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Posts Tagged ‘rioja’

2 1/4lbs of porterhouse lightly aged and seasoned with garlic, salt and pepper, browned on a hot, hot, hot cast iron skillet, then wrapped in foil with butter, olive oil, rosemary, thyme, garlic, Meyer lemon zest and shoved in a low-temp oven to slow cook for an hour.  And in the last act, the steak rested before I ate it or even cut it.  Because you always let it rest.

Oh, there was a side too: A hybrid caprese/panzanella salad composed of toasted bread in olive oil, salt and pepper, with tomatoes, mozzarella, and dressed with thyme, rosemary, Meyer lemon juice/zest, and olive oil.

Wine: R. Lopez Heredia’s Viña Bosconia 2004

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Notes:

While eating red meat all the time is certainly frowned upon in health and environmentally conscious circles, I find it entirely appropriate and perhaps the most luxurious thing one can do to have a perfectly cooked steak once in awhile.  Once in a blue moon may be too much time in between, but certainly no more than once every full moon.  Vegetarian and Vegan concerns aside, there’s nothing quite like the taste of highly saturated animal fat melting in your mouth.

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I had to include this shot showing the marbling on the steak because it’s my job to make you jealous in an educational way.

Over the years, I’ve experimented with various forms of cooking a thick steak, which of course I’ve always had with wine. I can say emphatically that if someone tells you you have to pair a certain wine with a steak they are most certainly trying to sell you something.  A wonderfully cooked steak, that has a bit of semi-crunchy texture on the exterior from the Maillard reaction (Which doesn’t “seal in the juices” or whatever people tell you) and a juicy interior regardless of any additional herbs and spices that have been added can go with a myriad of wines.  This steak could have gone wonderfully with a heavier bodied white that carried lemony aromas, or a sparkling wine, or a dry rosé, or one of a hundred different red wines.  Having said that, this steak was wonderfully accompanied by the Viña Bosconia because it is also a fabulous wine.  It’s mostly Tempranillo, as all riveting red Riojas are, and this one was displaying more bright red fruit flavors while the earthier flavors played back up.  Surprising myself, I actually let this wine sit in a decanter for a full hour before even looking at it.  That’s willpower.

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Rating: 5/5

Ground beef burger with cumin, corriander, sage, soy sauce and tobasco mixed in.  Refried black beans between the bottom toasted wheat bun and the burger topped with aged cheddar, mashed avocado and chopped serrano pepper mixed together, garlic aioli, then a tomato slice followed by the top bun.  Side of waldorf salad (lettuce, grapes, walnuts, celery, yogurt and lemon juice dressing).

Wine: LAN Crianza Rioja 2006

Notes:

This was a fantastic burger!  Perfect at the end of the summer in the heat and perfect after a good bike ride (I crave burgers after the end of a nice ride for some reason…everytime).  I was a little hesitant that the alcohol was going to intensify the spice a bit too much, but fortunately the wine turned out to be more balanced than I thought and I only noticed it a little in fleeting moments.  Those fleeting moments were certainly inconsequential as it took awhile to finish the 1/2lb of beef on this burger.  Other than that, you can’t go wrong pairing something with southwestern stylings to tempranillo.  As a somewhat embarrassing aside, I typically envision riding a horse through the coastal plains of Spain as I sip on this gem from España.  If I could personify one wine, it would be tempranillo and tempranillo would be a cowboy or a caballero.  Sure, go on and giggle now, but you’ll be cursing me the next time you take a sip from Rioja in particular and all you can think about is being a cowboy (or cowgirl).

Additionally, this bottle from LAN was sporting a spiffy rear label. 

Not only do they give some good cellaring tips (as if you weren’t going to drink this right away), but they also give a cool chart to show you when the “Best Time To Drink” this wine is and I’m a sucker for a good chart.  The Spanish, especially those in Rioja are typically very good at only releasing wines when they are ready to drink so their wines usually don’t need to be cellared for extended periods of time after you purchase it unlike the Bordeaux and Burgundies of years past.  For the LAN Crianza, they had a suggested drinking time from 2009 to 2013 (3 to 7 years from the vintage date) which seemed like an adequate assessment.   How they came up with the exact shape of the graph is beyond me, but I suspect their graphic designer had to get a bit creative.

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