Chinese-Style Ribs & Carrot-Rice Cakes With 2009 Betz Family Bésoleil

Chinese-Style Ribs & Carrot-Rice Cakes With 2009 Betz Family Bésoleil

Guava in the glaze. Guava in the tasting notes. Put the two together and Bob's your uncle!

For a meal that Mrs. Ney thought was doomed from the start, we found happy-slappy food last night with match-matchy wine.

Food: Chinese-style ribs with guava barbecue sauce and carrot-rice cakes with arugula salad to finish

Recipe from this month's Food & Wine, a magazine that continues to get recipe mileage in our house no matter how food-stylist silly we find a good portion of it. $5 stack of baby back ribs from Harvestime. Thinking about starting a Twitter feed focusing solely on up-to-the-minute Harvestime deals. There's no place that can you walk out of with eight plastic bags of groceries for $28 like Harvestime.

Large hints and echoes of richness with the ribs but never came off heavy. Big clove impression to these with the mustard and guava glaze keeping everything floating in the medium realm of weightiness. Guava barbecue sauce was already on the meat. We brought more glaze to the table but liked the dryness of the ribs, never touching the extra sauce. Nice stuff. Light-ish and fairly easy to make.

Carrot-rice cakes formed and fried in a shallow pool of oil. Served well as a Asian-y starch companion, crunchy on the outside, ricey in the center. Meat and rice Asian-ed up. We liked this. Probably wouldn't do it again but a big feeling of "completeness" existed here. Full and happy without being stuffed. That's Asian food.

Arugula salad with parsley, pomegranate and sesame seeds to finish. Dressing of olive oil, red wine vinegar, basil mustard and pickled ginger.

Not too shabby. Not too shabby at all.

Wine helped.

Wine: 2009 Betz Family Bésoleil Columbia Valley ($25 - Binny's)

66% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Mourvedre. Marked down to $25 from the release price of $45, most likely due to Wine Spectator's drinking window in its review. I've said it before and I'll say it again, Binny's pretty religiously follows WS and WA on drinking windows, marking down accordingly as they approach their perceived death. Great time to take advantage of wines released at a price point that's maybe a bit high for the vast majority of its customers, so as they slash and dash, you get the bargains. Betz thinks it's just now coming into its own, Cellartracker drinkers agree, and so do we.

Opened an hour before eating and liked where the concentration and body was. The tannins were ready to go but this had a volatile swirl of interestingness that needed to be settled down a bit. Just left it open until we ate, no decant, and it was fine in our world.

In fact, the last few sips were the best on the night. Soy sauce-like salty to begin, with black olive and guava/cherry/plums to start. Much of that hung around throughout the drinking, but this one told a nice story. Washington wines are The Truth. Nothing in the New World expression of Old World styles comes so close to being so...Old World. If this would have been labeled as a Vaucluse and priced in the low-20's, the critics would have wet their pants over it.

Just kept changing. Sometimes, a very pretty liqueur note perked up that was chockablock with fanciness and integrity. The salt popped up again later as a fancy, mineral-like, singular expression. Kept changing by itself, kept changing with the food, this was good stuff all around.

Shame there was only one bottle left at Binny's when we bought it. At $25, a big honkin' yes in our book. $45 is a tough one, but $25...heck, yeah.

Pairing: From no idea on the food and the wine before the meal to "That was oddly great" after

I just started watching Annika Bengtzon, Crime Reporter (sounds like an SNL skit) on Netflix. Based on the Swedish novels of the same name, each episode is a completely affable hour-and-a-half of television, shot beautifully with stories that give you just enough suspense, acting, character development and pleasure. They're not making Lawrence of Arabia but, like Wallander, DCI Banks, Waking The Dead, Inspector Lewis and shows of that ilk, I always come away feeling like I was entertained. They're all nice little TV presents that make American procedurals feel hackneyed and dry.

This meal came off like watching those European imports. There was a beginning, middle and end, wrapped up with a pretty bow on top and a card that said, "Enjoy me. I'm complete and good. I'm how one-offs should be."

Just enough broadness, just enough secrets revealed, just enough goodies, just enough of the wine playing a part, all coming in the right order and at its own pace.

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