Mar 23, 2011 10:35 AM
A regular feature of the acclaimed Cliffhouse Restaurant at Pikes Peak is Executive Chef Scott Savage's slow roasted, herb crusted, and Black Angus certified prime rib. Covered with provencial herbs, garlic and shallot, this prime rib is delicately oven-roasted at very low temperatures to ensure a tender and flavorful dish. How to improve upon this delectable offering? Try the perfect glass of wine; after all, what is a dance with no partner, or love waiting and hoping, standing alone?
Cabernet Sauvignon is a deft and able partner to prime rib. Even at the extremes of this varietal's style - red Bordeaux and California Cabernet, for example - this grape is a boon to any quality cut of beef, and a great help drowning the woes of something less than ideal. Chef Savage's prime rib has two main attributes we hope to complement - a savory herb crust and a rich, yet delicate red meat. To this end we look for certain strengths in our wines: a complex nose with good acidity, and/or a very smooth wine with appealing, forward fruit.
Bordeaux-Bordeaux-Bordeaux. In my experience, many Cabernet-based wines from the Gironde estuary's left bank have stolen the show when paired with prime rib. The subtle bouquets and savory aromas often meld perfectly with Herbs de Provence, while moderate tannins and cleansing acidity cut through the rib roast's fatty and succulent texture. Look for "Bordeaux Superieur" on the label as an affordable and generally high quality option. Chateau's Bel Air, Gresac and Mouton Cadet are consistent performers. Also, given the chance, be sure to try the classic vintages of 2000 and 2005 or the lush 2003's.
On the other hand, California Cabernet has much to offer. Opulent, ripe fruit, and unctuous, velvety tannins don't so much balance a prime rib, as they rise to its challenge. Mouth filling viscosity complements rather than contrasts the meat's rich nature, and the ebullient fruit of California Cabernet often lends an entirely new element to your meal. With so many quality wines on the market, even a shot in the dark stands a good chance of pleasing; look to Bonterra, Ravenswood, Robert Mondavi, or Sequoia Grove to name just a few consistently good, high value wines. Enjoy!