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 recently had a vintner’s lunch with winemaker Vincent Lataste and his charming wife at Gabriel Kreuther’s eponymous restaurant, which has a very good Alsatian/French-inspired kitchen.
We had two white wines, a rosé, and a red from Château de Lardiley, an Entre-Deux-Mers Cadillac winery owned by the Lataste family since 1905, and a 2009 Château Mamin, a classic left-bank wine from Graves.
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 percent of the country’s vineyard area.
The first wine we tried was a 100 percent sauvignon blanc, a fresh, food-friendly, highly aromatic wine with lychee, grapefruit, lemon zest, and freshly cut grass on the nose. It was zippy with a mineral and citrusy finish and paired beautifully with 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). With it came a golden-hued glass of a sweet white Bordeaux made from sémillon grapes. Since Cadillac is near Sauternes, I was not surprised to have this sémillon with the foie gras. It was 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 fat of the foie gras, and you can’t beat the price-to-quality ratio.
Paired with a dish of Black Angus Tenderloin, kohlrabi, Brussels sprouts, with a cabernet sauvignon jus, was a Château de Lardiley Bordeaux Rouge, 100 percent cabernet sauvignon. This premières côtes de Bordeaux classic wine is made from younger vines and had notes of red fruit, and spices dominated the nose. The full body (blackberries, plums, black cherries, and a hint of coffee) was highlighted by ripe, but a bit tight, tannins. Though ready to drink, it will hold well for another four to six years.
The final wine, served with the cheese course, was the 2009 Château Mamin, a blend of 90 percent merlot and 10 percent cabernet sauvignon that tasted like one of the better Margaux wines.
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-bodied 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 and can be cellared for five to seven years.
To your health!
Manos Angelakis is a wine and food writer in New York City. As the gastronomy critic for LuxuryWeb.com, he has spent many years traveling the world in search of culinary excellence.