Clos Rougeard for Wine Blogging Wednesday

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I know this is Friday, but it’s better (a little) late than never, no?  We drank the wine on Monday night even, so it’s definitely qualified for this Wine Blogging Wednesday Friday.  For those of you new to this, Wine Blogging Wednesday is the fun event in the (mostly) wine and (some) food blogging community.  Each month a new blog host chooses a theme for the tasting.  It could be anything from a cépage, year, region, flavor or even the wacky-name edition which I hosted a few years ago.

The theme this month is Cabernet Franc, and the host is none other than the oddly fascinating Gary Vaynerchuck of Wine Library TV. Gary hosts a wine video blog, so it should be fun to see how he’s going to do the roundup.  Count on him to do something outrageously hilarious, or hilariously outrageous, or even both.

My choice is my absolute favorite Saumur Champigny: 2001 Clos Rougeard “Le Bourg”.  At home on Monday, David and I hosted a small impromptu dinner party with the wine and a simple roast chicken with vegetables from the garden.

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Clos Rougeard is from the appellation Saumur Champigny in the Loire Valley, France.  I tasted their wine for the first time when the sommelier at L’Astrance in Paris poured it for a pairing.  I forgot what the dish was.  Clearly the wine was quite something to have upstaged Pascal Barbot’s exquisite food.

Clos Rougeard’s red wines are made from 100% Cabernet Franc, or Breton as known in the area.  The vineyards practice what they label as “natural farming practice” which, for them, is a combination or organic and biodynamic principles.  This particular wine “Le Bourg” came from vines that are over 80 years old which produce very low yields.  The vines, much like us people, need to suffer a bit to build character, and these one vines certainly have it in spades.

Img_1793What did it taste like?  Delicious.  Very delicious.  Juicy without tasting like licking a spoonful of jam.  Soft tannin that didn’t grab you by the throat and not let go.  Balanced acidity–enough there to bring other tastes into focus without dominating everything.  A hint of spice, someone at the table even said a hint of green olive.  Beautiful body, ever-so-slightly-cloudy from being unfiltered.  It’s a gorgeous, delicious wine that you don’t need a degree in oenology to appreciate.  I just adore it.

This is a food blog, so we must also talk about the food we paired with the wine.  We had just returned home from days of relentless fancy eating at the Pebble Beach Food & Wine, so we craved something very simple.  We had some greens we picked from the garden we could cook up, and decided to do a simple roast chicken to accompany them.

It’s so simple I hardly need to write a recipe for you.  We gave the free-range chicken a nice massage with my homemade Normande butter, sprinkle a good dose of salt and pepper, and roast that baby until done.  During the last 20 minutes I threw in a few green garlic we just picked.  They need to roast just enough to soften thoroughly and brown just a tiny bit, so I didn’t add them at the beginning.  When the chicken was done, I made a quick jus with a splash of Vermouth (the Clos Rougeard was too good).  In a hot pan with good olive oil, David quickly tossed some New Zealand spinach (Tetragon in French) and tiny florettes of purple cauliflower and strewn them around a big platter of roast chicken.

It was a beautifully simple dinner, made even lovelier with the delicious wine.

Read more about Clos Rougeard at funny man Joe Dressner’s blog.

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  • http://lavieinenglsih.blogspot.com Babeth

    Simple and beautiful diner just like I love it!
    Happy Friday!

  • http://www.ForkandBottle.com Jack at Fork & Bottle

    Pim. Shsssh. This is my favoriate Loire producer, and this wine is one of those “we” don’t talk about. Otherwise it will go from (currently) very difficult (for a consumer) to acquire, to, next-to-impossible (and at a much higher price).
    Great to see it’s showing so well right now. Le Bourg gets the full oak treatment (well, compared to the basic cuvee and the Les Poyeux), and is supposed need much more ageing. But I’m not no so sure of that.

  • http://kristainlondon.typepad.com Krista

    I love 100% Cabernet Franc wines, such soft and pretty tastes. I’m also getting more an more intrigued by biodynamic wines, so thanks for bringing this one to my attention. Hopefully I can find it here in London.

  • tb3

    Hmm. Just had roast chicken tonight (Sunday) and discovered your blog. Had it with our last bottle of 1996 Peyre Rose “Clos des Cistes”; our prefect roast chicken wine to date and unfortunately no longer imported into the US. Will have to put the Rougeart on our list.
    Btw, what did you do with the carcass? Ours yielded a nice gallon of stock. Now that it’s all strained and put away, time to go to bed.
    Sweet dreams.

  • http://chezpim.com Pim

    Jack, sometimes one is nice and one shares these secrets, no? ;-)
    tb3, my carcass went into the freezer. I do that with chicken bones I don’t have time to deal with at the moment. I’ve got quite a chicken cemetery going on in my freezer right now. It’s a little gnarly to tell the truth.
    cheers all,
    Pim

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  • http://www.clubwinedirect.com.au/ Club Wine Direct wine online

    The Saumur Champigny: 2001 Clos Rougeard “Le Bourg” is really a good choice. I also pefer it, I have one of them, and I really enjoy the taste and smell of it.

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    wine tasting event is fun to attend. Great article!

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    Clos Rougeard has just been voted the top Loire red wine producer. Clos Rougeard wines are surprisingly fine in lesser vintages. All wine buffs are familiar with Clos Rougeard.

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