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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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My last batch of lamb ribs I undercooked.  So it should surprise no one (least of all me) that I overcooked this batch.

Now, some will say you can't overcook ribs.   I don't think they're right -- if they were here tonight, I don't think they'd think they're right -- but OTOH, dousing the (over)cooked ribs with the same knockout preserved Meyer lemon emulsion I had used to glaze them -- pure gooky citrus bliss -- took a lot of the sting out of the overcooking.  Sure, these were a bit on the burnt side -- but they were good.

The steamed green beans -- very nice ones, from the Olmsted store -- weren't overcooked.

I was thinking of pairing this with a L'Occitan Charmay, their blend of Chardonnay and Gamay.  In the end, I wimped out, thinking that such a wine would be too light for meaty lamb ribs, even with an effervescent fruit topping like this.  Instead, I started thinking about a funky Loire Cabernet Franc.  But I didn't have any.  So I thought about the closest thing:  a funky Bierzo.

2018 La Senda (Diego Losada) "1984"

This sort of worked.  The wine is very herby, and that went nicely with the preserved Meyer lemon.

Diego Losada of La Senda is on to something:  he makes very good Bierzo wines (not all of them Mencia-based -- although this one was).  The grapes used here come from oldish vines, and that lends a depth that you don't necessarily expect in a natural wine.  In fact, I'd say Losada successfully toes the line between naturally funky and conventionally good (not that you'd doubt for a minute that this is natural).

Maybe I should have had the guts to go with the Charmay.  But this very good wine worked pretty well.

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Another fancied-up Jersey Pork Roll sandwich.  You'll all be excited to know that I changed up the spicy ketchup used on the sandwich -- very successfully, if I may say.

More of those Lovely Pole Beans, steamed, on the side.

One nice thing about this kind of meal is that it kind of demands a fun wine.

2019 Vins Contés (O. Lemasson) Sel et Poivre

In fact, I'm pretty sure I've drunk this very wine with one of these sandwiches in the past.

This wine is fun with a capital F.  Mostly Pineau d'Aunis with some Gamay (obvs it's from Touraine), it's sharply spicy and tinglingly spiky.  The grapey Gamay fruit lurks in the background.


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I KNEW Mongo's spicy chicken fry would be even better left over.

And great leaping gozungas, it was.

Steamed snow peas on the side.

For the wine, I took a chance and went not with an off-dry but rather a full-fledged dessert wine.

2002 Domaine des Baumard Coteaux du Layon "Cuvée Le Paon"

This is from Rochefort (OK, sur Loire, not sur Mer), but it's no longer a demoiselle.  I mean, it's not supposed to be young.  It's an ageless sweet dessert wine.

It's made, as you might guess, from Chenin Blanc.  It works the way that audio equipment I try to buy works:  it gives you maybe 80-90% of what you get from a top Sauternes -- but at maybe half the price.

What this misses from a really good Sauturnes is the insuperable elegance.  It isn't quite rustic, but it nods in that direction.  Which is why, really, I thought it might work with this highly spicy dish:  you don't want insuperable elegance with hot chicken.

It almost worked, but not quite.  The heavy sweetness didn't provide a foil for the high spice as much as a competitor.  It was like you tasted one and then the other, but there wasn't any real synergy between them.

Maybe with the remaining final portion of the spicy chicken, I'll try a Vouvray.

Meanwhile, the rest of the bottle after dinner is supernal.  This is one fantastic wine.


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Although, as I dive deep into the dregs of this bottle, I'm noticing a difference between this and Sauternes that might have made Sauternes a better pairing for the spicy chicken fry.

Sauternes keeps an acid edge.  Not as sharp as Riesling's (which is one of a number of reasons I'll never love Sauternes the way I love even the sweetest Riesling).  But still, it's noticeably there.

This is almost pure honey.  I'm hardly perceiving any acid at all.

Not unpleasant:  far from it.  Luscious is the word that comes to mind.  But not the dessert wine of my dreams.  (And NOT a pairing for spicy chicken fry.)

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I try to avoid repeating meals the next day.  But I was so jonesing for Mongo's spicy chicken fry that I had to finish it off tonight, even though I'd just had some last night.  (I had mixed some leftover sugar snaps into the leftover chicken fry for storage -- so a real one-pot one-dish dinner!)

It occurred to me that I'd been looking at the wine pairings the wrong way.  Indian Accent's wine program has taught that the best pairings for complexly spicy Indian food aren't necessarily off-dry wines, but rather funky wines.

Especially when I had on tap a funky white with off-dry elements.

2008 Red Hook Winery The Electric

I'm pretty sure this was part of Red Hook's first release.  I'm also pretty sure that this was the only bottle of this wine still in existence.  Nobody would have aged it this long.

But I'm a pretty big fan of aging Abe Schoener's wines.  They become more "conventional" over time, as it turns out -- but not in a way that destroys their basic distinctive profiles.  They just become, I dunno, what's the word I'm looking for?:  better.

(I know you're all sick of hearing me blather on about audio equipment, but it's like adding an external power supply to my Naim sources:  they retain the lively rhythmic snap that distinguishes Naim from all other audio equipment -- but suddenly they're also able to do such conventional high-end things as throwing a soundstage and layering sounds in detail.)

The Electric was a blend of mostly Chardonnay with a little bit of nobly rotted Riesling.  The dis on it when it came out was that it was incoherent, disjointed:  the Chardonnay and the Riesling tasted like two separate wines poured into the same bottle.  Well, twelve years on, they've integrated, coalesced.  It would be easy to write that you get an attack of citrusy/exotic Chardonnay fruit, with a finish of sweet-but-minerally-and-acidic Riesling, but it isn't like that.  This is now a gestalt that's actually hard to describe.  Two things I can say, though:  (1) it has enough flavor to stand up to this aggressively flavored dish, and (2) it has exactly the right amount of sweetness to complement the chicken fry's high spice Q.

I can't imagine anyone's now thinking this wine is "too weird".  It's just delicious.

Congratulations to Abe.  Congratulations to me.


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D'Artagnan Berkshire Porterhouse Pork Chops, with a currant sauce.  Steamed dragon's tongue beans on the side.

Tubbs is right about these D'Artagnan Berkshire chops:  they're superb, moist way beyond the norm and really tasting of pork.  If Fossil's Berkshire is better -- and I hope to get a chance to try them -- they must be spectacular.

I decided on a Rioja. 

1982 Viña Albina Reserva

You might think this Monday dinner would have liked something younger and fresher/fruitier.  But current circumstances have made all of us (at least all of us over, say, 40, who don't hang out in Astoria) more cognizant of our mortality.  No more hording wine for me.

In any event, this bottle proved to be there.  This wine -- a relic of the year I moved to Brooklyn, ages ago  -- retains an astounding amount of fruit (currants gratifyingly at the fore, as I'd hoped).  But -- this is why we love old wines -- the fruit doesn't bounce out of the glass and shake your hand.  It lets you come to it.  And then it imperceptibly fades into a rather long parade of other stuff, including in this case, rather pronouncedly, delicious baking spice.  But I keep coming back to the tart fruit:  there's just something so pleasing about it the way it is now, both pointed and reticent.

This turned out to be a perfect pairing.

I love good old wine.

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I've never really seen the point of bison meat.  It's like beef, but dryer -- who needs THAT?  But I needed to fill out a Fossil order, and they highly tout their bison ribeye -- so since I'm locked here in my apartment for dinner every night, why not?

Having read that bison is a little "sweeter" than beef, I seemed to have tasted that.  And since ribeye is the fattiest cut of bison steak, this wasn't unbearably dry.  It was really quite nice.  Better than beefsteak?  I'm not seeing that.  (It IS lower fat/lower calories than beefsteak.  I really don't believe in cooking on that basis.  Use good ingredients and eat in moderation, you'll be fine, I say.)

Crispy fried potatoes on the side.  And steamed broccolini (I LOVE broccolini!).

This being bison and all, of course it called for an American wine.  I was pretty proud of what I came up with.

2005 Palmina Savoia

Palmina is a Santa Barbara County winery established by the Clifton half of Brewer-Clifton to make wines using Italian varietals.

This one is mainly Nebbiolo, with some Barbera and also some Syrah (so you know it isn't really Italian) (or it's like secret DOC-avoiding Italian).

Actually, you know it isn't Italian by drinking it.  I'd never identify this as manly Nebbiolo blind.  It just sort of tastes like a New World red -- a good, unexaggerated (albeit still traditional) one -- with strong forthright primary flavors and not a whole lot of multidemensionality.  I'm tasting things like cranberries.

Of course, there's something to be said for good, unexaggerated (albeit traditional) New World wines.  This was far from unpleasant.  It was good.  (I like cranberries.)  Indeed, it was probably a more suitable pairing for this rather forthrightly flavored dinner than a more complex wine would have been.

It IS funny that you taste the Syrah -- by far the junior component of this blend -- more than the Piemonte grapes that make up the majority.

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