Saturday, November 12, 2011

Red Red Wine

Last week, we had our friend Diane over for dinner as she was a hunting widow.  I had decided to try to make Beef Bourguignon.  A few years ago, I read “Julie & Julia,” [wasn’t a fan of the writer as I thought she came off as pretentious] and later saw the movie [which I did like more, but probably because Meryl Streep was such an awesome Julia Child!].  After reading the book, I kind of wanted to try to make beef bourguignon to see if it really WAS as difficult as Julie made it out to be.  After all, it seemed like it was just a beef stew and anyone with a crockpot should be able to turn out a decent beef stew.  However, at that time, I didn’t take the time to look for a recipe, or actually TRY it and put it out of my mind.

A few weeks ago, I ran across a crockpot version of Julia’s recipe and decided I wanted to try it again.  I got the ingredients for the crockpot version, but soon changed my mind and found a longer version in an online search at Simply Recipes.  I’m proud to say I stuck fairly close to the recipe, though I did not use even half as many pearl onions as the recipe calls for as I know my family (and myself) and we are not fans of pearl onions.  The recipe was a LOT of work, but very very worth the work.  I do think that when I make it again, I’ll utilize the crockpot to cook the beef, especially if it becomes regular fair.  I had a lot of pots & pans going.  Fortunately, I also have a wonderful husband who cleaned up


And now the wine!  I had purchased a bottle of Cupcake Red Velvet, which would have been lovely, but Diane did bring a couple of bottles, and, well, Diane has excellent taste in wine, so I handed her the bottle opened to make the choice.  She chose the A Cote “Next Door” Red Blend.  I’m really starting to like blends, especially in reds.  It seems like a blend offers the option to drink earlier, full bodied and not as much “breathing” required.  Blends are great gateway wines into more reds.   It was smooth and went very very very well with the beef. 

Modeled after some of my favorite blends from the south of France, the components of this wine are 42% Syrah, 42% Pinot Noir, 8% Grenache, and 8% Mourvedre. Not often blended, the red fruit of Pinot Noir is right at home when balanced with the spice and structure of cool climate Syrah. The Grenache, brings a textured, rich fruit component and adds mid-palate weight, while the Mourvedre completes this blend in a seamless experience from the bouquet through the intricately layered finish!

We were good and only had 1 bottle that night.  The La Crema would have to wait for another.  Which was just a few nights later for me!  Diane brought Pinot Noir and later told me this is one of her favorites.  I complete agree with her.  Pinots have long been my favorite red.  I’m not a fan of dry reds.  While I like drinking wine with a meal, for a wine to stand out to me, I have to enjoy it on it’s own.  As such, Pinots, in my experience, aren’t as dry as say a Cabernet – which I’m learning to enjoy after it’s been given time to breathe – which is why they have been my favorite.  I loved that the bottle was clear so I could enjoy the burgundy color even before pouring my first glass.

I know this was just one evening of wine of many with Diane and I look forward to many many more.

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