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Food and wine and food-and-wine [May. 16th, 2016|10:17 pm]
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I thought I had written about the food fair in Bishop Auckland, but maybe not. Ah, well. Anyway, one of the things I bought there was some stewing veal, and yesterday I took it out of the freezer and made a blanquette de veau. It's a dish I haven't made in a long time (I don't manage to buy veal very often) and I was pleased with how it came out, the sauce all lemony and buttery, the meat sweet and tender. Since it's classic old fashioned French cuisine, I wanted a classic French wine to drink with it, and chose a bottle that we had bought at the Maison des Vins in Gaillac: the Domaine Philémon Perlé (information about the producer in English, and I wish I'd known about their Jurançon Noir, I don't remember seeing that). My only hesitation was that it might be too light, and I'm glad I didn't check the website which recommends serving it as an aperitif or with fish, or I might have been dissuaded from serving it with the veal. It was light and fresh, and the almost-fizz indicated by the name 'Perlé' accentuated that, but it had enough flavour, a good balance of fruit and acidity, to go well with the veal and its sauce.

Sometimes I wish I had asked the internet before deciding which wine to serve with what. D. brought us a bottle of Brana's Harri Gorri, which was particularly welcome as we had not been very successful in buying Irouléguy when we were there (short version: the domain we wanted to buy from was harvesting on the day we called, and too busy to sell; the local supermarket doesn't sell local wine and the Cave Co-op's wines are unimpressive. We bought some, but grudgingly). Harri Gorri (can't say that name too often) is much more elegant than we are accustomed to in an Irouléguy (I don't know how it manages that when it's 50% tannat, but it does), and would have been much happier with the following night's lamb stew, as the Wine Society's website suggests, than with whatever I served it with (don't remember). Then again, the Brana website says serve with game or grilled meat, which suggests something chunkier. It also uses the word "empyreumatique" which was new to me, and I had to look it up (show-off winespeak for the toasty flavours associated with oak, it says here).

One more bottle of Basque wine, this one from the other side of the Pyrenees, On the last day of our holiday we had made the most of our last chance to stock up at a Spanish supermarket. Choosing a last few bottles of wine with no better guidance than whether I liked the label, I picked an elegant little bottle of Beldui txacoli. All the text on the label was in Basque, so there were no clues about how to serve it. Eventually I opened the bottle and tasted it. At cellar temperature it was a little flat, almost musty, and I opened a bottle of red to drink with the chicken. But served chilled to accompany cheese and grapes for dessert, the txacoli's dullness was transformed into a subtle oxidation, an almost sherry-like edge. So that was all right. And oh, look, you can visit the vineyard...