Of Beef and Romorantin

8/8/11 -

Stuck with inflexible schedules and innumerable meals to consume, for most of us, wine pairing is relegated to an exercise in the perfunctory; grabbing a bottle based upon vague intuition in hopes of achieving only mild harmony between flavors and textures. Truly transcendent pairings—those whose innate beauty renders the imbiber momentarily speechless—are typically the result of serendipitous epiphany followed by meticulous, and rather expensive, experimentation. Such pairings rarely hark to tradition, and are likely to inspire skepticism prior to consumption.

Fortunately for you, faithful reader, such an encounter between a slab of unctuous wagyushu (a hybrid of Japanese and North American livestock) and a bottle of late-harvest Romorantin led a small group of Chamber St. acolytes to recreate the experience while attempting to find other atypical, synergistic pairings. Fortuitously, the results remain seasonally appropriate. 

The incomprehensibly intense, glutamic character of wagyushu (accompanied by Japanese eggplants and chorizo oil mayonnaise) was rounded out impressively by ‘02 Francois Cazin ‘Cuvée Renaissance’; oily viscosity, intense acidity, a significant quantity of residual sugar and savory aromatics acted not only as a foil to the beef, but as components of the dish itself, necessary to achieve a sense of overall balance.  Though slightly too delicate for the heavily marbled ribeye, modestly oxidative ‘09 Clos Cibonne Tibouren Rosé and honeyed, saline ‘09 Frantz Saumon Montlouis ‘le Clos du Chene’ matched the ferrous flavor of the beef exceptionally well; both would pair perfectly with significantly leaner cuts such as hanger or flank steak.  -Stephanie



Chorizo Oil Mayonnaise


2 egg yolks

2 tbsp lemon juice

1 tbsp white wine vinegar

Pinch of caster sugar


1 cup chorizo oil


Chorizo Oil:

½ lb. Spanish-style fresh chorizo

1 cup neutral vegetable oil

Remove chorizo from casing and place in a small saucepan with vegetable oil. Over low heat, fry chorizo until the oil stops bubbling. Remove from burner; once the oil has reached room temperature, strain through a fine-mesh sieve and reserve.

With immersion blender:

In order listed, place ingredients into a tall, narrow, cylindrical vessel.

Fully immerse blender, pulse for 30 seconds. Without stopping the motor, slowly raise immersion blender to the top of the vessel. Incorporate any unemulsifed oil with a spatula.



Place all ingredients except chorizo oil into a small metal mixing bowl. Whisk vigorously until homogeneous. Still whisking, add a few drops of oil; once incorporated repeat the this process. When the mixture begins to thicken, pour the remainder of the chorizo oil into the mixture in a slow, steady stream. After preparation, the consistency of the mayonnaise can be adjusted with the addition of more oil or lemon juice.

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