Sweet Bordeaux Meets the Smoke #Winophiles

Sweet wines with lively acidity are a treat with smoky, spicy, peppery meats!

French #Winophiles Celebrate Sweet Bordeaux at the Table
This month our French #Winophiles are collaborating with Sweet Bordeaux US, a group of wineries from a sub-region of Bordeaux who produce a variety of sweet wines. Our Winophiles will be exploring food pairings with these delicious wines – not just dessert! Scroll down to the bottom of this post for a list of links to all the great ideas from our bloggers and cooks!

The southern corner of the Bordeaux region has the climatic conditions perfect for botrytis infected (that’s a good thing!) sweet wines

What’s Sweet Bordeaux?
South of the city of Bordeaux, on the banks of the Garonne river, the conditions in the autumn are often right for “noble rot”, botrytis cinerea. Fog and mist overnight burns off into sunny afternoons creating the conditions for noble rot to shrivel grapes, concentrating their sugars and introducing citrus aromas and flavors. Sauternes is the the community most famous for these wines, but they are produced all around this area of Bordeaux. If you know about these less famous regions, you can find charming wines which are easier on the pocketbook!

Not all the wines are concentrated and intensely sweet. There are wines which are just lightly sweet, medium sweet or “Moelleux” and concentrated and intensely sweet, “Liquoreux”.

Thoughts on Sweet Bordeaux at the Dinner Table
I had the opportunity to participate in a number of webinars this summer on the topic of Sweet Bordeaux being more than just a dessert wine. If you’re interested, here’s a link to a fun webinar. In fact, I wrote an article for Ecole du Vin de Bordeaux on the topic, available here. If you just don’t care for sweet wine, a good food pairing isn’t going to change your mind. However, if you are open to the thought, then give a try to sweet wines with seriously savory and spicy foods. You’ll be pleasantly surprised!

Disclosure: The wines in this post were provided as samples. No other compensation was involved, all opinions expressed are mine.

Château Tanesse “Palissades” Moelleux Premières Côtes de Bordeaux is medium-sweet with a lively, refreshing acidity

Château Tanesse “Palissades” Moelleux Premières Côtes de Bordeaux AOC 2018 (sample $16 SRP or online here) 12.5% abv. 85% Muscadelle 15% Sauvignon Blanc

Eye: Clear, medium lemon
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of fresh white blossoms, chamomile, lemons, grapefruit
Mouth: Medium sweet with medium plus acidity, medium alcohol, full body with a silky texture and a medium plus lingering finish. Medium intensity flavors of white flowers, chamomile, fresh lemons, a bit of grapefruit.
Observations: Refreshing white wine which maintains a nice balance between sweetness and refreshing acidity.

For a Liquoreaux (intensely sweet) wine like Loupiac, one option is to serve it on ice as an aperitif

Château Dauphiné Rondillon Loupiac AOC 2015 (sample, $42 SRP or online here) 13% abv. residual sugar: 119 g/l 80% Semillon 20% Sauvignon Blanc

Eye: Clear, deep gold
Nose: Medium plus aromas of orange marmalade, orange creamsicle, lemon curd, a bit of musk,
Mouth: Sweet with medium plus acidity, medium alcohol, full body with luscious texture, long lingering fruity finish. Flavors of orange marmalade, orange creamsicle, lemon curd, musky savory notes.
Observations: Not quite the level of intensity of Sauternes, however, a delicious balance of luscious texture, sweetness held up by a lively acidity. Also, delicious on ice with a twist of orange or lemon peel as an aperitif.

Sweet Bordeaux Wines with Smoked & Braised Short Ribs
I found the Chateau Tanesse “Palissades” Moelleux wine’s refreshing and lightly sweet nature to be a perfect balance for the smoky, spicy beef short rib.

The recipe for both the dish and the rub is in Mary & Sean’s Fire and Wine cookbook. It’s also fully described on their website Vindulge.com. My only substitutions and changes are as follows:

  • For the rub, I omit the salt. I prefer to salt my meats separately, usually first. Other spices don’t soak into the meat but the salt does, plus I can independently control the saltiness and the spiciness of the dish
  • I substituted the Mouelleux Sweet Bordeaux wine for the red wines listed in the recipe since I was experimenting with Sweet Bordeaux pairing!

Sweet Bordeaux Pairing Ideas from the French Winophiles
Take a look below at all the great pairing ideas tried by our group! We love for you to join us in our chat on Saturday Nov. 21 at 10-11am CST. Just look for #Winophiles on Twitter!

22 Responses to “Sweet Bordeaux Meets the Smoke #Winophiles”
  1. culinarycam says:

    Thanks for this great post. As always, Jeff, I learn a lot from your posts. SO interesting that several of us are leaning savory for these pairings.

  2. robincgc says:

    I had not tried one of the sweet wines as an aperitif! I do believe I have a bit of one left and will try that this evening!
    I cannot believe how much time you devoted to smoking braising this! It looks delicious!

  3. For those of us who immediately think red with meat, this is a refreshing change! Thanks for the idea and for arranging these sweet Bordeaux samples.

  4. Lynn says:

    I have to say (again) you have a most picturesque property from which to take photos! We don’t eat much beef but these ribs and this mind might take us there. Curious if you tried the Loupiac with them too?

  5. The Corkscrew Concierge says:

    I LOVE Vindulge! They know their way around a smoker for sure!

  6. Great set of pairings, and great article for L’ecole du vin de Bordeaux! I imagine the smoky element was a lot of fun to play with.

  7. Lots of great options and ideas! It was fun pairing the semi-dry with a meal.

  8. wendyklik says:

    My, those short ribs look lovely. I think everyone agreed that these wines love some spice.

  9. A great idea to pair these wines with smoked fare Jeff! Plus braised too?! Winning!

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