The holidays are a great time to catch up with dear friends. We recently had our dear friends Bill and Julie over for a post-Thanksgiving, non-turkey dinner. Bill is an outstanding musician who performs in two local Dallas bands. He is a truly gifted guitarist and frequently wows the crowd with playing his electric guitar while standing on his head without missing a single note. It had been a while since we had connected with Bill and Julie and with Bill having a weekend night off from performing we jumped on the opportunity to get together with them.
Since our dinner together was a couple nights after Thanksgiving I wanted to serve a dish that was easy with delicious wine. For me a dish is easy if you can prepare it several hours before guest arrive and just pull it out of the oven in time to sit down to eat. Sometimes when entertaining I start with the wine and pair the food accordingly, this time I chose to meal first and pulled wine out of my cellar to pair with the meal.
Bodegas Mas Alta Black Slate La Vielle Alta 2011: This wine met the nose with an alluringly rich garnet with purple and black highlights. On the nose it seduced with ripe red fruit, licorice, tobacco and slate. Those aromas followed through with round flavors of red cherries, black raspberries, plums and pomegranate followed by tobacco, licorice, graphite; finishing with vanilla on the back of the palate. This wine was crafted of 60% Grenacha, 35% Carignan, and 5% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was softer than the color or aroma indicated. The body was smooth with concentrated fruit and a lovely earthiness but the acidity was slightly less than I desired, leaving a medium finish. I have confessed before I am a huge acid lover, that lingering mouth-watering quality that provides balance and often elegance to a wine. The Black Slate La Vielle Alta 2011 was an enjoyable wine with and without the food, I simply wanted more acidity to the wine. However, it is one of the most popular wines from the Priorat region of Spain and offered great flavor on the palate, additionally with a SRP of $17-$22 depending on where you purchase this wine, this is a wine I recommend you buy. Furthermore, if you are introducing wine novices to new grapes such as Grenacha or Carignan this wine would make a nice introduction since it has such full flavor yet is mild in tannins and acidity. Also, not everyone likes as much acidity as I do; my husband and our guest enjoyed this wine. 94 pts The Rhone Report. This wine was aged 12 months in French oak and was bottled unfined and unfiltered. I bought this wine from Pogo’s Dallas, one of my favorite wine stores; to find this wine near you either Google it or click here.
We began our food pairings with a simple antipasta tray with an array of cheeses with Rhododendron honey, Confit of Figs and Balsamic Vinegar, Truffle and Honey, and Pumpkin compote, as well as dried Turkish apricots, caramelized walnuts, prosciutto and salami. The wine was a nice pairing with these hors d’ourves, especially the blue cheese with rhododendron honey and the creamy cheese with figs and balsamic vinegar. YUM!
For dinner I prepared Mario Batali’s Beer Braised Short Ribs with homemade mashed potatoes and Mario Batali’s Glazed Carrots with Cumin and Honey. I have made Mario’s short ribs many times, they are super easy and truly delicious. My only alteration is I used boneless short ribs instead of boned. For the dark beer I don’t want to buy a 6pack so I buy whatever the store has on sale that is 1 large dark beer. This time I used Arrogant Bastard Ale, I have used Guinness in the past, it doesn’t matter as long as it is dark; I use about 12 ounces. I don’t have a recipe for mashed potatoes; I buy white baking potatoes, peel, chop, boil, once soft I throw them into my Kitchen Aid mixer with butter, salt, pepper and either 2% milk, half and half, whipping cream, sour cream or mascarpone cheese, it all depends on what creamy fat I have in my fridge, this time I used a touch of whipping cream and some fresh cut rosemary and thyme. The potaotes were outstanding. Finally, Mario’s glazed carrots is a simple and delicious recipe taking almost no time to prepare. My only alteration was balsamic vinegar for the red wine vinegar because it adds more zest. As you can imagine from reading about the flavors of the wine and these dishes that the wine was an excellent pairing with the meal. The flavors combined seamlessly for a rustic, enjoyable meal.
Priorat is a small yet dynamic wine region located in north eastern Spain. Priorat produces full body red wines with qualities of cherries, licorice and earthiness. Winesearcher notes three important qualities of Priorat red wines: 1) one of the few world class wine styles based on Grenacha, 2) it is one of the only two styles to hold Spain’s highest classification DOCa (Rioja is the other), 3) Grenacha has risen from being virtually unknown to one of the world’s most expensive wines.
My Song Selection: The song I have chosen to pair with the Bodegas Mas Alta Black Slate La Vielle Alta 2011 is Roam by the B 52’s. I chose this song because this wine is fresh and full of flavor but a little lower on acidity. This song is so fun and full of life, furthermore, it features the beautiful voices of Kate Pierson and Cindy Wilson in a non-acidic manner!
Get your own bottle of Bodegas Mas Alta Black Slate La Viella Alta 2011 and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!