It all started with a bottle of wine.
Well, no, it was actually the books Kim (see previous post A Very Mini Artist’s Colony in New Mexico) recommended to me. He watches some PBS interview shows, plus a program called Well Read sometimes, in which the two co-hosts talk about various books they’ve enjoyed. So from time to time he’ll tell me about those he thinks I’d like.
It was a foray into several French mysteries, written by M.L. Longworth, that brought about a new interest for me. They offered such rich detail that, for the duration of the four, I felt transported to the south of France. They take place in Aix-en-Provence and the two main characters are great wine enthusiasts. That made me curious to try some of the wines they talked about. This was a completely new stirring for me.
The first was a Bandol, which left me disappointed, quite honestly, and there were a string of disappointments after that. So Kim suggested I try to learn something about various wines so I could begin to discover my own tastes. What a great idea!
And, frankly, I’m pretty surprised by how wine has grabbed hold of me. I mean I really care. I’m amazed that any bottle ever makes it to market with all the steps and stages each vintage must go through. Wine is its own art form. I should have known that before but I didn’t.
I bought a subscription to Wine Spectator both in print and online. And I’m actually READING it. I’m never going to be a big wine buff, there’s simply too much to know.
But I do want to pursue the bottle that will make my own pallet sing. While most will be out of my reach, the great French, the Italians, even many of the domestics, something in the current issue grabbed my attention: Oregon’s Superb 2012s, A Place in the Sun.
I grew up in Oregon, from the age of 12, and went to college there. So I decided it was fated—some of these wines had to be available to someone like me. So I went looking.
Kim and I went to Santa Fe early one morning…
… because Susan’s Fine Wines had one of the Oregon pinots that was high on Wine Spectator’s list: Brick House Evelyn’s 2012 Ribbon Ridge Pinot Noir, 95 points.
And we decided that a potentially lovely bottle of wine deserves a great meal, right? So, as I said earlier, it all started with a bottle of wine…
… and before I knew it Kim was making his Beef Shoulder Daube with Aromatic Vegetables…
… and his wonderful Country Loaf.
I didn’t take step-by-step photos for you, but I do have the recipe. Here you go:
Beef Shoulder Daube With Aromatic Vegetables
“DAUBE – Method of cooking meat. Although this method can be used for other meat, as well as poultry and game, the term, daube, without qualification means a cut of beef cooked en daube, that is, braised in red wine stock well seasoned with herbs.” —The New Larousse Gastronomique
5 lb. beef shoulder
1 onion, chopped
A few stems celery cut in 1” pieces
2 carrots cut in ½” pieces
Whole head of garlic, each clove crushed, skins on or off
Red wine to cover
4 bay leaves
½ tsp. dried thyme
3-4 pieces dried porcini ground fine in a coffee mill
Salt and pepper to taste
1 T. cornstarch
1/4 C. red wine
Put all ingredients into an earthenware pot or any heavy, lidded pot, and cover with red wine (you can add some water if you want). Marinate in the refrigerator, lid on, for 24 to 48 hours, turning the meat occasionally.
When Kim started making the bread (after 2 days of marinating the beef), he put the cold crock on the stove top at a very low heat, warming the wine and meat mixture slowly to a simmer.
Once the bread was baked and out of the oven, he placed the pot containing the meat and vegetables in the oven for 3 plus hours at 350 degrees.
When fork tender, he took the meat out and let it rest while he mashed the vegetables through a colander, keeping only the remaining liquid, which he placed on the stove top at a high heat, reducing it by half. Then he added the salt and pepper, dissolved the cornstarch in the wine, and whisked it into the broth, still on the boil, until thickened.
And voila! A meal fit for a lovely bottle of wine.
While this bottle was delicious, it’s still not the wine of my dreams I’m afraid. BUT I was able to get two bottles of Wine Spectator’s top pick for the Oregon Pinot Noirs, Evening Land’s Eola-Amity Hills Seven Spring Vineyard La Source 2012. At 98 points it’s the highest rated wine in Oregon’s history. It’s scheduled to ship in a month.
Just close your eyes and imagine the meal Kim will cook up for us then.
Love to you all,