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A tangential thought.    Early on in our marriage, husband and I had physical exams at roughly the same time.    Husband's triglycerides were sky high; mine very low.    I suggested to our MD that since we ate essentially the same diet day in and day out, the only difference I could think of was that at dinner I drank red wine while he drank black cherry soda.    MD rolls his eyes and says that that could make no difference.    Thinking has certainly changed since then.  

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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 wife was thin as a rail and I am not.  We had a reverse Jack Sprat situation going on:  she eschewed fat and I would eat no lean.

My cholesterol was always WAY lower than hers.  And mine was predominantly the "good" kind, too.

She resented this greatly, given the way I ate and the way she ate.

I always told her that cholesterol was simply a reflection of moral worth.  If you were a good person, you had good cholesterol.  If you were a bad person, you had lots of bad cholesterol.

She never bought it.

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It's hard to believe something so stupid easy could be so good.

Grilled halibut with strawberry-basil-mint salsa (we sure see a lot of proteins with fruit sauces this time of year, don't we?).  Steamed sugar snaps on the side.

You want the kind of Provençal rosé that tastes like a bowl of strawberries with this.  I didn't have that kind.

2014 Domaine Le Roc des Anges Côtes de Rousillon Villages "Les Vinges Métssées"

My usual rap against Le Roc des Anges is that their wines are too self-serious.  In the case of this rosé, it works.

It's made from a whole panoply of Southern French grapes in both their red and white guises (you're allowed to put white grapes into a French rosé as long as you do it in the pre-fermentation stage, as opposed to blending red and white wines afterward).  And while it's very much a "serious" rosé, it doesn't forget to be lip-smackingly delicious.

Unfortunately for this attempted pairing, it doesn't taste like strawberries (normally, I'd consider that a good thing -- just not tonight).  Oddly for this kind of wine, I'm tasting tart cranberries -- boysenberries, maybe (Tasting Notes R Us) -- at the front.  And then, oddly for this kind of wine, there are actual complex secondary flavors.  Am I really drinking a not-that-expensive Southern French rosé?  Is this a Château Simone or something?

This is probably my favorite wine from this producer, as it turns out.

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Rohan duck breast in sour cherry sauce (I told you we were seeing a lot of proteins with fruit sauces this time of year).  More steamed sugar snaps on the side (cuz I love them so).

Wine pairing?  Well duh.

2015 François Raquilet Mercurey "Vieilles Vignes"

My first thought was a New World Pinot Noir.  My second thought was a Burgundy that kind of tastes like a California Pinot Noir (a good one, from the Central Coast).

This filled the bill.  Bright fruit (including cherries, duh).  Some other stuff there, although nothing you could name.  But the fruit, the fruit is just nice.

I don't remember what I paid for this, but I suspect it's got a pretty high QPR (which is always nice -- and rare -- in a Burgundy).

I didn't invent the pairing of canard aux cerices with a Pinot Noir.  But you can see why it's a classic.

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Some wines get better as you drink them down.

Some get worse.

This is definitely one that gets better.

Chambolle wouldn't like this (if he's still around) -- and I get why.  But I do.

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Usually when I make a pipérade, I fuck around with it.  I often (pointlessly, I admit) reverse the colors:  red pepper and green tomatoes instead of green peppers and red tomatoes.  I invariably put tuna over it rather than ham.  But tonight I pretty much went by the book:  the right colors (well, except that the peppers were purple -- which has no place whatsoever in the Basque flag), and the classic topping of barely cooked scrambled eggs under Jambon de Bayonne,  with basil and parsley sprinkled on top.

I'll tell you what:  this was GREAT.

Dragon's tongue beans on the side.

And I aced the pairing.

2017 Château Turcaud Clairet

This is more a light red than a rosé.  (I will repeat again that Clairet was what all Bordeaux wine was called in the late Middle Ages, when Aquitaine was part of England:  hence, the English term claret for Bordeaux red wine; it's thought that back then all Bordeaux red wine was this light, i.e., this is what Bordeaux was back then.)  It's also extremely good -- and a perfect match for the pipérade.

What's it like?  It's like . . . a light Bordeaux.  It's half Merlot and half Cabernet Franc.  It tastes of berries, with a little citrus, and then it goes all creamy on you.  No tobacco or saddleleather or cedar pencils here!

It was SO good with the pipérade that I'm going to uncharacteristically save half the bottle for the leftover pipérade (which I will prepare the same way).

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1 hour ago, Sneakeater said:

It was SO good with the pipérade that I'm going to uncharacteristically save half the bottle for the leftover pipérade (which I will prepare the same way).

Well THERE goes another good intention unrealized.

Wonder what I'll drink with the remaining portion?

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I was hoping to get some John Dory or some such to finish off my strawberry salsa with.  In its absence, I got some shark.  I realized as I was walking away from the fishmonger's counter that mackerel would have been a different, but better, choice.

And it seems to me that this was much worse than the halibut with strawberry salsa a couple of nights ago.  I would think the salsa would get better, not worse?  But the whole thing just didn't work.

Very nice haricots verts, steamed and doused with butter, on the side.

Good wine choice, at least.

2017 L'Octavin Charmay

Alice Bouvot's bizarro Chardonnay/Gamay blend.

I really like this.  It was a regular order, in happier times, at Meme's Diner, where it went with a surprising range of the dishes.

Not that you'd expect it to, but it doesn't taste like a rosé.  It tastes like a very light Gamay with more exotic fruit.

Who wouldn't like that?

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Around 1946, Daniel Querre bought the Monbousquet estate. It was in bad state, and it would take several years before it produced good wine again. He bridged the gap by making a wine of young grapes, with brief fermentation, which he called clairet in acknowledgement of the historical clairet. It kept him going until Monbousquet was ready to produce the good stuff.

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I know I said I'd repeat the last recipe I used for elk medallions.  But then I realized how delicious they'd be with a sauce made from these rather nice blueberries I have.  And they were.

On the side, some steamed broccolini (heartheartheart) and some roasted black trumpet mushrooms.

I decided a Cahors would be good with this (also playing a very substantial role in the sauce), as those wines taste like blueberries to me.

2014 Château Les Hauts d'Aglan

Cahors is what Malbec (f/k/a Cot) was before Argentina took it over.  They can be kind of rustic -- but this one wasn't.  It was (and is, as I'm still drinking it) rather refined.

I like an Argentine Malbec with a steak as much as the more discerning of the next guys (the less discerning -- the people who think wines like that are the ne plus ultra, better than Old World -- can bite me).  But it's hard not to acknowledge that Cahors are much better wines.  Even at their most rustic (which, again, this one isn't), they're not one-dimensional bruisers like the Argentinians are (albeit often enjoyable in their one-dimensional bruising way).  Rather, Cahors are characterized by depth.  Depth of flavor, I mean:  no great complexity -- although some complexity is there; again, they're not one-dimensional like their South American cousins.  But the flavors drill down.

So I'm tasting the blueberries I opened this bottle for (thankfully).  I'm tasting a light dusting of chocolate.  I'm tasting eucalyptus.  And I'm tasting a long herby finish.

Nice.

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Flounder poached in a tomato/dill broth including leftover roast broccolini and black trumpet mushrooms and . . . some dried orzo-like pasta that's been sitting in my pantry for more than 20 years!

Now we'll see whether dried pasta ever goes bad.  It tasted good enough.

As I was eating it, it occurred to me that, tasty as it was -- and it really was tasty -- it wouldn't have been amiss to put a little lemon juice into the broth.  And maybe some white wine.

Which brings us to . . .

2016 Domaine Vincent Ricard Tasciaca

A Sauvignon Blanc for the light fish and tomato, obvs.  But I thought that what with the dill and the mushrooms and all, maybe one on the rounder side rather than the sharper side.

That might have been wrong.

Vincent Ricard is a personal fave of mine in Touraine.  But this remains one of my least favorite of his wines.  When I want some roundness in a Sauvignon Blanc, I realize, better to go to a Bordeaux Blanc (where the roundness comes from Sémillon) rather than a Loire like this that's neither here nor there.

Not bad, don't get me wrong.  Just not a favorite.

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Alheira is a sausage invented by my religious forebears in Portugal.  When Marranos wanted to fool the Inquisition into thinking they were Conversos, they invented a sausage they could be seen to be eating that didn't contain pork.  Instead, it was made from chicken and various kinds of avian and terrestrial game (with a large bread component [after all, contrary to Inquisition propaganda, most of them were very poor]:  it's a very loose sausage).  Perhaps to compensate for all that bread -- and of course being Jews -- they put in lots and lots of garlic.  Cannily, they named the sausage using the Portuguese word for garlicky, rather than, say, the Portuguese word for "let's fool the goyim" or "don't look at what we left out of the sausage".

The love of garlic not being limited to my coreligionists -- are we all not brothers? -- the sausage caught on with the general Portuguese public, so that now it's a staple.  Indeed, it's now more often than not made of a blend of pork and chicken (as was the one I had tonight).  This is unfortunate on historical grounds -- but it makes for a fine sausage.  (Gotta love all that garlic.)

One of the two traditional ways to have Alheira is grilled, with a boiled tuber and sautéed garlicky greens.  So, tonight, grilled Alheira, with boiled radishes and sautéed radish greens with plenty of garlic.   Pulled-off pieces of baguette standing in for Portuguese rolls.

2018 Casal do Ramilo Jackpot

What did you think I was going to have?

The sausage comes from farther north than Lisbon.  But my Portuguese wine collection isn't extensive enough that I can do correct regional pairings.

In any event, this is as good a lightish red as you're going to find for about $12 a bottle this Summer.  I really urge you all to get some.

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Of course, eventually the Portuguese Jews all moved to Amsterdam, where they were free to stop pretending to be Christians so they could instead divert their attention to such edifying activities as persecuting Spinoza.

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Another delivery day. Grilled Oro Salmon sprinkled with my new La Boite seasoning (I used Isphahan) and doused with a grilled lemon. Topped with grilled scallion and a few left over garlic scapes. Sauteed Broccoli de ciccio on the side. Assorted lettuces with just lemon and olive oil and a few sliced radishes to start. 

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