Bordeaux, France, Red blends, Red wine

Château de Cazenove 2005

Winemaker: Louis de Cazenove
Grape: 66% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon
Region: Bordeaux, France

At the end of the nineteenth century, the vineyard “Le Maqueline” was part of a large estate owned by Nathaniel Johnston, about 3 miles from Margaux village. That domain encompassed fine wine estate, as Chateau Dauzac, ranked “5th grand cru classe Margaux” and bordered La Maqueline’s estate, next to the actual Chateau de Cazenove.

In 1989, Wilhelmina de Cazenove van Essen and her children decided to restore the old vineyard. They selected the perfect parcels, planted them with Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc that yield excellent results in this fertile soil, mainly composed by red clay from alluvium over limestone.

They farm the vineyard with attentive care, as green-harvesting, thinning out the leaves to improve the state of health and maturity. Each grape variety is vinifyed separately in stainless steel tanks. Wine than undergo a long fermentation on the skin, under controlled temperature to extract the vintage’s character.

Later on, the wine is aged in oak casks and yields harmonious finesse and complexity. 2005 vintage was one of the most amazing vintages in decades for Bordeaux. The prices of wines skyrocketed and they will be a valuable addition to wine collector’s cellars.

Tasting notes:
Rich but approachable red blend has an aroma of ripe raspberries. The gorgeously dense structure characterize the 2005 vintage with a touch of licorice. Generous and silky tannins are balanced and offer a mouthful, long finish.

This wine is modern Bordeaux, drinkable now but the quality in the bottle promises improvement if kept for a few more years. On the market for about $12.00, this wine is a steal!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: under $ 15.00

Ideal food pairing:
Steak, grilled barbeque meats, Easy pork chops with onions and peppers, casseroles, Chili, Roasted duck

All recipes paired with wine, Poultry

Simply Baked Duck for a Special Occasion

Whole duckling is enough meat to feed the entire family and some. Ideal, simple dish to entertain. Many people told me that they never ate duck and wouldn’t know how to prepare it. Here is the simplest recipe for a baked duck to bring out all its delicious flavors.

To me and my husband, baked duck is always a special treat. If you like dark meat of turkey, you are going to love duck! Tastier and not as dry as chicken meat, duck could be a serious gourmet experience.

Baked duck couldn’t be easier to prepare – all you need are three ingredients! Really! But, of course there is a few tricks to make it right. If you don’t like greasy meat, pierce the skin before baking and count on 2 – 3 hours slow time in the oven.

Simply Baked Duck for a Special Occasion
(our old family recipe)

1 duckling
caraway seeds

Seriously, that’s all you need. This recipe brings out the most natural flavor of the meat. Remove duckling from its package and reach inside to remove all the parts (usually wrapped in 1 little bag). You can use it later for a delicious broth.

Wash thoroughly duckling under running water and pat dry with a paper towel. Cut the top part of the wings off (you can add it to that soup mixture). Place duckling in the fitting baking dish (bottom up) and generously season with salt and caraway seeds, both sides, all over. I try to season a little even inside.

Take a fork and carefully pierce the skin of the bird around its legs and on the sides. It will help to drain the fat during baking. Do not puncture all the way to the meat, you would loose all the good juices and moisture as well. Your duckling is placed in dry baking dish, because it’s going to produce enough of its own fat.

Cover the dish with heavy duty aluminum foil (I use two same dishes instead because they fit to cover each other) and place it in preheated oven (350 F) on a middle rack. Set your alarm for 1 hour and you can leave the kitchen to do something else.

After first hour remove the dish carefully, take off the cover and ladle all the excess fat from the bottom of the pan. You can keep it or discard it (but it is delicate natural fat you can use on baked potatoes, fries or even to cook on it. It brings a huge flavor to your dishes. O.K., I know, it’s not the healthiest choice. But it’s soooo good!)

When all the fat is removed from the pan, return the bird back to the oven, this time uncovered. Count on at least another hour of slow baking (depends on the size of your duckling). to bake it through and develop a crusty skin. Check on your duck frequently the second hour and remove more fat, if necessary.

Medium size duckling takes usually about 2.5 – 3 hours in total to develop nice, crusty brown skin. It’s ready when you carefully pierce into the meat with knife and it’s soft and falling of the bones. Cut into portions just like you would do a chicken and you are ready to go!

In my country we traditionally serve duck with sweat and sour red cabbage and dumplings. It is a delicious combination but it takes too much time and work. I love my duck with Brussels sprouts and baked potatoes. (oh yeah, of course I used a little bit of that duck fat on them!)

Wine pairing suggestion:
Baked duck reminds me of a very traditional meal in my home country. Therefore, as you can see on the picture, I matched this dish with Czech Pilsner Urquell. It somehow goes great together. Darker meat of duck will pair with wine very well too.

Another Christmas, I reached for Belle Glos Meiomi Pinot Noir Meiomi Pinot Noir and duckand it was sooo delicious!

Great choice would also be some medium body, not over the top red wine, such as Volver or medium body Bordeaux which will compliment duck’s rich flavor – such as an incredible value Château de Cazenove (Bordeaux Superieur).