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The Rest of Us (cont.)


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Let's go to Liguria!

Trofie al Pesto (garlic scape pesto NOT made by me).

Then, a fritto misto in the Ligurian style, and the great Ligurian tomato salad Cundigiun.  Now I'm not gonna say that my Cundigiun was as good as I've had in Liguria.  But for an apartment in Brooklyn, it was pretty fab.

2018 Terrazze Singhie Lumassina “[di bò-sco]”

Lumassina is a very rare Ligurian white grape (rare even in Liguria).  It hits all the Summer quaff buttons:  low alcohol, tart, saline finish.

This one looked and tasted like it had some skin contact.  It was very good (especially with the fried anchovies in the fritto misto).

But here's the thing.  This bottle cost north of $50.  I had a Cinque Terre wine last week or the week before, 2021 Possa Il Giancu, that was even better for about $15 or $20 less (and for that matter, last night I had a Sicilian white, 2022 Mortellito Cala Ìancu, that was even better for less than half the price) (that Mortellito gets my highest rec!!!!).

I like this Lumassina, and it's cool drinking something that no one's ever heard of.  But I can't see the price.

Edited by Sneakeater
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Wait.  I can't edit that post to correct the wine name.  (There is now a default time limit on edits, which I hope will eventually be disabled as it was on our last MFF iteration.)

The producer is Terrazze Singhie.  Colline Sovonesi is the appellation.

(NOTE:  Subsequently corrected)

Edited by Sneakeater
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Chilaquiles con Carnitas.  (The preparation of which raised the interesting question:  it can't be called gribines if it's generated in rendering pig fat, can it?)  Guiso de Flor de Calabaza on the side.

I've been avoiding the obvious pairing with food like this.

2018 Domaine de Robert (Patrick Bunet) Fleurie "Cuvée Tradition"

Maybe the reason to avoid it is that isn't that great a pairing.

Beujolais with pork parts:  CHECK.  Beaujolais with mild but perceptible levels of spice:  CHECK.  Beaujolais with lots of acidic lime juice:  NOT SO FAST, it turns out.

I'm surprised.  I wouldn't have expected that to be a problem.

I wonder if any non-Natural red would really go with this?

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Of course, I put A LOT of lime juice into various components of this (which, in the case of the red onions, took them to a level of deliciousness you don't want to even think about).  Tomorrow's dinner, with a more modest lime component, should pose no problems for the wine I'm planning.

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We move down the coast to Amalfi.

Vermicelli di Positano, with an Amalfi salad on the side. (Not the most famous Amalfi salad, based on orange and lemon -- although I bought a blood orange for that purpose -- but one with mixed greens, grape tomatoes, olives, and chunks of mozzarella.) (This salad would have benefited from the addition of some good Amalfi anchovies.  But it feels nice to be able to say that, for once, I ate an entirely vegetarian dinner.)

The interesting thing about this meal was the only cooking it required was of the pasta.  Everything else was nothing more than chopping and slicing (and, in the case of the topping for the pasta, letting sit for a couple of hours.)  It's too bad I choose such a temperate night to make it; it would have been great when it was steaming out.

Unless you have a Marisa Cuomo Fiorduva hanging around (my bottle was drunk long ago), you're probably going to have a Falanghina with this.  I sure did.

2022 Fontanavecchia Falanghina del Sannio

This is a very old established producer.  In Italian regions like Compania that are just undergoing upgrading, that can be a bad thing:  the established producers can be wed to the bad old ways of making undistinguished wines in large quantities to dump on the market.

While this isn't great, though, it's much better than mediocre.  It's a totally respectable -- and enjoyable -- wine.

It has what's good about Falanghina -- that bitter almond flavor that hits you mid-tongue, after the citrus and stone fruit and before the slatey minerals -- in pretty decent amount.  It's not deep or anything.  But it's not simplistic -- and it gets the job done.

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Tomato-Egg Stir Fry.  You eat it over rice.

You can see why this is such a solid favorite of Chinese-American families (not to mention Chinese-American college students).  It is almost NO work, and certainly no time, to make.  It's cheap.  It's fucking delicious.

Oak leaf lettuce with sesame oil on the side.

You would expect me to knee-jerk to a Touraine Sauvignon Blanc with this.  Your expectations would be fulfilled.

2018 Domaine Ricard Les Trois Chênes

Like a Sancerre, but sharper.

But also:  this is aged in new oak, and for once it works:  the wine is that touch fuller, without being toasty or heavy in the slightest.

So all kinds of fruits (citrus, pear, pineapple), sharp acid almost right at the front, not really any minerals, salt.  Good as this is now, I could see it improving over a couple of more years.  Don't get me wrong:  it'll never get complex.  I think it'll just get even more lipsmackingly delicious.

In keeping with tonight's food, a wine that consistently punches above its relatively modest price.  (But, just to keep things in context, it's not as great as the only slightly more expensive 2022 Mortellito Cala Ìancu I had recently, which I urge you all to rush out and buy.) (And drink!)

This, though, was a great pairing, I say to myself.  Couldn't have been better.

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16 minutes ago, Sneakeater said:

Good as this is now, I could see it improving over a couple of more years.  Don't get me wrong:  it'll never get complex.  I think it'll just get even more lipsmackingly delicious.

Indeed, this is a wine I actively dislike when drunk young.  It's too rough.  It requires time to mellow out.

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The Puerto Rican steak recipe Jacques Pepin got from Gloria's mother that he calls Steak Grandma.

I used an Oyster Steak.  As soon as I saw it in the butcher case, I knew I had an occasion to try out this recipe.  I commend Oyster Steak cooked this way to all of you.

This is from Jacques Pepin:  Cooking at Home.  I have to say that series has my favorite, or at least most used, Pepin recipes.  These are things you'd actually make, using techniques (and ingredients) you actually have.  It's all really simple stuff that's absolutely delicious.  This is where the greatest asparagus recipe in the whole world comes from.  (Really, seriously:  show me a better one.)  (Thanks again, @joethefoodie !) And this steak.  Practically no work.  Fab result.

Some roasted broccolini on the side.  And bread and butter, for sopping up the scrumptious pan sauce.

A few nights ago I ran aground on a meat-with-lime Gamay pairing.  Tonight I was confident I had a way around the problem.

2015 Domaine Ricard Le Clos de Vauriou

Vincent Ricard two nights in a row.  Fine with me!

This is around 60% Gamay, 40% Cabernet Franc (some years there's some Cot in it, but I'm pretty sure this vintage didn't have any).

My thought was that the herby Cab Franc would help the Gamay make friends with the pungent citrus.  It seems to have worked.

This is a very nice wine.  Putting the food aside (which I think is a big mistake when you're talking about wine, but let's pretend we're Oxford analytic philosophers and do a thought experiment), the Cab Franc lends a bit of heft to the Gamay -- and the aforementioned herby undercurrent the Cab Franc supplies is a delicious counterpoint to the Gamay's racy fruit.  (I'm not tasting any Cab Franc bell peppers.)

People tell you to drink this wine young.  But I put this bottle away, because (as I said about the Sauvignon Blanc yesterday) to my mind the secret of Ricard's wines is that they age beautifully.  I don't mean Barolo/Bordeaux put-them-away-forever aging, of course.  I mean aging in the near term.  This 9-year-old bottle was/is scrumptious.

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Lamb burger with Bulgarian-style feta (creamier than Greek), olives, a very grilled (and very old) garlic scape, and some sweet pepper/rosemary sauce.  On a Lost Bread Co. sesame milk bun, BTW:  those are crazy good.

A grilled cob of corn on the side.  I made some garlic chive butter (using garlic chives -- not garlic AND chives) to put on it.  I never thought I'd be the kind of person who made garlic chive butter to put on corn, but here I am.

And a treviso salad with an anchovy vinaigrette.

Tonight my mania for geographic specificity in wine pairings went beyond the pale.

2017 Domaine Tatsis Young Vines

From Macedonia -- which would border Bulgaria if Macedonia weren't split into two polities.  Indeed, I just learned that the Tatsis family came to Greek Macedonia from what is now Bulgaria as part of the forced population exchanges following the fall of the Ottoman Empire at the end of WWI.

As the name suggests, this is Tatsis's cadet cuvée, as you'd want with a burger.  It's a blend of Xinomavro, which you (by which I mean I) know, and Negroska (whatever that is).

I've found just about every Greek Natural wine I've tried to be terrific.  This one wasn't an outlier.

This was pretty much perfect with that burger.  Violets on the nose, lots of crunch (VERY tangy berry fruit), some olive(!), a bit of salt.  It tasted like the burger!  Lots and lots of acid to cut the fat in both the meat and the cheese -- and the Xinomavro tannins, while deemphasized in this young fresh cuvée, are still there, to meld with that fat.  Perfect.

I only wish I'd drunk it at cellar temp rather than bringing it up.

This is the kind of wine that almost drinks itself.

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