A $20 steak-friendly Bordeaux.
It’s hard for us to find good matches in Bordeaux. We love the culture, food, and the wine of the region, but the place is dominated by large winemaking operations. We prefer to work with winemakers with small volumes. Producers who don’t need to move large quantities of wine can take more care in the vineyard and in the cellar. That is one of the reasons we’re drawn to Burgundy, the home of the small-batch winemaker. Sometimes, however, we’re lucky enough to find a family-scale producer in Bordeaux. One of these is the Chateau Léhoul in Graves.
Eric Fonta’s family has been making wine at the property since 1798, and today it’s still very much a family affair. When we visited a few weeks ago Eric was making deliveries, and his wife was at their son’s soccer practice, so it fell to the grandmère to host us. She happily took us on a quick tour of their vines, and gave us some samples of the 2010 red. The 2010 will be delicious, but for now we’re enjoying the last of our 2009 stock.
With tenderloins on many home menus these days, we’re reminded of the beautiful match between beef and good Bordeaux. Léhoul is a cabernet-merlot blend, and the juicy plum and currant notes will marry nicely with savory steak. Don’t be afraid to crust it in peppercorns either – this is a lively wine that will stand up well to some spice.
As with most technical cooking questions, we defer happily to Chris Kimball of Cook’s Illustrated. (Link is here – registration is free and pretty quick.) His recent recipe is detailed and thoughtful as usual, and if yours turns out anything like the one in the photo, we’ll be coming over for dinner soon.
CHATEAU LEHOUL 2009
Ansonia Retail: $25
Holiday Catalog Price: $19.95