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Feb 17, 2008 07:08 AM


The usual prep is some variation on a garlic butter. One of my fondest culinary memories is a potages des escargots with wild mushrooms and morels, 1981. Anyway, what are your favourite wine pairings? (Especially if you have a different escargot recipe.)

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  1. cote du rhone with the standard burgundy prep.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Chinon00

      Why not a Burgundy with the standard Bourgogne prep?

      1. re: zin1953

        Something about that pungent garlicky green sauce that pulls me further south I guess.

        1. re: Chinon00

          <Something about that pungent garlicky green sauce that pulls me further south I guess.> I quite agree.

          We like to use the traditioal Bourgogne sauce and the snails over pasta.

    2. At my favorite bistro ( needless to say, despised of in these boards...) I have the garlicky escargots for Sunday lunch with a Rosé de Provence. I always end up happier than a dog with two tails.

      1 Reply
      1. re: RicRios

        Interesting, I often have all of the above -- Burgundy, something from the Rhône, or a Rosé de Provence -- but the later IS always at lunch. ;^)


      2. Chardonnay. It's all there.... the escargot, the garlic, the butter...

        3 Replies
        1. re: Chicago Mike

          Ummmmm, no. Not for me. This is not a match that agrees with my taste. But as long as you like it . . . .


          1. re: zin1953

            I have read that in Burgundy, it is common to match white burgundy or Bourgogne Aligote to escargot, so it can be done. But I prefer a red Burgundy, which is also common. Apparently escargot can swing both ways. This makes sense, as all land snails are hermaphrodites :)

            1. re: moh

              Interesting -- I can see the Aligoté, as the acidity can clearly cut through the butter and garlic. But -- and this is just me -- whenever anyone says "Chardonnay," my first thought is California (rather than Bourgogne Blanc). And I can't imagine that working . . .

              Ah, well -- c'est la vie.


        2. Interesting responses (I especially like "a dog with two tails). This might speak to national biases, but when I hear "chardonnay" I don't think California. I agree with Jason that that style wouldn't be a great match. A Burgundian white, though, I think would. The natural earthiness of the snail I think would lend itself to a pinot noir, especially in a potage, as I described above. In Alsace, they always drink something local... I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned those wines (though not the Alsatian pinot noir, which I do not think would match at all).

          7 Replies
          1. re: hungry_pangolin

            >>> This might speak to national biases, but when I hear "chardonnay" I don't think California . . . >> Chardonnay. It's all there.... the escargot, the garlic, the butter... <<<

            It's the "Chardonnay [period]" that still, reading it now, makes me think California. If he had written, for example, "a Chardonnay wine" or "a wine made from Chardonnay," I have no doubt my thoughts would have been more inclusive. This no doubts stems from a lifetime of explaining to retail customers that,

            -- yes there ARE such things as "white Burgundies," and no they do not come in a gallon jug with a finger loop;
            -- no, Mirassou's "White Burgundy" is what they call their Pinot Blanc, REAL white Burgundy is produced from Chardonnay grapes, and no, Almadén's "Mountain White Chablis" doesn't have any Chardonnay in it . . .

            Like I said, it's my own bias. ;^)

            * * * * *

            >>> In Alsace, they always drink something local... I'm surprised that no one has yet mentioned those wines (though not the Alsatian pinot noir, which I do not think would match at all). <<<

            When I'm in Alsace, I, to, would opt for something from Alsace to drink with escargots. And I do drink Alsatian wines here in California, too, but for most Americans, Alsace is a region that flies under their radar. It's a shame, too.

            That said, most importers/wholesalers/retailers do little (or CAN do little) to change that.

            The importers of F.E. Trimbach have traditionally reserved 1/3 of all their Clos Ste. Hune Riesling, for example, for sale to retail stores and restaurants in the Boston - New York - Washington DC corridor. Another third is for the rest of the US that lies EAST of the Mississippi River, including Chicago. The final one-third is for sale in the rest of the US, including Alaska and Hawaii. This means one can frequently find Clos St. Hune on wine lists and even on retail shelves in Manhattan, but can search in vein for the wine at retail stores in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Honolulu, Dallas, Denver, etc., etc., etc.

            This doesn't mean we don't drink Alsatian wines in the west, rather that some are extremely difficult to find. Fortunately, there are importers based here in California who import Alsatian wines -- for years, Kermit Lynch imported Zind Humbrecht, and they still bring in Ostertag and Kuentz-Bas, along with Domaine Meyer-Fonné; North Berkeley Imports has Domaine Ernest Burn; Maisons Marques & Domaines brings in Domaine Schlumberger; and there are several other producers relatively easy to find, if one knows where to look . . .


            1. re: zin1953

              I am from Canada, like I believe Hungry Pangolin is, but when someone says "Chardonnay" with the capital letters, I must admit that my mind goes to California. I love California wines, I think the California wine industry has done amazing things for the North American wine lover, but they have a lot to answer for by way of the whole "Chardonnay" fiasco...

              1. re: moh

                Yep, I'm in Canada, hence my reference to "national biases". Actually, my mind doesn't automatically drift to California at the mention of chardonnay because I don't drink that much Californian product. Generally I can find equal quality at a lower price from other regions, and my own personal preferences are not those satisfied by what (perhaps unfairly) I would call, broadly, a "Californian style."

                As to Alsatian wines, in Toronto, we get a decent selection of the usual suspects through Vintages. Not so much the pinot noir, though.

              2. re: zin1953

                Keep in mind, I have one of those "gluttonous palates" that doesn't micro-distinguish chardonnay's when pairing with food.

                I've just rarely found a pairing where a Cali chardonnay works well that an aussie or french chardonnay doesn't match...

                While I fully appreciate the "average" differences between the winemaking styles, when it comes to matching the wine to the food the difference to me is slight ASSUMING THAT THE FUNDAMENTAL FLAVORS MATCH CHARDONNAY, which in this case for me they absolutely do...

                If you like cote d'or, go for it, challonaise, fine, prefer a chablis, great, a western australia, a southern australia, a californian, a washington, a chilean.... for my palate they will all work with this dish. Reason? I think my palate keys more on the similarities than the differences when matching with food.... the differences are more apparent when drinking the wines by themselves...

                If I have a glass of each am I likely to prefer one over the other ? Absolutely, but that will almost always have more to do with the intrinsic quality of the wine for that vintage year.... so one year I might prefer the Cote D'or, next year the aussie, next year the cali... again with the food, as opposed to one style preferred year in year out. Just my experience, I know other palates will disagree.

                1. re: Chicago Mike

                  Mike, if that is indeed true, you are blessed with a palate that should appreciate lower-end wines just as much as higher-end ones. So why waste money on the "high-priced spread"?

                  Ah, but I don't think that is true. I mean, unless you are buying the more expensive wines simply because you think they'll impress someone more (which I also do not think is true), then you are buying more expensive wines because you prefer them over the low[er]-end wines, because the difference you DO taste between Wine A and Wine B makes the higher price tag of B worth it . . . to YOU.

                  That would make sense.

                  But "micro-distinguishing" is hardly the term for describing the differences between the average Chardonnay from California and the average Chardonnay from the Maconnais (or the Cote d'Or), or from the Sud-Tyrol, or from South Australia (or Western Australia). Indeed, the differences typically outweigh the similarities, and the flavor profiles are quite distinct.

                  But if you don't taste those distinctions, then why buy them?

                  Just curious . . .


                  1. re: zin1953

                    Well at least as far as I know I definitely appreciate finer wines. If they happen to be more expensive, fine, if not, fine.... generally speaking I don't want to pay more for the wine than the food so the price of the meal I use as a rough guide for my maximum price range for the wine... if I can find it for alot less, great.

                    My palate finds very good to excellent chardonnays (for example), from almost everywhere they're grown.... and I don't really mind "california butter" or "oak" if the essential chardonnay flavor is interesting. It's never bothered me in the least although I know it drives some folks nuts... it's just another nuance to me.

                    While I appreciate a fine white burgundy, the upper end W-B prices with a few years on the bottle are absurd and bear no relationship to their relative quality, IMO. Absurd wine prices are just outliers based on the global supply/demand relationship, I understand that. When you have Taiwan billionaires stocking their cellars with specific wines at any price, the prices of those wines will be way out of whack to intrinsic quality.

                    Specifically in chardonnay I don't find much of interest under 20 bucks... the sweet spot for everyday food matching seems to be somewhere between 20 and 60 or so (store prices, not restaurant wine lists).... there's alot of great chards in that range from all over the world. I'd much prefer to have a "buttery, oaked" Sonoma chard or a Margaret River "fruit bomb" from a great vintage year than a thin Chablis from an off-year... and vice versa.

                    Just one person's palate interpretation.

                    1. re: Chicago Mike

                      >>> Just one person's palate interpretation. <<<

                      Agreed. That's all we're talking about.

                      In contrast to what you write above, let me say that I find the majority of California (and Washington State for that matter) Chardonnays -- and CLEARLY there are specific exceptions* to every generalization -- taste "manipulated" to me, that there is little-to-no "essential chardonnay flavor" (as you put it) in these wines, but rather they tend to be the "tofu of wine" -- a perfect vehicle for any and all "condiments" one wants to add (oak, "butter," lees, etc.), rather than actually tasting of Chardonnay per se. I find far too many examples to be completely and utterly interchangable . . . and boring.

                      Oregon seems to suffer less from this, perhaps because the growers/vintners have actually taken the time to rid themselves (by and large) of the Wente clone and replant with the Dijon and other clones better suited to the climate there.

                      One question, if I may: are you referring to "a great vintage year [from the New World]" versus "a thin [French white Burgundy] from an off-year" because of the vintage variations in Burgundy, or in California? In other words, where is the emphasis?

                      I ask because it is such a rare thing to have anything less that an top-quality vintage is so rare in California -- especially when it comes to Chardonnay. The last vintage that was truly "weak" or "poor" was 1989, and even then -- as with all poor vintages -- there were still some very good wines produced. In contrast, even with global warming, vintages continue to vary more widely in France.

                      If one follows vintage charts, you'll note that Robert Parker has rated the 20 California Chardonnay vintages from 1987-2006 as follows:

                      "Average" (70-79 points): 2 (1987, 1989, at 76 and 75 points respectively)
                      "Above Average-to-Excellent" (80-89 points): 8 (with an average rating of 87.6)
                      "Outstanding" (90-95 points): 10 (with an average rating of 91.3)
                      "Excellent" (96-100 points): zero
                      OVERALL average rating for the 20 vintages: 88.25 points.

                      White Burgundies average 85.25 over the same time period, but:

                      "Average" (70-79 points): 4 (74.5 average)
                      "Above Average-to-Excellent" (80-89 points): 8 (averaging 86.125)
                      "Outstanding" (90-95 points): 8 (91.0 point average)
                      "Excellent" (96-100 points): zero

                      Just being curious on a Tuesday morning . . .


                      * Some of the Chardonnays from the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA exhibit distinct terroir and "essential Chardonnay flavor," and clearly it's difficult to mask the varietal flavor with oak if the wine stays only in stainless (and no ML) prior to bottling.

            2. I like Clos de St. Catherine, domaine baumard.

              It is a chablis, probably the only really *good* chablis I've had in ages.

              4 Replies
              1. re: fussycouple

                Sorry, fussycouple, but just to clarify, are you chiming in on the chardonny exchange between Mike and jason, or are you recommending that to have with escargots?

                1. re: hungry_pangolin

                  Heh, I was recommending it for escargots, depending of course on your preparation of them.

                2. re: fussycouple

                  Uh, I'm confused the only "domaine baumard" I can think of is Domaine des Baumard in the Loire. They produce a dry Chenin Blanc from the Savennieres appellation, and several sweet Chenins from both Quarts de Chaume and Coteaux du Layon. One of the wines they produce from Coteaux du Layon is labeled as "Clos de Ste Catherine."

                  But, as I say, this is a Botrytis-affected, sweet Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley, not a dry Chardonnay from Chablis . . .



                  1. re: zin1953

                    color me embarrassed, I had a total brain blip there. Of course it is chenin blanc, not chablis, and yes, it is somewhat sweet, with a certain amount of fall green sharp apple. I think I wrote something about that a bit back.


                    Regardless of my inappropriate labeling, it is still quite good.