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Pair with 1998 Chateauneuf du Pape?

I'm a former chef, but husband is a former sommelier and unfortunately this is a surprise dinner for him so I can't exactly ask HIM what I should cook to go with this...

Difficulty is not an issue -- was thinking about lamb, but would appreciate any advice!

Thank you!

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  1. IMHO it might be tough to find a match that wouldn't work as I think CdP is a great workhorse for meal pairing. How about some lamb or maybe a cassoulet?

    Maria Lorraine: where are you?

    2 Replies
    1. re: ibstatguy

      I'll agree with ibstatguy, CNdP goes well with almost any meat. Lamb would be great as would a cassoulet, or short ribs or even steak. You might be more daring and go with rabbit or other game such as venison, or you could even try duck. Which '98 CNdP are you thinking of serving? As I'm sure you are aware, it was a great year for the wine. I've been fortunate to try and enjoy many and have been very impressed with the Pegau, Beaucastel, Clos des Papes, La Vieux Donjon, and especially the Janasse.

    2. Duck, especially wild duck, roasted or braised in savoury preparations. Peking duck can pair suprisingly well.

      Venison, elk or moose, grilled, roasted or stewed. A *civet* (the dish, in which the sauce is thickened with the animal's blood) of these or wild boar can be sublime.

      Long-hung game birds.

      If you want to pull out all the stops and spend a day in the kitchen, the legendary lièvre à la royale (stuffed boned hare in a wildly rich sauce; variations abound but usually involve truffles, foie gras, rabbit/pork, the hare's viscera and blood, mushrooms, etc., braising in wine, sometimes roasting).

      1 Reply
      1. re: carswell

        Carswell, your mention of hare takes me back almost 40 years to Germany where we enjoyed preparations in the countryside where tourists never went. Recall seeing the 3 ft long skinned bodies hanging in the markets and learning that a half inch stainless hollow rod of fat had to be inserted up both sides of the back bone to insure that the inside of the extremely lean meat cooked properly. Another offering in those areas was the wild boar.... simply heaven. Thanks for the trip back in time.

      2. Assuming you are playing with a mid to high caliber 1998, you can expect the gamey and leathery flavors to be present. Do yourself a favor and look up the recent tasting notes of the wine you're about to pour. Because you are a former chef, you will be able to fine tune your parings (if said wine is tannic vs soft, brighter fruit vs darker, etc.)

        That said, I agree with my colleagues here, that the more gamey meats with higher fat and starch acoutremants are the general way to go.

        We did a Beaucastel dinner last year. Paired the 89, 90 and 98 CdP with separate dishes. All were awesome, in their own ways. The 98 went best with duck cassoulet.

        BTW - I am totally jealous!

        2 Replies
        1. re: kaysyrahsyrah

          Thanks... I did look up recent notes and unfortunately they weren't quite as helpful as I'd hoped. I like the duck cassoulet idea, though...I think that's the direction I'm going to go.

          Thanks for the guidance!

          1. re: tsfirefly

            Cook's Illustrated had several plays on cassoulet that will take you half a day of on and off prep. Certainly quicker than the traditional 3 day process and just as tasty. Hit me up on my profile email if you need access...

          1. Given that it is the Pegau and you are an accomplished cook... The first thing that came to mind was Osso Bucco of wild boar. A braised lamb shank would also be fantastic.

            Really, any rich, hearty red meat, preferably prepared in sauce, not simply grilled or roasted, will be great. (If you are doing a simple grill preparation I would do a high heat grill on a marinated butterflied leg of lamb.)

            1. Piling on... Game or slow roasted meats (leg of lamb, braised shanks or short ribs, etc). Especially given the 1998 vintage of Pegau (which I've had several times). I assume it's the Cuvee Reservee and not the Cuvee Laurence. The Laurence is a very special bottle.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Brad Ballinger

                "The Laurence is a very special bottle"

                Even more so the cuvee Da Capo. These are the Guru's notes from Dec'01, rating 100:

                The debut release of 1998 Cuvee da Capo (made from incredibly low yields of 90% Grenache and 10% the other twelve permitted varietals) is profound. The color is a dense, thick-looking, ruby/garnet/purple. The aromas begin slowly, but then roar from the glass like an out-of-control locomotive, offering up a smorgasbord of candied black fruits, pepper, garrigue, earth, and truffles. Enormously thick and rich, but, amazingly, not heavy, this blockbuster, full-bodied Chateauneuf du Pape is still youthful, but should age gracefully for three decades. The Cuvee da Capo is frightfully expensive by Chateauneuf du Pape standards, but if quality like this existed in Burgundy, consumers would be willing to pay $500 a bottle. Think it over! Issue #131 rating: Cuvee da Capo 95-97; Cuvee Reservee 92

              2. I would expect the '98 to show somewhat young, if that helps.

                In my experience, which includes the '88 I brought to a Christmas party just last night, Pegau tends more toward the rustic side. I would lean toward a traditional, rustic, red meat dish with that in mind, which could be one of the many things already recommended.

                As far as cassoulet, that could certainly work, and be rustic, but they're from different regions of France, so it's not something that would have occurred to me right away.

                1. THANK YOU all for your suggestions. As is my bad habit, I couldn't decide on one particular dish so instead I'm doing more of a tasting menu. Heavy on the shrooms, I know, but that's simply our personal taste. Here's the final menu:

                  Selection of seafood appetizers -- grilled deep sea scallops wrapped in peppered pork pancetta; Provencal baked mussels; Mushrooms stuffed with king crab in Bearnaise sauce; Pommes-fleurs with warm brandied calamari salad

                  Civet of wild boar with bitter chocolate and peppercorns (butcher couldn't hook me up with boar blood, but good chocolate is a pretty nice substitute)

                  Venison chops with wild mushroom port glaze

                  Seared elk with cranberry ginger chutney

                  Rosemary scented potato galette with morels

                  Trio of greens tart (dandelion, mustard and kale) in a shallot and chanterelle dijon custard

                  BayLeaf Gingercello with warmed ginger dusted walnut cakes (BayLeaf is my home label)

                  So...thanks again for all your suggestions -- I think I took a little something from everyone's posts!