Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Food Quandry
Shrimp Provençale

There are a couple of plates that I have yet to nail down a great ‘go to’ wine. But as I gain a more profound understanding of cuisine and the inherent subtleties of it’s ingredients (and here is a lesson to all you wineheads out there), I find there are fewer and fewer mysteries. Tonight I nailed down the Shrimp provençale, at least my version of it. With tomatoes, herbes de provence, and of course garlic, I always favored a lighter red instead of a white, believing that any of the shrimps delicate saltiness was already overpowered by my Provençal sauce. But I had yet to find the perfect red for the job.

Well, here’s a solution... Roussanne, a strange but wonderful white from the Rhône.

Côtes du Rhône 2003, Brézème, Roussanne, Eric Téxier ($25...importation)
Made by vinificateur at large Eric Texier, this is a wine for the seasoned white wine drinker. It smells of browning apples, a hint of scotch, black tea and a mixture of garden herbs. I smelt it next to a bottle of marjoram, and I don’t know wether that was one of the herbs of the mix, but it was wonderful together. With little or no acidty, it is a strikingly rich wine and the slightly oxidized feel in the mouth gave it a wonderful freshness. It was a wonderful counterpoint to the acidity of the tomatoes. It held up to the garlic, enhancing the spices and was a perfect match for the texture of the shrimp. Even it’s rather gnarly bouquet dissipated with the joy of each effortless bite and sip. In short, a shockingly great match.

Next hurdle is the ubiquitous yet tasty ‘Jambon a la Bière.’

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