Valentine’s Day can mean different things to different people. For us, we’ve done the fancy dinners at restaurants, rom-coms at the cinema, massages for two… so what’s left for two foodies with a voracious appetite for wine? A massive home cooked 30oz rib eye for two, that’s what!
Before getting into the details of our evening, we’d like to say that we are huge fans of the trend toward boutique meat shops with young, talented butchers here in New York City.
A bit like Lise mentioned here recently, we also make an effort to buy our meat from butcher shops that source their products locally. We are lucky to be a healthy walk away from the Meat Hook butcher shop in Brooklyn — where one week they might have fantastic local dry aged sirloin and the next week whole organic geese from the Hudson Valley. So, when a special occasion calls for meat, we know to head straight to the Meat Hook.
When we approached the meat counter, I immediately spotted this beautiful rib eye. It was definitely love at first sight… and to be honest, I couldn’t think of anything more romantic than donning an apron and cooking up a steak for two for my sweetheart. So $40 and 15 minutes later, we walked out of the shop holding this piece of raw, red, deliciousness wrapped in wax paper like it was a newborn.
The next challenge was picking out the perfect wine. After our recent success with the Tenuta delle Terre Nerre, we thought we should stick with Italy. We needed something with a bit of backbone to stand up to the steak, along with some earthiness and austere fruit. In the end, we left the shop with a 2007 Il Colle Rosso di Montalcino — the younger (and much cheaper) sibling of Brunello di Montalcino made by a woman winemaker in a small Tuscan winery.
Back at the apartment while I was slaving away in the kitchen ensuring this monster slab of beef had the perfect grill lines before throwing it in the oven, we decanted the wine for about 30 minutes. Candles were lit at the table setting the perfect mood. After heaving the steak out of the oven and plating it, we gathered around the table for the first two glasses.
The wine has a really stunning color — brick red and very translucent. The aromas are sort of grassy, which can be typical of Italian reds from this area. However, there was another layer of meatiness and wet leather that ended up complimenting the smells wafting off the steak. In the mouth, it was really a wonderful pairing with the steak. The juices from the rarely cooked meat mingled with the tannins, and the mid-palate of fresh summer fruits like plum and over-ripe peach kept us going back for glass after glass.
So it was another great experience with the finicky Italian wines. The lesson that seemed to be clear yet again is simple, rustic food seems to get the best results.
Did you have a special dinner for Valentine’s Day? How about the wine you drank? We’d love to hear about it!
Il Colle Rosso du Montalcino 2007, $29 at Dandelion Wines, 153 Franklin Street, Brooklyn.