So tonight I was to make one of my absolute favorite dishes, chicken in white wine, lemon and braised garlic, so simple but so satisfying. Brown chicken pieces in a Dutch oven, slice whole heads of garlic in half, (I remove a fair amount of the papery outer skin but it is only because I loathe floaties in my sauce), remove browned chicken pieces and place the garlic halves face down in the pan letting them get nice and toasty then deglaze with white wine, (almost always Loire Sauvignon Blanc) add some stock and the juice of two or three lemons. Bring to a simmer and snuggle the chicken pieces back into the braising liquid until cooked through, (I cover for about half an hour and then remove the lid to let the sauce reduce). When the chicken is cooked place them on a platter and cover loosely with foil to keep warm. Let the garlic and brothy liquid continue to cook down a bit. Remove the garlic and either squeeze the softened cloves onto the chicken platter or place whole heads on each dish, pour the cooking liquid over the top of the chicken and serve with tons of crusty bread for to sop up the tangy, glorious sauce.
Really easy dish that I crave all the time and make fairly regularly, I love it and it tastes like I think a hug would….if you could taste one. The only upside to Jeremy being away at school is that I get to make it my way, more lemon he liked it with more wine and broth but the hubby likes it both ways so more lemon it is. So I was getting ready to leave work tonight and found a bottle of white Bordeaux that had been open a couple of days on the wine bar, “Well that is not fresh enough to taste people on” I told myself and shoved a cork in the bottle and took it home to cook with.
The Bordeaux a 2005 Chateau de Cerons Grand Enclos Graves, ($22.99) a wine had tasted two or three times and loved it for its approachability and pronounced guava flavors but I had never purchased a bottle to take home…never dawned on me why, until now. I deglazed the pan first and poured myself a little taste second….um, just where the hell did all that wood come from?! The result was a sauce that was somewhat flat, lacking acidity and a bit too soft for my liking. I also found that while the wine alone was tasty and sexy, with food it was woody and disjointed. I still got all that luscious ripe tropical fruit upfront but the finish was like licking a pile of rained on wood…bleck!
Now in all fairness this wine had been open for a few days and was deemed, by yours truly, “not fresh enough to taste people on” but it did remind me of why I avoid wines with aggressive oak treatment, well ones without the acidity to back it up. Nice and cold and freshly opened this wine would be pleasant as all get out, I would be more than happy to drink my way through a good two thirds of the bottle, (so a great choice when I am forced to share) so as far as cocktail wines goes this wine is delicious….but in my, and with my dinner….not so much. I ended up popping a bottle of my trusty 2007 Francois Chidaine Touraine, (a stoopid $11.99) and sipped that with my gooey chunks of sauce soaked bread, it was perfect, tangy…a touch sour even with really bright acids that were the perfect match to my lemony garlic laden dish.
So what did I learn…Bordeaux, both red and white tend to be too aggressive for my palate and for the foods I tend to eat, I mean wine is the star for most of my day, at dinner I like my food to shine. That and Francois Chidaine makes some of the most remarkable, (and shamefully under priced) wines I have ever tasted, seriously people seek them out!!