Bordeaux Entrée: Mouclade de Moules & Chateau Les Bertrands #winophiles
French #Winophiles Take on Bordeaux
Our November meeting of the French #Winophiles sends us to the famous and highly regarded wine region of Bordeaux. The Bordeaux wine region is defined by the banks of the Gironde with the two rivers feeding it, the Dordogne and the Garonne. In the far west of France, Bordeaux is also defined by a maritime climate due to the proximity of the Atlantic Ocean.
As you can see from the maps above (click on either map for a larger view), the cultural regions of France may or may not line up perfectly with its wine regions. Bordeaux lies within Aquitaine, but it is also immediately next to Poitou-Charentes, so we can look to either region for typical foods.
Mouclade de Moules
A mouclade is a regional mussel dish from the Poitou-Charentes immediately north of the Bordeaux vineyards. The mussels are cooked just like moules marinière, or mussels steamed in white wine with aromatic vegetables and herbs. To make a mouclade, the cooking liquid is thickened with cream and the mussels are served on the half-shell, topped with a spoonful of the sauce. One more recipe for my imaginary future book: 101 Ways to Steam Mussels and Clams.
When you think of Bordeaux wines, you think first of red blends. Cabernet Sauvignon domininant if on the “left bank”, and Merlot dominant if on the “right bank”. Sweet white dessert wines, like Sauternes are next. Oh, and all of them are uber-expensive. Less known, perhaps, are the lovely white wines of Bordeaux, typically based on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Of course, you’ll not see the grape on the label, only the town.
Bordeaux for Mere Mortals and Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux
The wine region of Bordeaux has lots of acres planted to grapes. Sure, there are chateaus producing very expensive wines, but there are whole denominations making lovely, affordable wines from the same grapes. You just need to go a bit outside the well known towns. Immediately across the Gironde from the famous left bank towns of Margaux and St. Julien, you’ll find a region called Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux. It doesn’t have the star-power of a Margaux, but the price tag is such that you can afford to enjoy the wines anytime you like!
Château Les Bertrands Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux Cuvée Tradition 2014 (6 € purchased in Lyon, France)
White Bordeaux wines can be blends of any of the four grapes: Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, Muscadelle, Sauvignon Gris. While I love Sauvignon Blanc, I’m not always fond of Semillon in the blend. I was happy to see this wine is 85% Sauvignon Blanc and 15% Muscadelle. This wine did not spend any time in oak, so there is no wood influence. If oak is your thing, Château Les Bertrands also makes a nice version aged in oak.
Nicole and Jean-Pierre Dubois are the owners of the Château and they are good friends of our cousins in Lyon. Julie and I met them at our recent visit which (luckily for me!) coincided with the Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants. Not only did we get to meet over dinner, we had the opportunity to purchase some of their wine at the Salon.
Eye: Clear, straw yellow color
Nose: Nice French Sauvignon Blanc nose, chalk, a whiff of pungent grassy aroma (aka “cat pee”).
Mouth: Very nice medium body. All the crispness of Sauvignon Blanc, but more body.
Perfect with a cream sauce on mussels, the wine needed that extra bit of body to balance the richness in the flavorful, creamy sauce.
French #Winophiles Posts and Twitter Chat
Want to chat with our group? Join us on Saturday November 21 at 10am CST. Join in the Bordeaux conversation on Twitter at #Winophiles!
See what our other winophiles have shared this month:
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Coquilles Saint-Jacques with Château de Chantegrive Graves Cuvée Caroline”
David from Cooking Chat brings “Bordeaux Braised Beef”
Michelle from Rockin Red Blog is sharing “Oh Bordeaux You’re So Fine”
Sarah from Curious Cuisiniere brings us “Haricots Verts (Green Beans) Amandine paired with White Bordeaux”
Wendy from A Day in the Life on a Farm spices things up with “Indian Spiced Beef Bordeaux and a 2010 Chateau Dumas Cenot
Christy from Confessions of a Culinary Diva shares “Bordeaux by way of Burgundy”
Mouclade de Moules
The recipe for Mouclade de Moules is available at Epicurious. The dish is easy to make and the sauce will separate it from your normal, run-of-the-mill steamed mussels. Serving the mussels on the half-shell also added a level of elegance to the presentation in case you want to impress your guests!