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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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Reheated leftover Canard à la Vignerrone (the reheating correcting the undercrisping of the breast side of the duck).  This time with the superstar addition of mashed parsnips as the side dish/grape gravy sopper (an idea I stole from Daniel Humm -- in the days when he still put cream in things).  Also, steamed broccolini in butter.

I kept wondering where all the seeds floating around in the reheated gravy came from.  From a pound of Concord grapes, maybe, idiot?

Once @voyager told me the duck dish probably comes from Gascony, it was clear to me what I'd drink with this batch.

2015 Domaine du Château Larroque

This Côtes du Gascogne is a wine I just adore.

The cépages are Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Tannat (so you know you're in Gascony), and Syrah.

But although the Tannat supplies some necessary roughness, it's more on the Cab/Merlot elegant side of things on the whole.

That's what I like about it:  it's elegant, but still a little rustic.

The fruit is dark, and there's lots of it.  It verges on having a thick mouthfeel -- but only verges, thank God.  After that, spices, especially black pepper.  You can there's oak in its past, but it doesn't club you over the head with it.

That's the kind of wine it is:  there's a lot there, but nothing dominates, and nothing gets out of hand.

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Tajarin ai Funghi --porcini, to be exact.  The pretentious touch I added, as is my wont, was that, instead of garnishing it with parsley, I finished it with some nori butter.  If I say so myself, that was an excellent idea.

On the side, to cut the butterfat, a dandelion green salad with an anchovy vinaigrette.  This shocked me by working:  the rare salad I was sorry to finish.  If you want to see some kind of lame bagna cauda reference here, I won't say you're wrong.

Here in the U.S., we tend to default to Nebbiolo with a Piemontese dish like this pasta.  But in the Piemonte, they'd never drink that with this:  it would be a Barbera or a Dolcetto.  I spent all afternoon ping ponging between the two, ultimately deciding that a Barbera would be better because its brighter acid would cut all the butterfat.  But when I went to retrieve a bottle, there was none in the place I thought they would be -- but there was plenty of Dolcetto.  So the Storage Gods made my decision for me.

2017 La Msoira e'l Rastel (Fabio Gea) Dolcetto d'Alba "Pinotto"

Sometimes you can overthink things.  This Dolcetto was fine.

This is the junior Dolcetto cuvée of Fabio Gea, a totally bonkers* Barbaresco Natural winemaker.  Somewhat surprisingly, the wine is aged in oak.

This being Gea's junior cuvée and Dolcetto being an early drinker, I was somewhat concerned this was going to be past its window.  But it's not even close to the end of it.

It helps that it's a wonderful wine.  What you get from Dolcetto -- all you get -- is black cherry fruit and bitters.  Maybe a little spice.  And that's it.  But in a lively vivacious wine like this bottle -- the flavors are just jumping -- that's enough.

Also, although Gea doesn't hedge -- his wines are as Far Out as they come -- this is one Natural Wine that even the biggest Natural Wine skeptic could enjoy.

I'm usually a snob in insisting on Dolcetto di Dogliani over its Albanese cousins.  But there's no getting around it:  this is really good.

I only wish I still had a bottle left of Gea's Mushroom Panda cuvée, a blend of Nebbiiolo and Dolcetto.  That would have been SOMETHING with this pasta.  But the Storage Gods weren't smiling that broadly tonight.

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*  Bonkers like a volpe, since he was a successful corporate geologist before he decided to chuck it all to revive his grandfather's winemaking enterprise, which his father had ignored and let fall into desuetude.

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I don't know why, but I was thinking about Musso and Frank in Hollywood (where @hollywood and I had a blast of a night a few years ago).  I remembered, out of the blue, that Charlie Chaplin's favorite dish there was reputed to be lamb's kidneys with bacon.

One of those overwhelming offal urges set in.

Knowing my butcher was getting a lamb in today, I went and got some.

Let me ask you:  did The Little Tramp have his lamb's kidneys and bacon supplemented with smoked potato on the side?  I think not!

The kidneys* were marinated in balsamic vinegar, olive oil, and chopped-up sage leaves for what turned out, owing to my need to finish work before making dinner, to be nearly 3 hours (have I mentioned that I don't get paid enough for the amount of work I do?).  They were garnished with some more sage leaves, crisped in the grease of the bacon ultimately served on the side.  Those smoked potatoes, which turned out to be delicious (hickory seemed the obvious choice of wood).  And raw dandelion greens dressed with homemade ranch dressing (yeah we're really working those dandelion greens) (but OTOH, I've been making a lot of fatty foods that benefit from a sharp bitter green to cut them).

It's bad form for me to say so, but these were the best lamb's kidneys I've ever had anywhere (to be clear, I didn't have them at Musso and Frank) (that I remember**).  They were like perfect:  charred on the outside, rosy in the middle  

This obviously gets a Northern Rhône, right?

2015 Domaine Finot Crozes-Hermitage "Cuvée Claude"

This Isère producer also has some old family holdings in Crozes-Hermitage.

"Ironically", this is one of the least bacony Syrahs I've ever had.  So, to that extent, the pairing failed at its raison d'être.  But it's a nice wine.

Plum syrup at the start.  As I noted, the finish isn't bacony, or smoky, or even particularly peppery.  So in that sense, it's more like a New World Syrah/Shiraz than a Rhône.

But it's smaller than a New World, and has Old World acid (which those rich kidneys really screamed for).

So it's sort of midway.  I like the things that are missing from this, so I miss them.  But I enjoy that very nice fruit.

Not a perfect pairing, as it turned out.  But good enough to drink with pleasure.

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* When cleaning kidneys, it's very important not to think of the fact that what you're doing is removing the ureter.  Nobody needs to be thinking about that.

** I don't actually remember what main dish I had there.  It was one of those nights where you remember the beginning of dinner (Seafood Chiffonade:  mandatory) better than the end.  They make REALLY good Martinis -- and I didn't wait for @hollywood to get there to start.

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On 11/1/2022 at 12:15 AM, Sneakeater said:

But I don't think I'm going to be going around craving smoked squash.

I do have to say, though, that reheated with some mascarpone plopped on top, the remaining half made a lunch fit, if not for a king, for a minor potentate.

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2 hours ago, Sneakeater said:

** I don't actually remember what main dish I had there.  It was one of those nights where you remember the beginning of dinner (Seafood Chiffonade:  mandatory) better than the end.  They make REALLY good Martinis -- and I didn't wait for @hollywood to get there to start.

I don't recall either but as I do recall I was there at the bar halfway into a dry Martini before you arrived.  You ordered a wet Martini and then we repaired to a table.  We had a half bottle of red and one of white.  I think I had sand dabs and I'm not sure what else.

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12 hours ago, hollywood said:

I don't recall either but as I do recall I was there at the bar halfway into a dry Martini before you arrived.  You ordered a wet Martini and then we repaired to a table.  We had a half bottle of red and one of white.  I think I had sand dabs and I'm not sure what else.

So I don't remember the BEGINNING of the night, either!

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Reheated retreated leftover burnt Cajun Duck-Andouille Gumbo.  Over rice duh.

Did the steps I took to ameliorate the burn work?  To an extent:  it still tasted burnt -- but less burnt.  I have now thought of additional steps I can take when I reheat the next batch (the is endless) that might get it closer to complete palatabllity.  It really wasn't horrible tonight, though.

Taking a break from dandelion greens, I had . . .  mustard greens.  So, on the side, more Southern Mustard Greens With Bacon.  Did I drink the potlikker off the plate?  Yes I did.

I just didn't want a white tonight.

2015 Domaine Ricard Le Clos de Variou

You might have expected me to pop a Beaujolais, but I fooled you.  This is a Gamay from Touraine.

It's good, sure -- but it's remarkable how not as good as a Beaujolais it is.  There's simply less to it.

It isn't age, either.  Because it doesn't taste tired.  It just tastes like a Beaujolais, but that tiny bit worse.

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