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Wine Pairings for Cassoulet

I'd like to get some thoughts on pairing the wine from Fronton (the negrette grape) with cassoulet - other pairing suggestions most welcome, thanks!

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    1. re: Chinon00

      this, this, this....or a big, somewhat rough wine from anywhere in the Southwest of France. We loved a ragged red from Castelnaudary (one of the places that claims to be the home of cassoulet)

      It's a big, rough dish...finesse is lost on this one.

      1. re: Chinon00

        My thoughts exactly - Cahors, Malbec, Auxerrois (different names for the same thing) is exactly right to balance the robustness of the duck (or goose) in cassoulet.

      2. Madiran would be another alternative.

        Irouléguy if you like playing roulette.

        1. Although Cahors is *the* traditional wine -- and it certainly works well with cassoulet -- I prefer (and usually serve) an aged Cornas or Hermitage from the northern Rhône.

          2 Replies
          1. re: zin1953

            Jason, how old is an aged Cornas? I love them but cannot figure out how long to age them. Thanks for your advice!

            1. re: BN1

              Obviously it's subject to vintage/producer variations, as well as storage conditions, etc., etc., but 8-10+ years is about right.

          2. Cabardes, and especially the Chateau de Pennautier from the shadow of Carcassone works perfectly with the pork and confit type out of Carcassone.
            Had one in Toulouse recently that was served both with a Cabardes and a older Madiran of Aydie that both were perfect with the dish which was traditional with confit and lamb.

            1. It's a very wine-friendly dish. Classic pairings include Cahors, Madiran, and Irouléguy, but it's a great match for mature Rhône reds (which typically used to need around eight years to start coming around).

              1 Reply
              1. re: Robert Lauriston

                I'm with you on the mature Rhones for Cassoulet. Gigondas being a big fave.

              2. I just bought a couple of Frontons from Chateau Bouissel
                (Negrette with Syrah, Cot and CS), but I won't open them until 2015/16.

                1 Reply
                1. re: collioure

                  The Frontons I've gotten in NY are sold to be drunk a bit younger and fragrant, and I love them. Yours sound like they're more age-worthy. I'd think a cassoulet would warrant a big red with a decent acid level to cut through the...cassoulet-ness. Madiran, Corbieres, Minervois, Marcillac, even a Corsican. Or a very good Montepulciano d'Abruzzo or Rosso Conero.

                2. Alot of reds "work". Focus on the best bottle you can get, varietal secondary... I think syrah and rioja are really nice. Zinfandel is great .... these are likely to be more abundant with better selection than some more obscure French reds.

                  In whites, riesling is really nice, kabinett or spatlese, matches everything in the dish.

                  Serve a red and white, this is one dish where it really works.

                  10 Replies
                  1. re: TombstoneShadow

                    travelluver appears to live in Manhattan, which offers a wider selection of French reds than most places in France.

                    1. re: TombstoneShadow

                      I totally agree on Zinfandel. I certainly am not a knowledgeable wine drinker, but the first time I had cassoulet was back in the early 70s and it was paired with an absolutely wonderful a Ridge Zinfandel that had a unique taste that was rich, grape-y, and faintly evocative of fresh hay of all things.

                      1. re: tim irvine

                        I make Cassoulet a lot, and, having the tried the dish with many red wines, we have found that medium-weight reds work best. Big reds like Zin and Cab killed off many of the flavor subtleties of the chicken/pork/duck confit/etc. I like Beaujolais Villages and Cru, Southern Rhones, some Riojas, Cab Franc especially, with emphasis on wines that are quaffable and juicy. Good acid is a must with the fat in the dish.

                        1. re: maria lorraine

                          I live only two hours from cassoulet country and I haven't had this peasanty dish since I arrived here in 2002 (frankly it rarely gets cold enough down here to desire it), but I have always preferred Cahors with cassoulet.

                          1. re: maria lorraine

                            Zinfandel at its best is not heavy, but it's not easy to find those.

                            1. re: Robert Lauriston

                              Even when Zin is of average weight and ripeness, its flavor knocks out some of the subtleties of the chicken, pork, pheasant, tarbais beans and other ingredients. We've tried many Zins; they compete too much. A lighter red is a better pairing for the dish, for us.

                              1. re: maria lorraine

                                which is curious, considering how big Cahors can be....but no, I wouldn't reach for a Zin as my first choice with cassoulet. Just for the record, I wouldn't reach for a Pinot Noir, either -- PNs are, IMO, too subtle to stand up to the dish.

                                1. re: maria lorraine

                                  Reds don't get a whole lot lighter than the Zlatan Crljenak Kaštelanski (Croatian name for the original Zinfandel).

                            2. re: tim irvine

                              Ridge Zinfandel is like aioli.

                              Anything tastes good with it!

                              1. re: tim irvine

                                Third vote for Zinfandel, which I've always poured with cassoulet. A good Italian Primitivo (same grape) works too. I remember reading Paula Wolfert's (I think) remarks about the rough reds of Southwest France and how well suited to this dish they are, so I'd avoid the fruitier zins. The other suggested wines are a bit out of my usual wine budget zone, but I'd be interested in experimenting. Good excuse for making a cassoulet!

                            3. As suggested, I would go with a Southwest France wine,
                              like Cahors (or a "big" Malbec from Argentina) or
                              Madiran. However, 100% tannat Madiran can be
                              a bit rough-- I would favor one that is blended
                              with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, like
                              Chateau Laffitte-Teston reflets du terroir, or Chateau
                              Bouscasse. From the Rhone Valley, I would go with a Vacqueyras.

                              1. The usual recommendation is a wine from southwest France, but my experience with cassoulet, I make it once a year, is that it hardly matters which wine as long as it has lively acidity. I generally serve it with the best pinot noirs in my cellar for red drinkers and with a bottle of Sancerre for those who don't touch red wine.