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As I thought, several days of refrigerator age integrated the hot peppers into my leftover Norma sauce.  But it's still very hot!

Sautéed Green Of Some Kind on the side.

I thought all day about what to drink with this.  Zinfandel is generally thought to be a good pairing for spicy food (and it likes eggplant, too).

2016 Three Wine Company Old Vines Zinfandel

Matt Cline's Three Wine Company remains one of my more favored California producers.  Not remotely "natural", but not overblown.  Sensitively made, balanced, unfucked-with Old Skool wines.

This is mostly Zinfandel, with trace amounts of the usual California-by-Way-of-the-Rhone Other Grapes that find their way into Zinfandel wines.

You can see why people pair wines like this with chili-laden food.  There aren't a ton of tannins.  There is a ton of fruit and other stuff.  And the flavors are very BIG, so they stand up to the intense flavors of the chili-laden sauce.

Me, I'd prefer something thinner and more sharply acidic.  More natural, you might say.  But for the kind of wine this is, at $20 or so, this is about as good as this kind of wine gets.  A fine achievement, really.

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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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Mississippi Roast on hamburger buns with pickles.  This might not have reached the celestial heights of The Tribute To Brooklyn Hot Roast Beef Hero a few nights ago, but every day can’t be Purim. 

Fried potatoes and steamed broccolini on the side.

2019 Les Vins Contés (O. Lemasson) Le P'tit Rouquin

This is just the kind of wine I like, so I like it.

Carbonic Gamay from the Loire.  This is Lemasson's "younger"-vines Gamay, although the vines still hover around 40 years old.  Tastes exactly how good wines like this taste:  sharp vibrant fruit, sharp funky undertones, sharp finish.

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Pan-fried rainbow trout with a tarragon caper sauce.  On the side, an absolutely delicious Fall/Winter squash that was orange and sort of shaped like a duck-pin bowling pin, roasted (with plenty of La Boit Mishmish sprinkled on).  And sautéed chicory.

The trout was farmed using the same New Age fish-farming method as that really great steelhead you see around, albeit from a different producer (in North Carolina rather than the Hudson Valley).   It was very good.  The emergence of good farmed fish is kind of a big deal in these ecologically fraught times.

My Inner Somm told me an Alsatian Sylvaner would go really well with all of this.

2017 Dirler-Cade Sylvaner "Vielles Vignes"

My Inner Somm was right.

Lighter than Riesling, and much less exotic.  But fresh as fresh can be.  And interesting for a wine on the lighter side.

I get a lot of apples on the lead.  But then, instead of following through with something unctuous as a non-Chablis Chardonnay would, you get minerals of almost pure slate (the non-Chablis Chardonnay would get to the slatey minerals eventually, but it would take you through a bunch of unctuousness before).  So how is this different from a Chablis?  Not a hint of citrus that I can taste is the main thing.

So let's say somewhere between a Riesling and a Chablis.  A nice place.  (Simpler than either, though.)

If you're having trout, look out for this.

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Boar chop.  Coated with a lot of salt and some pepper and marinated all evening in sherry vinegar and olive oil with lots of garlic and lots and lots and lots of sweet and hot peppers.  Then patted and seasoned with a little more salt and pepper and a good amount (i.e., a shit-ton) of La Boite Catalunya mix and grilled.  The marinade, along with the leftover blood in the package the chop came in, were cooked for a good long while to make a topping (you can't really call it a sauce or gravy).

On the side, fresh cranberry beans (very clearly the last of the season) with stupid amounts of garlic and marjoram.  And some sautéed mustard greens that I didn't remember I still had.

This was GOOD.  I mean, this just WORKED.  It's always great when something comes out more or less the way you intended (or perhaps I should better say "hoped").

The chop looked so grand coming out of the package that I was almost thinking of a really old Rioja with it.  But come on:  you can't waste a grand old wine on hot peppers that would make it impossible to taste.  So a fresh youngish (for the producer) Rioja.

2009 R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Cubillo

I have nothing more to say about this wine.  I love the balance between the fruit and the other stuff.  I love the way it's both lively and (in a weak way) timeless.  I love the way it's a fresh young(ish) easy-to-open easy-to-drink bottle that is still manifestly a product of a supremely classy (I hate that word) producer.

It was made for food like this.

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In my continuing run for the Bonne Femme Trophy, I tonight present you with me entry for Canniest Deployment Of Leftovers.

I had some (very very nice) striped bass on deck for dinner tonight.  So I took the beans and the hot peppers left over from last night, mixed them together, and then simmered them with some celery and some Tasso I had browned/sautéed, using the celery leaves as a garnish, and served the pan-seared bass over a base of them.  YumMO.

Not that I needed it with all those celery leaves, but on the assumption that you can't eat too many leafy greens, some sautéed spinach on the side.

Since I did so well with an L de H pairing last night, I decided to keep going.

2005 R. Lopez de Heredia Viña Gravonia

There was no question that this wine could stand up to the hot peppers.

This is really a glorious wine.  It's slightly (but only slightly) oxidized, lending a nuttiness to the otherwise unctuous apricot-and-the-like fruit flavors.  It's fairly thick on the tongue without being oleaginous.  It fucking LASTS.

If anyone were to say that L de H is the best wine producer in the world, I wouldn't argue.

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Mississippi Roast!  On PA Dutch pot pie squares.  With sautéed chicory.

Instead of my usual attempt at a Geographically Correct pairing (meaning a wine from the same kind of place as the food, even if not the very same place), I went for what I hoped would be an interesting contrast.

2019 Floral Terranes Marquette "Wyeth Ellis"

This is one of those hybrid wines we're all supposed to be getting excited about now, made from grapes crossed between noble European vinus vinifera grapes and North American vinus labrusca grapes.  Marquette is, in fact, a hybrid hybrid:  a cross between two existing hybrids.  Everyone who talks about it mentions that one of its grandparents is Pinot Noir.  It doesn't taste like it.

Marquette was developed at the University of Minnesota 20 or so years ago specifically toward the end of being growable in cold climates.  (Little did they realize that, 20 years later, there would no longer be cold climates.)  But this wine doesn't come from Minnesota, or Maine/Vermont, or Canada, or the other areas the grape was developed for.  Rather, it comes from the balmy North Fork of Long Island.  From the backyard of an inn, in fact.

No way around it:  this wine is foxy in the vinus labrusca fashion.  There's also some cherry in there.  Good fruit with the fox, I'd say.  Natural, sour finish.

So this is another wine where, to like it, you have to like (a) vinus labrusca and (b) natural wine.  Luckily for me, I do.  I'll be happy drinking my stash of this down.

Not sensational as a complement for the Mississippi Roast, but nice enough.  (Ideally, I think the Roast wants something more straightforwardly fruity.)  Seems to me this wine would be best with charcuterie.

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Work took me to Green-Wood Cemetery this afternoon.  Which made a lunch stop at Hometown BBQ for a pastrami sandwich seemed like a good idea.

Which made the spiffy, but substantial, dinner I'd been planning seem like a bad idea.

I did a quick mental inventory of what I had in my fridge that REALLY needed to be eaten.  And realized I had the makings of a delicious omelette.  A hot/sweet pepper-Tasso-scallion-Colby omelette.  With radishes and their dressed greens on the side.

The wine choice then became pretty easy.

2019 Vignes sur Volcan Urfé (Gilles Bonnefoy) Sauvignons Gris et Blanc de Madone

I can imagine someone not liking this.  But I can't imagine our having a lot to say to each other.

Sauvignon Gris is slightly oilier and heavier -- less snappy -- than its cousin Sauvignon Blanc.  Together, they pack a full Sauvignon punch.  You get the sour citrus, you get the tart green berries, you get the grass (although not a whole lot), you get the acid (in spades).

It's a natural wine:  you taste the fruit flavors, but they're not prettified.

I love this stuff.

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I had some chicken, some prunes, some olives, and some capers that needed to be eaten.  So when the Times revived its simplified version of The Sliver Palate's Chicken Marbella last week, you can bet I was interested.

If, like me, you reached Full Adulthood in the 1980s, you had Chicken Marbella at every single dinner party you went to then.  And there's a reason:  it's good.

This is a dish somewhat mimicking Spanish food, named after a resort in the south of Spain, invented by a Jewess on the Upper West Side.  If I cook it, could anything be more "authentic"?

You're supposed to put white wine in the gravy.  But I had determined on a red wine to drink with dinner that I thought would be a near-perfect pairing -- and it came in a 1 L bottle.  So it seemed to me that a perfect use for the extra wine would be to use it in cooking.  The recipe also calls for red wine vinegar, so I figured I'd counteract the switch in the wine by using sherry and Viognier vinegars.  I'm sure in the end it made no difference.

I oversalted it.  Damn.

On the side, roasted squash and steamed haricots verts (they also needed to be eaten).

2018 Ampeleia Unlitro

This is, as you all know, the cheap wine from Elisabetta Foradori's (and others') Tuscan project, focusing on Rhone grapes.  At $17 or so, it is, to my mind, one of the great values in the world of wine.

It's Grenache and Grenache relavitives, with Mourvèdre, Carignano, and some Sangiovese so you know it's Tuscan.  Bright red fruit, thin but focused in that natural way, a good dollop of herbs that it tastes like the Grenache, Mourvèdre, and Carignan brought over from Provençe, and natural sour accents.

You could drink a whole liter of this.


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I used the last of my Mississippi Roast to make another Tribute To Brooklyn Hot Roast Beef Hero.  God I love this.

Roast cauliflower with whatever the current iteration of Tutto Calabria Nonnata di Pesce is.

I figured a Monica di Sardegna would go well with this full-flavored and (in the case of the cauliflower) even spicy food.

2016 Cardedu Monica "Praja"

This is a good wine.  I've always been well disposed to Monica -- it's like a lighter, even livelier Côtes du Rhone -- and you make it natural and it goes, if not to heaven, to a really nice corner of limbo.

Since this is THE characteristically Sardinian wine grape, I'd like to say that you taste myrtle where a Côtes du Rhone has garrigue.  Unfortunately, life isn't that good.


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