Match of the week | Braised rabbit and Château Fond Cyprès Syrah de la Pinède

Match of the week

Braised rabbit and Château Fond Cyprès Syrah de la Pinède

Most of this past week has been spent in Paris where almost every wine match is a good one. There’s been a lot of Beaujolais - and other Gamay - drinking and a fair amount of crisp dry whites such as Aligoté - but the pairing I’m going to pick is a Syrah I didn’t know with a stonking great plateful of braised rabbit at the legendary Baratin.

What’s clever about the cooking there is that it’s classic bistro food but with a wonderful lightness of touch. The rabbit wasn’t overwhelmed by the red wine it was cooked in merely anointed with it so you still had a sense of the delicacy of the meat. There was apparently a touch of cocoa in the sauce though I didn’t pick that up.

I was having an equally robust dish of roast pork with sauce pibil - a Mexican way of cooking with orange juice and annatto seed, as I later discovered. Again, not hot, not overly smoky, just incredibly delicious. (The chef Rachel Carena originally came from Argentina.)

We were looking for a syrah and settled on this one on the recommendation of the gaffer Philippe Pinoteau who selects the largely natural wine list. It’s a vivid, life-affirming young syrah called Syrah de la Pinède (the 2011 vintage), made on an organic estate called Château Fond Cyprès in the Corbières. One of their wines, Hope là, is imported by Naked Wines - not to universal appeal judging by the comments on the site but then natural wine isn't everybody's cup of tea. Maybe it needed decanting as Le Baratin did ours.

Syrah has a delicious savoury edge that works really well with dishes like this. It doesn’t even need to be French though almost invariably is in Paris ;-)

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