French Wine Club
February Chateauneuf Club
We are coming to the end of our '07 Châteauneuf allocations, - starting next month we will concentrate on high quality French wines, with an emphasis on wines from the Rhone.
We will change the name of the club to the French Wine Vlub.
This month, we present Clos de Brusquieres, a tiny, traditional CDP producer. This miniscule, ultra-traditional estate produces tiny quantities of just one wine: no luxury cuvée, no specialty blend, just a stunningly pure and complex Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Owner Claude Courtil is the godson of none other than Henri Bonneau, one of the most legendary and revered producers in the region, and he learned everything he knows about winemaking from his godfather. Henri and Claude share a deeply held commitment to natural winemaking: manual vineyard work, traditional aging in large foudres, and bottling without intrusive fining and filtration. A reserved, introspective man, Courtil sold his entire production to negociants until the 1996 vintage, and he has been producing steadily more impressive and complete wine ever since -- though the '96 is an extremely gorgeous Chateauneuf in its own right! This is truly a special domaine, and one that is extremely deserving of your attention.
The outstanding 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape exhibits a darker, plum/garnet/ruby hue as well as an evolved, but complex bouquet of kirsch liqueur, lavender, new saddle leather, spice box, and garrigue. It is an unadorned, pure wine with the kirsch/black cherry liqueur character following through across the attack, mid-palate, and finish. Quasi-rustic tannins kick in at the finish, but there is more than sufficient substance to stand up to the wine’s structure.
This small 23-acre estate sold most of its wine to negociants until the mid to late-nineties, but like many Chateauneuf du Pape domaines, it is now estate bottling. The blend of 80% Grenache and the rest equal parts Syrah and Mourvedre from very old vines (planted in the early 1930s) is very traditional.
Refer a Friend Promotion: From now through March 31, we'll give you either a $10 Farmstead Gift Certificate or a Bottle of Wine for every new Wine Club membership that you bring to us.
Grilled Venison with Salsify and Black Truffles Serves Four
Babbo, one of Chef Mario Batali's New York city restaurants, is known for its imaginative menu that highlights game and organ meats. This is one of his creations that incorporates the use of truffles. While they may break the bank, the expense is worth it for this incredible dish that will pair harmoniously with this months club selection.
* 1 teaspoon juniper berries
* 2 rosemary sprigs
* 4 garlic cloves, thinly sliced
* 1 1/2 cups extra virgin olive oil
* 4 boneless venison leg steaks (Denver steaks), about 8 ounces each*
* Juice of 1 lemon
* 12 ounces salsify
* 2 cups dry red wine
* 1/2 cup sugar
* Pinch of ground cloves
* Pinch of ground cinnamon
* 1 teaspoon rosemary, minced
* 2 tablespoons anisette liqueur
* 1 teaspoon anchovy paste
* Salt and pepper
* 1 small fresh black truffle**
To make the marinade, combine the juniper berries, rosemary sprigs, half the garlic, and the olive oil in a small bowl. Put the venison in a shallow baking dish and pour the marinade over the meat, turning to coat. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours.
Heat a grill.
Fill a medium bowl with cold water and add the lemon juice. Peel the salsify. Cut into 4 inch lengths and quarter each piece lengthwise; add the prepared salsify to the lemon water as you work, to keep it from darkening. Cover and refrigerate.
To make the sauce, combine the wine and sugar in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer and reduce by three-quarters or until syrupy. Add the cloves, cinnamon, and the minced rosemary, and set aside.
Heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over high heat. Drain the salsify and pat dry. Add the salsify to the pan and cook, stirring occasionally, until browned and tender, 8 to 10 minutes. Add the remaining garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the anisette and anchovy paste and toss to coat. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm.
Remove the vension from the marinade, draining it thoroughly; discard the marinade. Season on both sides with salt and pepper. Place the venison on the grill and cook, turning once, for about 3 to 4 minutes per side for medium-rare (125F). Transfer to a platter, cover with foil, and let rest about 5 minutes.
Reheat the salsify and sauce over low heat.
Slice the venison and arrange on dinner plates. Place the salsify next to the venison, and drizzle the sauce over the meat. Shave the truffle over top, and serve immediately.
*Denver steaks are boneless venison leg steaks cut from the top round.
** black truffles may be available from most specialty food stores or on-line at www.urbani.com