Braised Chicken & Wine 02-08-13By
VINO Chef Keith Endo has been getting some really good “NO growth hormone…NO antibiotic” chicken lately. Because it is so good, it is now hard for me to eat & appreciate other chicken. Tonight, Keith seared the dark meat first, then braised it with celery, red & green bell peppers, onions & chicken stock. till tender.
So…..what kind of wine did we serve with it?
2007 Fontodi Chianti Classico Riserva “Vigna del Sorbo”
Here is a really good Chianti. As terrific as this wine is by itself, it works magic with foods like this because it is so rustic in character AND also has enough stuffing to handle the “melting pot” of flavors created by the long cooking time of this dish.
2006 Melini Chianti Classico Riserva “Vignetti La Selvanella”
As many wine aficionados well know, it is NOT easy to get Fontodi wines….Classico, Riserva or Flaccianello. As a viable alternative then, here is one from the 2006 vintage & a producer named Melini. Like the Fontodi, this has an inner strength, structure, core of vitality & enough character to handle this chicken dish.
Whenever I see a braised meat…..especially when done with roasted bell peppers (& the like)…my “knee jerk” wine selection is Domaine Tempier Bandol. Yes, it is probably because I really try to find any excuse to open a bottle of this wildly rustic, soulful Provencal red wine….young or old. In this case, though, the dish did NOT need one of Tempier’s single parcel bottlings. They would have been too much. Furthermore their Classique bottling has much more appeal at a younger age & a wider window of foods it can work with, especially in a vintage like 2006.
Just to show one is NOT limited to Mediterranean-esque wines for Mediterranean styled chicken dishes like this…..here is another way to approach a potential pairing. First is the realization to think “out of box”….they, after all, serve chicken in a lot of regions throughout France. So,….because this dish featured dark meat, our list included Bourgueil, a Cabernet Franc red wine from France’s Loire Valley. Loire Valley is regarded as a “cool” growing region, with lots of meager soiled (limestone, sand, sandstone, schist) pockets……which PRE-global warming had a hard time ripening & producing RED wine. So….therefore….in many cases the red wines are much lighter in body, weight & umpff than the Cabernet based red wines from other parts of the world.
In the region, they say young Bourgueil (fresh, vibrant, lively & exuberant) works well with white meat…& ….dark meat works well with aged renditions (darker more inriguing character). So…here is the Breton’s prized 1 hectare, hillside parcel–Les Perrieres & its character from the silaceous clay/limestone soils the vines grow in. The bottle age (1997) brings out a dark, sinister, autumn leaves/compost character… the whiff of wet stones……& the taste of ethereal minerality….which creates a remarkable buoyancy in the wine…especially in the middle & the finish. A VERY “out of the box” kind of pairing.