Friday, January 19, 2018

Conquering Cassoulet Alongside the 2014 Minervois le Chateau d’Albas #Winophiles #languedocwines #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the January #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links

As I was writing this post, I came across a note that Languedoc-Roussillon is a former region of France and that, since January 2016, it is part of the new region Occitanie. Well, color me confused because I still see it referred to as 'Languedoc', so, I'm going with 'Languedoc' and hoping to learn more about this name change through the other writers taking part.

In any case, Jill of L'Occasion is hosting this month's French Winophiles event. Read her invitation here. We are heading, virtually, back to Languedoc for a deeper dive into their wines. Jill also arranged for participating bloggers to receive wine samples for pairing. The Benson Marketing Group sent a curated shipment of Languedoc reds. I received the 2014 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Le Chateau d'Albas" Minervois and the 2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières.

The appellations of Minervois and Corbières are two of the major players in the region. Though whites and reds both come from there, Minervois and Corbières are most renowned for their red wines. Languedoc reds are typically blends of  Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and Carignan; however those from Minervois tend to lean more on Syrah while those from Corbières tend to highlight Carignan grapes.

The Winophiles' Languedoc Offerings



Baby Steps + Les Terrassettes Corbières
Before I jumped all in to make a cassoulet with a whole duck, I tried a version that used duck legs and pre-cooked beans. That evening I paired my test-run cassoulet with the 2015 Clos de l'Anhel "Les Terrassettes" Corbières.


The wine was deep, dark, and expressive with heavy fruit notes. I read that vigneron Sophie Guiraudon's vineyards are in one of the higher altitude areas of Corbières in a silty clay soil. From what I can tell, she's s one-woman show, farming, performing all of the organic treatments to the vines, hand-harvesting, and making the wines all by herself. "Les Terrassettes" is a blend of 65% Carignan, 25% Syrah, 6% Grenache, and 4% Mourvèdre.


All In with the 2014 Minervois le Chateau d’Albas
After dipping my toe in the cassoulet pool, I decided to go all in. For that dinner, I opened up the 2014 Château Saint Jacques d'Albas "Le Chateau d'Albas" Minervois. This wine was simultaneously restrained and robust. Leather, flowers, and red fruit mingle with fragrant notes of garrigue to create an explosion on the tongue that fades to an elegant mouthfeel.


Conquering Cassoulet
You can read the recipe I made: here. As I mentioned, I dove headfirst into making an authentic cassoulet that starts with a whole duck. I still can't believe how time-consuming it was to soak the beans, break down the duck, confit the legs and breast, make a homemade duck stock, braise the lamb, and on and on. 


I was so intimidated by all the steps. Really.


But, it was so worth the effort!


This was a pot of pure, hearty deliciousness!


Success!



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*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.

18 comments:

  1. I'm still so impressed that you made this cassoulet Cam....

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    1. Thanks, Wendy. I was SO intimidated by this project. But when two groups aligned around the same dish...I had to do it.

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  2. I'm with Wendy -- you deserve the Legion d'Honneur for making cassoulet with a whole duck and confiting (is that a word?) the thing yourself. Wow. That cassoulet must have been splendid!

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    1. Thanks, Rob. I THINK confit is a noun and a verb; at least that's how I've been using it. The dish was delicious though I am looking forward to making several of the shortened versions shared this weekend.

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  3. Your photos make this process look deceptively simple. Makes me (almost) want to try it myself. Kudos to you for undertaking the traditional cassoulet - and I'm glad you got to reap the rewards of your efforts! Cheers!

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    1. Thanks, Lauren. It was not difficult so much as time consuming. But I had to conquer my fear! I'm glad I did.

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  4. Wow you sure didn't mess around with your cassoulet making! I'm with you about sticking with the Languedoc term, at least for now.

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    1. Thanks, David. YOUR version looks like a fabulous compromise on time. I can't wait to try it. Yes, I'm holding out on the Languedoc term till I learn more.

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  5. What you've done here takes me back to the days of Wayne's World on SNL because my only thought to the amazing meal you have made is "we're not worthy!" Incredible Camilla.

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    1. Wow! That's a blast from the past...and a wonderful compliment. Thanks, Michelle. I feel like that every single month in the face of your wine expertise. Cheers, my friend.

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  6. What fun this month, Cam. I was surprised none of us had ever made our own cassoulet. I think you take the prize for zero shortcuts!

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    1. I know! I was shocked that this was a first for so many of us. Yours looked delicious.

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  7. Camilla for the Michelin Étoile! Wow - this is really something and you are the lady I’d expect to find in the kitchen with this dish!

    I had the opportunity to visit Château Saint Jacques d'Albas last year and to interview the owner, Graham Nutter, in 2016. It’s a very cool domaine with such high quality wine. My brother in law considers their rosé his favorite EVER!

    Great post and thank you for the help with the chat!

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  8. How amazing! This cassoulet looks absolutely phenomenal and like it was completely worth the effort. I'm sure it was fantastic with the wines as well!

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  9. Seriously...you're my culinary hero Cam! Definitely not a project for the faint of heart, but I would gladly pay to have had some! Great post!

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  10. Wow! Wait -- you didn't make your own sausages? Just kidding! Seriously, I do have an idea how much work it is -- it took Sue 3 full days and she just did duck legs! Sure came out tasty though!

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  11. Doing a test-run first, great idea! And I'm amazed you used a whole duck on the real thing. I've never roasted an entire duck, let alone make my own duck confit but you've inspired me! Cheers to Languedoc wines and Cassoulet!

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  12. Your cassoulet(s) look amazing, congratulations on success! I too had never made cassoulet, it was the perfect project for my Atlanta snow days. Great post!

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