Wednesday 4 April 2012

Easter Treat

My Grandfather was extremely pleased with own his fondness for the simple pleasures. Smoking, polo mints and plain food. He didn't even drink, save for a lager and lime with Christmas lunch and half a shandy after dominoes... if he'd won. It hinted at gentle rebellion, his father had been the drinking, gambling sort who'd played for Arsenal and fell foul of the taxman. Ted played it straight.

This was his favourite meal for as long as I knew him. Lamb, new potatoes, peas, mint sauce and gravy. The lamb had to be cooked til it was crisp and brown to the bone. The peas, often freshly picked from the garden, cooked for 30 minutes in boiling water. Boy did we give him some stick. He always made his own mint sauce though, chopped using knives he'd sharpened on the window sill. I've never encountered blades that sharp since.

Some sample wines arrived the other day with food match suggestions, so I thought it'd be fun to play along. They recommended serving the Priorat with traditional Easter lamb. So I cooked it, Ted's way, mostly. The wine smelt like it could do with decanting, that is, it didn't really smell of anything. So it got an hour to 'open up'.

Initial tasting revealed a wine that wasn't as overpowering as many Priorats. Finely balanced, elegant almost, but not revealing much. Once we started eating it came alive... it still amazes me how some wines do this. Especially modern creations that I always presume are made with food free imbibing in mind. Spicy smells intermingled with liquorice, bbq and woodsmoke. There were tastes of blueberry, coconut and white pepper. It was a perfect match for the fayre, even coping with the mint sauce. Home made of course. My only minor criticism was that it was almost too correct, a kink or two wouldn't have gone amiss... just like my Grandfather.

According to the blurb 2008 Scala Dei Priorat should sell for £19.99. Majestic is one of the retailers but I've just checked their web page and can't see it.
Priorat's never cheap, I'd say provided you decant this for at least an hour, preferably two, then serve it with food, it's well worth the money.

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