Tracey recently spent a few days in Boston, hitting the pavement to sell wine. Her last night there, she went with some old friend and new friends to Oleana in Cambridge. Picking her up the next day at the airport, she told me all about her delightful meal. (I told her about trying to get Lily to eat baby food.)
Lauren Friel has been the wine director at Oleana for over 3 years. Her list is a delight to read. Wines are listed with spices. Our Prospector is in the Ripe Dates & Cloves section. For this week’s pairing, Lauren suggested Stone Crusher with Pork Belly.
I love the Stone Crusher with a lot of things — which is great, because we’re a meze-driven restaurant, so I’m constantly seeking out wines with a lot of versatility. Right now, though, I’m crazy about it with our Azuluna Pork Belly with Moorish Spices, Green Almonds, Figs & Saffron Rice. This is a sweet-and-savory dish through-and-through, aromatic, heady and opulent. It’s the kind of dish that makes you look for a wine that’s worthy, not just a good pairing. The Stone Crusher is just that wine. I love the way the intense citrus and herbal notes elevate and pull out all of the earthier spices in this blend while brightening the saffron, and the tart tannin and acidity from the extended skin contact keeps your palate excited even after the richness of the pork belly. Ana’s food can be tricky to pair with because it’s so complex, but the Stone Crusher has the perfect combination of power and finesse to keep meeting her dishes head-on and totally bringing them to a new level. It’s so fun to experience. — Lauren Friel
Oleana is located at 134 Hampshire Street in Cambridge, MA. Reservations can be made on Open Table.
I hope to give it a try on my next Boston visit.