My cellar (actually a large box in a cupboard) does contain a couple of bottles of Chateau Talbot, a more affordable Fourth Growth. This also has an entry with the wine matched by Andreas Larsson (Best Sommelier of the World 2007) to Jasmine-Smoked Wagyu Beef Cheek, cépe Vermicelli a dish created by Alvin Leung Desmon of Hong-Kong. This seems a little more approachable for a ‘can-follow-a-recipe’ cook like myself. I doubt my local butcher carries Wagyu beef cheeks though.
Quite a chunk of Grands Crus Classes: The Great Wines of Bordeaux with Recipes from Star Chefs of the World covers the chateau of Sauternes. My Château Lafaurie-Peyraguey is matched with Bresse Chicken Roasted in a Salt Crust (Georges Blanc) by Yoichi Sato (Best Sommelier of Japan 2005). Not something I would have considered, or even thought of, as a wine/food match.
It’s the puff-pieces on each of the producers that irritates. While there are some interesting snapshot histories, with a breakdown of the grape varieties, little snippets from the managers and grape-growers (“Merlot indulges in its New World tendencies more than ever” Bruno Eynard of Château Lagrange on climatic change) it often retires to fluff such as “Château Lafite-Rothschild is profound, bewitching and deeply spiritual, more a wine of revelation than that of meditation. It claims the sovereignty of mind over matter” etc etc I have never been that sold on Bordeaux worship and writing such as this just annoys.
What this book offers is a combination of a Bordeaux Chateau overview coupled with a selection of unlikely-to-be- cooked-at-home recipes – Turtledoves with Chocolate Air, Touches of Pedro Ximénez, Tarragon and Coffee from Ferran Adrià of Ell Bulli (for Chateau Pontet-Canet) anyone? Or Ready to Eat Pig’s Trotters and Cepes from Thierry Marx (with Château Lynch-Bages)? We can all dream of consuming such delicacies and drinking the most expensive wines in the world, especially when each page is lashed with evocative photographs thoughout – such as the three chairs in a cellar tasting room for Chateau Doisy Daëne, the wisteria hugging the grey-stone wall at Château Siglas-Rabaud or the bundles of rushes from Château Lamothe-Guignard. But this has got to be a coffee-table tome.
It should be mentioned that some recipes do appear to be more home-cook friendly than those selected above. Lamb Criquettes from Yoshinori Shibuya of La Bécasse in Japan (with Chateau Lagrange) or Warm Foie Gras with Shellfish, Saffron and Lemon by Micheal Portos of Le Saint-James in France (with Chateau Haut-Bages Libéral) for example. None that likely to appear on a Come Dine With Me menu though.
Grands Crus Classes: The Great Wines of Bordeaux with Recipes from Star Chefs of the World is published by Abrams with a price of £40. Amazon currently have it listed for a very attractive £15.20.