Saturday, November 7, 2015

A Rioja Evening

The weather was cooler and for the entire day a large pot of beef short ribs braised in the oven making the house smell wonderful.  They were braising with garlic, onions, carrots, tomatoes, celery, thyme and a dried ancho chili broken into pieces.  There was nothing shy about the food. 

We opted for an old style Rioja wine, a Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva from the 2001 vintage.  It was opened and decanted about two hours before dinner.  Clean, dry earth aromas filled the decanter.  It was hard to detect much fruit, but the earthy aromas were wonderful.  By dinner the wine had opened considerably.  The fruit had come out in the nose and the earth had faded a bit.  It was a medium, red brick color.    The taste was not at all what I was expecting from the nose - the wine's primary taste was ripe fruit and not the earth.  It was still on the savory end of the spectrum but the fruit had a perfect bright and cheery flavor.  The body was just on the lighter side of medium. 

The beef was intense and rich, and the addition of the ancho chili had given it a spiciness and dryness as well as depth of flavor.

I was afraid that the over the top flavors of the short ribs might overpower the wine, but the wine had an austere quality that made it almost perfect with the richness of the beef, and the earthiness in each totally complimented the other  They made a handsome couple.

2001 Ramirez de la Piscina Gran Reserva.  14% alcohol and $40.  Another in the cellar.

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