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March 15, 2013     Cape Gazette
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March 15, 2013

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86 FRIDAY, MARCH 15 - MONDAY, MARCH 18, 2013 Cape Gazette F lthough the town of Milton has already held • ,L its parade, there's still time to prepare for St. Patrick's Day festivities on Sunday. From mugs of green beer to slabs of corned beef, a wide range of traditions (some of them Irish) has become familiar across the country. While most Irish view the day as one of religious significance, Americans treat March 17 as an opportunity to wear green, symbolizing the lush color of Ireland's rolling kAls. And, of course, to have an excuse to raise a glass (or sev- eral) in honor of St. Patrick. Since the quality of restau- rant fare often falters when prepared in mass quantity, we're going to keep our cel- ebration local and small: just the two of us at the kitchen table. We'll prepare a meal that features a few less-familiar Irish dishes that may not be found on a typical menu. Despite their reputation for a potato-rich diet, early inhabit- ants of the Emerald Isle were definitely meat eaters who made use of the entire animal from snout to tail, especially pigs. The forebears of today's Irish people - the Gauls fol- the Celts - have been roasting, stewing, smoking and salting pork for centuries. Although three-star French chef Pierre Koffmann features a truffle-stuffed version at his restaurant, we don't plan to make braised trotters (pig's feet) for Sunday dinner. We'll begin our meal with minimalist Irish soda bre id, a simple recipe with only four ingredients: flour, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Whether made with whole wheat or white flour, it will have a dense texture that crumbles under a slather of butter. It won't keep, so it's best eaten right from the oven. If you prefer to turn this into a sweeter loaf, you can find recipes that call for eggs, sugar, raisins and caraway seed - delicious variations on a basic theme. If you look for an "authentic" Irish stew recipe, you'll find a trend similar to what happened to soda bread. The original version would have nothing more than potatoes and lamb (or mutton if the sheep is more than a year old) simmered for hours. This dish was born of necessity, as there was little else to throw into the pot. Over time, as other ingredi- ents became available, you fred that recipes include carrots, TRADITIONAL IRISH COLCANNON is a great onions and Guinness. Adding stout to a lamb stew is an excel- lent match, as both have strong flavors. As the beer cooks, it becomes more concentrated and less bitter, leaving behind hints of roasted caramel. Since finding mutton neck meat (the traditional cut for Irish stew) is slightly challenging, we're go- ing to have coddle as our main course. Coddle is a comfort food usually associated with Dublin frequently called Dublin Coddle. This hearty dish made from salty bacon, pork sau- sages and potatoes is named for how it's prepared: a long, slow way to celebrate St. Patrick's Day. "coddle" over low heat. Urban legend suggests its popularity stems from the fact the pot can be left warming on the stove until everyone returns from the pub. There are probably as many recipes for Dublin Coddle as there are bars in the city, but the primary ingredients are as straightforward as stew. The difference in flavor, however, comes from smoky bacon and savory sausage, while starch in the potatoes combines with beef stock to thicken the rich sauce• Since an Irish meal can never have too many potatoes, we'll JACK CLEMMONS PHOTO also serve colcannon. From a botanical standpoint, colcannon combines brassica (members of the cabbage family) and allium (members of the onion family) with boiled potatoes. I've seen recipes that instruct the cook to boil the cabbage and potatoes together before mashing the mess - don't ever do this. For the lovely version in the photo, saut6 onions, leeks and scal- lions, then stir in kale to briefly steam. This way, the slightly caramelized alliums combine their sweetness with creamy mashed potatoes and ruffled Continued on page 87 have a great deal to write this week, so let's iump • right into it. How about a 91-point red Bordeaux that can be purchased for $20 and you can start enjoying now. James Suckling gave it 93 points and WS 90. Chateau des Laurets Puisseguin saint t milion, 2010 is a Rothschild (Lafite) pro- ction. Lovely, dark purple colored, it opens to a bouquet of raspberries, hazelnut, oak- iven vanilla and earth. On the palate, spice, minerals and toast with a juicy mouthfeel and appropriate tannic grip. The finish is long, with more wood notes. Approachable now, but a few years won't hurt it. It will cellar through 2020. A very nice everyday St. Emilion, but don't load up; 18,000 cases were produced. Best buy now is the 2006. At 89 points it is buyable under $250/case and your local guy can eat. Best would be a mixed case. The 93-point RP, 91-point IWC, Tarima Hill Monastrel 2010 is priced under $150/case; $13.95/bottle. Tarima Monas- trell is an excellent mourvedre from the Alicante in Spain. Lovely opaque purple with a ruby ring, it opens very com- plex with aromas of blueberry, pencil lead and dark chocolate with anise, mineral and floral nuance. On the p ate, full bodied with berry and spice flavors. The very long finish shows the tannins, but you are left with pleasant floral and smoky notes. Should cellar for at least 10 years. I'm not a great fan of Malbec, but many readers ask about them. So I sampled a Concha y Toro Explorador (regulars know I am a huge fan of theirs), a Bodegas Caro Aruma, which is a collaboration of Domaines, Barons de Rothschild and Nico- las Catena, and as a comparison, a highly touted Kaiken Mendo- za Corte Malbec-Bonarda-Petit Verdot Red Blend, 2009; rated 91 WE No. 4 Wine Enthusiast Best Buy 2012 for $14. Malbec is a French varietal wine that has found a home in the Argentine and Chile. It has flourished in a terroir where nighttime temps are low, but the days bring intense heat and lots of sun. In France, in most cases, Malbec, most of which is grown in Cahors, is used, in small percentages, to blend in order to amp up color and tannins. Generally speaking, the juice is deep opaque red with plum flavors and often hints of blackberry, pepper, tobacco and leather. The Xplorador 2010 - cost $8. Juicy strawberries and hints of anise spice with good grip, long, clean finish. I rate it 87 plus 2 price points. The Aruma, also a 2010, sells for around $15. Swirl it a bit to get ripe cherry and mocha aromas. This wine offers firm tannins. A little red licorice and earth came through before heading into the long finish. A very pretty wine! The winemaker at Kaiken is Eduardo Alenparte. Keep your eyes open for his wines. The winery is very rustic. Some writers will be prone to un- der rate, in my opinion. Time will tell. The Corte is a blend of Malbec, Petit Verdot and Bonarda, as the label reads. Very dark ruby, it opens to dark fruit aromas that translate on the palate to blackberry, black currant, cola, spice and toast flavors. This is a very well- balanced wine, slightly tannic, but approachable• I rate Corte 92 and think it is worth the ex- tra few bucks. Bonarda, by the way, is the varietal grape that we name Charbono in USA. It was initially Italian and named Corbeau or Douce noir. Do not confuse with Dolcetto (Dolce Nero). Another producer of consis- tently good Malbec is Bodega Norton Malbec Reserve. The 2009 had typical color, opened to cassis, berry and pencil lead aromas. Dark berry, spice and lico- rice flavors ride a balanced profile with proper tannic grip. Finishes with a touch of wood. Drink now; 88 points; $14. Contact John McDonald at jonmc@yahoo. com.