By: Gary Westby | K&L Wine Buyer
With fall here, Cinnamon decided to make our short ribs from the ½ steer that we bought from Fred Manas and Manas Ranch. That inspired me to brush up on the wines of Piemonte- specifically the great Nebbiolos from this rightly famous wine region. As you will see in today's video, Greg St. Clair, K&L's Italian Wine Buyer recommended a great pair of Langhe Nebbiolos to go with this extremely rich dish.
Because of the heady power and slow developing nature of these wines, the steps that you take at home with these bottles to improve your experience make all the difference. The size of these wines lends themselves to drinking a bit cool- just over cellar temperature. They also need a lot of time to open up, so decant well in advance of drinking. I put our two wines into carafes 2 ½ hours ahead of time, and the Ruggeri didn't show at 100% until the second half of the bottle! Glassware also makes a big difference. The Burgundy/Pinot Noir glass is the way to go for these wines.
The 2010 Ruggeri Corsini Langhe Nebbiolo ($17.99; K&L Direct Import) was poured first- which was a mistake. This is Nebbiolo at its purest, with aromas of meat, tar and roses. It took a long time to open up- we decanted it way ahead, but it was only after 3 hours that it really started to show. This is incisive wine and a perfect partner to short ribs. The high acidity and tannin in this bottle will be great with all manner of braised meats, but certainly not a bottle to have by itself in front of the TV. The light color is very deceiving- this is a powerhouse. At the end of the meal the understated class of this wine showed through… It was delicious!
The 2006 Aldo Conterno "Il Favot" Langhe Nebbiolo ($26.99; K&L Direct Import) took me completely by surprise. This dark, almost thick red shows a lot more oak and extraction than wines that I generally enjoy, but it fit the fruit so well that I loved it. I just bought a case for the cellar! Taming the Nebbiolo beast with a few modern winemaking techniques is not such a bad thing- this wine was still all Piemonte, and very identifiably Nebbiolo, as a matter of fact, this journeyman Italian taster would have guessed Barolo rather than Langhe due to the high level of polish and care that went into this wine. The Conterno managed to have sweet black berry fruit to balance out the meaty tannin and finished long and fine.
Italian wine must be enjoyed with food in order to fully appreciate it. The short rib recipe that we paired with these Nebbiolo’s comes from Cinnamon’s mom, Margaret. It was adapted from a Sunset magazine article. It really makes a big difference to use homemade beef stock, luckily, our ½ cow came with plenty of bones!
Margaret's Short Ribs Recipe (Adapted from Sunset Magazine)
4#s boned, fat-trimmed beef short ribs (I always just use bone in and remove the fat after cooking)
1 orange (With vegetable peeler, pare orange part of peel from orange and sliver it)
1 onion, peeled and finely chopped
About 1 cup beef stock
1 cup dry red wine
½ cup port or cream sherry (I use port)
¼ cup balsamic vinegar
2TBS soy sauce
1tsp dried thyme or 2 tsp fresh thyme (I use fresh)
3 or 4 very thin slices (quarter size) peeled fresh ginger
½ tsp Chinese five spice
2TBS butter or olive oil
Salt and Pepper
¼ cup chopped fresh chives
- Rinse meat and place in a 5-6qt slow cooker
- Cut mushrooms in half lengthwise and place in a 10-12inch frying pan; add butter
Enjoy the Nebbiolo!
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