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There are not many recipes in Julia Child's "Mastering the Art of French Cooking" that I would make again and again-- except this one. The Coq au Vin dish from her book is to her credit quite marvelous. If you are a chicken lover and if you have never tried this dish, I strongly urge you to give it a try. Coq Au Vin is a Burgundian dish, and is considered a French comfort food. The traditional recipe for Coq au Vin did not include chicken, but rather a "Coq", which is a rooster. A lot of recipes originally called for old barnyard fowl, roosters, capon (a de-sexed rooster), and old laying hens. Coq au Vin was originally considered peasant food, and the farmers would make do with what they had on hand. The red wine in the recipe was used not to mask flavor, but to allow the acids to help break down the old meat of the rooster. True coq Au Vin was actually finished with the blood of the rooster stabilized with brandy and vinegar, this would help the blood not clot.
You can find her recipe
here
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2005 Château de Paillet-Quancard Premières Côtes de Bordeaux
Red Bordeaux is probably one of my least favorite subjects; not because I do not like those wines, as I think in good vintages they are the best expression of the Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot grapes, but because in order to get a good bottle of wine one has to spend at least $25. Following the advise of my wine merchant, I have purchased this 2005 Premières Côtes de Bordeaux, as this vintage is known as the latest great one in Bordeaux.  
The Premières Côtes de Bordeaux is a French AOC located in the Entre-Deux-Mers region, the triangular area between the Dordogne and the Garonne rivers. Its wines are Merlot based and represent a good value, with prices starting from the $15. They are made for early drinking, but they keep well and develop with age.
Julia Child's book pairs this dish with red Burgundy or Cru Beaujolais, but I felt the dish might overpower those wines, so I selected this Merlot based Bordeaux because it has more body and a balanced fruity/earthy profile. The blend is 80% Merlot, 15 Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cab Franc. It has been fermented in in temperature controlled stainless steel and cement vats, with 3 weeks of maceration followed by aging in oak barrels for 10 months. One third of the barrels are renewed each year.
Tasting notes:
A deep purple color shows this wine is still pretty young. On the nose, it opens with an intense bouquet of plum and blackberry, along with chalky notes and hints of dried herbs and old leather. Medium bodied with gripping tannins and high acidity providing a firm backbone. Good mix of dark and candied fruit flavors, chalkiness, oak and green vegetables, the latter carrying throughout the finish. It's not the wine that blow your socks off, but definitely a good value for an entry level Bordeaux (retail $12.99 - AVIN8106597223951)

 


Comments

04/16/2010 19:10

I have worked in the wine industry for over 10 years now, and the one thing I have tried to tell any of my clients is; with wine is that money doesn't always decide weather if its a good wine or not. Although this particular Bordeaux is really really good with lots of flavor. It complements very well with chicken, and some meats. Very interesting though. thanks for sharing.

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04/17/2010 12:16

I agree. If you spend $80 for a bottle of wine you expect it to be exceptional, but finding a little pearl for $15 is what makes me appreciate good wineries even more.

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