I have no idea what heaven entails. I do know that it will be amazing and I can only judge amazing by what I already know. Perhaps it depicts the majestic mountain lake and surrounding forests of Lake Tahoe, or the breathtaking waterfalls of Hawaii, or the crystal turquoise water off the coast of Cuba, or even the Aurora Borealis of the North Pole. Of course heaven must have the finest wines of the world, which means there will be a bounty from Saint-Émilion.
Sadly many wine lovers spend their lives loving the wines of Saint-Émilion but never getting to visit this historical medieval town in Bordeaux. In my week in Bordeaux with Millesima we stayed at Bernard Magrez’s Chateau Fombrauge in Saint-Émilion. Every day we drove past the town twice but never had time to stop. Our final day we were traveling back to Chateau Fombrauge to meet guests for dinner. We were already running late but each day my friend Mike of Please Bring Me My Wine asked if we could stop in the town, and each day he was told we did not have time. That final opportunity we took the time. Mike led the five of us on the most epic 10 minute tour of Saint-Émilion you have ever seen. If you have been there you know the entire town, though small, is located on the top of a steep hill. We were dropped off at the base of the steep hill, we ran throughout the entire town stopping in its famous wine store, in the cathedral and to look out at the surrounding vineyards, then back down the hill and we were off. Although it was the fastest tour ever it was incredible memorable but sadly because we were running I did not take any photos. Guess I’ll have to go back!
The Saint-Émilion region, classified in 1954, is one of Bordeaux’s largest wine producing appellations. Located on the right bank of the Gironde, Saint-Émilion produces beautiful Merlot driven wines. However, a large gravel bed in the northeastern quadrant of the appellation allows Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon to also thrive. Unlike the Bordeaux wine classifications of 1855, Saint-Émilion reclassifies its wines every ten years. This allows wines that perhaps have dramatically improved in quality to be added to cru lists, as well as purging those who have slipped in their production quality. As you can imagine this does not come without controversy. In 2006, Saint-Émilion classified Premiers grands crus classés and 46 Grands crus classes, thus leading to the demotion of four producers. These four producers unhappiness resulted in a law suit and the invalidation of the 2006 classification.
In December 1999, UNESCO was named to the World Heritage Sites for Humanity as a cultural landscape. It was the first time a landscape of vineyards was named to this prestigious UNESCO list. Les Vins de Saint-Émilion explained, “By classifying the vineyards of Saint-Émilion, UNESCO has recognized the extraordinary nature of this lively landscape. Saint-Émilion vineyards have been shaped by successive generations of winemakers. They have managed to develop the Jurisdiction, while preserving the remarkable testimonies of its history. With its Medieval and Roman churches, Saint-Émilion has a spectacular architectural heritage. This legacy equally comprises of picturesque cellars, mills and dovecotes that a walker along the roads could discover.” Saint-Émilion is certainly a site to behold!
Though I did bring home a few lovely wines from Chateau Fombrauge I have laid them down for a few years to age knowing that I have them to look forward to someday. Plus I had this lovely 2010 Grand Cru that was calling my name for this article.
Chateau Louis Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2010: This wine was a blend of 80% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc from vines grown in limestone soil with an average age of 43 years old; it poured a deep ruby with violet highlights into the glass; notes of black cherry, plums, pomegranate and blackberries are wrapped in earthy aromas of licorice, tobacco, and chocolate with fresh spice notes of cinnamon and nutmeg; it offered a silky smooth mouth-feel, rich and round yet beautifully balanced, well-structured acidity with dusty, integrated tannins that build to a long, pleasing finish; full-body wine that is still quite young, proper aging will further its integration but for now it was delightful; hand harvest, aged in 50% new French oak barrels and 50% used French oak barrels; 8000 bottles produced; 14.7% ABV, SRP $65.
When I think of a beautiful Bordeaux from Saint-Émilion I think of an equally beautiful fillet. Recently Another Foodie Blogger published “Beef Tenderloin with Porcini and Pepper Sauce.” In that article she provided a link to One Man’s Meat article “The Truth About Fillet Steak with Porcini and Pepper Sauce,” which is where the recipe for the delicious steak and sauce originated. I simply love finding recipes and inspiration from fellow bloggers and I knew this would pair beautifully with the Saint-Émilion Bordeaux! Though I was unable to find porcini mushrooms the recipe still turned out amazing. I substituted cremini mushrooms and I used the Saint-Émilion Bordeaux instead of Marsala. I added smashed potatoes and broccolini to round out a delicious dinner. The earthiness of the sauce with the mushrooms and pepper could not have been a better match for Bordeaux! I neglected the broccolini while I was cooking the sauce and fillets so it became a bit charred. Funny thing was we actually liked it that way and it blended better with the wine. Overall another outstanding pairing! But then again sipping a gorgeous 2010 Saint-Émilion would be great all by itself!
Now let’s see what my fellow #Winophiles discovered in Saint-Émilion:
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla tempts the palate with “To St. Emilion with Plum & Mustard-Glazed Pork Chops”
Jill from L’Occasion brings us “Saint Emilion, Message in a Bottle”
Jeff from FoodWineClick shares a classic pairing with “Foie Gras & Steak for a Right Bank Bordeaux”
Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog tells the tale of “An American in Saint Emilion”
Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva shares “The St. Emilion Affair”
My Song Selection: Saint-Émilion produces wines that are smooth, silky and sophisticated. They are unforgettable and truly some of the greatest wines in the world.
Be sure to join us this morning at 10am CST to share your thoughts and love of Saint-Émilion by using #Winophiles. All are welcome! What is your favorite Bordeaux wine? Have you been to Saint-Émilion? Please tell me all about it.
Get your own bottle of Chateau Louis Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2010 and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!