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Who Ever Said Bordeaux Is Dead Hasn’t Been to Dallas

One of the 2011 “trends” I had read about was that Bordeaux was dead….I don’t agree, and it seems others in Dallas don’t either by the number of guests packed into The Grape last night for their monthly “Come As You Are” wine dinner featuring a selection of Bordeaux wines paired with Chef/Owner Brian Luscher’s scrumptious fare.

The three course meal featured selections from both the Right and Left Bank of Bordeaux, starting with a lush Chateau La Freynelle Bordeaux Blanc  from Entre-Duex-Mers.  This Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon blend is made from 25 year old vines, not common for white Bordeaux, and offers clean, uncomplicated flavors of white peach, wild flowers, mineral, citrus and honey.  Fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks it is a fresh wine best paired with white fish, like the first course of Sauteed Lemon Sole with Juliet tomatoes and mushrooms with an herb sauce.  The fish was perfectly cooked, and the sauce was light and creamy.  The Juliet tomatoes were especially flavorful, somewhat hard to find this time of year, with flecks of fresh thyme.  Why are the tomatoes are so good?  It seems local farmer,  JT Lemley, figured out a way to grow tomatoes in the ground covered with earth, producing juicy, sweet and bright red treats and named them after his daughter.

Second course brought a hearty bowl of Beef a la Bourgeoise with winter vegetables roasted in veal stock, with a sinful croustade topped with marrow butter.  A big, rich plate, and one that needed a big red wine to pair.  Chateau Fonbadet Bordeauxblend from Paulliac fit the bill.  Predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with the other Bordeaux grapes of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec, this is an earthy, mineral and pencil lead filled wine with blackberry and currant.  The wine is made from 100% estate fruit which is hand picked, fermented, aged 18 months in 30% new French oak.  Made from 50+ year old vines the family owned winery sits about 500 feet from Chateau Latour, and though the wine isn’t a Latour, it is an excellent example of bold Bordeaux and perfect pairing with the beef. 

No Bordeaux dinner can be complete without a Sauternes, this one was a 2004 Chateau d’Armajan des Ormes.  This “sticky,” as a chef friend of mine calls Sauternes, was filled with a good balance of green apple and lemon peel with dried apricot, nutmeg and creamy honey butter.  The pairing was a banana-chocolate tarte with spicy cinnamon ice cream to bring out the spicy notes of the wine.  I tend to shy away from desserts so I asked Chef Brian if he could do a cheese plate for me instead.  A slice of earthy, tangy, rind washed Les Feres  from Crave Brothers was surrounded by fresh strawberries and green apple, highlighting the green apple flavors of the Sauternes.  Overall the night was delicious, elegant and satisfying; a superb nod to one of the greatest wine regions in the world, and one that is far from dead…. 

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