Saturday, September 10, 2005

Chateau Caronne Ste. Gemme Haut-Medoc 2000

"Man Alive!," as Fukui-san used to say. Stephanie and I celebrated our -1st Anniversary (we hope to be married a year from now), and I created a tasting of beef short ribs. I purchased short ribs from both the Paulina Meat Market, a fancy butcher shop that carries lots of wonderful meats, and from the local produce market, Farmer's Pride Produce, on the corner of Chicago Ave. and Western Ave. The former cost $8.50/lb. and the latter $2.20/lb. They were cooked identically - simmered for two hours in a braise of onion, leek, carrot, garlic, red wine and chicken stock - but they were butchered differently.

Stephanie and I both agreed that while the farmer's market beef was fattier, it was much tastier and more tender. So much for the extra $6/lb. To compliment the short ribs, we roasted some asparagus and Stephanie prepared her new favorite side dish, fingerling potatoes steamed over thyme then smashed and fried like platains (from Lora Zarubin's cookbook, I'm Almost Always Hungry..

Stephanie chose this bottle of Bordeaux last week, and I thought it would go very well with the short ribs. I was correct. For a "cru bourgeois" level wine (this means that the property is not considered to be as good as those labeled "grand cru" and thus costs much less, ~$18), this one was remarkably well-balanced and structured. A blend of 60% Cab Sauv, 37% Merlot, and 3% Petit Verdot produced a medium-full bodied wine that balanced the sweetness of the ripe 2000 vintage against modest tannins and acidity. The nose offered the slightest hints of herb, prune, and fig. Although the finish was not especially long, as one might expect from such a wine, it was well-built and perfect for beef. Not a long-lived wine, this is a gem to buy by the case.

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