Brandade with 2005 André-Michel Brégeon Muscadet White Label

Brandade with 2005 André-Michel Brégeon Muscadet White Label

As Mrs. Ney put it, "The thing smells like you stepped in a bunch of algae and mud, let your shoe dry for a day and then smelled it."

We'd been waiting for a month to eat this food and drink this wine. Waiting for the shipped wine to settle, re-find its feet. In the end, we're begging that this showing is not indicative of the three other bottles we have left. While drinkable and, at times, interesting and delicious, I used to hunt crap with a bb gun in the inland swamps of the Mississippi (early 80's, small town, but...hick alert!). This wine smelled exactly like the funk in those swamps. It's a stench that doesn't leave your nose.

Food: Brandade with a ramp, frisée and bacon vinaigrette salad 

Jacques Pépin brandade, substituting rice milk for milk and Idiazabal cheese for parmesan. Quality recipe, quality result. Came off oddly light with the swap of milks and the use of a more intense and sheepy creaminess of Idiazabal. Baguette for dipping and dunking.

NYT frisée salad with ramps (tis the end of the season) and a frankly spectacular bacon vinaigrette. Poached egg for me.

Happy food. Food made for this wine. A pairing that should have been a fancy cleanse with aged Muscadet.

Wasn't.

Wine: 2005 André-Michel Brégeon Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie Réserve White Label ($28 - Saratoga)

Kermit Lynch wine. 65 months of aging of its lees for the 2005. The 2002 was one of our favorite wines in the past few years. With braised endive, tomato and scallops with the 2002, it was one of the best pairings we've ever had. Bad showing here with the 2005.

Enormous swamp nose. Well water mixed with pear skin in the mouth to start, followed by a sorta nice well water minerality. Had the length, had the transitions, had everything that a right and proper good wine should. But had the swamp funk in spades. Odd-bad-off bottle. Drinkable, but missing the grace, salinity and shimmering acid this wine should have. Begging the rest of our bottles aren't swampy because nobody likes swampy. In any form, really.

Pairing: Meh

Meh and meh with a side of meh. Nothing to see here. Move along.

Learned one thing. The 2011 Raimat Albariño Costers del Segre Castell de Raimat ($13 - Binny's) further proves the rule that spending $5 more for better albariño is the way to live. Catalonian albariño that was a little thin and almost Chardonnay-like with banana notes. Fine enough, and even bringing an acid and citrus fruit wanted with the brandade. Short on personality though.

International Albariño Day is May 9. Stock up. May I suggest the 2011 Orballo Albariño Rías Baixas? Under $20 at Binny's. Have it with Michael Symon chicken and salsa verde because that's what Good.

And for record-keeping purposes: Lunch of avocado, kumato and romaine flatbread sandwiches with NV Billcart-Salmon Brut Réserve ($55 - Binny's). After a workweek, Champagne is important and this was just sitting there. The Billcart-Salmon was a little...too...narrow. Creamed peach and pretty at that. Nice bubbles. Bit of biscuit. Creamed peach biscuit. Liked it. Didn't love it. Just didn't have a broadness or playful side. Huge amount of pinot meunier here. In that world, Egly-Ouriet Les Vignes de Vrigny, a 100% pinot muenier, for the same price wins the day. More edgy and talky with a big personality.

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    Christo P. Ney

    Love wine. Love it more with food. Having food without wine is like eating in black and white compared to vivid colors. Done right, it takes a meal out of the realm of mere consumption to a place of memory. Wine is made to be drunk with food so let's do it - one pairing at a time. "A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine" - Anthelme Brillat-Savarin

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