First, how are you doing?
And second, what are you drinking?
Over here at Wine Predator, we’re focused on comfort food and wine right now (well, all the time!) and we’re here to say that you don’t have to break the bank to live it up right now.
In a restaurant, this rich Oxtail and beef shank dish paired with a Bordeaux wine would cost a small fortune. But in the instant pot, it’s fast, easy, and delicious! Plus Bordeaux at home is much less expensive and it comes in a wide range of prices.
Bordeaux is France’s largest appellation, and likely the one you know as synonymous for expensive wines! Well known for red wines blended from predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon on the Left Bank and more Merlot on the right along with Cabernet Franc (most right bank) and Petit Verdot and others, Bordeaux also makes well regarded “cremant” or sparkling wines (read about two paired with crabcakes and squash fritters) which can be made using any of these grapes.
Located along the Atlantic coast a six hour drive south of Paris (which is about how long it takes to drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco), the maritime climate means mild weather which protects the buds from frosts in the spring and allows the grapes to fully ripen in the fall. However, it also means plenty of rainfall and disastrous humidity making it particularly challenging if you want to make organic or biodynamic wines. In 2018, the growers we spoke to an industry event who were working this way lost most of their crop to mildew.
While often synonymous with expensive wines, Bordeaux offers wines in a wide range of prices from affordable reds to enjoy today to wines to set aside for tomorrow and more pricey ones to lay down for the future.
Inspired by the #ClinkDifferent dinner I attended in Los Angeles in late February, and by the oxtail and beef shank I found on sale on a rainy day in early March, I suggested to Sue that we “Clink Different” by showcasing these wines and to show that a dinner like this with wines like these is more affordable than what people might think.
This is a dish I’ve only had a couple times before and loved, so I was excited for us to try it when I found it on the Bordeaux wine and food pairing site a few days before. Here they suggest Bordeaux from the Medoc (the first wine on the list) but we went with the samples we had on hand, wines in the mid-price range which we think fall under the banner of “affordable.”
- 2016 Chateau Fonbadet, Medoc, Pauillac – Gran Vigne de Bordeaux SRP $39
- 2015 Chateau Lamothe de Haux – Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux SRP $15
- 2015 Chateau L Rame “la Charmille” Cadillac Cotes de Brodeaux SRP $24
- 2015 Chateau Haut-Cadet, Famille de Gaye, St. Emillion Grand Cru SRP $25
- Appetizer plate: parmesan, aged gouda, red leischter, brie, raspberries, salami, blueberry coated goat cheese.
- Green salad: arugula and spring greens, roasted squash, fresh mozzarella, great basin nuts with a lemon honey vinegarette
- Squashed Mashed Potatoes (a party on the plate! recipe follows
- Instant pot Oxtail bourgeon over mashed squash potatoes
This meal made the wines shine. Without the meal the wines were hard to get to for an American audience. However paired with the right meal, the wines are tamed and get along with the meal so nicely, both are taken to a different level. Not all bordeaux wines have to cost you an arm and a leg to work with the right menu.
2016 Chateau Fonbadet Pauillac Haut-Medoc AOC Gran Vigne de Bordeaux
13% alcohol SRP $39
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 5% Petite Verdot, and Malbec
As this is Woman’s History Month, we’d like to note that daughter Pascale now runs her family’s winery, taking over for father Pierre at Chateau Fonbadet.
Press materials say that Crus Bourgeois du Médoc appellation stands apart from other Bordeaux wines because they “undergo a continuous quality procedure, where each applicant needs to go through a rigorous annual selection; each bottle carries quality assurance sticker and QR code which guarantees the providence of the wine; and their prices hold at an excellent value point.” With an average SRP of $25 and not exceeding $40, Cru Bourgeois offers highly-accessible, high-quality Bordelaise wine.
Alban Carcaret, Managing Director of Château Malescass, a Cru Bourgeois estate for over twenty years, says that “The classification “Cru Bourgeois” makes it possible for the consumer to identify the wine in the abundance of the offer on a shelf, gives the assurance of a quality standard (…). This classification is the recognition of belonging to the best vineyards of Médoc, the most qualitative terroirs. It is based on tasting, in accordance with the Bordeaux traditions. It brings an indisputable credibility to the quality of our wines which lead in part to positive reputation and strong wine sales.”
Color: Deep and dense and dark, garnet, ruby, plum, blood red rim. Significant legs
Nose: Light aroma that does not jump out at you right away, touch of oak presence, it is more vanilla and a bit of spice, cherry fruit, nice herbal notes, green, menthol, mint
Palate: Dry, bright acidity and tannins from fruit rather than oak, very textural, suede, balanced, medium plus body. This Gran Vigne de Bordeaux really yearns for food. Sue just wanted to dive into the cheese before we tasted through the wines. Because of the acidity and tannins there is an intense quality to the wine. The finish is light in minerals, with a touch of red currant.
Pairing: Both of us went right for the salami first thinking it would tame the acidity and tannins in the wine, and it did work. It also worked with the sharp red leschter cheese, good with the blue. The squash was roasted with savory spices that worked really nicely with the wine. The peppery notes of the arugula and the savory. Our meal made this wine so much more assessable. The tart fruit of the wine cuts through all of the richness of the meal.
2015 – Chateau Lamothe de Haux – Cadillac de Bordeaux – 13% alcohol SRP $15
Chateau Lamothe de Haux: http://www.chateau-lamothe.com practices sustainable agriculture, and is owned by and with logistics by Maria Chombart; her husband works with the vines, and their children are involved in the business as well.
Color: Garnet, a bit brickish, tawny on the rim
Nose: The alcohol is a bit apparent on the nose, there is a bit of funk, red stone fruit, black pepper, a bit of clove, cherry pipe tobacco
Palate: Bright tart cherry, especially up front, there is a nice roundness mid palate that drops off quickly on the finish. Medium acidity, medium plus tannins, it is more tannic than acidic, the alcohol is not apparent, medium in body, medium flavor intensity, the oak is very integrated and does not come across on the palate
Pairing: Another wine that can handle aged sharp cheeses and salami. Great with the Red Lescther, bringing out big fruit in the wine. Loves a good blue cheese as well. Sue found it to go so well with the blueberry coated goat cheese. The salad worked well with the wine, it did not necessarily elevate. The bacon fat in the gravy loves this wine, and the mushrooms absorb the fat.
2015 – Chateau L Rame “la Charmille” Cadillac Cotes de Bordeaux – 14% alcohol SRP $24
Color: Garnet, translucent, pale mauve rim
Nose: Cherry cola, sarsaparilla, barnyard funk, sulphur
Palate: Very tart cherry, big tannins and acidity, sour cherry juice, cranberry, dry, medium bodied, medium flavor intensity, Sue whined about just wanting food already
Pairing: This is a wine that can handle strong cheeses, it really liked the red leschter, bringing out a butterscotch quality in the cheese and a sweetness to the wine that is not present without each other. The salami was also great with the wine, it can handle salt. The blue so, so good. Think of a good roquefort dressing on a salad, oil cured olives. With the salad, this wine has a wonderful herbasiousness, the herbs in the wine and on the squash go fantastically with the wine. What is interesting is that it does not bring out a sweetness in the squash even though the squash is very sweet. The mashed potato squash mash was so good with the meal, as well as the meat. Peasant food works so well with these wines. Stewed meats.
2015 – Chateau Haut-Cadet – St. Emillion Grand Cru SRP $25
92% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc
Another winery in Bordeaux where a woman is in charge is Chateau Haut-Cadet where YSEULT DE GAYE NONY runs the show:
Color: Garnet to tawny, rose mauve rim, medium density
Nose: Violets and roses, very floral, baking spices, pennyroyal, mint, the nose is very inviting
Palate: Cloves, cinnamon, and black pepper, tart red fruit, cranberry, tart cherry, plum skin, This is truly a mouthwatering wine.
Pairing: We were so ready for cheese after that taste through. We both went right to the Leschter it was alright but not the perfect pair, however hello blue cheese, it was wonderful there making us both think of a bacon blue cheese burger with ground gamey meat. The cured meat was what did it for me. Sue found the blueberry goat to be kind of fun with the wine. It really went well with the creaminess of the brie making us think it would be great with a brie en croat with a few raspberries over the top. The salad brings out a funkiness in this wine that we did not identify before. The green of the arugula and the earthiness of the squash, the dressing brings out a creaminess in the wine. The main dish brings out such lovely fruit qualities in the wine. We were perfectly satisfied.
Hopefully we will be able to meet some of these amazing women when we go to Bordeaux to compete in the US Wine Tasting Championships– but we have to make the team first!
So #clinkdifferent! Order up some Bordeaux! Dress up yourself and the table! Break out the white table cloth and the good dishes! Order some Bordeaux and make this dish!
NOTE: I am having some issues with my laptop; looks like I will be buying a new MacBook to replace this one ASAP because it really needs a visit to the Genius Bar but they are all closed right now. I wanted to get this published before I can no longer charge! Hopefully there are no egregious errors!
In creating this recipe, more mushrooms would not hurt. We did 1/2 lb, but a pound or more would be better.
- 8 slices bacon, chopped OR 4 T bacon grease
- 3 large fresh Italian parsley sprigs
- 3 large dried thyme sprigs
- 2 large dried bay leaves,
- 1 cup all purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3.5 pounds meaty oxtail pieces, trimmed of excess fat
(we used 2.5 plus 1 pound beef shank)
- 1 cup rainbow carrots, rough chop
- 4 large garlic cloves, peeled, minced, 2 left whole
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1/2 c tomato sauce
- 1 1/2 cups red Bordeaux wine plus extra for dirking while cooking
- 1/4 pound oyster mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 pound shiitake mushrooms, do not chop, leave them whole
- 4 small shallots, peeled; chop fine 1; cut in half 3
- Using the “hot” saute function, cook bacon until crisp and remove OR use “vitamin G” – 3 T of bacon grease.
- Prepare parsley, thyme, and bay leaves together for bouquet garni.
- Combine 1 cup flour, 2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper, and 1/4 tsp fresh grated nutmeg in medium bowl.
- Dredge oxtails to seasoned flour and toss to coat.
- In hot bacon grease on hot instant pot, add oxtails and brown on all sides; turn when you smell them, about 6 minutes per batch. Transfer oxtails to bowl after each batch.
- In hot saute mode, add chopped shallots, chopped celery, chopped elephant garlic, and 2 cloves chopped garlic. Sauté until soft 3-5 minutes.
- In hot saute mode, add mushrooms.
- Return oxtails and any accumulated juices to pot.
- Add herbs, broth, tomato sauce, and wine.
- Put lid on instant pot and set manual high pressure 45 minutes.
- Tilt pot and spoon off any fat that rises to surface. Stir flour paste into stew. Simmer uncovered until sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 6 to 8 minutes. Season to taste with salt and pepper. DO AHEAD: Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool 1 hour. Refrigerate uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. rewarm over low heat before serving.
Squashed Mashed Potatoes
- Cut into chunks and boil until soft:
6 baking potatoes (leave the peel for the texture and flavor)
- Add and cream by hand:
splash 1/2 and 1/2
1 cup roasted squash.