Quick tasting notes

The holidays are upon us, and I'll write up some afterthoughts on Thanksgiving wine pairings soon (as an aside, you can't go wrong with a solid Gew├╝rztraminer or, even better, the Beaujolais Nouveaux that supposedly brings good luck for the coming year. It's fruity, light and pairs excellently with the traditional Thanksgiving spread).

To hold you over, I've got some quick tasting notes on a ridiculously inexpensive pinot I picked up at the local wine merchant.

Baron Philippe de Rothschild Pinot Noir, Vin de Pays D'oc, 2005

This wine boasts a lustrous, luminescent ruby color that fades to bright pink at the edges. The color is lively and inviting. The nose is heavy with fruit--cherry, raspberry and a hint of strawberry--and teases with slight savory aromas of sage and other herbs. The wine offers balanced acidity with a supple mouth feel, but blasts the palate with fairly heavy tannins. It could do with a little mellowing in that arena. The finish seemed short as the strong tannins swept clean most lingering flavors.


Food's evolution

KFC describes their new KFC Famous Bowls as "layers of your favorite flavors." In the Potato Bowl, they

"...start with a generous serving of our creamy mashed potatoes, layered with sweet corn and loaded with bite-sized pieces of crispy chicken. Then we drizzle it all with our signature home-style gravy and top it off with a shredded three-cheese blend. It's all your favorite flavors coming together.

Essentially, they've taken a bucket and dropped in mashed potatoes, corn, chicken pieces and cheese scraps and covered it all in gravy. Not long ago, things like this were referred to as table scraps, and we fed them to hogs.

Happy eating!

An autumn pair

A few weeks ago I posted about a wonderful find, the Domaine La Garrigue 2004 Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine, which quickly sold out at my local wine merchant. Its absence had me considering another French wine, the 2004 Cuvee Reservee Vin de Pays Des Coteaux de Bessillies from Domaine Saint Martin de la Garrigue. This garnet red provided a subtle combination of strawberry and plum aromas coupled with a hint of earthiness. The palate was fairly balanced, with good structure and moderate tannins and acidity. The fruit was less noticeable at first, though the wine did open up and could probably do with decanting. The overall mouth feel was lithe and delicate.

I initially paired the wine with a hearty, delicious beef stew my wife had made in small celebration of fall's arrival in Florida:

  • Approx. 2 lbs cubed beef for stew
  • 2 - 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 can chopped tomatoes
  • 2 carrots, chunked
  • 1 lb potatoes, cubed
  • 1 medium to large onion, chopped* 2 to 3 pounds cubed beef
  • 1 carton low-sodium beef stock
  • Water as needed
  • salt and pepper to taste

Take the ingredients (minus the flour) and place them in a crock pot set for medium-low. Add beef stock, and add water until the ingredients are nearly covered. Let the ingredients cook over medium-low heat for approximately 6 hours. When the cooking time is done, remove the solid ingredients from the stew and slowly stir in the flour to thicken. When the liquid reaches your desired thickness, replace the beef and vegetables and serve with thick-crusted peasant bread.

The wine was a near-perfect pairing, its lithe tannins and subtle acidity providing a nice counter-balance to the stew's hearty flavors. Each bit enabled the wine's flavor to shine, and each sip prepared the palate to fully enjoy the stew's subtle, rich flavors.