It's not just the surfboard that graces the label of our Wine of the Week, Longboard 2009 DaKine Vineyard Merlot ($28), that has me thinking about Hawaii. It is also the name of the vineyard, Da-Kine, a common exclamation in Hawaiian Pidgin that can be translated as "totally awesome."
Why the surfing and Hawaii references? The wine's maker, Oded Shakked, is passionate about surfing, a pursuit that inevitably leads to Hawaii, heart of the sport.
How does this translate into the wine? This merlot is lush and racy, with a swirl of flavors ranging from rich blueberry and blackberry to oil-cured black olives, silky dark chocolate and a hint of medium-roast coffee. Yet as the wine lingers on your palate, there's something else, a cool, refreshing flourish suggestive of crisp fennel, just-picked rhubarb or a splash of sea water. This almost briny characteristic lingers until the next sip, when it merges with the lovely scent of violets.
The wine's acid is as bright as a spring morning at the beach, a quality that makes it very food-friendly. You'll enjoy this wine with most red meats, especially rare beef. It is also excellent with portobello mushrooms, black beans, pizza, roasted root vegetables and grains like farro and barley. Carrot-parsnip soup is an excellent match.
For today's recipe, I'm taking inspiration from a ubiquitous Hawaiian dish, Korean-style ribs. Instead of ribs, I'm using skirt steak, because its concentrated flavor is perfect with this wine. Add black beans and whole-wheat tortillas, and you have a feast that is perfect after a day of surfing.
Skirt Steak with Korean-Style Barbecue Sauce and Black Beans
Makes 4 servings
-- Korean Barbecue Sauce (recipe follows)
1? pounds skirt steak, cut in four equal pieces
8 ounces dried black beans, soaked in water for several hours and drained