Sausage and Peppers, Braised Short Ribs and Killer Wine, Reunion-Style
For me, the holidays have always been about getting together for great food and wine with family and friends. This Christmas, I met up for some culinary festivities and Tuesday night Eagles football with my friend Darren, a high school pal of mine who I hadn't seen in years, and our reunion was well worth the wait.
To say Darren is a master of the kitchen is an understatement. My food blogging friend and dining guru is constantly whipping up something delectable, and this time around it was mouthwatering Philly-style sausage and peppers that had just enough kick in the pants to keep me wanting more, paired with an interesting blend of Shiraz, Cab and Merlot from Peter Lehmann called Clancy. This wine mellowed in the glass faster than a Carpenters song, and was full of smoke and spicy fruit as it opened up, a nice match for the sharpness of the provolone cheese and the bite of the meat and peppers.
Not to be outdone by his first offering, Darren then offered up some of the best fall-off-the-bone, tender and flavorful wine-braised shortribs (served with a comfort food-style polenta) I have ever had the pleasure of tasting.
Spiked with cinnamon, cloves, fennel and a few other secret ingredients, we decided to match it up with an '04 Meritage from Estancia. This wine was so addictingly full of cherry-style fruit, I almost had to chew it along with the ribs. Light oak and a hint of cocoa completed the flavor profile of this classic bottle, all making for a memorable feast for the ages.
If there's one thing I learned from this experience, it's that good food and wine never go out of style..and neither do lifelong friendships.