What Goes with Goat? Barbaresco!
Goat Chops, Pasta with Vegetable Medley & Barbaresco
You might be surprised that goat is the #1 meat consumed worldwide. Julie and I had our first opportunities to taste goat on a trip to Ethiopia two years ago. I liked it but Julie hasn’t been in a big hurry to have it again as goats lead a less than pampered existence there. I have to admit, Ethiopian goat was typically a bit chewy, but I thought it had a nice flavor. Enter Singing Hills Goat Dairy to save the day. Singing Hill is one of our favorite stops at the farmers’ market for goat cheed and the proprietor Kate assured us that their goats are very well treated. She encouraged us (especially Julie) to give their goat chops a try. Kate was right. The goat has a milder flavor than lamb and while it’s still isn’t Julie’s favorite, but she did say the chops were pretty good.
Today I paired a wonderful Barbaresco with goat chops and a vegetable-pasta combination. The meal ingredients are so simple, there really is no need for a recipe. This was a nice combination, as the seared goat chops gave the richness the wine needed to counterbalance its’ acidity and tannins. The mushrooms added a certain earthiness to the pasta that went well with the wine.
Azienda Agricola Vigin Barbaresco (2005)
As I mentioned in January, I have been “working” to build an understanding of Nebbiolo based wines and pleasing food companions. I have a hard time getting a good feel for a wine from a tasting alone; I prefer to drink a bottle over the course of a day or two with a variety of foods. Concentrating on one type of wine over the course of several weeks just seems to solidify my understanding, and it’s really fun! I purchased this wine locally at Pairings, after trying it at one of their Thursday evening open wine tastings. As I said, I thought it was nice, but I need more than a sip to really understand.
Nebbiolo produces a medium colored red wine, often translucent. Don’t let that fool you, it typically carries both acidity and tannins and usually comes in at alcohol levels of 14% or more. When pairing with food, you’ll want to go for richer foods with some earthy components. Barbaresco is the name of one of the towns in the Barbaresco DOCG in the Piedmont region of Italy, and a Barbaresco wine will always be made of 100% Nebbiolo grapes.
Azienda Agricola Vigin is a small producer and a relatively recent arrival on the scene in Barbaresco. The land has been in the family since 1947, but they have been making wine only since 2002, with just 12 acres of land planted to vines. It’s really surprising that we can get such an artisan product like this in Minnesota, but who’s complaining!
Vigin Barbaresco 2005
Eye: Slightly warm red, dark but still translucent. Plenty of sediment (this is good)
Nose: Cherries and pine forest.
Mouth: Cherries, tart acidity with plenty of tannins.
This wine was a success with the meal. With its’ acidity and tannins, it isn’t a “fireplace wine”; it really wants to be at the table with some food. The grilled meat seems to bring out the cherry flavors in the wine in a nice way.
For preparation, I just mixed up a bit of (local) sunflower oil, a splash of Nebbiolo, some rosemary and thyme. The chops sat in the marinade for a half-hour or so. It only takes a few minutes on the grill to finish them to a nice medium rare.
The pasta was homemade; we are becoming fresh pasta fanatics. It tastes so much better than packaged. The veggie combo was brussels sprouts, shiitake mushrooms and onions. A bit of sunflower oil and the same rosemary and thyme tossed in, and the veggies went into the grill basket. The grill sits outside close to the side door, so I can use it even in the dead of winter. With a headlamp, of course.
Have you ever had goat? Where and how was it prepared? How about any favorite pairings with Nebbiolo based wines?