Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Two Wines, A Beer, & a Slow Cooker

With the arrival of winter thoughts spring to mind of braised meats, soups, and stews. We seriously thought of a home sous vide machine http://www.sousvedesupreme.com/ this year; but with our small loft kitchen footprint, a $500 price tag, and need for extra equipment such as a vacuum sealer we opted for a modern version of a slow cooker. We picked up a Cuisinart PSC-650C, a programmable slick stainless steel unit with a capacity of 6.5 quarts (7.1 litres) for just over $100 CDN it is ideal for two but has the flexibility to cook for half a dozen. Over the last fortnight I've adjusted a few recipes to cook for two. Immediately after Christmas we decided Boxing Day needed to involve seafood. Cioppino and bouillabaisse came to mind and this recipe is a bridge between the two with some local west coast liberties thrown in. Wine of choice for this recipe was old world and a dry white from Bordeaux. I picked the dry white wine from the Grand Cru Sauternes Producer Chateau Guiraud to pair with the seafood stew. The wine produced from 40 year old hand harvested Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc from a 15 ha parcel of the 100 ha of vineyard spends close to nine months in barrique. The structure & acidity in this wine pairs extremely well with the tomato acidity in the broth while the tropical flavour profile bridges the herbal saffron notes and the richness of the Semillon blends and balances with the texture of the halibut and salmon. All round a perfect match balancing texture and flavours.

G. de Chateau Guiraud 2007. Pale straw green colour with intense aromas of passion fruit, lime, and lemon.It is full-bodied,concentrated, and well balanced with crisp acidity and very complex flavours mirroring the nose along with guava, gooseberry, and spice, and lime leaf. $31.99 CDN

Our 2nd meal in the slow cooker revolved around Redbro chicken in a classic Coq au Vin paired with a declassified Chauteauneuf-du-Pape from Domaine Pegau Plan Pegau Lot 2007. This non vintage wine is made from a field blend of Grenache, Carignan, Syrah and a Merlot sourced from the edges of CNP Plan Pegau Lot 2007 Laurence Feraud Ruby red with aromas of briar, game, and wood smoke. Medium to full-bodied with a rich mouth feel, tannins for 3-4 years ageing, and complex flavours of pepper, blackcurrant, autumnal wood smoke, gout de garrigue, and subtle leathery game notes. Good length and balance. $27 at http://www.vitiwinelagers.com/ The wine was a perfect pair with the coq au vin with the gout de garrigue flavours of the wine bridging the fresh thyme, pepper,and and bacon notes. The structure balanced the texture of the chicken and mushrooms and the tannin cut down the influences of the tomato and the lardons.

Helen picked up a bottle of Spanish beer for Christmas, the Estrella Damm and Ferran Adria colloboration "Estrella Damm Inedit" which is according to the marketing a beer designed to pair with difficult foods i.e. asparagus, artichokes, citrus fruits, and vinegars as well as with fatty proteins like salmon, tuna, and cheese. The beer itself is a blend of a lager and a wheat ale. The wheat element contains, like many wheat beers, coriander and orange. This beer was paired up with a slow cooked Thai green curry with some wild BC salmon. Estrella Damm Inedit Cloudy yellow gold with a fine light head and some lacing. Aromas of orange, mild banana, and wheat. Light to medium-bodied with a light carbonation and flavours of white peach, subtle pineapple, orange, and wheat. Nice balance of malts and hops. 4.8% abv $5.97 CDN 750ml The beer was a great foil to the spice and heat of the green curry and the mild tropical flavour profile was an excellent compliment to the lime, coconut milk, and baby corn.

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