Thursday, December 22, 2011

Venison and two wines that don't suck.....

2005 Cuvaison ATS Selection Two Estates, Napa Valley - I'm not sure of the exact blend of this wine, but the winery website says the current vintage (2008) is 64% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec sourced from vineyards on Mt. Veeder and in Carneros. If this is the approximate blend/source of the 2005, then I can say this is very full-bodied for a Merlot blend. Decadent nose of Dark cherries, milk chocolate, cedar, vanilla and just a hint of game. Delicious cherry/vanilla flavors on the palate with still considerable tannins and a long, chocolaty finish.My father-in-law has been a member of Cuvaison's wine club for the better part of two decades now and I've been lucky to have tasted most of the the top-of-the-line ATS Selection Cabs and Chards and they continue to impress. About $50

2004 Fattoria La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino - Beautiful reddish-brown color that one expects from a top notch Brunello. The nose here is classic Tuscan with the bright raspberry fruit, fennel bulb, rust and hints of cedar and dark earth - just a pleasure to smell from a big ol' Riedel glass! Rich and rustic on the palate with sweet cherries, licorice and monstrous, dusty tannins. Nice balance here of fruit, tannins and acid suggest this wine could easily go another decade (or longer) in the cellar. $40

For dinner, I cut one of our venison backstraps (a country term for loin) into 2" steaks and pan-seared them in olive oil and butter for about 2 minutes on each side. I removed the steaks from the pan and set them aside to rest. In the pan, I built a sauce with chopped shallots, Maker's Mark Bourbon, veal stock and blackberry jam. After reducing and straining the sauce I added some fresh, lightly crushed blackberries. Sides were wild rice with cranberries and pecans and haricot vert. I'm not normally one to toot my own horn, but the meal was superb. I think the fruitiness of the Cuvaison ended up making it the better wine pairing as the sauce seemed to accentuate the Brunello's acidity.


  1. Bill, the 2004 Fattoria La Lecciaia Brunello di Montalcino, I see this was not provided by a winery or a distributor? Which means you paid $40 for it.
    Would you say that is a good price?
    On your top 10 I could only find one in NH; maybe someone will inform me differently.
    What is special about your blog (There are other special things)is how enticing your cooking is. Wish you were my neighbor! :) I'm sure Mr. Rogers would have too.

  2. My father-in-law brought that one with him from Texas, Dennis. I got the $40 price from the internet. I don't know if he bought it locally or if he ordered it on-line. He probably got it on-line as the wine selection isn't that great where he lives (Corpus Christi).

    I probably wouldn't spend $40 on that bottle. Although the quality is there, I don't really eat enough food that calls for Brunello so I would likely spend my $40 on something else.

    Thanks for the kind words! If you ever find yourself stuck in flyover country, you're welcome come on over for dinner! :-)

  3. "Fly-over country" gets a bad rap, but hospitality abounds.
    I'm finding a good number of excellent wine reviewers there and especially in Texas.
    Thanks Bill,