Hearty Pairings

Finding the perfect meat dishes for robust red wines

Cult Cabernets are always a huge hit for guys. Their exclusivity is impressive, and their thunderous, palate-pounding intensity and flavor are sure to please. The usual names apply here, with the likes of Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate and Colgin Cellars at the top of the list. But, other cult cabs also make great gifts and provide the perfect accompaniment to hearty, meaty dishes.

The 2005 Hundred Acre Kayli Morgan Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon ($225) is a “poi pounder” of a wine, with decadently ripe black fruit essences, laced with sweet and spicy vanillin, sandalwood and fried bacon. In the palate, the wine gushes with sweet, ripe blackberry, caramel and black cherry compote. Despite its monolithic size, the wine’s structure is quite silky and balanced. This wine yearns for grilled meat. A USDA Prime bone-in prime rib grilled to your liking is the perfect complement for this wine. The collar/cap of fat on prime rib – the area where the marbling is best – is always my favorite part. With the Hundred Acre cabernet, the perfect embrace of richness and decadence happens in your palate.

Francophiles must try a bottle of the 2005 Chateau Rayas Chateauneuf du Pape Rouge ($169). This year’s stand-out old vine Grenache is recognized by many to be one of the best Chateauneuf du Pape to ever come from this estate (truly high praise, considering it has been making wine since 1920). It is one of the best that has blessed my lips in recent memory. It has a perfectly ripe, but not overripe character of sweet raspberry, black cherry and currant. There is a lifted spice note that is reminiscent of the sweet scent of a garden replete with blooming flowers and herbs. It slides down your palate gracefully with sweet raspberry coulis flavors backed up by savory spices and an exceedingly long-lasting, lovely aftertaste. I cannot think of anything better to pair it with than a slow-roasted leg of lamb, well-seasoned with herbs de Provence and a spat of lemon zest.

2007 Evening Lands Vineyards Seven Springs ‘Summum’ Pinot Noir ($135) is a wonderful wine from Oregon. I know plenty of guys who love Pinot Noir. And there is no shortage of good Pinot Noir these days, but here is a great one. First of all, this wine is made by Dominique Lafon (of Domaine de Comtes Lafon in Burgundy), one the world’s greatest winemakers, and comes from one of the top vineyards in Oregon. This confluence of major league talent and raw materials yields a phenomenal wine. The bouquet of the wine bursts with sweet spiced cherry and violets along with a hint of warm wet stones. For Burgundy lovers, it’s reminiscent of Grand Cru of Richebourg. As you drink it, it completely seduces your palate with elegant notes of sweet red berries and vibrant acidity. This is a truly sexy wine that will not be easy to find, but is definitely worthy of the quest. Pair this with duck breast pastrami; the salty/sweet combo is nothing short of fantastic!

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