I haven't posted in forever. But, I just bought a new camera and with the weather turning a bit chilly, I'm suddenly in cooking mode. I'm getting the urge to braise. My friend Andrew, who is a chef on Nantucket, rattled off his favorite way to braise a pork shoulder for really delicious pulled pork. His method involves beer and lots of brown sugar and spices. There's also a rich, chicken coq au vin type of dish that my friend Jen has made a few times now and it's silky and melt in your mouth delicious. She uses a combination of chicken thighs and breasts, lots of mushrooms, wine and brandy. And then there's the recipe for beef brisket that I discovered over at eGullet, that so far is my favorite. The secret ingredients, fire roasted tomatoes and red wine.
So, while I mull over which way to go, I need to share with you the name of the wine I had last night. I'd ordered a bunch of wines at wine.com. I'm an absolute sucker for a special deal, you know like with cosmetics, how they tempt you with a free gift with purchase? I fall for that all the time. So, when the wine.com email landed in my box, offering one cent shipping for orders of $99 or more, I immediately clicked over and ordered an assorted case, all wines I hadn't tried before, and with ratings of 90 or better. Last nights wine had a rating of 94, and is a 2001 Rioja Reserve from Marques de Caceres. It retails for $24.99. We had it with cheese and crackers and then marinated, grilled steak tips. It was out of this world. I will be buying more. It's a little pricier than I usually like to go, my typical range is $8-15 for everyday drinking. But when you want to splurge a little more, this is an excellent choice. Would also make a great gift. This wine is lush, smooth, and big. Delicious when we first had it with the cheese, it opened up after about a half hour and was even better with the steak tips. It's a wine that is wonderful just sipping on its own, but even better with food.
Here are the winemaker's notes,
85% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha Tinta & Graciano
Bright, vivid dark ruby color. Intense bouquet that brings to mind jelly made from fruits of the forest (bilberries) and sweet spice. Good concentration in the mouth with delicious tannins that highlight the wine's rich fruit that has become more complex following aging in barrel. On the whole, an unctuous wine with a pleasant fullness that lingers on the pallet with a depth of refined toasted notes. A very elegant wine with superb potential for development.
Just like our Gran Reserva wines, the Reservas are only produced from vintages classed as "excellent" or "very good". The Reservas are matured for 22 months in oak barrels from central France and for 2 years or more in bottle, depending on the date of release.