Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Two Sauternes for my husband's Foie Gras

Every year, my husband likes to make a Foie Gras for our December 31st dinner and it's interesting to notice that as years went by, his recipe has evolved to the bare minimum. There is no Armagnac marinade and water bath anymore: first, the foie is deveined, seasoned with salt and pepper, wrapped tightly with plastic wrap with the ends tied like a sausage, poached 5 minutes in boiling water, and refrigerated for at least a couple of days. He serves the foie gras at room temperature on toasted bread, lightly sprinkled with coarse sea salt.

The poached foie gras tightly wrapped with plastic wrap

Slicing the foie gras

To accompany the foie gras, our friend Christophe and I had brought two different bottles of Sauternes that we enthusiastically compared side by side.

Christophe's was the 2005 Château Doisy-Védrines from an estate vineyard dominated by the Sémillon grape (approximately 85% Sémillon, the rest planted with Sauvignon Blanc). Like in the other Sauternes Châteaux, the harvest is labor-intensive, picking the fruit in several waves called tries to select the berries most affected by the Botrytis fungus. The wine is aged for eighteen months in oak barrels, 70% of which being new. The 2005 vintage was excellent in Sauternes with lots of heat and sunshine to ripen the grapes and foggy nights and mornings to promote the development of botrytis.

The wine had a bright color with rich aromas of dried apricot and pineapple. The palate had a lighter body with a lively acidity and a smooth and elegant finish.

Mine was the 2001 Château Clos Haut-Peyraguey, an estate with 17 hectares under vine planted with Sémillon (90%) and Sauvignon Blanc (10%). The terroir is excellent for the appellation, characterized by north-east facing slopes and gravely and sandy soils on a clayey subsoil. The harvest is done manually in 4-7 successive tries to hand-pick the best botrytis-infected grapes. The 2001 vintage was highly rated in Sauternes, thanks to exceptional weather conditions and a speedy spread of botrytis on grapes that had the time to fully ripen.

The wine was opulent, with apricots, acacia flower, and honey aromas. On the palate, it was thicker and sweeter with a lingering finish of caramelized fruits.

So which one was the best with the foie gras: the livelier 2005 Doisy-Védrines or the more opulent 2001 Clos Haut-Peyraguey? I am sorry, I couldn't decide, they were both so good!

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3 comments: said...

Many thanks for the recipe and photos!

Catherine Granger said...

You're welcome!

Matthieu Devin said...

Correction, it's not 5mn but more like 12mn!