Around here, we have the dual blessings of often eating and drinking very, very well, to the point where it’s getting difficult to eat out and find food and rink that I can’t rival on our own in my kitchen (yes, this is a great First World style problem to have, alright?).
You can read the roast chicken recipe I chose – 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 mug (see inset pic).
With a precocious and ludicrously active five year old around the house, I 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 next cooked up the 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, 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 I 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, I got my 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.
2010 Monteverro Toscana Red (Toscana, $175)
Shut up, I told you I was 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 I’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, 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 the approximately 700 cookbooks in my house), 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.