Spring is definitely here now. The weather patterns are changing and we are getting warmer days, thunder showers, cold fronts, high winds, and the color green. It doesn't mean that we won't still see some snow, but it's unlikely to accumulate and even if it does it won't stay long. Fine with me.
Yesterday evening there was enough tarragon above ground to harvest the first few leaves of the season. That's another great sign of spring, the herbs never taste better than they do on that first harvest.
There is an excellent article in the New York Times where the panel is tasting German Riesling. Eric Asimov and I think alike in one regard, Riesling is the perfect spring wine. It's light on the tongue, refreshing and tastes great with fresh herbs.
Last night was a 2007 Kinkead Ridge Riesling from southern Ohio. Those are Kinkead Riesling grapes pictured above. There is a whiff of kerosene at the start, then the nose is all about lime peel and white flowers. The taste is citrusy with enough underlying oiliness to give it some body while still retaining the guise of being delicate. It's a nice balancing act and they got it right with this wine.
There was a pan seared chicken breast finished in the oven while the pan was used to make a sauce. That sauce was chopped shallot and a touch of butter that was slowly sauteed. Chicken stock and a bit of the wine were added, along with a small dab of tarragon mustard and a sprinkling of dried tarragon. When the liquid was reduced to near syrup consistency we added heavy cream and white pepper. That was allowed to reduce and for the last minute some of the fresh tarragon was stirred in. The chicken sat on a bed of this sauce with a spoonful of the sauce poured over the top and it was garnished with the last of the fresh tarragon.
The wine and the chicken were the perfect spring pairing.
There are pictures of the completed dish, but the computer is gradually failing and it won't let me transfer them from the camera. That means that we are shutting down for the weekend while the operating system is repaired and the computer restored to pristine condition. The repair-person is a wine geek so other than a couple of small parts one can imagine what will go on during the final stages of repair. I believe it involves lamb and both a French and Australian syrah/shiraz based wine.
The wine list at the computer hospital is certainly much better than those at a human hospital.