Saturday, May 16, 2009

Spring Risotto and Saint Joseph

It was a nice relaxing day yesterday and all the flower and herb beds got weeded and some new planting went in while the ground was soft from all the recent rain (and before the next round came in this morning).

All the herbs looked good so they were featured at dinner in a springtime risotto. Rice and shallots were cooked in a little olive oil and then the stock went in gradually. There was a tiny pinch of saffron to give it an earthiness and just touch of color. At the very end the just picked and roughly chopped herbs went in; parsley, sage, rosemary, garden thyme, lemon thyme, mint, tarragon, a tiny bit of lavender, oregano, chives and basil. We added grated Italian cheeses and a tiny bit of white pepper to finish.

The mound of risotto was surrounded by some herb grilled lamb chops and a few basil leaves. The lamb was sweet and gamey and the risotto was as good as it gets. Each bite seemed to pick up a different herb so each bite was essentially a little different - and each bite was delicious.

There had to be an 'earthy' wine to match the flavors, and in this case it was a 2003 E. Guigal Saint Jospeh from the northern Rhone. Dark tart cherries and plums were in the nose and taste, along with dry leather and a little bit of damp earth. The cherries and plums and earthiness carried well into the taste. The wine was medium in weight and the tartness of the acid made a nice balance with the fruit and earth. It checked in at 12.5% alcohol. Originally selling for $30 I managed to find it discounted in a close out bin for $19. At that price it was a bargain, though at the original price it might not have been. Regardless of price it was a good wine and a great pairing.

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