If I ever have the opportunity, I’ll have to thank Gordon Ramsay. And not for his ‘Kitchen Nightmare’ series, or his moelleux recipe. Or for his encouragement to have some ‘bollocks’ once in a while. What I’d like to thank him for is mentioning in one of his books that he has dinner late with his wife when his kids are in bed. This evening, I thought I’d give it a try. And now, I’m wondering how I could be so dense to not have considered it before. A little dijon and thyme crusted roast elk with chive mash potato and of course, my wife’s favorite: ‘brown sauce’. She calls all my meat sauces, no matter how jacked up or fancy: ‘brown sauce’. Add a little chocolate for dessert, some candlelight, red wine, and some peace and quiet – and I’m finally enjoying a dinner at home for the first time this week. Thanks Chef Ramsay. I owe you one.
It is Friday Wine Night in my little world, so let’s get to it. Tonight’s wine is the QPR prize winner of the last couple hundred wines I’ve tasted. Not the best – but the best Quality Price Ratio. I’d score this wine 87-89 points, it’s a great food wine, has a nice mouthfeel, respectable structure, and is about $10 CDN. Here, given our booze taxes, that’s a bargain. Why is it a bargain? First, it’s not a trendy ‘Merlot’ or ‘Pinot Noir’. It’s a not-so-trendy Negroamaro. What’s that? Exactly. An obscure Italian grape varietal. And it’s not from Tuscany, or even the Piedmont. It’s from Puglia. Where? Exactly. I listened to my own advice, and went and bought some more before they ran out – and guess what – I bought their last bottles. So proof once more: if you find a wine you like, get out and buy more as soon as possible. And if you can find the 2005 Mezzomondo Negroamaro, give it a go with some simple Italian fare, and I’m pretty confident you won’t regret it.