Story and grape and wine pouring in glass shot by Manos Angelakis
Bottle and food shots -- Lydia Lee Photographers
Vincent Lataste Vineyards
Finally, a Bordeaux winemaker that makes numerous lovely wines, a number in a New World style, and prices them right for the average consumer.
I had a vintner’s lunch a few days ago with Vincent Lataste and his charming wife at Gabriel Kreuther’s mid-town restaurant that has a very good Alsatian/French -inspired kitchen.
We had 2 white wines, a rosé, and a red from Château de Lardiley, an Entre-Deux-Mers Cadillac winery owned by the Lataste family since 1905. We finished with another red, a 2009 Château Mamin that is a classic left-bank wine from Graves. This last wine was a blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that tastes like one of the better Margaux wines.
Even though the winery is a high volume producer, all these wines are certified organic, quite an agricultural transformation from the average Bordeaux vineyard. Across France, there are only 4,692 producers with certified organic vineyards, equivalent to 7.9% of the country’s vineyard area.
The first wine we tried was an 100% Sauvignon Blanc; a fresh, food-friendly, highly aromatic wine – lychee, grapefruit, lemon zest and freshly cut grass on the nose – that is zippy with a mineral and citrusy finish. It paired beautifully with the pass-around Shemogue oysters, topped with salmon caviar and bathed in a smoked salmon coulis with shredded leeks. This wine was so Chilean in taste that I thought someone might be trying to play a trick on us; until I saw the actual bottle and tasted a second glass. The wine can more than hold its own in a global market context.
The first plate that was presented at the table was a torchon of foie gras (on the menu it was described as a terrine; I don’t want to quibble, but it was definitely a torchon since it was a cylindrical preparation not shaped in a form). With it came a golden hued glass of a sweet, white Bordeaux made from Semillon grapes. Since Cadillac is near Sauternes, I was not surprised to have this Semillon with the foie gras. It is a bit less rich than the better known Sauternes; but it charmed us with aromas of pears and white peach more like a New World (Canada) late harvest wine. It is well balanced, with enough acidity to cut the foie gras’ fat, and you can’t beat the price to quality ratio.
A Black Angus Tenderloin was the meat course, served with kohlrabi and brussel sprouts with a cabernet sauvignon jus. With this course, a Château de Lardiley Bordeaux Rouge, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, was served. This is a premières côtes de Bordeaux classic wine from younger vines. Notes of red fruit and spices dominate the nose. The full body (blackberries, plums, black cherries and a hint of coffee) is highlighted by ripe, but a bit tight, tannins. It is ready to drink now and will hold well for another 4 to 6 years.
The final wine that was served with the cheese course was the 2009 Château Mamin. As I mention above it is a classic left-bank red; a terrific Bordeaux wine, at an excellent price from a very good vintage. Full body with cassis and black plums on the palate. The nose is really enchanting with black fruit, espresso, smoke and toasty vanilla. As a wine for a main course, it would pair very well with roast beef or Peking duck. It is also ready to drink now and can be cellared for 5 to 7 years.
To your health!
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