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Santorini 2015, Assyrtiko, Domaine Hatzidakis ($27.25, 11901171)
100% Assyrtiko. No maceration. After clarification, the must is fermented at 18ºC with indigenous yeasts. Matured on the lees for 40 days. Aged in stainless steal tanks. Lightly filtered and dosed with sulphur dioxide before bottling.1.9 g/l. 13.5% ABV. Quebec agent: oenopole.
Sandy beach, preserved lemon and a note that trills between petrol and resinous herbs. A mouthful of minerals, dusted with dried lemon zest and salt, infused with tincture of dried peach peel. Acidity would be glaring were it not for the mellowing extract, chalk and quartz. A thread of dried honey twines through the long finish. This has paired deliciously with dishes as varied as grilled chicken (recipe after the jump), veal scalloppini finished with lemon juice and parsley and, of course, oysters on the half shell. It also makes a deluxe aperitif. The price hikes are unfortunate (the 2011 retailed for $21.95) but inevitable: the world has discovered Santorini wines and grape prices on the island are skyrocketing. That doesn’t make this overpriced – far from it – just less of an incredible bargain than it used to be. (Buy again? Repeatedly.)

Grilled Spatchcocked Chicken

A variation on the offset method that, in my experience, produces uniquely satisfactory results. I include a description of my usual marinade but almost any – except maybe sugary ones – would work.

  1. Start with a spatchcocked bird: remove the spine by cutting through the bone and flesh on either side of it, then turn the bird over and flatten it, cracking the sternum in the process.
  2. Briefly marinate the bird. My go-to marinade is lemon zest and juice, olive oil, cracked peppercorns, chopped fresh oregano and marjoram, crushed red chile and salt. Rosemary, thyme, sage and tarragon all work well too.
  3. Open all the vents on your BBQ. Light the charcoal and, when the coals are hot, dump it on one side (no more than half) of the fire pan. Place the grates on the BBQ.
  4. Drip-drain but don’t dry the chicken and place it, skin side up and with the feet pointing toward the coals, on the grate on the side not over the coals. Close the cover and don’t open it for 30 minutes or so (depends on the size of the bird and heat of the fire).
  5. When an instant-read thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast meat reads 150°F, baste the bird, flip it over and place it above the coals skin side down and with the head end pointed toward the cool side of the grill. Close the cover and don’t open it for 5 to 10 minutes. Cook until the thermometer reads 160°F. If the skin risks burning before the meat is done, flip the bird, move it to the unheated side of the grill, close the cover and continue cooking.
  6. Remove the bird from the grill. Season with salt and pepper. Let rest for a few minutes before cutting into pieces. Serve immediately. If you like, you can drizzle it with some of the marinade that you will have reserved before pouring the rest on the bird.

Advantages: crisp skin, juicy meat (even the breast), a lovely faint smokiness, no need to hover, the skin doesn’t burn or stick to the grate (if you’re using a dry rub, it might be a good idea to oil the grate before putting the bird skin on it). It also seems fairly foolproof.

Written by carswell

December 22, 2016 at 13:32

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