Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Holiday Wine and Food Survival Strategy #2: Spice it Up

By Friday morning, it is highly likely that you or your loved ones will be uttering a version of Scarlett O'Hara's famous phrase that goes like this, "As God is my witness, I'll never eat turkey again."

If this is the case, then there is one surefire antidote to the Bird Blahs: you can spice things up a bit. Thanksgiving dinner tends to be a symphony of earth tones, creamy textures, and fairly bland seasonings. What you need is something vibrant, something red, something with lots of oomph in the flavorings.

You need saffron, fennel, garlic, tomato--none of which is normally on the menu for Thanksgiving. You need a bowl of pasta with saffron and sausage sauce. (photo from Food & Wine Magazine) It has chunky tomato sauce, laced with saffron, sage, and basil. Sausage gets crumbled in there, too, and then the sauce goes over any kind of pasta shape. The recipe calls for malloreddus, but I usually use penne and it's just fine. The result is warming, spicy, and silky.

With it, pour yourself a spicy, silky wine that can stand up to the tomatoes and the saffron, like the 2003 Herdade do Esporao Trincadeira (this was included in domaine547's Catavino blogger-pack of three Portuguese wines that I purchased recently, or you can buy a single bottle from domaine547 for $24.99) This was a very good bottle of wine. Dark aubergine in color, it wasn't filtered and threw some sediment so if you don't like that you might want to decant. There were spicy aromas of plum and vanilla, which followed through to the flavors. In your mouth, some blueberry notes entered into the mix, and added a nice richness and complexity. There was some grip on your tongue from spicy and toasty oak, but the texture of the wine remained fairly silky. This was my first experience with this grape, which was like a spicy pinot noir, and it represented good QPR.

One surefire way to survive the holiday season is to remember that some spice every know and again can really help to balance out the creamy, heavy, and rich foods of the season.


winedeb said...

Happy Thanksgiving Deb!!! Hope you are enjoying your bird with one or hey, two of those lovely wines you are always telling us about!
Cheers From Deb!

Dr. Debs said...

I think we had three that day! Cheers to you, too, and hope your Thanksgiving was terrific.