LÉHOUL Graves Rouge 2009
We focus on winemakers with small volumes. A producer who doesn’t need to market large quantities 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.
It’s harder 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, and the négociants add an entire commercial layer between the vineyard and the consumer. Still, with enough legwork, our kind of winemaker is to be found, and we are always collecting ideas for our infrequent visits. Last fall we spent a week tasting in Bordeaux, and we made a few great finds. Today we’re introducing one of them: Chateau Léhoul in Graves.
Eric Fonta’s family has been making wine at the property since 1798. He has a no-nonsense approach and genuine passion for in the wine he produces, and it shows in both the man and the product. We’ve started importing both his red and white Graves, and there is much enthusiasm for both. Today’s offer, Chateau Léhoul rouge 2009, is a blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. A touch of vanilla introduces plenty of ripe blackberry fruit, with plenty of rich structure.
A medium rare steak coated with cracked black peppercorns will pair classically. Madame Forest (see last Sunday’s story) reminded us of the benefits of resting a steak before cutting it, and we will repeat her suggestion here. Pull it off the grill a touch early, wrap it lightly in tinfoil for five or ten minutes, and the juices will soak back up into the meat as its temperature becomes more uniform. Serve alongside a few mushrooms sautéed in good olive oil, or simply savor the beautiful match between beef and a good Bordeaux.
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