Match of the week
Challans Duck and Château le Puy
It’s easy to be so cocky about a wine pairing that you cease to leave your mind open to other possibilities. So duck has always led me to burgundy (or other pinot noir) rather than Bordeaux. But last week’s spectacular meal with Château Le Puy at Hélène Darroze at the Connaught convinced me that mature Bordeaux can be just as delicious an option.
It wasn’t just any old duck mind you but a Challans duck, much prized in France for its tenderness and depth of flavour. It was served with endive and, I subsequently discovered from the menu, rhubarb though that wasn’t really detectable in the dish.
And the deep, sensuously velvety wine, the 2009 vintage of the Chateaux single vineyard Barthélemy for which they are trying to get a separate appellation, would have shone with practically anything to be honest. The vineyard is farmed biodynamically and the wine made with without sulphites, fining or filtration. (I’d love to give it blind to anyone who dismisses all natural wine as faulty or ‘cidery')
There were some other fascinating wines and pairings during the meal too - their extraordinarily deep-coloured rosé 'Rose Marie' with a dish of lobster with morels and vin jaune, a chocolate and coffee dessert with a wine, Detour des Isles, which is treated like a madeira and travels round the world before being bottled and the discovery that the 2015 vintage of their white Bordeaux Marie Cecile which is 100% semillon was the perfect match for our cheeseboard.
The experience had a particular poignancy for me in that my late husband introduced me to Le Puy and we shared the fabled 2003 at one of our favourite restaurants La cour de Rémi which was always our final stop in France at the end of the summer holidays. He would have loved this extraordinary dinner.
I ate at Helene Darroze as a guest of Chateau le Puy. The restaurant has a vertical of of their cuvée Emilien on the wine list.
If you found this post useful and were happy to get the advice for free perhaps you'd think about donating towards the running costs of the site? You can find out how to do it here or to subscribe to our regular newsletter click here.