Aged Beef Paired with Petit Verdot

| April 5, 2014 | 0 Comments


Aging Beef At Primal Cuts, Peterborough, Ontario

Petit Verdot is a red grape variety that usually gets little attention.  It lurks in the shadows behind other varieties like Cabernet Sauvignon or Cabernet Franc.

This grape is used in the making of classic Bordeaux blends.  But in new world regions like Argentina, Australia and Chile, the grape and its wines stand alone. In Southern Australia Petite Verdot produces massive reds with big flavours.
Petit Verdot is heavily concentrated, possessing deep color, excellent structure and strong flavors. Its aromas and flavours can resemble blackberries, black cherry, dark plums, vanilla, cigars, smoke, cedar, molasses and even tar.
Pirramimma Winery located in McLaren Vale, Australia, has been producing wines for over 100 years, established by Alexander Campbell Johnston in 1982.  He purchased 97 hectares of farmland southeast of McLaren Vale and called the winery Pirramimma.  This is an aboriginal phrase that means ‘the moon and the stars.’  Today, over 60 percent of the vineyards are planted to premium red grapes and with some Chardonnay.
Geoff Johnston is renowned for having produced Australia’s first single varietal wine vinified from Petit Verdot.  Johnston and his team researched the variety for 11 years before releasing their first vintage in 1994.  Pirramimma’s Petit Verdot has been awarded medals in over 28 wine competitions and shows.
Pirramimma Petit Verdot, (CSPC 986752), $24.95 offers excellent value for the price.  Blackberries, violets and a hint of vanilla and cigars fill the aromas, followed by a palate showcasing medium body, decent tannins, and a long finish.  Overall the wine is well integrated.
This wine is deserving of a hunk of dry aged steak.  The wine’s fruitiness will nicely offset the earthy flavours of dry aged beef.
With dry aging, the flavour of the steak should shine through.  I usually sprinkle the flesh with sea salt and freshly cracked pepper onto both sides.  I use only my seasoned cast iron skillet coated with olive oil, bringing it to just below smoking point.  I sear the steaks on both sides for about 2 minutes.  I like my steaks seared Chicago-style, that is sizzling and  crispy on the outside and tender and medium rare on the inside.

Expert butcher George Madill of Primal Cuts (a meatery located at 550 Lansdowne Street West) produces the tastiest dry aged steaks.  He ages a variety of AAA cuts on site for 8 weeks.  He also undertakes custom dry aging for up to 140 days when requested. For aging, the cuts must have good fat coverage on one side with sufficient bone coverage on the other sides.  All the blood moisture pulls to the outside and caps itself off (like scabbing).  The beef goes through a stage of mold.  At first it is very moist.  As it ages, the mold gets harder, toughens up, thus concentrating the flavours inside the flesh with more complex notes like salami, nuttiness, and with an almost blue-cheese-like piquant quality.   Dry aged beef is expensive, but a treat.
This Ausie Petit Verdot will complement other beef-based dishes, such as beef pot pies, beef braciole (Italian beef rolls), beef stroganoff, beef bourguignon and beef Wellington.   Petit Verdot’s best cheeses are those that are well aged like Parmigiano-Reggiano, Pecorino Romano, Grana Padano, Piave, aged Cheddar, Aged Gouda, Sbrinz and Manchego Seco.

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About the Author ()

Shari Darling is an award-winning and best-selling author and columnist, educator and speaker specializing in wine, food and the partnership between them.

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