New Year ~ New Choices

We had a lovely New Year’s Eve and the Mumm’s did not disappoint. It proved to be a terrific sparkler all on its own and gained even more depth when I paired sips with chocolate and strawberries. It wasn’t a night of partying down; we kept things quiet, low key and very special. It was nice to have a few moments to reflect and just enjoy being together, especially after so much ‘busy’ through the holiday.

For last night’s New Year’s Day dinner, I slow roasted a Prime Rib that I respectfully rubbed down with oil, minced garlic, (embedding garlic cloves along the way with great care) pepper, and a little thyme.

What should I pair it with? In the past, I’ve always reached for a robust Cabernet, but New Year’s is all about change and trying something new. A recommendation I read about was Petit Syrah. This is not to be confused with Syrah or Shiraz, which, I did. Petit Syrah is from a small grape that produces a deep wine with hi tannins and good acidity. It’s the acidity that cuts the fatty richness of the beef. That was exactly what I was looking for, so into the ‘cellar’ I went. And out I came, empty handed. We had a plethora of Pinot, a cacophony of Cab and a peppering of others but no Petit.

Ready to open: the 08 d'Arenberg 'The Footbolt' Shiraz

Ready to open: the 08 d'Arenberg 'The Footbolt' Shiraz

I had to move to Plan B. I remembered an 08 d’Arenberg The Footbolt Shiraz that we’d bought some time ago. Shiraz can be hearty and robust, with soft tannins and subtle oak. We noticed the flavors of this vintage were of a lightly spiced blackberry. On the palate was  a hi mineral taste at first finish. It began to settle nicely into a hearty pepper- berry combination when paired with the warm richness of the beef and Yorkshire pudding.

The Footbolt Shiraz is from the McLaren Vale appellation. Prime growing season tends to be very dry, hot and sunny which is ideal for producing robust, flavorful grapes. Rainy winters provide good natural irrigation held in reserve for the next growing season.

I admit I was a little skeptical but this Shiraz proved to be every bit as robust as the hearty Cab. Sometimes it’s good, and quite tasty, to move outside your comfort zone.



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