A Swing and a Miss -- Or, Are You Going to Be in My Dreams, Tonight?

Back when I was a sportswriter-in-training (a vocation I enjoyed, but wasn't in for the long haul), I was invited to attend a "boot camp" seminar where a most curmudgeonly newsroom denizen expounded on the evils of newspaper clichés such as: anything that doesn't get proper respect being termed the "Rodney Dangerfield of (fill in the blank);" sports contests being referred to as "war" (as a veteran, he found this especially offensive); and general hackneyed sports-centric phrases á la "swing for the fences."

How does any of this relate to my present life as a garagiste-in-training and self-appointed commentator on food and wine adventures, you may ask? Well, mostly to (1) apologize to you, Kenn, wherever you are, for the phrase I'm about to use; and (2) explain that yes, in cooking and in life, sometimes you do swing for the fences -- and sometimes in doing so, you miss.

And In The End

I'll start from the end. Here is the recipe for "Chicken Mar i Muntanya," which Jody spent two days preparing, and which I had to retrieve from the trash can in order to take this photo.

Those stains? Tears, maybe?

Why, Thomas Keller, why? Just because it works in your world doesn't mean it translates to a layperson's kitchen. No one's sure exactly what went wrong here -- a combination of variables, certainly. However, as a perfectionist in all things culinary, Jody was sorely disappointed in the results of what, by all rights, should have been a fantastic Catalan-style dish. It looked lovely; parts of it tasted lovely.

Saffron rice; brined and roasted chicken; mussels; shrimp; chorizo; green beans; peppers

You know how sometimes, the whole vibe's just off? A disturbance-in-the-force kind of day? It was one of those. The mussels were questionable. Something happened with the brine that made the chicken unexpectedly salty. The chorizo, shrimp, rice and veggies were quite tasty, but, sadly, the damage was done and the poor recipe ended up crumpled in the trash, never to be attempted again.

The Love You Take

It was a bummer, too, as the secret wine I'd picked had all the makings of a perfect match with this dish. It did, indeed, taste wonderful with the salvageable parts -- but the mood had already been ruined. It wasn't the wine's fault. We obviously need a little cheer here, don't we? Let's talk about the wine.

2006 Longoria Albariño, Santa Ynez Valley, Clover Creek Vineyard

I know!

Albariño with a Catalan seafood paella? It should have been a grand slam. (Sorry again, Kenn.) This particular wine, according to the winemaker's notes-- which also recommend drinking it with "Spanish seafood dishes" -- is currently at the endpoint of its ideal drinking window. I found it a great example of a wine that had obviously changed quite a bit in the bottle.

The nose carried big, round aromas of cantaloupe and honeydew, with a pleasant musky characteristic, like a melon that smells overripe on your counter, and then bursts with sticky sweet juice all down your chin and your fingers. Honeysuckle made an appearance, too. On the palate: very clean, with great acidity (0.83 g/100 ml, for my dear fellow geeks out there) and flavors of lemon drop and pea shoot.

Is Equal to the Love You Make

So it didn't all work out as intended. Things don't always, do they? It's all part of the journey, and it's OK. The good thing about wine, and food, and the examination thereof, is that there's always a new adventure just around the next base. (Last one, Kenn. I promise.)

Until next week -- thanks for stopping by!