I love things in life that offer a sense of time and place. This is one reason I love about music. It has been said that music is the soundtrack of our lives. That sentiment is so true for me. When I hear songs like “Muskrat Love,” “Staying Alive,” “Oh Mickey,” and “Hungry Like the Wolf” I know exactly where I was in my life’s journey. Time and place! Chances are, depending on your age, I just walked you through parts of your life in a split second as well. This is yet another reason why I love wine, specifically “old world” wine, because wine has the ability to offer a sense of time and place in a glass. Moreover, few wine regions provide such a specific sense of time and place than Bordeaux.
November’s French Winophiles features one of my favorite wine regions: Bordeaux. Though much of Bordeaux is a mystery to me I not only love drinking it but also peeling the layers of discovery. Join me as we drink, eat and peel a small slice of Bordeaux. For this month’s French Winophiles article I am actually featuring a wine and a dinner I enjoyed at a local Dallas restaurant with my husband in October because it was such a wonderful evening and I love highlighting Dallas’ great restaurants.
Dining at Lavandou is like escaping to the South of France countryside for a few hours. Lavendou is warm and inviting, the staff is friendly and knowledgeable and the authentic cuisine is approachable and delicious. They serve lunch, dinner and high tea in a setting that is comfortable yet elegant with a great patio for those perfect Texas days. I have dined there for lunch and dinner many times; now I want to enjoy their French high tea…Now back to French Winophiles. Here is the wine we enjoyed and the food I paired with it:
Barons De Rothschild (Lafite) Pauillac Reserve Speciale 2009: This wine was crafted of 65% Cabernet Sauvignon and 35% Merlot; it poured a deep garnet into the glass; black cherries, blackberries and plums were met with spice notes of cinnamon, nutmeg and cassis, along with a smoky tobacco, cedar finish; it was well-structured, not particularly complex, full-body, round acidity and well-integrated tannins; a well-crafted Bordeaux that was straight forward, elegantly pleasing but not representing the best of Bordeaux; overall 2009 was a great vintage for Pauillac, this wine will please but if you want an amazing expression of 09 Pauillac keep looking; 13% alcohol; 2009 are increasingly hard to find; if you want to try this wine I suggest the 2010, a Wine Spectator 90pt Bordeaux.
I paired the Bordeaux with three delicious courses. The first was beef carpaccio drizzled with EVOO and topped with capers, arugula and soft and creamy pecorino cheese. It was a delicious salad that paired well with the wine. My entrée consisted of a duck thigh and leg that had been braising all day in a mushroom red wine sauce and served with haricoverts. The duck was succulent and literally falling off the bone delicious; truly outstanding with the deep and earth driven Bordeaux! Finally, I concluded my meal with a flourless chocolate cake in a custard sauce with fresh strawberries. I know some claim chocolate does not pair with dry red wine; I am NOT one of those people. I love chocolate with wine and I loved this ending to a wonderful dinner.
I have written several articles on Bordeaux. When writing these articles I try to provide some educational value as much for my own benefit as yours. I admire people who completely understand the intricacies of BOTH French and Italian wines and regions. Most people I know seem to either “get” one or the other. I have a much greater understanding of Italian wines and regions than French; however, I love wines from both countries and use every opportunity I am given to expand my understanding of French wines and regions. Therefore, for this article I am going to dig a little deeper into the region of Bordeaux that produced the wine I selected for this article. If you would like a “top line” refresher please see my articles “The Beauty of Bordeaux,” “Bordeaux: Location, Location, Location,” and “Bordeaux: A Date Night Remedy.”
The Rothschild (Lafite) Bordeaux we enjoyed is from Pauillac AOC, which is located within the Haut-Médoc region of Bordeaux. Within Pauillac are three of the five premier cru châteauxs of Bordeaux: Latour, Lafite Rothschild and Mouton Rothschild. Pauillac is located on the left bank of the Gironde estuary, thus its Bordeaux blends are predominately comprised of Cabernet Sauvignon. Pauillac wines have found tremendous success in both their quality and in the international wine market. The AOC is only 9 square miles yet the terroir varies considerably. The top three châteauxs previously mentioned have honed their wine making skills over the centuries so that not only are wines unique and distinctive but they offer a precise expression of “place” within the 9 square miles. Yet, Pauillac wines still offer a consistent style of full-body, rich, earth and spice driven Cabernet Sauvignons. Famed wine writer Hugh Johnson once said, “If one had to single out one commune of Bordeaux to head the list [of excellence], there would be no argument. It would be Pauillac.” Pauillac offers an outstanding sense of time and place. I encourage you to head to your local wine retailer and select a few wines from Pauillac, as well as other regions of Bordeaux, and challenge yourself to taste the time and the place.
Let’s see what my fellow French Winophiles have discovered about Bordeaux:
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Coquilles Saint-Jacques with Château de Chantegrive Graves Cuvée Caroline”
David from Cooking Chat brings “Bordeaux Braised Beef”
Jeff from foodwineclick shares “Bordeaux Entrée: Mouclade de Moules & Chateau Les Bertrands”
Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere brings us “Haricots Verts (Green Beans) Amandine paired with White Bordeaux”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on a Farm spices things up with “Indian Spiced Beef Bordeaux and a 2010 Chateau Dumas Cenot
Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva shares “Bordeaux by way of Burgundy”
Don’t forget to join the live Twitter Chat Saturday at 8 am PST/11 am EST hosted by Jeff from foodwineclick using #winophiles. Aurevoir!
Join us for our upcoming events: December 19 Champagne – January 16 Burgundy – February 20 Alsace
My Song Selection: I think this song represents the uniqueness, complexity and beauty of Pauillac and the exquisite wines produced there:
Get your own bottle of Barons De Rothschild (Lafite) Pauillac Reserve Speciale or any other fabulous Pauillac Bordeaux and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!