A few years ago we sat next to a journalist from Le Monde in Paris at a dinner hosted by aged wine expert and bon vivant Francois Audouze. Francois’s expertise in old wines and the way he opens them has led to a new verb being introduced to the English vernacular (and I may have been the first to use it as such), to ‘Audouze’. So where is this all leading? Said journalist recommended La Cagouille to us as the best seafood in Paris and we have been eating here every trip (sometimes twice or three times) since and as we were just hooking into our first glass of 2007 Coche-Dury Meursault ‘Les Perrieres’ 1er Cru this trip when who should walk through the door? The vinous verb himself Monsieur Audouze.
Speaking of journalists, every time we hit Cagouille we take a photo of a ‘spanky’ white Burg that we order (usually Coche, Roulot or Domaine Leflaive) next to a bottle of Chateldon mineral water ( The DRC of mineral waters) and text it to Aussie wine scribe Nick Stock. He knows we’re at La Cagouille, and he’s just a little bit jealous. We will then usually follow it with a pic of the brilliant coquilles offered as a complimentary starter or the wonderful St Pierre (John Dory), grilled to perfection and served with a sauce that has just enough butter in it to cause one’s heart to pulsate involuntarily in a way that may be deemed unhealthy by a cardiologist.
How was the Coche ‘Perrieres’? Close to the perfection in white wine for mine. The tell tale Coche gun flint was in evidence on the nose along with some spicy oak notes and pure white peach, mint and fennel notes. In the mouth you marvel at how something sharp and detailed can have such volume and richness. It is brilliant white wine with awesome presence and phenomenal length. It worked very will with a starter of razor clams with lemon zest and butter. The clams were perhaps a little grittier than we’ve had here before but had a beautiful sweetness countered perfectly by iodine saltiness.
For main course Heidi had Rustique Cod Brandade that was rich, flavoursome and nicely constructed, served with some big chunks of potato and a refreshing garden salad that was perfectly dressed. My red mullet dish was essentially four pristine whole fish, lightly pan fried, perfectly seasoned and drizzled with quality olive oil. After sending a glass of the Coche to Francois we needed another bott (well that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it) so we ordered a 1996 Domaine Leflaive Puligny-Montrachet ‘Les Pucelles’ 1er Cru. It poured out glistening and bright with a green tinge. The nose showed some smoky minerals and nougat and breathed and tightened in the glass considerably. It was beautifully elegant and piercing, the essence of Puligny with its white peach and floral personality. It had great shape, cut and drive and was every bit as good as the Coche.
Desserts are usually excellent here, and today was no exception. Crème Caramel for the kids came in a tureen dish of deep generosity normally reserved for French Onion Soup in other establishments. It was deep enough for the children to have their bath in.
We finished with a cheese plate that had perfectly ripe Saint-Nectaire and decadently creamy Bleu d’Auvergne and then had a cheeky Cognac with Francois strengthening the diplomatic ties between France and Australia.