With wine or steak, make it pink | AspenTimes.com

With wine or steak, make it pink

Jill Beathard
The Aspen Times
Austin chef Tim Love takes bites of red meat to his audience during his seminar, "The Perfect Steak," on Friday. Love talks cuts, rubs and technique during the seminar, which repeats at 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Jill Beathard/Aspen Times |

A fan of brunch and bubbly, I thought Champagne would be just the thing to start off the first morning of the Food & Wine Classic. But then, apparently, so did everyone else, and arriving on time didn’t warrant me a seat at the “Sensational Champagne” seminar.

So I went next door for “The Rosé Revolution,” although I can’t say I was too disappointed, which anyone who knows me will attest to. Although many people group rosé in with whites, it’s made from the same grapes as reds, something that I knew but had never understood the process behind.

It turns out there’s a couple different ways a rosé can be made, and there’s many more grapes that can be used than I had imagined. The two we tried from France, for instance, were refreshing blends of Grenache and Syrah, while my favorite, a dry blend from Napa called Nellcote, was Malbec and Syrah.

With two wines each from France, Italy and California, wine writer Anthony Giglio asked us to vote for our favorite from each region. I always tended toward the more expensive bottle, but the good news was that I still liked the other ones and could definitely wrap my head around buying those, or even one of the pricier ones if it were a special occasion.

That’s the thing about some of these seminars at Food & Wine: You get to try some of the best food and wine (heh) you’ll ever have, but if you have a good lector, you’ll also learn how you can take that grape or that technique or that flavor and enjoy it on your own.

Take Austin, Texas, chef Tim Love’s “The Perfect Steak” seminar. Sure, everyone loves a ribeye, and Love said if you see “ribeye cap” on a menu to order it, because that’s the most tender cut you can find. But it will be pricey, and the real key is how you cook it: “The tenderness doesn’t change much if you cook it perfectly,” he said.

The most important tip he gave in the seminar had to do with letting the steak rest, and that might shock some avid grillers. For most of us, grilling is part of the party itself, but Love said to sear your meat ahead of time and let it rest on a tray for as many as four hours.

Then when it’s time to eat, Love said to put the tray in the oven on broil and let it sizzle for 75 seconds. If you cook the steak to just below the temperature you actually want for the final outcome, it will come out perfect, he said.

Love joked with the crowd that the price of the meat probably didn’t matter to them: “Y’all are in Aspen,” he said.

But to Love, who likes to drink during his demos and ends them with “shot roulette” for 12 members of the crowd, everyone comes to the Food & Wine Classic for the same reason.

“If you’re in my class, I’m guessing you’re the type of person who likes to have people over and cook and have fun,” Love said. “That’s why we cook.”