Recently I stopped by Porter House, chef Michael Lomonaco’s temple to beef in Manhattan’s Time Warner Center. Spring was stubbornly refusing to arrive, so I decided red meat and red wine were in order.
I indulged in the Cowboy Rib Steak ($55), a thick cut of dry-aged Black Angus from Creekstone Farms, served on the bone. It had a light smoky char, plenty of savory juices and a mineral tang to the sweet beefy flavor. It was hollering for red wine.
I put myself in the hands of wine director Roger Dagorn, one of New York City’s true sages, with nearly 30 years’ experience pulling corks in this town. He poured glasses from two very different worlds.
The New World was represented by Ahnfeldt’s Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Provocative 2007 ($72 per bottle). Made from estate grapes by consulting winemaker Paul Hobbs, it is plush and fruit-driven, with ripe plum, fig pudding and espresso flavors, velvety and approachable.
In contrast, the Château La Roque Mourvèdre Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St.-Loup Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2006 ($50 per bottle), a red from southern France that is imported by Kermit Lynch, was old-school Old World. It was fresh and firm, with cherry and herbal flavors and a sanguine note I often find in Mourvèdre.
Though one was velvet and the other tweed, both wines were faithful representations of their grapes and their origins. In terms of inherent quality, I rated both wines 89 points, non-blind. As matches for the steak, both worked, but in different ways. The Mourvèdre was refreshing and cleansing, a bright, sharp contrast to the meat. The Cabernet echoed the beefy flavors, with sweet and smoky notes, and the fat and char really brought out the fruit in the wine.
I sipped one, then the other, trying to pick a favorite. Then I asked myself, “Why choose?” and just relaxed and dug in.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Château La Roque Mourvèdre Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St.-Loup Cuvée Vieilles Vignes 2006 (89, $18) and get scores and tasting notes for other Ahnfeldt wines.