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Cassoulet wine pairing suggestions?

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Because my longtime live-in girlfriend can't drink due to health problems, I find that I don't drink often myself, although I love to eat! And drink! Tomorrow we are going to La Casserole for cassoulet, and I am going to treat myself to something to drink, but I have no idea what to bring with me. I asked when I made the reservations, but didn't quite understand what was suggested. Before you say it, I was too late for reservations at Le P'tit Plateau, where the cassoulet is indeed very very good.

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  1. The same wines that work best with duck confit: robust, structured reds from southwest France like Madiran, Cahors, Gaillac, Côtes du Frontonnais, Bordeaux, Canon-Fronsac, Côtes de Francs and Côtes de Castillon. Tell us how much you'd like to plunk for your plonk and we'll provide some specific suggestions.

    2 Replies
    1. re: carswell

      I was just coming back here to put a price range. About $25 for a bottle works for me. I was going to guess Bordeaux (based on a bottle a friend brought over last week), and I think the restaurant recommended "un petit de Castillon" but I can't say for sure as my French is only so-so.

      1. re: T.I.M.

        They probably mean Côtes de Castillon, a right bank Bordeaux appellation next door to Côtes de Francs and Saint Émilion. The Vieux Château Champs de Mars ($22.25, 10264860) is normally pretty good, though I've not had the current vintage (2003 -- expect very ripe fruit). Château Ampélia and Château de l'Estang are also reliable.

        Two Madirans I like are the 2005 Château Aydie ($24.80, 10268553) and the 2005 Château Lafitte-Teston Vieilles Vignes ($22.30, 00747816), with their rich fruit and tannic structure (as you might guess about wines made from Tannat grapes).

        The 2004 Clos Triguedina ($22.65, 00746412 ) is a beautiful, traditionally styled Cahors, and probably what I'd pick were I in your shoes.

        More austere but just as impressive is the 2004 Irouleguy from Domaine Ilarria ($22.35, 10783694), a blend of Tannat and Cabernet Franc. Not a lot left in the system, so may be hard to find.

    2. A friend from Toulouse says the more "sud-ouest" wines - although of course Bordeaux is in southwestern France, he means more along the lines of Madiran, Cahors and the others carswell listed. Do ask your SAQ wine counsellor - I don't know where you live; the closest SAQ Sélection to me is Beaubien/St-André and they always advise well, and will respect your price point. I bought a couple of lovely SW France wines for Christmastime (we had duck) but don't recall the precise bottles, and often they only get in small quantities of interesting ones, so they change.

      The Laurier Sélection is not far from there either. I agree that the Mt-Royal/Papineau Sélection can be dicey.

      Carswell's Basque wine: Irouleguy is also an intresting choice for that restaurant, as they are Basques.

      3 Replies
      1. re: lagatta

        Fantastic! I work near the Atwater Market SAQ Selection, so I should be ok, thanks to the both of you!

        After asking a friend for a recommendation, he confirmed that I have tried the 2004 Clos Triguedina when he made a roast duck at his place. I enjoyed it then, and will pick it up for tonight I think.

        I would normally have gone with a Bordeaux because I knew it would work and is always a safe bet, but not nearly as exciting as the above suggestions. As far as Basque wine goes, totally out of my frame of reference, I feel like I should get it and maybe get a little preferential treatment by the kitchen, Basques are reputably a proud people!

        Thanks again, I'll report back on the food and wine.

        1. re: T.I.M.

          Have a lovely supper and happy Valentine's to both of you!

          Basques are not only a proud people but what is less known, mad for gastronomy. Every tiny Basque village on either side of the Spanish/French border has a gastronomic order - these used to be male only but the ladies have caught on.

          I'm sure you'll be fine, though of course I rarely get to Atwater Market, living very close to Jean-Talon.

          À propos nothing, McGill University has economical summer holiday rentals at a campus right by Atwater market, a lovely place if you have visitors whom you can't put up properly. I'll try to think to do a thread on that in season.

          1. re: lagatta

            The SAQ Selection did not have two of the first wine suggestions, but the wine counselor did recommend a Cahors that was lovely and paired nicely with the Cassoulet. It was a 2004 Chateau Lamartine, that was almost buttery when paired with the cassoulet. Thanks to you both for the recs.

            The food though, I wasn't overly impressed with La Caserole. The duck in the cassoulet was more like roast duck then confit, little slices of pork were very dry, and the smoked sausage was also quite dry (even for smoked sausage). The overall taste was a mix of many, that in the end didn't have any distinctive flavour. The soup was also a little bleh. A creamy veggie soup that reminded me of that green creamy soup you get at weddings that has too much pepper, and no distinctive flavour save celery, maybe. On top of it, the Gateaux Basque (which I had high hopes for, having been made in-house, by a Basque chef) was quite dry, like it was a day or two old. The coulis with it was too sweet and the berry flavour was lost in the sweetness.

            On the flip side, the service was excellent and quite friendly and attentive.

            Again, thanks for the suggestions!