Sunday, November 11, 2007

Chevaliers Lagrazette Cahors 1997

We picked up a Bell & Evans duck from Whole Foods this weekend and found this interesting 10 year old wine to pair with it. Since I believe that duck legs and duck breasts require separate cooking methods, I chose to sauté the latter tonight and save the legs for a braise later in the week. I also made some wild rice with roasted chestnuts.

This is one of those wines that reminds me of Robert Ulin's book Vintages and Traditions. Ulen suggests how important the 1855 classification was to distinguishing and promoting the wines of Bordeaux from those of the rest of southwest France. Had the government not paid special attention to Bordeaux, we might all be drinking a lot more Cahors and Madiran and be no worse for it. Wines from Cahors are made mostly of Malbec (a grape that has reclaimed some notice thanks to Argentina), and, as this bottle demonstrates, they can often rival those from Bordeaux. Here's a decade old wine with plenty of grace and sophistication showing signs of maturity but still indicating a number of fruitful years ahead. It's medium-bodied and deep garnet. The classic signs of bottle age - leather, earth, wood - are still in balance with hints of red fruit and citrus and a tight but palatable tannic core. At $17, it would rival many classified growths.

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