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Cultured Vulture

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Have lately had little time to drink and even less time to write, but I wanted to flag today’s release at the SAQ of a wine I and many others enjoyed last November, when it was available as a private import from oenopole. The intervening nine months have done it nothing but good and, once again, it has proved to be a fantastic match for lamb, this time a stew with vinegar and green beans (recipe after the jump). Quantities appear to be limited, so fast action is advised.

Aglianico del Vulture 2009, Antelio, Camerlengo ($23.35, 11951961)
100% Aglianico from organically farmed 30-year-old vines. Manually harvested in late October and early November. Fermented with native yeasts, macerated 25 days and matured in a 50-hl Slavonian oak botte. Unfiltered and unfined. Lightly sulphured at bottling for stability during transportation. 13% ABV.
Alluring nose: black cherry, graphite, hints of balsam, spice and flowers. Medium-bodied. The silky, sweet-cored fruit is brightened by acidity and velveted by lightly rustic tannins. Chewing brings a tooth-coating astringency and reveals a mineral substrate. The savoury finish lasts longer than you’d expect. A here-and-now wine: not particularly deep but remarkably fresh, pure and satisfying, more so than other Aglianicos in the price range, which often seem coarse, unbalanced and untamed, like gorillas in sports jackets. (Buy again? In multiples.)


Stufatino di agnello con l’aceto
Lamb stew with vinegar and green beans
(Adapted from Marcella Hazan’s More Classic Italian Cooking)

The success of this dish depends on the quality of the ingredients. Use locally raised lamb (mine came from Kamouraska), green beans from the farmers’ market and top quality vinegar. The stew should be served alone, with no sides. Precede it with soup (escarole and rice, for example) or pasta and follow with a simple salad (boiled beet tops and/or roasted beets, for example).

In a large Dutch oven or sauté pan over medium-high heat, brown 1.5 kg (3 lbs) bone-in lamb shoulder cut into 5 cm (2-inch) cubes in 60 ml (4 tablespoons) olive oil. When the meat is nicely coloured on all sides, remove it to a plate. Pour off about half the fat in the pan, lower the heat to medium, add 1 chopped medium onion and cook until it turns pale gold. Return the lamb to the pan, season generously with salt and pepper, then pour in 125 ml (1/2 cup) red wine vinegar. Bring the vinegar to a simmer while using a wooden spoon to free the brown bits from the bottom of the pan. Add 500 g (1 lb) trimmed fresh green beans, turn down the heat to low and cover the pan, leaving the lid slightly ajar. Cook at a slow simmer for about 1 1/2 hours. If the pan juices begin to dry up before the meat is done, add 30 or 45 ml (2 to 3 tablespoons) water. At the end, the only liquid remaining in the pan should be the cooking juices and oil. Transfer the stew to a warm platter and serve immediately.

Six servings

Written by carswell

August 29, 2013 at 17:45

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