Green and Red Zin dinner help needed
We have a bottle of 2003 Green & Red Zin Tip Top and our friends have a bottle of the Chile's Mill appellation. We've been saving them to taste together and that time has finally arrived. Now the problem is we can't agree what to have for dinner. Please help!
Our friends had pork ribs and pizza already this week, so that eliminated my first instinct (what were they thinking? Couldn't they have waited?).
So now we're thinking about a lamb ragu with rigatoni or spaghetti and meatballs. Maybe just simple rack of lamb? Any suggestions?
As for dessert.... if there's any wine left by then... something with dark chocolate for sure. What do you think of mousse?
Also, for a cheese, I know blue cheese is supposed to be ideal, but are there any other cheese suggestions since I am not the biggest fan of blue cheese.
All suggestions (and recipes) are appreciated.
Do you live in a locale where you can grill outside or do you have an indoor grill? If the answer is yes to either questions I would get a butterflied leg of lamb, put it in a 5 minute marinade of olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, rosemary, mint, and fresh pepper (red wine and a hint of dijon mustard optional), then grill over high heat to medium rare. Salt and add more pepper to taste.
Lamb is a good choice with Zin. as is beef. The main problem with matching (particularly recent vintages of) Zinfandel is that they are so alcoholic and so sweet that they clash with savory foods. The high fat content of lamb mitigates this.
Certainly don't postpone drinking these wines. One thing that comes across as a regularity with Zinfandel is that almost all of them do not improve at all with age. Drink on release. These wines may be the exception. I've had great old Ridge LS, but Zins. that improve with age are very, very rare. You might want to get a 95 G&R to compare at your tasting.
If you're doing lamb, I'd much rather see it grilled or kebab-d than in a ragu...
Turkey and cranberry certainly works beautifully with the wine and the season...
Grilled venison if you have it...
Grilled steaks are awesome... bone-in cuts like t-bones are over the top..
Ditto for nicely grilled pork chops....
BUT... since you mention cheese, there's something simple yet extraordinary with your zins...
Grilled cheeseburgers (1/2 steak, 1/2 ground pork if you can do it) with your choice of zin-friendly cheese: Very aged cheddar (4 to 8 years), Provolone val padana, Roquefort, or the best of them all with a beautiful zinfandel... parmesan reggiano cheeseburgers...
As for a chocolate dessert... since you're doing a zin theme here, see if you can locate a bottle of LATE HARVEST zinfandel to go with that.