Now, I’m not the cook at 1WD HQ, at least not much past heating up dino nuggets for the little Dudelette. That role falls to Mrs. Dudette, who I described in the W-S interview as “a talented amateur chef” (which is basically the same thing as saying that she’s a very, very good cook, but isn’t trained or employed as a chef, but sounds much cooler; among her 700 or so cookbooks, she has one in which the author is described as “a Paris-based food creative,” which I guess sounds better than “unemployed author writing about food while living in France”).
Around here, I just pair things up on the wine front. So we have the dual blessings of often eating and drinking very, very well, to the point where it’s getting difficult for us to eat out and find food that Mrs. Dudette can’t rival on her own in our kitchen (yes, this is a great First World style problem to have, alright?).
You can read the recipe for her roast chicken – which I call “The Poor Man’s Feast” because, aside from the baguette and the whole chicken, you can grow almost all of the rest of the ingredients yourself in your garden – over at Wine-Searcher.com. I should note that W-S, at one point, gave my old Playboy.com gig a run for its money in the number of near-naked bodies they had on display next to or near photos of my ugly mug (see inset pic).
With a precocious and ludicrously active five year old around the house, we rarely have time for the slow-roasted version of that Poor Man’s Feast recipe, so I usually break out one of three options for that meal: a rich Chardonnay that also has acidic verve (though sometimes these don’t come cheap!); a cool-climate Syrah (such as…); or, most commonly, Cru Beaujolais (I really, really need more Cru Beauj. in my life, generally).
But with Snow-mageddon Janus bearing down on us when we (meaning, she) next cooked up our PMF, I decided to go big, just to see if the dish could hold up to something a bit more… powerful from the sample pool…
Before we begin with the wine action, I offer some pics of the feast, along with a dessert of pie (co-authored by Mrs. Dudette and the Dudettelette), since quite a few of you complained to me about the lack of food porn photos when I first mentioned the Wine-Searcher.com piece on social media:
I’d like to say that we don’t eat (or drink) like this most nights, but that’d be a total lie.
Anywaaaayyy… It all went swimmingly, by which I mean the PMF held up admirably to the bigger still wines, and with the since-there’s-no-place-to-go-let-it-snow action courtesy of Janus, we got our buzz on without any guilt. Success!
To the pairings…
2010 Monteverro Chardonnay (Toscana, $125)
First things first, this is an overpriced wine. But it’s also a very, very, very good wine, with an off-the-chart quality level. The britches are just about bursting on this beauty, all 14.5% abv and showing every little ol’ percent of it. A rainy vintage for these guys, who have their Chard on clay and limestone soils in Maremma. For a while cluster pressed wine, this is as rich as rich can be, courtesy of batonnage and lees aging and a bit of concrete egg fermentation along with 14 months in French oak (30% new; is all of that as boring to read as it is to type?). Hay, peaches, marzipan, nuts, citrus, earth, and hefty power. The finish is linger and astringent, like a coworker that you argued with all the time but totally hooked up with after the company holiday parties because you had undeniable physical chemistry. Back when you were single, I mean.
2010 Monteverro Toscana Red (Toscana, $175)
Shut up, I told you we were going big already. The PMF held up to this big boy, but only just… It’s 15% abv, but like El Debarge, it wears it well. A Bordeaux style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot, all inky dark, busting out generously with broad dark fruits, leather, pepper, cedar, nutmeg, and lip-smakingly powerful structure. There’s verve here, too, to stand up to the booze. Some earthy funk is thrown in for good measure. I got the feeling that it didn’t much care if you liked it, but once it settles down it gets to chatting amicably with us lesser sorts, a bit like Robert, The Earl of Grantham at dinner, if he secretly knew martial arts and could kick everyone’s ass. Well, it made sense at the time, anyway.
2010 Weinlaubenhof Alois Kracher Cuvee Beerenauslese (Neusiedlersee, Austria, $35, 375 ml)
It has been approximately… uhm… forever since we’ve given any love to Austria here at 1WD. At 12%b alcohol, this desert wine might not seem big, but it’s got over 125 grams/liter of residual sugar, so there’s some heft here, as well. Having said that, it’s an elegantly stated, vibrantly acidic wine, full of honey, flowers (freesia, according to Mrs. Dudette), wet stones, pear, saline, lychee, and pink grapefruit. It’s sweet enough to withstand the blueberry apple ginger pie recipe from Katie Quinn Davies’ What Katie Ate (one of those 700 cookbooks in Mrs. Dudette’s arsenal), but lithe enough to remain refreshing throughout the dessert course. It’s the kind of wine you regret only having a half-bottle of in volume. 60% Chardonnay, 40% Welschriesling (which is not Riesling proper, people!), and 100% Wow.