A Taste of SW France … Duck Confit and Cote de Bergerac

Pairing:  Duck Confit Paired with a 2009 Chateau Thénac Côte de Bergerac

Food:  Duck Confit is one of the renowned regional specialties of Gascony in South West France, considered by many to be the quintessential French dish. Confit is a centuries-old process of salt-curing, cooking and preserving the meat (usually duck, goose, or pork) in its own fat. Curing the meat for a week or two, or preferably a few months results in an extraordinary flavor. Gascony, by the way, is the home of d’Artagnan, the legendary character in Alexander Dumas’ historic adventure novel, The Three Musketeers.

Duck Confit

Wine:   Bergerac is a small sub-region and appellation of the extensive South West France wine region. Bergerac has a long  history of winemaking dating back to Roman times. Later, around the 11th Century, monks were the first to produce some well-regarded wines. The Bergerac wine region is located just east of the far more famous Bordeaux region, arguably the most prestigious wine region in the world. Bergerac’s vineyards are planted on both sides of the Dordogne River. The river flows west emptying into the Atlantic near the city of Bordeaux. The wine made in Bergerac has a similar profile to the wines of Bordeaux … the reds comprised mainly of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot … the whites made up of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

Chateau Thénac was built on the ruins of a 12th Century Benedictine monastery. They have added Cabernet Franc and Malbec to their red Côtes de Bergerac, while their whites include Muscadelle in their blend.


Tasting Notes:  Decanted two hours ahead of dining. A deep purple color, almost black. Aromas of fresh blueberry and mace. The palate has layers of blueberry, plum, nutmeg, mace, fig, and buttered whole wheat toast. Extraordinary! Big, rich, mellow, fresh, balanced tannins. Fabulous with the salty richness of the confit. Complemented well the sweet touch of the red cabbage and the peppery roast potatoes. An amazing pairing of wine and the regional food.

Other Food That Pairs Well with This Wine:  Roast Lamb, Cassoulet, Grilled Steak or Sausage, Mushrooms (Porcini, Shiitake)

Other Wines That Pair Well with This Food:  Cahors (France), Saint-Émillon (Bordeaux, France), Merlot (Italy), Pinot Noir (California)

Views of the Bergerac Wine Region: Bergerac Vineyards

A Source:  K & L Wines

A Classic Reborn … Mom’s Meat Loaf Refined with a Chilean Red Blend

Pairing: Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes and Peas … Paired with a 2013 Clos des Fous Cauquenina (Chilean Red Blend)  

Food:  Mom’s Meat Loaf was a frequent weekday meal in our household … plain, simple comfort food. And delicious. Made with ground beef, pork and veal (sometimes lamb), breadcrumbs, onion, an egg, some milk, and varying combinations of herbs and spices (whatever was handy). Here is Fanny Farmer’s basic recipe which can be modified a gazillion different ways. And we always served it with mashed potatoes, peas, and a rich brown gravy. Of course, the best part of this meal was the leftovers served the next day.  Somehow the meatloaf was even better cold, sliced on some sandwich bread, maybe with smear of ketchup or mustard. And with a big glass of milk. Today, we dress up this classic food with an exceptional red wine from Chile.

Meat Loaf w: Chilean Blend


Wine:  Clos des Fous is the brain child of four highly respected winemakers – Albert Cussan, Paco Leyton, Francois Massoc, and Pedro Parra. The grapes used for their Cauquenina blend are 36% Carignan, 18% Malbec, 15% Syrah, 15% Pais, 9% Cinsault, and 7% Carmenère sourced from small vineyard growers in the Caquenes commune in the Maule Valley region of central Chile. It is historically important that Pais is one of the grapes in this amazing blend. Pais, known as Mission grapes in North America, was first brought to the New World by the Spanish in the 16th Century. Planted initially in Mexico, it was later brought to Texas, New Mexico, and California where it proliferated in those regions for centuries. Although wines made from Pais/ Mission grapes have long been considered to be fairly ordinary, they are having a renaissance in central Chile where innovative winemakers are blending Pais with several other varieties to make some very special wines. This Clos des Fous is an exemplary result of this innovation.

Clos des Fous Chilean Redjpg


Tasting Notes: A dark (almost black) garnet color.  Spice and leather are the first aromas one can notice followed by some wild blueberry and a hint of cigar box (really!). The palate is amazingly complex with a delicate layer of cinnamon, allspice and nutmeg surfacing among the tastes of hedgerow jam and leather. Soft tannins hold it all together and help the flavors linger long on the finish. After sipping the wine for a while, a lovely, gentle sweetness emerges. The pairing with the meat loaf couldn’t be better, but this very inexpensive wine would easily hold its own partnered with a sophisticated French Roast or a Grilled Ribeye.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Meat Loaf:  Cabernet Sauvignon (Chile), Dolcetto (Italy), Zinfandel (California), Rioja (Spain)

Other Food That Pairs Well with a Malbec Blend: Roasted Beef or Lamb, Pizza with Mushrooms and Sausage, Grilled Steak, Empanadas

View the Maule Valley Wine Region:  maule valley

A Source:  www. klwines.com