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Salon VIP 2014: Root day at Rézin (7/7)

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Monferrato Dolcetto 2010, Bricco della Serra, Bera Vittorio e figli ($36.15, private import, 6 bottles/case)
Known primarily for its Moscato d’Asti, the estate, which has been farming organically since 1964, also makes several still wines. The 100% Dolcetto comes from decade-old vines grown in a one-hectare vineyard. Manually harvested. Fermentation with indigenous yeasts lasts 25 days, maturation on the lees 24 months; both take place in 50-hectolitre lined concrete tanks. No added anything, including, according to Steve, sulphur. Unfiltered and unfined. 13.0% ABV. Quebec agent: Rézin.
Fragrant nose of dried rose, mulberry, black cherry, sandalwood and peppery spice. Vibrant and dynamic from the first sip. The ripe fruit and raspy tannins give the wine a velvety texture while the uncommonly bright acidity keeps it fresh and dark minerals add an appealing earthiness. The finish is mouth-filling and sustained. A wine of remarkable breadth and depth, beyond what one normally associates with this grape. Indeed, you could almost fault it for being atypical – too poised, too dimensional, too accomplished for a Dolcetto. Truly one of the standouts of the event. (Buy again? I did, twice, though at the time I thought the price was $32, already more than any other Dolcetto sold at the SAQ. But even at $36 and change, I don’t regret the purchase – I’ve not been this excited about a Dolcetto since forever.)

Dolcetto is usually thought of as the quintessential weeknight pasta and pizza wine. This, however, deserves finer fare. If you’re going the pasta route, think a sauce built around long-braised lamb. Or follow Steve Beauséjour’s suggestion of roasted fowl, which put me in mind of Patricia Well’s guinea hen stuffed with olives, bacon, shallots and thyme (recipe with an accompanying purée of my own invention after the jump).

And, by the way, though our afternoon at the salon ended with visits to the La QV/Insolite and Ward & associés stands, I appear to have misplaced my tasting notes. Not to worry about the former, however, as the upcoming notes on last week’s MWG tasting will show.

Guinea Hen Stuffed with Black Olives
Pintade de la Drôme aux olives de Nyons

Preheat the oven to 220°C (425°F). Remove the rind from and mince 90 g (3 oz) lean slab bacon. Peel and mince 4 shallots. Place both in a skillet and sauté over medium-high heat until the bacon crisps and the shallots begin to brown. Transfer to a medium bowl, leaving as much fat behind as possible.

In the same pan, sear the guinea hen liver (substitute 1 chicken liver), about 1 minute per side. When it cools, chop it very fine and add it to the bowl along with 1 tablespoon minced fresh thyme leaves and 90 g (3/4 cup) Nyons or other high-quality black olives, pitted and minced. Season with pepper and, if necessary, salt.

Fill the cavity of a 1.5 kg (3 lb) guinea hen with the stuffing. Sew the opening closed with kitchen twine. Optional: bard the bird (lay a thin sheet of pork fat over the breast and tie it in place with kitchen twine) or have your butcher do it for you. Brush the hen lightly with olive oil. Place on a roasting rack and roast until the juices run clear, about 1 hour, basting the bird occasionally.

Rest the bird 10 minutes after removing it from the oven. Spoon the stuffing into a warmed serving bowl. Carve the bird. Accompany with Potato and Celery Root Purée with Olive Oil (see below) and uncork a savoury red, such as a fine Côtes-du-Rhône or Bera’s Monferrato Dolcetto.

Three or four servings

– Adapted from Patricia Wells’ Bistro Cooking.

Potato and Celery Root Purée with Olive Oil

Peel and cut 3 medium russet or Yukon Gold potatoes, about 1 pound in all, into 4 cm (1½-inch) chunks. Place them in a steamer and steam until tender. Trim, peel and cut 1 small celery root into 2.5 cm (1-inch) chunks. Put them in a small saucepan, cover with cold water, add a healthy pinch of salt, bring to a boil and simmer until tender. Toward the end of the cooking period, scald 1/2 cup whole milk or cream.

When the vegetables are done, put them through a food mill fitted with the finest-holed disk into the top of a double boiler (or a heavy bowl snuggled in a saucepan) over simmering water. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt and stir with a wooden spoon until the purée has a uniform consistency. Then, while continuing to stir, drizzle in extra virgin olive oil until you can just taste it in the purée, about 4 tablespoons. Pour in about 1/4 cup of the scalded milk or cream and stir to combine. Add more milk/cream and olive oil until the desired taste and texture are achieved. Adjust the seasoning and serve.

Two servings

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Written by carswell

November 18, 2014 at 18:59

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