Guest Author - Jim Fortune
"We are cooking filet mignon this weekend, and I am making a red wine sauce to drizzle over the top. Can you suggest a nice, medium priced, red wine we can serve to our friends?" The weekly mail bag has questions like this from time to time. I am not a chef. My wife will confirm this. But I recently had the opportunity to cook up a filet mignon when we had our first snow of the year and I made a little wine sauce to go over the top. When doing my research on Google for filet mignon sauce, I came across Pinot Noir sauce, Merlot sauce, red wine sauce, Bordeaux wine sauce; you name "your favorite varietal of wine" wine sauce.
If you want, you could take just about any recipe you find on Google and swap out the wine they are using for your favorite and come up with your own wine sauce and call it yours.
I wanted a good wine to go with the filet. When I say a good wine, I don't mean expensive, although I was willing to pay a little more for this wine selection. We were going to friends and I was thinking $30 to maybe $40 was the right price range. With the change of weather to cooler fall days and even cooler to cold fall nights, I have been reading a lot about food and wine pairings. It is an interesting subject.
One varietal that goes with a lot of different foods is Zinfandel. Last spring, a reader suggested I take a look at Mariah Zinfandel. It has 79% Zinfandel, 15% Petite Sirah and 5% Syrah. I have written about my love of Petite Sirah in the past and Zinfandel is a very versatile varietal. Mariah is in the $25 to $30 price range and has 14.5% Alc. by Vol.
Maybe you remember my mentioning dog wine in a previous article Fall Wine List . This wine does not fall into that category. It has a nice, even light oak flavor, due in part to the aging it goes through in French and American Oak barrels.
I added 2 ½ cups of the Mariah to the wine sauce I was making and have dubbed it Mariah Filet Mignon Sauce. If you would like the recipe, drop me a line in the comments section on my bio page and I will send it to you.
The Mariah was a great choice for the filet mignon. It had a strong berry and pepper aroma. The color was very dark purple and I let it breathe for about 15 minutes before pouring a glass. While the label of the wine said it was 14.5% alcohol there was not a heavy alcohol smell or taste. I think this was due to the aging the wine goes through in the oak barrels, but that is just my thought on the taste I was experiencing.
Speaking of the taste, the first taste of the wine was luscious. We were having it with friends at their house. We always laugh when we are together because they equate wine quality with high price. When they tasted the wine, the husband said, "This is terrific. How much did you pay, $45?" When I told him the price he did not believe me. My wife told me, "Show him the receipt." All four of us stated laughing. Of course, I did not have a receipt. But it did not matter. He always says that every time we get together.
I would suggest that you look around for the Mariah, Mendocino County Zinfandel. It may be hard to find since they only did 6600 cases, but it will be worth it.
Picture can be found here:
Mariah Zinfandel 2004
Say, How's your Italian? I will be reviewing an Italian in the near future.
Let me know how things are going with you, O.K.?
Jim Fortune, The BellaOnline Wine Guy
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