Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Roast Beef and Bordeaux

Sun 20 July 2008

A bit of a trip back in time here!

When my parents visited us last year, they bought us a lot of wine, which included a bottle of 1998 Château Bouscaut. I knew this hadn't been a particularly cheap wine so we'd wanted to make sure we made a bit of an occasion of drinking it.

The "occasion" presented itself in the form of Sunday lunch: a piece of roast beef from Yorkshire Highlanders, roast vegetables, and (of course) Yorkshire pudding and gravy.

Yorkshire pudding still in the oven at this point!

However, I'm going to take this opportunity to give you an overview of Bordeaux. Nothing like learning while you're drinking!

The label of this wine proudly announces Grand Cru Classé de Graves, and has Pessac-Léognan in large letters. Nowhere does it mention Bordeaux - so even a little bit of knowledge goes a long way (I think this is more true of Bordeaux than pretty much any other region in France - I'm sure that will spike some debate!).

The label of more recent vintages has had a design change. 'Grand Cru Classé de Graves' is in gold letters across the top.

In wine terms, Bordeaux is the region in south-west France which encompasses the Gironde Estuary, formed by the Garonne and Dordogne rivers. This region is divided into smaller regions, one of which is Graves, and some of those are divided further still - hence Pessac-Léognan.*

Very importantly, the two dominant red grapes are Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, and the dominant white grape is Sémillon.

Usually, wines from Graves would be Cabernet Sauvignon dominant, but the Bouscaut is about 60% Merlot, with the balance made up of Cabernet Sauvignon and a touch of Malbec.

So what did it actually taste like?

The short answer: very good.

The long answer ... well, it was pretty closed to start off with, but unceremoniously sloshing it into our decanter certainly helped open it up (don't worry - it hadn't thrown very much sediment at all!). It definitely developed as we drank it, so if you have a bottle it might be worth decanting it an hour or so in advance of drinking it. On the nose, both red and black fruit developed into definite forest fruit aromas, accompanied by tobacco, cedar and hints of warm spice. Initially, the palate had considerably less fruit than the nose, but here too the fruit flavours developed into definite black fruit. The fruit was complemented by the same cedar and spice notes found in the nose. The tannins were still quite grippy (although nicely integrated - they didn't hit you and dry out your mouth in one hit), so make sure you drink this with a big piece of red meat, or leave it alone for a little while longer. The wine is only 12.5%abv, but did feel slightly warm.

We both really enjoyed this and it went really well with the lovely beef. If you're fortunate enough to have some bottles stashed away, wait until mid-winter, cook up a hearty beef daube and invite me round for supper!

* You can click through to a map pinpointing the Château here - zoom out for the Bordeaux region.

tagged with: , , , , , ,
Stumble Upon ToolbarStumble It!


Post a Comment

<< Home