Thursday, May 15, 2008

True Bargain

A quick stop at a different market last night resulted in a true bargain of a wine.

Realizing there was nothing in the house that wasn't frozen I stopped in the early evening and picked up a small pork tenderloin. Since I was there I naturally wandered over to the wine department. In the "reserve" room I noticed this bottle of Marchese Antinori Chianti Classico Riserva from the 2001 vintage. There were two bottles marked at $11.99.

Knowing the vintage and the producer I decided they were worth a try so I put one in the cart. Halfway to the checkout station I decided that this really was a decent price so I went back and picked up the other bottle.

The big surprise of the day was when the clerk rang up the wine and the bar code scanned not at $11.99 which I thought was a good bargain, but at $1.99. Now that is a bargain even if the wine was relatively poor. I mentioned this to the clerk and she re-scanned the bottles and they came up $1.99. I paid her and brought the bottles home.

We sliced the pork into medallions, pounded them lightly, dusted them in flour and Italian seasoning, sauteed them in a little olive oil, added some mushrooms and shallots, removed the medallions, added pork stock and balsamic vinegar, a half teaspoon of tomato paste and whisked and reduced the liquid. I added the medallions back in to rewarm.

The wine? Bright cherry fruit and Tuscan earth on the nose. Good, dark color and no signs of age. It had already surpassed my investment on just the nose and appearance. The cherries were in full force on the taste, along with some underlying currants. There was that wonderful Chianti acidity and the the earthiness that I love. It was more than sound, it was a very good wine. I would have been very happy with this wine at $20, but I was ecstatic at $2.00.

We served the pork medallions alongside some wide noodles, adding the sauce and mushrooms. A handful of flash cooked haricot vert with garlic completed the meal. The chianti was perfect with this meal.

Sipping the remainder of a glass after cleaning up I decided that the wine must have had more than sangiovese in it. The color was darker than I expected and there was that underlying flavor of currants. I suspect the wine had some cabernet sauvignon in it. Whatever it was it was very good and a nice mid-week treat.

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