Wednesday, August 22, 2012

MRE Menu 2: Chicken Fajita and Refried Beans

For complementary flavors here, consider the light citrus and minerals combined with elements of sweet and spicy herbs that can come from chardonnay grown on the rolling slopes of the Jura, nestled between its far more renowned neighbor, Burgundy, and the border of Switzerland.  Although white wines from this region are frequently made in a unique oxidative style, for this dish a more Burgundian approach to the élevage would offer a more pleasing pairing.

For the red wine lover seeking contrast for this dish, imagine dining on your chicken fajitas under a burning hot desert sun, and you’ll immediately see the appeal of a gently frothing Lambrusco from the area surrounding the export epicenter of balsamic vinegar, Modena.  These effervescent wines are vinified in a range from lightly sparkling (frizzante) all the way to the traditional method of a second fermentation in the bottle (metodo classico).  But behold, they are not the sweet and sticky versions so prevalent decades ago.  Quality producers in Emilia are creating wines of rich perfumes and robust structure that match wonderfully with a variety of dishes.

Complementary Pairing:  Côtes du Jura Chardonnay, Jura, France
Try:  Jean-François Ganevat Côtes du Jura ‘Les Grands Teppes Vieilles Vignes’
The winemaker combines his mastery of winemaking, acquired in Chassagne-Montrachet, with chardonnay from vines planted in the first part of the twentieth century to offer a splendid expression of both his varietal and his terroir.

Contrasting Pairing:  Lambrusco secco, Emilia, Italy
Try:  Cavicchioli U. & Figli Lambrusco Grasparossa di Castelvetro ‘Col Sassoso’ []  This sub-region within Lambrusco traditionally creates the most full-bodied versions, and this particular cru from a family firm amidst many large cooperatives near Modena is done in a rich and dry frizzante style.