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Wine dinner last night:

 

2009 Calera Pinot De Villiers - Potato and White truffle pizza

2001 Montecillo Rioja Gran Reserva - Smoked duck breast, potato confit, bacon jam, chantrelle cream

2002 Williams Selyem Russian River Valley - Seared sweetbreads with beet gastrique.

 

 

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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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89 Palmer last night with some grouse. Today had some Foillard Cote du Py 2011 at lunch. This could definitely do with another year or two; it is quite structured. Not a big fan of aging Beaujolais in general, but maybe it would improve.

 

Maybe I should start drinking Passe-tout-grains.

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Boston mackerel with sherry vinegared onions and capers, braised greens.

 

2009 Domaine de la Louvetrie "Le Fief du Breil" Muscadet

 

Why not Muscadet?

 

Why not, indeed.

 

This is a 2009, so it's a big fruity Muscadet. This particular dish would have benefited from something a little leaner. Oh well. It's delicious anyway.

 

Stone fruit, minerals, acid (usually, you'd expect minerals, a hint of stone fruit, acid).

 

Also, too young: this wine has years ahead of it.

 

Delicious, though.

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Is '89 Palmer fair game for this thread? I had no idea.

 

Slightly aged Beaujolais tonight, Marcel Lapierre MMVII. In a fabulous place, and pretty great with andouillette.

 

Off topic -- I only put it in to torture sneak with the grouse.

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Scallops in garlic butter over rice and RG Black Calypso beans with bacon, leek, and carrots, my favorite flowering green braised on the side. (RG's Black Calypso beans are extraordinarily good, BTW.)

 

I had a hunch what to drink with this.

 

2010 Jean Masson Apremont "Vielles Vignes"

 

Was my hunch right? Don't know that this Savoyard wine was the best conceivable pairing. But it's such a sheerly delicious wine you don't mind drinking it in any event.

 

My theory was that this dish had enough richness to need a respectable amount of acid to cut it -- but that this "old vines" wine also had enough flavor to stand up to the rich hearty flavors of the food rather than whimper beside them. If it can stand up to a raclette, I figured (its classic food pairing), it should be able to stand up to this.

 

As it turned out, this wine perhaps is not as flavorful as I thought. It's got delicious citrus fruit (and plenty of mineral), don't get me wrong. But I think a dish like this doesn't just want to be cut through, as a gooey plate of melted cheese and potatoes do. It needs a really heavy round flavor component for the wine to register. Something oaked, for example. (Oh oh -- I know what I'm going to drink with the leftovers!)

 

So a really really good wine: a personal favorite, even. But not a perfect pairing.

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Leftover smoked pork shank and beans, steamed romanesco on the side.

 

2007 Domaine Combier Crozes-Hermitage

 

It doesn't take a genius to think of a Syrah as a pairing for this.

 

This one is very nice. Still fruity after all these years, with some tobacco backing it up.

 

Insubstantial, inconsequential -- nice.

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Sebastien Riffault Akmenine (orange SB from Sancerre) and La Garagista's Vinu Jancu (orange le crescent from Vermont), both from trips earlier this year. i love this style of wine ever since i tried Radikon's ribolla and Abe's Prince in His Caves. i also love when we bring wine from trips, drinking them brings back memories of the the experiences. fun.

 

trying not to drink the whole Garagista - it's only half bottle and only just opened but already so good. but i'm sure it will get even better if i give it a little time...

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Lamb chops with carrot-green chimichurri (now that I've learned how to make this -- key: put in much less vinegar than you think is warranted -- I'll never have to throw another carrot green away) (OTOH, the chances of balex ever coming to my apartment for dinner are now around zero), on the side mashed turnip and some romanesco overcooked just the way I like it.

 

2006 Monte Antico

 

You can imagine my horror when I came upon this bottle as I was tooling around my storage units looking for something to drink with dinner. Do I still have a bottle of this? I thought I'd finished my stash last year! Could this $10 (actually less, I think) screw-cap still be drinking well?

 

I think I caught it at the last minute. It didn't look old at all: still deep red; maybe the slightest orange tinge around the edges, but that's it. The fruit is beginning to leave the house, though, leaving not much of interest behind it. But there's still enough here to make it a very good accompaniment to lamb chops. Characteristic Sangiovese sour cherries, with that characteristic Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot buttery meatiness backing it up. It was better when the cherries were a little brighter. But it's still OK. This was a very good, overperforming wine -- but there's not enough here to achieve profundity with age.

 

In principle, I'm against Tuscan wines with International Grapes blended in. But I have to admit that, when done right, Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend very well with Sangiovese. In any event, I'm not going to argue with a wine this good for less than $10.

 

Drink up if you have any.

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Leftover RG Black Calypso beans with scallops, bacon, leeks, and rice. Romanesco (not overcooked enough) on the side.

 

This is really good. I don't want to go all Brooklyn on you by fetishizing ingredients, but Blue Moon bay scallops, Flying Pig bacon, Evolution Organics garlic, Hairy Italian Farmer leeks, Asian Jersey farmer particolored carrots, and Anson Mills rice are all great. As is the La Boite Mishmish spice mix (and whatever else I put in this). And RG's Black Calypso beans are beyond great. I just mixed them.

 

(This is also a dish that stereotypically gets better after a few days. Boy, did it.)

 

Cornelissen Contadino 6

 

I had a feeling about this pairing.

 

People sometimes refer to Contadino as Cornelissen's rose, but technically that's not right. Really, his rose is the Susucaru; Contadino is really his baby red. But Susucaru -- which drinks more like an orange wine or even a beer than a rose -- wouldn't have been ideal with this, I think. The pale red Contadino seemed a better match.

 

The problem with using Cornelissen wines as pairings is that no two bottles are ever alike. This was deeper and grapier than I remembered my last bottle to have been. But it still was light enough to accommodate the scallops, while having enough stuffing to stand up to the heavy-duty beans 'n' bacon.

 

I don't know that this was a perfect pairing. But I liked the food, and I like the wine.

 

(I don't think I'm going to much like the 14.5% ABV tomorrow morning, though.)

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You know, you read all this stuff in the press about how the mania for "perfect pairings" is stupid fetishism. And, of course, they're right.

 

But what they miss is how much fun it is to spend the day, when taking work breaks, thinking about what wine would go with what you're planning -- or even better, concocting -- for dinner.

 

It's not fetishism. It's distraction.

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