Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Braised Lamb Shanks and...sherry?

I'm not going to lie. I just spent the last 45 minutes typing some bullshit about pairing food with wine. It was horrible. Truly awful, deplorable, boring wine feature in your local newspaper type stuff. Now that this is safely deleted, never, ever to be seen again, let me summarize what had taken me way to long to articulate on this screen. I love wine. I enjoy drinking wine with food. But I really like wine without food and often need a break from the minutiae of picking an "appropriate" wine for the dish before me.

Last night I braised lamb shanks. It was a delicious, rich, wonderfully lamby (read: slightly gamey) braise made all the more interesting by the stock, lemon juice and fino sherry used for the piquant braising liquid, as well as the late addition of watercress to provide another counterpoint to the meat and potatoes. The result was a lamb dish that I believed would benefit from the right sparkling or white wine. Another version of this story, I suppose, might be that yet another night I was not in the mood for any of the reds in my house. While the Etienne Dupont "Triple" Cider, El Maestro Sierra Fino, Hidalgo "La Pastraña" Manzanilla Pasada and Bodegas Argüeso Amontillado were all very good wines, not overpowered by the lamb, they did not add anything, enhance, or complement the flavors in any way.

In the tradition of my colleague Brooklynguy's "You be the Sommelier" posts, I'd like to ask you what you would pair with this dish. It would be interesting to get some ideas from the more experienced food and beverage types out there.