Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Cooking With Wine

The wines made by Abe Schoener are unique, to put it mildly. His Scholium Project crafts wines which often bear no relation to any wine you have ever had. Take for instance, his wine called the Prince in His Caves, which is a sauvignon blanc aged in old red wine barrels. The wine is bottled unfiltered and with a mild orange hue,  it looks more like a wheat beer and tastes like biting into a grapefruit. It is perhaps the strangest, and most memorable wine, I've ever tasted. So when Mad Max's box o' wine revealed the 2009 Naucratis, let's just say a straightforward dish would not due. This wine is made from 100% Verdelho, a varietal more common in Portugal and used almost exclusively for Madeira. The wine is lush, almost oily in the mouth with crisp acidity.

So with those flavors in mind, we wanted to do something that would be able to stand up to the heft of the wine while benefiting from its palate cleansing acidity. What resulted was a leftover meal fit for a king. I must confess though most of the heavy lifting was borne by Lindsay. Should be no surprise then, that this was our favorite wine and food pairing so far.

Mexican Chicken Pot Pie

The night before, Lindsay made chicken enchiladas based on a recipe pulled from one of her television boyfriends, Tyler Florence. The recipe left us with a large pot of black beans and chicken in a tomatillo veloute. So we took a logical step and combined a cup of the beans with the remaining chicken veloute. We tucked it into ramekins and topped it with sheets of puff pastry. Then bake it at 350 degrees until the top is brown and crusty.

Chicken Pot Pie is often boring and bland. This one was anything but. Robust, spicy, with deep flavors and varying textures. Plus, anytime you can add puff pastry to leftovers, you create a dish much greater than the sum of its parts. Which sort of reminds me of Schoener's wines. You can find the 2009 Naucratis at August, Rue 127, Loa, Delachaise, Rambla, Wino, Dick and Jenny's, and Cafe Amelie. It retails for just under $20.

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