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Friday, April 04, 2008

Clos Rougeard for Wine Blogging, um, Wednesday

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I know this is Friday, but it's better (a little) late than never, no?  We drank the wine on Monday night even, so it's definitely qualified for this Wine Blogging Wednesday Friday.  For those of you new to this, Wine Blogging Wednesday is the fun event in the (mostly) wine and (some) food blogging community.  Each month a new blog host chooses a theme for the tasting.  It could be anything from a cépage, year, region, flavor or even the wacky-name edition which I hosted a few years ago. 

The theme this month is Cabernet Franc, and the host is none other than the oddly fascinating Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV.  Gary hosts a wine video blog, so it should be fun to see how he's going to do the roundup.  Count on him to do something outrageously hilarious, or hilariously outrageous, or even both.

My choice is my absolute favorite Saumur Champigny: 2001 Clos Rougeard "Le Bourg".  At home on Monday, David and I hosted a small impromptu dinner party with the wine and a simple roast chicken with vegetables from the garden.

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Clos Rougeard is from the appellation Saumur Champigny in the Loire Valley, France.  I tasted their wine for the first time when the sommelier at L'Astrance in Paris poured it for a pairing.  I forgot what the dish was, frankly. The wine was really quite something to have upstaged Pascale's exquisite food.

Clos Rougeard's red wines are made from 100% Cabernet Franc, or Breton as known in the area.  The vineyards practice what they label as "natural farming practice" which, for them, is a combination or organic and biodynamic principles.  This particular wine "Le Bourg" came from vines that are over 80 years old which produce very low yields.  The vines, much like us people, need to suffer a bit to build character, and these one vines certainly have it in spades.

Img_1793 What did it taste like?  Delicious.  Very delicious.  Juicy without tasting like licking a spoonful of jam.  Soft tannin that didn't grab you by the throat and not let go.  Balanced acidity--enough there to bring other tastes into focus without dominating everything.  A hint of spice, someone at the table even said a hint of green olive.  Beautiful body, ever-so-slightly-cloudy from being unfiltered.  It's a gorgeous, delicious wine that you don't need a degree in oenology to appreciate.  I just adored it.

This is a food blog, so we must also talk about the food we paired with the wine.  We had just returned home from days of relentless fancy eating at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine, so we craved something very simple.  We had some greens we picked from the garden we could cook up, and decided to do a simple roast chicken to accompany them.

It's so simple I hardly need to write a recipe for you.  We gave the free-range chicken a nice massage with my homemade Normande butter, sprinkle a good dose of salt and pepper, and roast that baby until done.  During the last 20 minutes I threw in a few green garlic we just picked.  They need to roast just enough to soften thoroughly and brown just a tiny bit, so I didn't add them at the beginning.  When the chicken was done, I made a quick jus with a splash of Vermouth (the Clos Rougeard was too good).  In a hot pan with good olive oil, David quickly tossed some New Zealand spinach (Tetragon in French) and tiny florettes of purple cauliflower and strewn them around a big platter of roast chicken.

It was a beautifully simple dinner, made even lovelier with the delicious wine.

Read more about Clos Rougeard at funny man Joe Dressner's blog.

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