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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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Here's something "interesting" (scare quotes cuz not really, but here we go anyway).

In her NYT piece about Emily Meggett and her cookbook, Kim Severson, who had spent some time with Meggett, says that Wild Cat Sauce is "darkened with a little coffee".  There is no mention of coffee in the recipe in the book.

Two possibilities:  (1) Meggett or her editors simplified the recipe for the book (although it's hard to see how adding coffee to a gravy is hard), or (2) Severson is thinking of Red Eye Gravy, which indeed has coffee in it, and just said that about Wild Cat Sauce without checking  or rechecking the actual recipe.

I mean, even Homer nods.

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Erotic Beef is BACK!

This is another dish where my preparation has gotten a lot better because I've become more confident, less fearful, in the kitchen.

Also it didn't hurt that I replaced the chopped scallions and unspecified leaves you're supposed to put on the top with (wait for it) RAAAAAAAMMMMMMMMMMMPPPPPPPPPSSSSSSSSSSS.

On the side, a salad of raw shoots of some kind dressed with sesame oil and benne seeds.

I thought hard about the pairing -- really, the thing to drink with Erotic Beef would be a Riesling with some sweetness, but I'm just not ready to have Riesling with red meat -- and came up with this.

2019 Bichi Místico

A Mexican field blend of Tempranillo, Cariñena, Mission/Pais/Rosa de Peru, and other grapes that no one has identified.

The main reason I chose this was the Cariñena, which often tastes like someone emptied a few bottles of different Asian spice mixes, with some baking spice, into it:  perfect, you'd think, for a dish cooked in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, mirin, sesame oil, and Japanese Sichuan bean paste.  The Tempranillo didn't hurt, though.

First off, this is a delicious wine.  I'd have to say that to me, it tastes more like a Pipeño (a wine made from Mission/Pais/Rosa de Peru) than like any of the other grapes identified in this.  But I like Pipeño.  And it doesn't taste just like a Pipeño:  it's a little lighter, and a good deal more complex (without being any kind of wine for contemplation).

As a pairing, though, this was a little too dark for this dish.  Solely as a pairing, I should have gone with my first thought of either a Pinot Noir or a Moulin-a-Vent (but I was afraid you'd all laugh at me for opening another Beaujolais).

I'm happy to be drinking this Bichi, though.

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This is funny:  finishing the bottle after doing the dishes, this tastes like it would be a better pairing for the Erotic Beef dish than it in fact was.  I guess I can see exactly what my thought process was: you really do taste the spices in there.  It just didn't turn out to be exactly right.

Still a very delicious wine, though.  And distinctive, too.

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Getting home very late from the opera (don't worry @Wilfrid:  I wore a Hinds tee shirt), it was great to have a delicious one-dish meal sitting around that only needed reheating (OK:  I had to wash, destem, and sprinkle on the carrot greens that garnished it).  So the hardest part of my late-night supper prep was opening and decanting the wine.

Well, and choosing the bottle (but that I did all afternoon, while working).  I didn't want to repeat my Beaujolais paring for this Navarin d'Agneau, perfect as it was.  So I decided to hop over the Pyrénées and down to Valencia (Castellón, to be exact).

2019 Celler les Foes L'Adolescent

This wine is a blend of mainly Monastrell/Mourvèdre, then some Garnatxa/Grenache, and then some Syrah/Syrah.  Biodynamic, Natural, vanishingly tiny production, the winemaker's main gig was until very recently as a high school history teacher (the wine has now taken off to a point where these days he only does that part-time).

You might think that Mourvèdre is too heavy for as delicate a hearty dish as Navarin (that's what's so good about Navarin, right?  it's light and hearty at the same time).  But this isn't a Bandol-style bruiser, nor a Jumilla-style fruit bomb.

To the contrary, this cuvée is the youngest this producer offers (hence its name).  And it's light on its feet.  Indeed, the recommended pairings are charcuterie and white meat.

It turned out, if I may say, to work extremely well. Enough racy freshness to bring out the Springtime joy in the stew, but enough flavor not to be steamrolled by the lamb.

What flavors?  Red berries to start, and then TONS of herbs.  I mean TONS.  Not garrigue exactly, but you can tell they originate on the same coast (if some way apart).  This isn't quite inconsequential enough to be called a glou glou quaffer.  But it goes down very easy.

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On 5/26/2022 at 1:31 AM, Sneakeater said:

Wait wait wait.  Mission/Pais/Rosa de Peru is ALSO the same as Listan Negro?????

This bears further research!

It looks like it IS!

But I'm here to tell you that Canary Islands Listan Negro doesn't taste anything like Pipeño (and I've had them both within the last week).

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I have all this A5 Hokkaido Snow Beef, but I always eat it in Erotic Beef.  You might think it's a waste of such an expensive cut of meat to always eat it in a dish with a lot of flavorings.  It occurred to me that I ought to see how it is on its own.

So I seared two strips of it, one only salted and the other dusted with Ichimi Togarashi.

Hokkaido Snow Beef is raised in the frozen north with the express understanding that cows growing up in that cold a climate will develop extremely thick fat layers.  I wouldn't be surprised if this were the fattiest beef in the world.  It's not marbled so much as that the fat is streaked with meat, like bacon.

In Erotic Beef, the sheer unctuousness of the meat contributes to the general air of debauchery.  How is it on its own?

I have to say that I've never been that fond of Wagyu as steak.  I like some resistance in my steak; Wagyu strikes me as almost mushy.  And I like aggressive beef flavor, dry-aged to the point of funkiness; Wagyu is more reticent.

This Snow Beef is Wagyu to the nth degree.  Indeed, it doesn't really come across as steak.  And if you don't look it as steak, but rather as something else, that something else is quite good.  It won't surprise you that I preferred the strip seasoned with Togarashi to the other one:  it had some extra kick.

Beef this fatty generates a huge amount of rendered tallow in the pan.  I used it to fry up some potatoes.

Also on the side, although they didn't really have a place in this dinner, I had a lot of beans left over from last night, so I had some.  RG hardly needs any more accolades, but these are SO good.

And, sautéed turnip greens.

Don't worry:  there were some RAAAAAAAAMMMMMMPPPPSSSSS fried with those potatoes (with their greens used as garnish).  And, of course, there were some in yesterday's leftover beans.

So here you have a dinner centered on a very fine piece of beef that's very delicately flavored.  And that's astonishingly fatty to boot.  So you need a wine of great elegance, with flavor that's reticent but very certainly there -- and enough tannins to bond with all that fat.

You can all say it with me:  an aged Langhe Nebbiolo.

1999 Cappellano Langhe Rosso

I was feeling a little guilty about opening an old Barolo or Barberesco at midnight (another good thing about this meal was that it was very quick to prepare after a long day's and night's work) on a weeknight.  So I was very happy to come upon this old Langhe Rosso from a marvelous vintage.

We've all learned that great Barolo producers tend to make great Nebbiolo Langhes as well -- and Cappellano is a very great (very trad) Barolo producer.

No one would ever guess that this wine is sneaking up on 23 years old.  The cherry fruit, tinged with cranberry, doesn't leap out of the glass -- they aren't so vulgar as that in the Langhe -- but rather slithers over your tongue, bathing it in deliciousness.  Of course that was preceded on the nose by that tar-and-roses thing that is the Langhe's great gift to the wine world, and then succeeded by tarry minerals on the palate.  It's almost like this was aged in Islay Scotch barrels.

And that's it:  it would be idle to pretend this is as complex as a Barolo -- and tonight I didn't need it to be.

The one fly in the ointment was that Nebbiolo Langhes tend to be a little punchier than Barolos (much more the even more elegant Barbarescos).  That remains true, I now know, after 22-some years.  This didn't overwhelm the meat or anything, but a nice delicate Barbesco would have been perfect.  This was only great. 

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12 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

It's not marbled so much as that the fat is streaked with meat, like bacon.

This gives me an idea as to the preparation of the next batch!

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The last of the Navarin.  Gotta love those one-dish meals!

I was trying to decide between a Southern Rhone and a Bordeaux when I realized there's a wine that's sort of combination of those two.

Also, as you can see, this week at Chez Sneak we're partying like it's 1999!

1999 Chateau Musar

As I've said several times, I've generally been lucky at home in the Musar Bottle Variation Derby.  This one's a little off, though.  It isn't the vintage:  I've had other bottles of the 1999 that were unabashedly delicious.  And it can't be the storage for the same reason.

This is a little too sour -- bitter even.  On the good side, though, there's a strong eucaplytus/mint aftertaste that I haven't detected before that's very nice with the lamb.

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