Saturday, May 15, 2010

Just Black Bean Ravioli and Yesterday's Wine

Many years ago, while Susan and I were both exploring the counter-culture of the late Sixties and early Seventies our parents met and became best of friends. Particularly the Mom's. One of the common traits of both women was their unfailing ability to make friends with every shopkeeper with whom they did business. Since these relationships are reciprocal and they lived in the same neighborhood, it is not surprising that they did business with the same shopkeepers. One of those businesses was an automotive repair shop run by the Lucido family. Susan and I continued to business with them for years after we met and were married.

The story continues at the local White Rock Local Market which has started near our house. Susan has been buying pasta from Lucido's Pasta and Herbs and last week she finally popped the question. Sure enough, it's the same family. I've maintained for years that Dallas is the largest small town in the world. So tonight we had their Ravioli filled with Black Bean and Jalapeno. Tossed it with olive oil, butter and garlic; coated lightly with tomato sauce and it was delicious. The jalapeno was not spicy while eating the pasta, but the heat did aggregate and the mouth began to tingle. We washed it down with a cool, refreshing bottle of dry Rose'.

Spring brings many wonderful things. In the wine world it means rose' wine. Specifically dry rose' wine. Young, fresh, the first serious offerings from the harvest of the previous fall. (Apply your choice of metaphor for the magical rotation of the seasons here.)

In the retail world it means "get rid of last year's rose's!"

Conventional wisdom tells us that the fruit fades as the wine grows older and certainly no one would choose to pay full price for last year's wine when the new wine is on the shelf. So down come the prices. But what's in the bottle?

In the name of science, I picked up one of last years' bottles and that's what we had with our Ravioli. 2008 Mas Carlot. Mas Carlot is located in the Costieres de Nimes, on the Western Bank of the Rhone River. The wine is made from the typical Provencal varietals, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre and from grapes ripened for red wine. The juice is bled from the tanks during maceration when the desired color and flavor is attained, and then fermented to dryness. (Usually the same alcohol as the red wines.) Arrested maceration leaves higher apparent acidity which gives the wines their fresh crispness and creates dry, delicate fruit flavors of strawberries and raspberries, which can range as deep as black cherries, depending on the length of the maceration.

Interestingly, the Mas Carlot was a little disappointing when it arrived last spring. But it really showed well tonight. The fruit was clean and bright and the wine was crisp and refreshing. Color was pink with no hints of amber. It's possible that it's just been a long time since I had a bottle of rose, but the wine seemed better tonight than it did a year ago!

Anyway, at the drastically low prices, last year's wines are selling briskly. When the new container hits town, we'll be thirsty and ready for the new harvest to see us through the hot summer months!

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