What kind of wine goes best with apostacy?

I would never think of serving venison for Christmas. A rabbit repast for Easter is, however, an indulgent heresy. Years ago, I tried adapting a Paul Prudhomme recipe for Cajun-style Coniglio Tetrazzini as the overture the post-prandial delectations of a young denizen of New Orleans who was summering in Santa Cruz, but, alas, she never did show for dinner,—or the follow-through breakfast I had so elaborately planned-and I was left to slough through reheated leftovers for the next four days.

Twenty-five or so years later, I decided to reprise my culinary fête for The Ginkgo Girl. Lacking my original recipe, I improvised, kneaded a batch of Red Pepper/Paprika dough instead of the Cilantro Fettuccine I had made the previous time, and cranked it through the spaghetti cutter on my well-worn Atlas Pasta Maker. Fresh spring vegetables (bell peppers, snap peas, button mushrooms) and butter were readily acquired on AT&T Coupon Night at Rainbow Grocery, but an exhaustive search found only Little City Meat Market stocked fresh rabbit for the coming Saturday.

Sunday morning, I set to task, first rolling out the noodles, then boiling and cooling them down as I prepared the sherry-cream base. In the middle of my preparations, I realized, much to my chagrin, that—horrors!—none of the wine we had on hand would complement the myriad flavors of my elaborate concoction.

Because it was Sunday, and a sacrosanct holiday to boot, I soon became aware that my options were quite limited. The Wine Club was closed; groceries, if open, were limited, at best; and all of my preferred wine shops were closed. Reluctantly, I settled for my last available recourse: BevMo.

Now, this isn’t to say that Calizona’s leading beverage chain does not offer a very nice selection of some very nice wines. One certainly can find a wealth of highly serviceable vintages in the $15-20 range that more than adequately address the need for an everyday wine. And their selection of higher-end wines is far from pedestrian. But a store like BevMo, quite understandably, leans toward predictably safe choices. There are rows upon rows of Cabernet, of Zinfandel, of Pinot, of Merlot, and of Chardonnay. They is an abundance of Sauvignon Blanc and Syrah, dollops of Roussanne and Marsanne, a smattering of Pinot Gris and Viognier, and an homage to Petite Sirah and an array of blends, both red and white. But none of these quite fit the menu.

The more traditional Chicken Tetrazzini could have withstood a strong white, perhaps a heavily-oaked Chardonnay that trend-seeking wine enthusiasts often deride. The peppers and spices that infused my rabbit/pasta mélange demanded something red, but on the lighter side. Don’t even think Valdiguié! Perhaps the charms of a California Dolcetto or the rare subtlety of a local Aleatico might have served my purpose, but the tiny tiers of the Other Reds rack offered only an array of GMS blends, a couple of
Petit Verdot and a lone bottle of Carignane. If memory serves true, there may have also been some $9 Sangiovese and a rather unassuming Barbera, but my quest for a well-paired varietal was not to be satisfied. Loathe as I am to admit it, Your West Coast Oenophile was stumped; eschewing the anathema of scouring the Imports aisle, I settled on a 2006 Cambria Pinot Noir (Julia’s Vineyard) and returned to the stove.

My fanatically Catholic mother would readily attribute my shortfall to the heterodoxy of my religious tenets—a divine retribution against my culinary foray. Who knows? I am not about to give her the satisfaction of acceding to her strictures. Next year, I intend to select the wine first and devise a recipe around it.

1 thought on “What kind of wine goes best with apostacy?

  1. Eric Mabius

    Such an interesting article, I enjoyed a lot. On a side note I reside in California. I want to gift wine to my girl on her birthday. She loves wine like anything especially Red wine. I heard about < a href=”www.celebrationswineclub.com”> Celebration Wine Club . They offer a wide variety of gifts for wine lovers to suit all tastes and all budgets. So any opinion about them is greatly appreciated.


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