Alcohol and Brown Sugar Braised Short Ribs and 2007 Beckett’s Flat Five Stones Margaret River Shiraz
On the weekend of December 25th, we were north of Napa Valley hanging out at a lovely and quaint area called Clear Lake. Clear Lake is actually not the name of the city, nor is there a city near the famous Clear lake that bears its name. Still, if you tell anyone you were hanging out in Nice, they will think you went to France, and not a quiet and lovely city in California. Anyway, as we were away from home for the weekend, we tried to take the smallest number of things with us. So dinner was cooked in a crock pot and lunch was cold, which makes things simple. Dinner consisted of Flanken/short ribs, white rice, fresh green salad, and some awesome roasted new root vegetables (fresh from out of the ground), that we bought at a Farmer’s Market in Los Gatos, CA. I need to take a tangent, as usual, to highlight the difference between flanken and Korean short ribs. First and foremost – flanken – is a flat slab of meat over a single plate bone – like depicted here.
Note that there is a single bone and a nice chunk of meat on it. This cut of meat is also known as English Cut. Also, the meat on this cut of beef is chock full of intercostal muscle and tendon, and a layer of boneless meat. The meat, is not thin and easy to cook, but rather tough and in need of a long hot bath of some finger licking good sauce. Now, in stark and obvious contrast, there is the cut of meat sometimes known (incorrectly in my eyes) as flanken or Korean Ribs, which is cut across the bones. The meat is a thinner cut, more meat and less bone, actually a few small bones. This is what the meat looks like, as explained earlier, it is cut across the bones and sliced thinly, allowing it to be grilled (with some marinating ahead of time), sautéed, or seared into perfection. That said, my favorite is still the English cut flanken, with its meaty and heavy flavors, that come to life with a nice sear on all three sides (counting out the bone of course). After the meat is seared nicely, sauté cubed onion, carrots, celery, ans mushrooms in the left over fat. Finish the dish with a nice amount of Johnny Walker or Canadian Club, along with some brown sugar to cut the bitterness of alcohol, for 5 or so hours. Anyway, remember that flanken is with the bone and short ribs are against the bones.
For the final pièce de résistance, I present, roasted root vegetables. We had, sweet potatoes, rutabagas, gorgeous red and yellow beets that we roasted until they puckered up and released some of their sweetness. The roasting process helped to extract the water from the vegetables, while concentrating and caramelizing the vegetable’s sugar. Quite a treat and a great pairing for the meat.
To pair with the meat, I went looking for a wine that was fruity, acidic, and had just enough body to keep up with the meat and sweetened vegetables, and I found that in the 2007 Beckett’s Flat Five Stones Margaret River Shiraz. I must say that it is a HUGE upgrade from the lack luster 2006 vintage. In our previous tasting of the 2006 vintage, it came to a screaming halt a few feet after the mid palate, while the 2007 vintage is luscious and full throughout. The wine has not much pepper to be found, but in its stead is a lovely mineral and earthy tone that keeps this wine on its toes.
The wine notes follow below:
2007 Beckett’s Flat Five Stones Margaret River Shiraz – Score: B+
First of all, yes this bottle has a twist-off cap, get OVER it, now to the wine note. The nose on this dark ruby to garnet colored wine is nice with rich plum, raspberry, and cherry undertones, along with deep mineral notes, and a hint of chocolate. The mouth on this medium bodied wine has rich and bright flavors of plum, raspberry, and cherry. The mid palate has some nice oak, bracing acidity, and balancing yet not totally integrated tannins. The finish is bright and long with red fruit and mineral notes along with a few chunks of chocolate.