Wednesday, September 07, 2005


WBW13 - Wine and Chocolate - 1999 Chateau Clerc Milon

(I actually got the dates messed up and wrote this a few Wednesdays ago but am just posting it. Thankfully, since my mind is overwhelmed with Katrina right now and I'm sure I could not have mustered up the chipperness I did then.)

Wine choices tend to reflect allegiances. For instance, as an L.A. girl, whenever I visit people who aren’t from here, I am certain to bring a California wine, since there are so many fantastic ones to choose from. When I am with my family, I will always bring a South American wine (knowing their preference for all things Latin.) but in my home, I almost always drink French wine. Just a quick browse of my (ahem) cellar I can see that 90% of the bottles (you know, of the 28 there are) are French with a few Italians are thrown in, but not a California wine is to be seen.

I don’t know if it because my first serious exposure to wine was as a teenager visiting friends in the Loire valley, or maybe it was the Wines of France class I signed up for a week after my 21st birthday or perhaps (and most likely) that my (much adored) French speaking grandmother (Who was not French, but said, “Why darling, all good families speak French” Seriously, she said that. In French. Which I barely understand) always had a lovely bottle of red open for dinner, all leading to me developing a sincere love of French wines. I also can (sort of) decipher the labels, (it’s tricky, if you don’t speak French and it requires memorizing regions/appellations. A challenge all around, but totally worth the effort. It's also a great party trick.) which I know helps.

For this weeks Wine Blog Wednesday, I pulled out a bottle of 1999 Chateau Clerc Milon that was suitably dusty and and brought it over to Baby-Barc's house for a little snort. The idea (dreamt up by Clotilde) of this weeks challenge was to find a wine that pairs well with chocolate. And while I’m certain this wine would, I admit I just wasn’t in a baking mood. Or a chocolate mood (I had my fill earlier this week thanks) and since there wasn’t even a bit of the stuff in B-B's house to nibble on, I will have to talk about the wine without the benefit of a perfect accompaniment. We drank and talked while the ladies indulged in clove cigarettes (mmm. Clove-y. Not a common pairing for a good bottle of wine, but who am I to dictate) while we took notes on the wine and compared.

Overall, it is a heavy wine, but balanced. The color was a vibrant claret and the first notes (what we smelled when the bottle was uncorked) were fragrant and heady. We chatted a bit about what balanced wine really means, and decided that in this wine, it meant there was a full mouth feel, (a plus) strong dark-red fruit notes (mostly cherry) that softened a lot of the tougher, leather-tobacco-coffee flavors that Cabernets (this is a blend, but mostly cabernet) are known for. Those are the flavors that make it a good pairing for steak, chocolate or a good cigar. It seemed to us that the tannins (you know, the property that makes your mouth dry and puckery) were a little harsh, but that is most likely because of the age of the wine. It certainly was drinkable though. Very drinkable. We actually loved it.

For a $35 bottle, I think it is a sensational buy for a new collector, and if you can find an older bottle (say 1988) I suspect it would be a dream. This bottle comes from a Rothchild estate, (they bought the 180 year old vineyards in 1970) where they have been making wines for forever and a day, and have a wide range of choices (price wise) but always a tendency (in my opinion) to make build a wine for aging. I think this wine is just like that. It needed a few more years (10 perhaps) to really round out, but overall, it was worth opening. Had we only had some chocolate.


Read a professional review of this wine here

In 1935
the Institut National des Appellations d'Origine (INAO), was created to manage the administration of the process for wines.

The total area of France is 211,208 square miles, which makes it smaller than the state of Texas. Yet, there are
there are 467 appellations and 80,000 wine producers.

Ah ha! Here it is kids, the info you wanted! There really were Hedgehog flavoured crisps (potato chips) in the UK. It should be noted, they haven't made them in years

I bought this at Wally's Wines. A fantastic store all around.


That's great that you are so comfortable and confident talking about wine. You made me want to hone my skills in this area. :)
Rachael, as you can see from my post on this topic, I'm a total wine neophyte. I have to rely on other people's opinions, because I really don't know much about it all. I can describe it, and I can drink it, but I don't know it.

You're much more of an adult than I am. 28 bottles!
this post reminded me of one of my most favourite fall events that is fast approaching --- "Port & Chocolate", a most delicious combination!
Learning about wine can be daunting, I agree, but it is SO worth it. If nothing else, it teaches you a lot about the geography of France and is a little insight into their culture. Plus, it gets you tipsy. LOL.
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