoted to something lighter, which would also help use up some stuff that definitely needed using up.

Duck egg omelette with Muncan garlic-stuffed bacon (a fine, if not mindbending, product), some local imitation of Brillat-Savarin, and green garlic, topped with garlic chives.  (I may have nailed crisping fish skin, but I have to admit that omelettes are still technically beyond me.)

On the side, steamed asparagus (a day older than it was even yesterday, Orik will want to know).  I'd like to say that RG's claims for the vegetable-revivifying effects of his Mixtecan cooking salt appear to have some basis in reality.  Not that RG needs even more business these days, but that's certainly something we all can use.

And what did I happen to have chilling in the fridge?

2012 Wolfer Goldgrube Riesling Kabinett

This isn't going to make A.J. Adam, my personal fave producer of reasonably priced Mosel Rieslings, look in his rear view mirror.  But it's a good wine.  On the sweet side of Kabinett, as I observed the last time I drank this, but none the worse for that.  It certainly gets the Riesling job done, ticking off the list of flavors and sensations that we Riesling fans love so well.

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The end of the peach sauce with another antelope chop.  This really is pretty good.

Steamed snow peas and Parisian market carrots on the side.

2018 La Senda (Diego Losada) La Barbacana

This Bierzo is only 10% Mencia, the rest being Garnacha.  Oh my is it good.

This natural wine has me thinking of the Historically Informed Performance movement in music.  In the '70s, bands of musicians in Amsterdam and Vienna began playing Baroque music on period instruments (or replicas thereof) instead of modern instruments and following period practices concerning tempi, number of musicians, ornamentation, and the like rather than playing in contemporary Romantic-inflected style.  The initial players in this movement produced a lot of interesting, piquant sounds and provided much new insight into the way the music they played could be apprehended.  BUT, they often sounded sour and out-of-tune.  It was initially argued that such was part and parcel of their approach:  that their music-making was supposed to sound sour and out of tune. But guess what?  As time went on, and people got more experience playing these old instruments, most of these problems with intonation disappeared (the horns are still a problem).  Suddenly, Historically Informed Performance sounded not only interesting, but good.

You can see the same thing happening with the natural wine movement.  Now most natural wines retain the vibrancy and directness that such wines always aimed for, but have lost most of the taste elements that drove a lot of drinkers away.  Of course, there are losses:  just as with HIP,  you lose some of the feeling of exploration, of newness; and the work can even come to seem, dare I say it, conventional.  But -- at least until international conglomerates take over natural winemaking and make it all a slogan rather than a philosophy -- the gains seem to outweigh the losses.

Take this wine.  This is what a natural Grenache should taste like:  you get vibrant mouthful of fruit that seems alive on your tongue, with none of the cloying Bigness you can get from Old Skool Rhones (much more, God knows, Priorats).  But there are no unpleasant taste sensations you have to put up with to get this.  This is the kind of wine where you can't wait for your next sip (or gulp as the case may be).

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I dunno.  To me, halibut is a fish that wishes it were turbot -- although some people will tell you they're the same thing (or that halibut is better, which I don't think).  I cooked this one, shipped to me as an iceblock from Alaska (I didn't know whether I should put it and its brothers in my freezer or use them to build an igloo in the middle of my kitchen), as a sort of piccata with a lemon/caper pan sauce.  It was good.  It was really good, even.

On the side was some unknown green from the bottom of my crisper -- RG's Mixteca cooking salt doing its revivifying magic once again (really:  a key ingredient of The Panicbuyingdemic) -- sautéed with some ramps unexpectedly nesting next to it.  Wonder what it was?

2016 Domaine Ricard Tosciaca

This wine is not just a Touraine, but a Touraine Chenonceaux (a new AOC created mainly to confuse us).  This particular wine is bigger and rounder than your typical Loire Sauvignon Blanc, which I thought would help with the meaty whitefish.

I'm always ready with a good word for onetime Dagueneau protegé Vincent Ricard.  I love his racy Sauvignon Blancs, which (at ridiculously fair prices) yet have some substance beneath the raciness.   This is probably my least favorite of his wines -- because big and round (and hence less racy).  But I like to keep some around for occasions like this, and I have to say it really stepped up to the plate.  This is as "exotic" as a New Zealand SB -- but it doesn't slap you in the face with it.  Rather, it sets out its case (stone fruit, tropical fruit, loooooonnnnnnnng citrus finish) (not a whole lot of minerals) and lets you make of it what you will, rather than waving a bunch of flags and jumping up and down with pompoms shouting “BIG flavor here!”

There's more there here than I usually prefer.  But tonight it was pretty great.

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Let me clarify.  When I whined elsewhere on this site earlier today that I am sick of cooking certain things, I didn't mean that I'm sick of eating them.  I cook them over and over again because I like them.  It's like I'm living with a child I have to cook for who has a limited palate and wants the same things over and over -- and I am that child.

Like pan-seared duck breast in fruit sauce.  I love that.  So when rhubarb and strawberries are in season, goddamnit I'm gonna have (Rohan blah blah blah) duck breast in strawberry/rhubarb sauce -- not matter how sick I may be of cooking things like this.

I did take joethefoodie's advice and try to change it up to make it better.  So, tonight, for the first time ever:  I put some brandy in the sauce.  An improvement.  Don't tell me this isn't the house of inventive cooking.

On the side, I had the same bottom-of-the-crisper mystery greens with the same bottom-of-the-criser Forgotten Ramps I had yesterday.  Cuz those suckas needed to go fast.  Continuing my ongoing unpaid RG ad campaign, I note that I forgot to sprinkle any Mixtecan cooking salt onto the aging greens -- and I swear you could see the difference in their greenness (or rather lack thereof).

Just as I don't have to put much thought into cooking a familiar dish like this, I didn't have to put any thought at all into the wine pairing.   OF COURSE duck in strawberry/rhubarb sauce gets a Pinot Noir.  It just does.  And I found one that, by chance, was perfect.  (Unfortunately, while tooling around in the storage units looking for a suitable Pinot Noir, I came upon something that would have been an absolutely inspired pairing for Thursday night's antelope chop with peach sauce.  Oh well.  I'll find something to eat with it.)

2011 Hudelot-Noellat Chambolle-Musigny

This Village Burgundy is just at the beginning of its window.  Which was just what I wanted:  the fruit is resplendent.  Cherries and strawberries cascading out at you (decorously, though:  this isn't a natural wine).  Vague hints of rhubarb.  The forest floor follow-up will be more developed as a few years pass -- but the fruit will never be livelier than now.

Just what I wanted.

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Well, I've finally nailed the gussied-up artisanal pork roll sandwich.  It's not much of accomplishment, but it's something.

For tonight only, we redefined pickled green beans as constituting a green vegetable.

If John Taylor drank wine with his pork product (assuming he even ate his pork product -- which I, for one, wouldn't bet on), it was probably a sparkling Catawba, which was a very major player in Northeastern U.S. wine in the mid-19th Century.

2019 Chëpìka Catawba (Pet Nat)

This is the pet nat Catawba from this natural Finger Lakes wine project from Nathan Kendall and the fabulous Pascaline Lepeltier.

I want to be clear:  I'm not claiming this is any kind of great wine.  I'm claiming it's a fun wine, an enjoyable wine, a wine redolent of flavors you grew up with, if you grew up in the Northeastern U.S.

But still well made.

What it tastes like is . . . sparkling Catawba --  but without a lot of extra sugar, and with a sour finish.  You're not gonna like it unless (a) you grew up thinking foxiness in wine flavoring isn't a dealkiller, and (b) you like natural wine.

But if you do, you'll probably be wondering when you can open another bottle.

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6 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

2019 Chëpìka Catawba (Pet Nat)

This is the pet nat Catawba from this natural Finger Lakes wine project from Nathan Kendall and the fabulous Pascaline Lepeltier.

I want to be clear:  I'm not claiming this is any kind of great wine.  I'm claiming it's a fun wine, an enjoyable wine, a wine redolent of flavors you grew up with, if you grew up in the Northeastern U.S.

But still well made.

What it tastes like is . . . sparkling Catawba --  but without a lot of extra sugar, and with a sour finish.  You're not gonna like it unless (a) you grew up thinking foxiness in wine flavoring isn't a dealkiller, and (b) you like natural wine.

But if you do, you'll probably be wondering when you can open another bottle.

So enjoyable, we drank a well-chilled bottle with no dinner last night, only snacks. It could really be getting to the point where the heat makes me not want to be in the kitchen for any extended period of time.

I didn't even think it was that foxy; but - I do like natural wine.

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Venison Porterhouse chop with my award-winning homemade Sweet Jade tomato/cape gooseberry catsup.  (Well, it was I who bestowed the award -- but there's nobody else eating here.)  On the side, a different mystery green from last night, sautéed with my absolute last ramps.  (This time I remembered to sprinkle in the RG Mixtecan cooking salt:  what a difference!  You'd have thought I bought the cooked greens at Saturday's Greenmarket.)

Normally I wouldn't drink Bordeaux with venison.  Bordeaux's too tannic for a meat that has almost no fat.  But these chops are pretty fatty . . . for venison.  And I thought a Bordeaux would actually sort of mirror the flavorings of the famous homemade catsup.  Also, I reasoned, there's a fuckton of deer in Aquitaine even now, and I'm sure there always has been.  What do they drink with all that venison there?  Not Burgundy, surely!

2010 Tour St. Bonnet

In any event, I chose a Bordeaux with a heavy Merlot component, to lighten the tannic load.  Tour St. Bonnet is 45% Merlot, with an equal part Cabernet Sauvignon, the rest being Petit Verdot.  It's nice.  The plum flavors went with the catsup, as I thought/hoped.  The rest of the fruit was dark berry:  I mean, we all know dark berries are nice with venison.  And then we go into the tobacco-and-such manly afterflavors that make Bordeaux such a manly man's wine.

This is one of those drink-young Bordeauxs that's doing a nice job of lasting in this marvelous classic vintage.  But I wouldn't hold mine forever.

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It was after midnight tonight when I finally got around to cooking supper.  Good thing I was planning on that famous throw-together dish, Spaghetti alla Puttanesca (I won't bother with going into the supposed origin of its name, which supposes its whole raison d'etre is to be easy to throw together).

I think this must have been the first time I've ever cooked this.  Which is strange, both because I like it so much and it's so easy.

Verge-of-rotting spinach on the side -- revivified by RG's almost miraculous Mixtecan cooking salt (the ingredient of The Quarantine).

At least the wine required no thought AT ALL.

2013 Occhipinti SP68

You can imagine how delighted I was when I stumbled upon a few old bottles of this a couple of weeks ago.  True, this wine isn't made for aging --- but it's still there, still delicious.

Mainly Frappato, some Nero d'Avola.  Couldn't be more perfect for that spaghetti.

The fruit is still juicin'.  I'm not saying this has gotten better -- I'm just saying that it still hasn't gotten much worse.  I'm sorry Arianna charges too much for her wines now -- this is a frivolous wine that shouldn't cost too much -- but when I drink them, they still make me very happy.

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Halibut Kokatxas -- these guys are BIG -- en Salsa Verde.  This gave me a chance to try out one of my new cazuelas.  (Made, as far as I can tell, by Orthos in Brooklyn.)  In my guise of dishwater, I am wildly in favor of eating out of the pot you cook in.

Sautéed Lacinto kale on the side (I undercooked it) (damn).  And, of course, with so much to sop up, a nice crusty chunk of She Wolf miche.

Obviously you'd want a Txakoli with this.  Which I didn't have.  I thought a funky natural Aligote would do.

2017 Claire Naudin Le Clou 34

This wine might actually have been too good for this dish.  It's very austere.  Which is admirable.  But maybe, for a weeknight supper of Basque fishcheeks in garlicky gelantinous glop, something a little simpler and more forthright would have been in order.

Drinking it now, after supper, I'm sort of in awe of it.  This is so much finer than any other Aligote I know.  The subtlety is incredible.  This is like a Muscadet in that there is virtually no fruit at the start.  A faint hint of pear, that's it.  Then you go into slate that lasts for miles.  Some funk at the finish, so you know it's natural.

I should have drunk it with something else.  But its sheer excellence can't be forsworn.

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D'Artagnan duck/Armagnac sausage (is it just me or is this sausage SALTY???????) over a bed of sautéed kale on a bed of lentils.

Had I noticed there was Armagnac in the sausage when I started the process of prepping and decanting the wine, I would have seen I have a more Geographically Correct wine choice.  But on general principle, this seemed to shout for a Côtes du Rhône -- and that's what it got.

2015 Xavier Vignon Côtes du Rhône

This is another case where a producer's most junior cuvée is his best, because least prepossessing and amped up.

Mostly Grenache, lots of Syrah, some Cinsault:  good blend for this food.  It tastes just like you'd think:  red berries, dark berries, herbs/garrigue, out.

Xavier's wines will never be exuberant, but there's more than a shade less self-importance than is his usual to this one, which seems almost content to be a simple bistro quaff.  And better for it.

 

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