Roast rib of beef (with a good claret to drink)

I have blogged roast beef before, but this was a nice rare rib roast and the meal was really all about the wine this time anyway.

With the beef, which I seared on both sides and then gave about 40 minutes in the oven plus 15 minutes resting time, we had roast spuds, Yorkshire puddings, French beans, broccoli and a nice gravy. There was also horseradish sauce and mustard as well.

Tonight’s wine was one that is always a classic accompaniment to roast beef – claret. We drank a 1999 Côtes de Bourg to be precise, Château Gros Moulin a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec with mainly the two Cabernets predominating in the blend.

We bought the wine on holiday in the region in 2006 and this was the last of the 1999s that we bought. The wine was still pretty lively, with a deep garnet red and a nice brick-red edge on the meniscus, showing its age.

1999 wasn’t a great year in Bordeaux, it promised well but rain and hail in September caused a lot of problems.

Many Right Bank appellations picked early and it is here that you can find the better wines, particularly if a more classic and slightly austere style is what you like.

These are wines that work better with food than just for sitting over and drinking.

On the nose there was a slight liquorice edge and a kind of spiciness. In the mouth, the wine was rich, with well integrated tannins and considerable depth and a good finish. Fantastic with food and a Right Bank Bordeaux wine well worth seeking out. I just wish we had some more bottles left, but we do have some 2002s which we will hold onto for a while longer.

The Côtes de Bourg and Côtes de Blaye are both good appellations for those of us who can’t afford to buy too many of the wines of the Médoc or the more expensive St Emilion names. The best of them have depth, concentration and ageing potential and even the lesser wines are well worth looking for.

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