Our Wine of the Week, Medlock Ames 2014 Alexander Valley Bell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ($48) is a knockout of a wine, with focused black fruit and a rich, supple texture. It is elegant, sophisticated, and generous, but not at all ponderous. The alcohol is rather hefty, 14.7 percent, but there is no heat on the palate and no suggestion of sweetness. This wine can hold its own alongside wines twice its price.
The obvious match is, of course, red meat, from rare grass-fed beef to bison and venison. It is delicious with seared duck breast, too, and vegetarians will enjoy it with quinoa, black beans and roasted root vegetables.
It can be fun, though, to step outside expected matches, as today’s recipe does, with a dish that has its roots in New Orleans. A few adjustments — portobello mushrooms in place of white mushrooms, chicken thighs instead of breast meat — make the pairing work beautifully. The tarragon resonates with the wine’s hint of cedar and little whispers of sage broaden the match. The butter cushions the palate and stops the lemon juice from interfering with the wine, and the final flourish of black pepper wraps things up deliciously.
1 pound new red potatoes, scrubbed, cut into 1/3 - inch dice, and simmered in salting water until almost tender
6 tablespoons butter
1 large or 2 small yellow onions, cut into small dice
— Kosher salt
1 large portobello mushrooms, cut into 1/3 - inch dice
1 pound andouille sausage, cut into 1/3 - inch dice
6 garlic cloves, minced
¾ cup dry white wine
2 tablespoons mild olive oil
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
— Black pepper in a mill
1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne
2 tablespoons minced Italian parsley
4 large chicken thighs, boned and lightly pounded
— Béarnaise Sauce (recipe follows)
— Black pepper in a mill
— Tarragon sprigs, for garnish
Drain the potatoes and spread them onto a baking sheet to cool.
Meanwhile, put 2 tablespoons of the butter into a large sauté pan set over medium heat, add the onions, and sauté until tender and fragrant, about 12 minutes; do not let them brown. Season with salt, add the mushrooms, and sauté until they soften, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the andouille and cook 5 minutes more. Add the garlic, sauté 2 minutes, increase the heat to high, and add the wine. Cook until the wine is nearly completely reduced. Transfer to a bowl and keep warm.
Return the pan to medium heat, add 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil and when it is hot, add the potatoes. Cook, turning gently with a metal spatula, until they are evenly browned. Season with salt and gently fold into the sausage mixture.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
Put the flour into a wide shallow bowl, season generously with salt, black pepper and the ground cayenne. Press each chicken thigh into the mixture, coating it thoroughly. Shake off excess flour.
Return the pan to medium heat, add the butter, and sauté the chicken, skin side down, for 5 minutes; turn and sauté for 5 minutes more. Transfer the pan with the chicken to the oven for 10 minutes.