Our Wine of the Week, JC Cellars 2011 Russian River Valley El Diablo Vineyard “The Fallen Angel" ($45), is light on its feet, a quality that is a bit of a surprise given its 15.3 percent alcohol.
The wine, 100 percent grenache, is rich, concentrated and lush, its foundation deep and dark, with notes of black cherry, cranberry and pomegranate molasses. Next comes an array of spices and herbs, black pepper, white pepper, sage and lavender, qualities that could be key to extraordinary pairings.
If you're feeling ambitious, grill boneless quail between sheaves of lavender trimmings and sage clippings, and serve it over creamy polenta infused with fresh sage.
(This technique, developed by writer Robert Kourik of Occidental, is rather lengthy. You'll find it at Eat This Now at pantry.blogs.pressdemocrat.com.)
The wine is a natural with foods traditional to the south of France, from a concentrated black-olive tapenade redolent with anchovies to a slow-cooked daube, or stew. Pissaladiere, a classic tart of onion, anchovy and black olive, is another excellent match. If you don't feel like making it, you can pick up a delicious version from Dominque's Sweets at farmers markets on Saturday at the Wells Fargo Center and on Sunday in Sebastopol.
Today's recipe is a dish from Patricia Wells' fine book “Bistro Cooking” (Workman Publishing, 1989). It's perfect for Sunday night supper, especially when the cupboard is nearly bare, but I love it any time, especially in the spring. If you like, slather more toast with tapenade and serve it alongside.
Poached Eggs in Red Wine Sauce
Makes 2 servings, easily doubled
1 small carrot, peeled and chopped
1 shallot, minced
1 bay leaf
2 garlic cloves, minced
— Small sprigs of rosemary, tarragon, thyme and/or Italian parsley
1 1/2 cups full-bodied red wine, preferably Rhone or Rhone-style
2 teaspoons all-purpose flour