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.