In preparation for holiday celebrations, we shared a very special evening with friends who had just returned from a trip to France. With so many holiday parties to attend and gifts to buy, we will all be on the search for wonderful pairing wines to toast the happy holiday occasions. It was in this spirit that I welcomed these bottles from my friends at Domaines Barons de Rothschild. Please visit their lovely website: http://www.lafite.com/en/
“I have discovered the wine of Château Lafite to be a delicious, generous cordial, comparable to the ambrosia of the Gods of Olympus” Maréchal de Richelieu (1755)
The evening was a true blind wine tasting. My husband decanted each wine for two hours, put the bottles into brown bags and then poured the wine into glasses to sit for another hour. He was the only one that knew the identity of each wine.
These lovely wines are from different areas in the Bordeaux region and share ownership by one of the most critically esteemed houses in the world: Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) (DBR). Inspired by the authentic French spirit of Chateau Lafite Rothschild in Bordeaux, DBR embarks on a journey that spans the globe, showcasing the iconic family’s century’s old passion for fine wine. Every bottle from the estates of Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) is made with the same high standards, delivering wines of elegance and finesse. Whatever your wine needs this season, DBR has something unique for everyone.
Wine #1: Château Odilon 2016 ~ Left Bank Bordeaux. Intense garnet color. 85% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine offers aromas of cherries, cassis and plum with just a touch of licorice, vanilla and orange blossom. Soft with a long fruity finish. This wine has excellent age potential. We found this wine to be the most approachable and more drinkable right now of the three wines we tasted. $35 range.
Wine #2: Moulin de Duhart Pauillac 2016 ~ Left Bank Bordeaux. Beautiful dark red color. 79% Merlot and 21% Cabernet Sauvignon. Notes of red currant, cherry and pomegranate. Should be at its peak in 8 to 10 years. $60 range.
Wine #3: Chateau Paradis Casseuil Bordeaux 2017 ~ Entre-Deux-Mers Bordeaux. Deep crimson purple color. 70% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon . Elegant with soft spicy notes. Well-balanced, round, medium structure with soft tannins. Pleasant toasted notes on the finish. $28 range.
My friend brought back a bottle of Ackerman Nouvel Esprit, a lovely Crémant, made predominantly with Chenin Blanc grapes, from Saumur, France. We began the evening by pairing this bubbly with Gougères – savory cheese puffs traditionally made with Gruyère cheese.
Château Odilon 2016 was a delightful pairing with these French triple creme cheeses: Petite Camembert and Le Fromage Fouetté de Madame Loïk (French whipped cheese – if you have not tasted this delightful cheese – I highly recommend it.) I found this wine to be the best wine for sipping and would enjoy serving this wine and cheese pairing for a holiday appetizer.
Our second pairing was a composed salad made with fresh lettuce and roasted grated beets from our friends garden. I added pearl onions, cornichons, yellow cherry tomatoes and roasted baby potatoes. A composed salad, in French, is called a salade composée. The salad is composed of many ingredients that compliment one another, with special attention to lively color and flavor, placed on a platter or bowl. We found the Moulin de Duhart 2016 to be the best pairing with the composed salad, especially with the roasted beets. Chateau Paradis Casseuil Bordeaux 2017 was a delightful pairing with the pearl onions.
The salad dressing was Judy Garland’s (inspired by the recently released movie “Judy”) favorite salad dressing…here’s the recipe:
- 1/2 cup olive oil
- 1/4 cup vinegar (white wine vinegar is a good choice)
- 1 tsp salt (I used only ½ teaspoon salt. You may want to start with ½ teaspoon salt and add more to your taste)
- 1 tsp sugar
- 1 tsp paprika (I like Spanish paprika)
- 1/2 tsp minced fresh garlic
Place all salad ingredients in a mason jar. Cover jar with tight fitting lid and shake to combine the ingredients. Chill until ready to serve.
Our next pairing was beef tenderloin, grilled to perfection. I brushed the tenderloins with olive oil and sprinkled both sides generously with Kickin’ BBQT seasoning that has smokey heat of cayenne and chipotle. I rubbed the seasoning into the meat with a fork and placed it covered in the refrigerator overnight. Kickin’ BBQT is made by the Stone Spice Company in Lynchburg, Virginia. Love eating local! We found Moulin de Duhart Pauillac 2016 to be the best pairing with the tenderloin.
We finished our wine tasting extravaganza with lovely chocolates from our favorite local chocolate shop Baylee’s Best Chocolates. http://bayleesbest.com
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Recipe column: Southern Spoonful ~ The Roanoker Magazine
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