The crockpot is my lifesaver. It is my get-out-of-jail-free card, or my attempt at gourmet when I don’t feel like cooking. Today (Wednesday) was my last day of summer freedom before going back to work tomorrow, and I wanted to spend the day doing what I will not be able to do during the school year; wear my PJs, do nothing, and be lazy. Prepping for this last moment of bliss, I knew that the crockpot was going to come in handy. Having some frozen drumsticks, leftover zoodles, and an extra can of crushed tomatoes on hand, I decided to try Skinnytaste’s Crockpot Chicken Cacciatore and pair it with a bottle of Firriato Santagostino Baglio Soria 2011. I bought this bottle after tasting it at Whole Foods. Every Saturday, the Whole Foods near me has a great wine/cheese tasting. The woman there is knowledgable and fun, and I almost always leave with a bottle! This was one of those bottles. I was very excited for this pairing. After all, an Italian dish with an Italian red should work together, right?
I tried the wine before the meal. I like to figure out the smell/taste of a wine before a meal, and to see if it is a good wine independently as well as with food. This wine was was exquisite, and I don’t use that word very often for wine. It was a red blend from Sicily, with Nero d’Avola and Syrah grapes. On the nose, I got loads of chocolate, cherries, smoke, and plums. When tasting, I got those flavors, plus mocha and mint, making the wine really stand out in complexity. It was velvety and smooth, and could easily be had on its own. This is a wine I high recommend if you like medium-heavy Italian reds. No need to have it breathe or decant. It was ready upon opening.
The meal, like many of Skinnytaste’s recipes, was also wonderful. It was a little soupier than I would have liked, but that was because I was too lazy to brown the meat, peppers, and onions before putting it in the crockpot, so the moisture escaped in the dish rather than evaporated. Either way, the meal was very flavorful. The chicken fell off the bone, making it nice and juicy. I added zoodles and a little bit of spaghetti to soak in the sauce. Mmm, mmm, it was yummy!
The pair? The wine was exquisite and the food was wonderful, but the mocha/mint of the wine did not go so well with the acidic tomato sauce of the dish. It was as if the wine and the food were going to battle, each being a strong opponent, but no one really winning in the end…status quo. I sipped on the wine during the meal (because my water was all the way on the other side of the room and I didn’t want to get up and get it. Told you…lazy!), but saved most of it for after. The pairing was average, so I gave it 3/5 grapes.
Wine: Whole Foods ($20? I don’t remember how much)