Two of my recent discoveries – although they’ve been around for a while – are two butcher shops here in town. One, John Mull’s Meats, has been around, it’s said, for nearly thirty years since this part of town was on the outskirts of the middle of nowhere. The other, The Butcher Block, is on Rainbow just south of the 215 near Robindale. It’s relatively new because that area was mostly desert and dirt a few short years ago.
While my culinary adventures take me to a lot of places, Larry’s Meats had been my butcher shop of choice because it’s close to the day job and have super fresh meats, including game.
This time, I’m going to brag on The Butcher Block. They will occasionally get in some actual veal bones, and I just got a bunch for stock. Yes, I’m tackling Demi Glace. In their deli case, however, they have a lot of other items, and I purchased some homemade venison sausage. Three sausages set me back ten bucks, but, hey! It’s an adventure!
Pan seared in a tiny bit of my own version of blended oil (grapeseed and EVOO), and finished in the oven, they were stunning. Like a famous brand of potato chips, I couldn’t eat just one. With a salad of fresh veggies lightly dressed with olive oil, fresh lemon (yes, my Meyers are ripening), fresh garlic, and salt, they made a great dinner.
The wine (did you think I talked about all of this without bringing up wine?!?) was one that I was initially reluctant to open, because I wanted to save it for a special occasion. However, because of the encouragement of the Wineaux Guy, I did so (see mushy, loving smile) and was glad that I did. The wine was a 2007 Hug Cellars Boulder Ridge Vineyard San Luis Obispo County Pinot Noir. Whew.
I dunno. Something about “Hug” and “Deer” just seemed to fit. But I digress.
Those of you who have followed some of my Pinot Noir reviews know that I like my Pinots to be deep, smoky, rich, and earthy. Along with those characteristics, the Hug also brought the expected fruit with black cherry, raspberry, and a surprising touch of strawberry to the mix. Silky on the tongue, the mouthfeel just added to the pleasure.
I had initially planned to try a Syrah with the venison, but I don’t think I could have done better than this Pinot. The sausage was not gamy and with its subtle herbs and spices was a perfect foil to the Pinot Noir. The mouthfeel indicated that perhaps a bit of beef suet had been added to the very lean meat, but not so much as to make it greasy. It browned up beautifully, was extremely tender and flavorful, and along with the Hug Pinot Noir, was an almost ethereal weeknight dinner.
This was definitely an accidental but beautiful pairing. I will doubtless be purchasing some of the sausage again the next time I’m in that area. I only had one glass of the Pinot. Can’t wait to sip on it tomorrow to see how it evolves. But it tasted like Hug Cellars just hit another one out of the park. I’ll be getting more of that, too.