Tuesday, January 29, 2013

A Southwestern Evening

After savoring the glories of St. Julien vintages in December, the wine club returned for a more modest evening featuring comfort food and young wines from the Languedoc-Roussillon.  We began the evening with a 2007 white Cote du Roussillon from Domaine Sarda-Malet whose blend of grenache gris and grenache blanc was rich, almost nutty.  We sipped as we watched Frederic's clever slideshows of previous wine evenings.

Perhaps in anticipation of future slideshows to come, there was as much photographic attention paid to the wine club members as the wines.

I am a big fan of Corbieres wines because of their full-bodied, often rustic nature and because one tends to drink them young when the fruit is still forward.   I was pleased that we would be tasting Corbieres wines because I wanted some guidance  around the largest appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon region (encompassing 11 separate terroirs).  The grapes used include carignan, grenache, syrah, and mouvedre, and the sheer size of the Corbieres region provides a wide range of wines that vary in terms of price and quality. Among the first Corbieres we tasted were a 2000 Chateau des Auzines, a Le C de Camplong,  and a 2010 Chateau La Voulte-Gasparets.  Hands down, the Camplong was my favorite with its spicy nose and dark fruit flavors.  They all paired nicely with our sauteed foie gras on a bed of vegetables.

The next Corbieres wines were from Castelmaure cooperative in  the terroir of Durban (Aude) which in recent years has been improving the quality of its wines known for their taste of the "garrigue" (licorice, sage, olive, red fruits).   I especially enjoyed the 2009 Pompadour for the roundness that the oak provided, but the well-regarded 2009 Grand Vin was corked and could not give us an indication of where the high-end wines were headed.  The other wines made for a good accompaniment to the rich cassoulet.

The three Cote du Roussillon wines with our cheese course came from the 2005 (Domaine Seguela), 2006 (Domaine Sarda-Malet) and 2007 (Domaine Pouderoux) vintages.  While it is preferable to drink these wines young (4-5 years), the 2005 was still very supple and drinkable.  

With two dessert wines, a 1999 sweet red from Corbieres (G de Gasparets) and a 1983 sauterne (Chateau Rieussec),  and a trio of desserts ( a poached pear, a mandarin souffle, and a chocolate creme brulee), the sweet possibilities were numerous.  Of course, conventional wisdom favored the pairing of the sweet red with chocolate and the sauterne with pear and souffle, but the wines were also delicious on their own.


And just when we thought the evening was coming to a close, a plate of desserts with a sparkler (and later candles) was brought in and placed before our doyen Edouard who had recently celebrated a birthday.

 Happy Birthday, Edouard.  May we have many more wine club dinners to come.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Let it Snow

Snow usually comes to Lauzerte once a year and we had plenty of warning that this storm was headed our way. During the day, there was a battle going on between some warm and cold fronts but the latter won out and the wet snow came and stayed.

There was little traffic on the roads....

....but apparently Lynda, Freddo, and Cesar made it to the square to build their snowman. I fantasized that the eyes and buttons were made from black truffles but they were indeed made from coal.

The morning after....

And Bosco in his new winter coat.