Having been on the run quite a bit lately, Super Bowl Sunday seemed to be a good day to stay home, get organized and pamper myself with a bit of food and wine. I decided to spend the day with one wine. That way I could really taste the difference time (both for the wine and me) and different foods would make on my perception of the wine.
Sunday morning in McMinnville Oregon is a quiet time. As I am a early riser, it is very quiet. The lone bookstore is the only outlet for The New York Times, which is a pleasure I indulge myself in for several hours every Sunday morning I can, but they don’t open until ten, which is a long time after I awake. However, that’s not a problem as they deliver the stack of papers on the sidewalk in front of the store early and all I do is slide my $5 bill though the crack in the door and slip my Times out of the stack. Then I make a quick stop at the wonderful Red Fox Bakery for an espresso (Illy), a decadently buttery pastry and a warm baguette to go. Then fortified by caffeine, sugar and butter I head for the grocery store to see what’s fresh.
Today’s plunder included a Oregon black truffle the size of a big cherry tomato, some organic eggs from a local farm and some naturally raised local lamb leg steaks from Anderson Ranches. Some wonderful things to pair with the bottle of the day: 2006 Morgon, Terres Dorées, Jean Paul Brun. Anyone who knows anything about wine knows that when you pull the cork on a bottle of Brun you are in for something special.
After three hours with my nose in newspapers and my ears on the Sunday morning political talk shows, a hunger pang sent me to the kitchen. I decided to braise the lamb, making a pasta sauce for a weekday dinner in the process. This is the recipe for the lamb:
- 2 lamb leg steaks
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 1 onion diced
- 2 carrots diced
- 2 stalks celery diced
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
- 1 cup dry red wine
- 1 - 28 oz. can whole peeled tomatoes ( I recommend Muir Glen)
- Salt and Pepper
- 4 tablespoons olive oil
Prepare the garlic, onion, carrots, celery and rosemary. Liberally salt and pepper the lamb steaks and thoroughly coat with the flour. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan (use a pan with a cover) at medium high and when the oil is hot, brown the lamb steaks on both sides and remove to a plate. Reduce heat add all the chopped vegetables and herbs and cook, stirring often, for a few minutes. Add back the lamb and pour in the wine. Return the wine to a boil for one minute then add the canned tomatoes. Salt and pepper to taste. Mix well, cover, reduce heat to low and simmer for three hours, or until the meat is falling away from the bone. Reduce the sauce if too thin. Serve with a big scoop of polenta or mashed potatoes and a generous helping of sauce over each steak. Reserve remaining sauce for pasta on another night. Serves two.
That done for dinner and the Super Bowl, I addressed the hunger at hand and made lunch. The eggs, truffle and a bit of brie was all I needed to make a special omelet:
- 3 eggs (please try to find fresh eggs with yokes that are more red/orange than yellow)
- Several ounces ripe brie with the skin removed
- 1 black truffle
- Salt and pepper
- 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
Whip the eggs with a fork, salt and pepper to taste. Shave the truffle into the thinnest possible pieces. In a non-stick saucepan melt two tablespoons of the butter over medium heat, when melted add the truffle slices and cook for one minute and then remove to a plate. Add the remaining butter to the pan and add the eggs, pushing back from the edges and letting the uncooked eggs run under the set eggs. While still runny, add the truffles and brie to one half of the eggs then fold the other half over the top. Let cook briefly, not letting the omelet brown too much and slide onto a plate as soon as the brie starts to melt. You want the eggs to be barely cooked, not dry. Serve immediately with a tossed salad. Serves one.
Now for the wine of the day, 2006 Morgon, Terres Dorées, Jean-Paul Brun. This is a brilliant wine, bright and fresh, but not at all simple as it is compellingly complex from start to finish. At lunch it was stunning with the truffle omelette with an elegant character that did not overwhelm the eggs, but with touches of earthy complexity under the bright fruit that brought our the best in the truffle. The truffle also brought out the best in the wine. This was a great Sunday lunch. Some six hours later, with my weekend domestic duties behind me and the rich smell of the braised lamb filling the house, at the start of the third quarter I returned to the table and the bottle of Brun Morgon. Needless to say, this was a very different food and wine combination, but the Morgon did not miss a beat. While the omelet brought out the delicacy of the wine, the lamb seemed to bring out the power. Such is the beauty of fine Beaujolais. With the lamb the backbone of refined acidity combined with the richness of the fruit flavors to elevate the whole meal. What was most interesting about the Morgon is that it did not change a bit in the course of being open the whole day. While the food changed the experience of the wine, as I could tell when I tasted it on its own before both meals, the air had not changed the wine at all. This stability means that this wine will grow and expand for years to come.
The wines of Jean-Paul Brun remain undefeated, unlike the Patriots.