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Roast venison loin in a whiskey/juniper/mushroom/chestnut sauce, over a bed of boiled rutabaga.  Sautéed kohlrabi greens (seriously) on the side.  I thought I was in danger of undercooking the venison, but as it turned it I barely avoided overcooking it.  Go know.

As for the wine:  it's a big night, right?

1982 Château Giscours

Sure, 1982 was during Giscours's Years In The Wilderness, when their wine consistently failed to live up to its official ranking.  But 1982 is 1982 (to be sure, 1983 was probably even better in Margaux).  So I'll drink this.

This is clearly an old wine.  The fruit is only barely there.  The secondary flavors are echoes.  But, as I've said many times, that very fragility provides its own enormous appeal.  Maybe even more so on the cusp of a New Year -- and the end of a year that most of us are very happy to see gone.  It gives you a sense that things can last.  Despite all the evidence to the contrary.

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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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2015 Belluard Mont Blanc

Dominque Belluard's wines are another example of a dedicated winemaker's taking a local workhorse grape and running with it.  Belluard focuses on Gringet, a tertiary Savoie white grape that was mainly used for unprepossessing everyday sparklers, less distinguished than Prosecco.  Belluard is famous for his high-quality still Gringets (which are among my personal favorite white wines).  But he also makes a couple of sparklers, and Mont Blanc is the pride of them.  A zero-dosage methóde Champenoise.

It's outrageously good.  Very tart, very distinct.  A little nutty.  Very very moreish.  I recommend this to all of you with the very greatest possible enthusiasm.

Happy New Year!

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Carabineros al ajillo.  I realize this is usually served as a tapa -- but increase the portion, and you've got yourself a main dish.*  Lots and lots of wonderful Olmsted baguette to sop up that great garlic prawn juice.

New Years Day black-eyed peas on the side.  (I didn't bother to count out 365 of them -- so if everything goes south for me this year, you'll know why.)  And seared kale.

Did I nail the pairing?  Yes I did.

NV Domaine Laguerre Oxy

This is a Rancio Sec:   Roussillon's (a/k/a Northern Catalonia) answer to Sherry.  It's grapier/winier than Sherry, though (this is made from Grenache Blanc).  Only a little nutty -- and really, in the scheme of things, only slightly oxidated.  (Unlike most dry Sherry, most Rancios Sec aren't aged sous voile -- but this one is.)

Now Sherry would have been good with the prawns.  But this, this was fantastic.  Because, aside from the (dialed-down) Sherry characteristics, it tasted like a good white wine.


* I followed Felicity Cloake's now-famous recipe from The Guardian, where she synthesizes the leading extant recipes for gamba al ajillo.  Cloake, however, cautions against cooking the prawns in the cazuela in which you serve them, because if you serve them in that same (heated) cazuela they'll keep cooking while you're serving and eating them and so end up overcooked.  If Felicity Cloake wants to come over to my house to do the dishes, then she can tell me to add an extra item to clean.  Otherwise, I will point out what generations upon tens of generations of Spaniards have figured out:  if you slightly undercook the prawns to begin with, then their continuing to cook at table in the heated cazuela will finish them.

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12 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

.... if you slightly undercook the prawns to begin with, then their continuing to cook at table in the heated cazuela will finish them.

Important in "big fish soups".   Would seem a no brainer, but guests regularly ask how our shellfish is always perfectly cooked, never over-cooked.   

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More of that stall-bought duck barbacoa.  This time, to garnish, I put up some onion and radish in vinegar and oil over the day.  In the absence of tortillas, I made a corn pancake to have it on.  Worked for me.

Sautéed kale in the side.  And some more black-eyed peas (which reassuringly if somewhat paradoxically seemed less overcooked reheated than out of the pot on Day 1).

One of the reasons I made this tonight is that it could use up the remnants of Friday night's wine.

NV Domaine Laguerre Oxy

You could tell this would be good with the duck barbacoa, and it was.  Strong enough to stand up to the flavors, sharp enough to cut through them.

A friend has spotted some at Chambers.

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Venison ragu.  As I was dicing the venison, part of me thought, "this meat is much too nice to put into a pasta sauce."  The rest of me, though, was like, "shut up and make the ragu."

In a better world, I'd have had this over cocoa tagliatelle, as they would in the Alto Adige.  But that's almost impossible to find, at least where I am -- and pasta-making is still, for me, a bridge too far.  So I had it over pappardelle, and put some chocolate into the ragu.  Worked for me.

Seared kohlrabi greens on the side.

I don't like to ever claim there's One True Pairing for anything.  But for venison in a tomato/chocolate sauce, it's close.

1999 Podere Rocche dei Manzoni "Bricco Manzoni"

Mostly Nebbiolo, about a fifth Barbera.  Bingo.

This wine isn't built to last, long-term.  Certainly not 20 years.  But 1999 was a great vintage up there, and time hasn't done this wine any harm.  No no no.

What it tastes like is what it is, mostly Nebbiolo with a smaller but still significant shot of Barbera.  It's still, even after these two decades, just that touch livelier than a Barolo or Barbaresco.  And of course, acidic Barbera plays better with tomatoes than brooding Nebbiolo does.

So, not only absolutely delicious, but kind of perfect with the food.

Which actually raises a problem:  the leftover portion is obviously going to taste better.  But I'll never find as good a wine pairing.  (Hmmmm.   I wonder if I have any Lagrein hiding out anywhere . . . .)

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Erotic Beef, round two.  God I love this dish.  And, having lived through it once, I was emboldened to (half-)cook the beef even less.  Which made it all the more erotic.

If the pairing ain't broke . . . .  (Although you can try a different producer.)

2014 Domaine des Terres Dorée (Jean-Paul Brun) Fleurie "Grille Midi"

This Fleurie is more on the natural side of things (and, obvs, none the worse for it).  In fact, it's as exemplary in its way as last week's Domaine de Robert was in its.

What's notable (and nice) about this is that you get this kind of (mildly) syrupy sweet thing in the fruit at end -- and that finish then lasts and lasts.  Yum (and great with all that chili and sugar in the Erotic Beef).

Before that, racy Fleurie fruit, just like you like it.  Floral Fleurie aroma.

Pleasure principle in a bottle.  (And what could Erotic Beef like better than that?)

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This is interesting.  The guys who grow the excellent Hudson River farmed Steelhead trout that's around now have set up a stand in the Greenmarket.  They sell fresh and smoked.  But neither their fresh fish nor their smoked fish is anywhere near as nice as the fresh and smoked versions of their product sold at my very good local fishmonger.  (The fishmonger smokes the trout themselves, AFAICT.)

So cavatelli with smoked Steelhead trout from the fishmonger, leeks, and cream.

2014 Domaine Belluard "Le Feu"

This is Belluard's best still Gringet (you'll recall I had a sparkling version on New Year's Eve).

This is definitely a mountain white.  Almost all minerals, very little fruit.  Lots of acid.  (I know, I know:  that could be a description of Muscadet, which is made in a flat coastal delta.) 

In other words, EXACTLY what this rich dish wants.  And let's not forget that trout is a mountain fish.

I mentioned recently that this is one of my very favorite whites.  And it is.

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