Last week Richie & I were discussing getting together to drink some good wines. We came up with the idea of meeting at the market with our wines & letting our selections dictate what we cooked. Yesterday we met at Whole Foods at 5 p.m. Kelly couldn't make it because he had to work on his lesson plan for his first day back, booooo.
I brought a Cayuse Syrah 2001 Cailloux Vineyard, Walla Walla Valley. My wine inspired me to prepare a blueberry & spice glazed grass fed NY strip with tomato & bacon risotto & haricots verts with parmiggiano & truffle oil. Richie & Meagan's wines were Delille Cellars Chaleur Estate 1998 Columbia Valley, WA & Andrea Oberto Barolo 1991 Piedmont. Yes, I have to admit, this was one HELL of a lineup! Their wines inspired them to prepare a Moussaka. Plus they felt that this particular dish would also pair with the steak.
Upon return to their beautiful kitchen, we began to cook. With Richie & I acting as her sous chefs, Meagan began by preparing the Bechamel sauce, boiling the sliced potatoes & frying the eggplant. Next she browned the ground lamb & onions. Meanwhile I mixed together blueberry preserves, pepper, salt, garlic, white wine, smoked paprika & cumin for my steak's glaze. I slathered all that goodness all over the grass fed beauties & let it all soak in. Next I turned my attention towards the risotto. I browned some diced bacon & set that aside. I added olive oil & some bacon fat to a pan & sauteed shallots, garlic & arborio rice. Then I added chopped tomatoes, some tomato juice & a ladle of warm chicken stock. I stirred until all the stock was incorporated & repeated until the rice was soft & creamy. We through the steaks on the grill & seared them medium rare.
About 30 minutes before plating we opened the Oberto Barolo to check it's progress. The Nebbiolo grape is notoriously hard edged & rough in its youth. But with age....Oh it just becomes something so elegant, beautiful & sensual. Winos talk about Burgundy being the ultimate sensual red. For me its an aged Barolo (or Brunello, love that!). This baby didn't disappoint. The aroma was all dried leaves on an Autumn forest floor, hints of truffle & mushroom, dried rose & violet. One sip just rippled through my body as if silk covered hands gave me a quick rub down. This was something special. So elegant, sensually caressing my palate & leaving a lasting finish on the back of the palate.
We decanted both the Cayuse & the Delille due to our speculation that both would be big & rich. We weren't disappointed. The Cayuse was laden with smoky notes of espresso bean, cocoa, blueberry & jerky/smoked meat note. The palate was rich & round but not heavy or too over the top, balanced in everyway. The flavor profile played off the glazed steak & risotto very well. The cocoa notes paired with the Moussaka quite nicely. The Delille was a bit more refined in its expression. An 11 year old Washington Bordeaux blend, who knew??? It had dark notes of minerals, dark currant, a hint of flowers. On the palate was a full body, nicely integrated tannins & an underlying dark texture that kept evolving in the glass. This wine paired perfectly with the Moussaka & even played off the gaminess of the grass fed beef well.
All in all, a perfect food & wine event. I can't wait to see what 2009 has in store!