Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Wine Review: Red Bordeaux—and moving beyond steak

I haven’t forgotten about my wine reviews. I was waiting for the right meal to bring out this baby—which, of course, didn’t happen. This weekend, I was going to open it for Saturday lunch and do the classic red Bordeaux pairing—steak. However, my host mother had forgotten our plans and poured a Burgundy she had open instead. Oh well. So the Bordeaux got pushed to dinner—with quiche Lorraine.

This is one of the main points I want to make with this wine review—red wine is surprisingly versatile. We hear about the importance of protein to soften a Bordeaux tannins, but seem to forget that there are other proteins than steak. The Chateau Blanchon 2009 came to the table with two meat-light dishes (quiche Lorraine and eggplant parmesan) and performed excellently with each one.

The Wine

Chateau Blanchon 2009

Origin: Bordeaux, Right Bank

AOC: Lussac Saint-Emilion

ABV: 14%

Awards: Gold Medal, Concours de Bordeaux 2010

Varietals: 60% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon/Cabernet Franc

Aging: It doesn’t say, but I’m guessing okay!

Serve: at cool room temperature, decanted, with red meat or dark fowl

The Food

Quiche Lorraine (not this recipe, but close enough. Though, I do have to add, for the love of God, do not boil bacon. Gross.)

Quiche Lorraine comes from region of France furthest to the Northeast—which actually puts it pretty solidly in white wine territory, since the wine-producing regions around it are Alsace and Champagne. However, it has a pretty noticeable flavor (bacon) and plenty of protein to soften the tannins of a red. In fact, I’d be tempted to say a subtler white might not be able to cut through the occasionally cloying nature of this quiche, which is composed of eggs, butter, heavy cream and bacon. Oh, and there’s some flour in there too.

Dried boar sausage and magret de canard (the breast of a duck raised to make foie gras) as an appetizer.

Eggplant Parmesan

Recipe following is not my strong point. There were a number of changes to this recipe. Firstly, I started with plain bread crumbs and seasoned them, because pre-seasoned breadcrumbs don’t exist in France. I added basil, salt, pepper and parmesan cheese. Secondly, I pan-fried the eggplant briefly in some oil because I was afraid the crumb coating wouldn’t stay crunchy in the oven otherwise. Finally, I didn’t have mozzarella cheese, so I compensated with an over-abundance of Parmesan.

The Verdict

To quote my host mother’s sister: “C’est un peu jeune, non? C’est dommage.” It’s a little young, so it was sort of a shame to open it now. Even with the use of a Vinturi, it was still very tannic.

The Blanchon opened with a nose of toast and dark chocolate, but if you really worked at it, you can pick up a dark fruit—blackberry or cassis maybe. Lighter-bodied than I expected (though I’m used to Malbecs and Zinfandels), but still fairly tannic.

I didn’t notice the toast upon tasting the Blanchon, but the dark chocolate and dark fruit continued throughout. Nice finish, if tannic.

It paired very well with the protein-heavy quiche. The egg and milk moderated the tannins and the bacon actually offered a very nice counterpoint to the flavor of the wine—since it’s an intense, savory flavor. As far as the eggplant parm went, the cheese offered the necessary protein and the tomato sauce gave the right amount of “big” flavor.

Overall, a good and surprisingly versatile wine, but needing maturity. If you were to pick up the bottle, hang onto it for a year or two. And decant!

1 comment:

  1. Fits what I really learned in Bordeaux class...if I can afford a red Bordeaux, it is either not good or too young (sweeping generalization).