Seattle Wine Blog

This blog is dedicated to commentary on all aspects of wine, especially short entries to help you find the best wines without the usual hype and spin. These are my frank, independent opinions, usually based on tasting wine at a public event, off the shelf or at the winery. "All creative acts must arise out of a specific soil and flicker with a spirit of place" -D.H. Lawrence

Thursday, January 19, 2012

How To Ruin a Good Bordeaux

IMHO, lamb is the only thing to have with a good Bordeaux, preferably a St. Julien or Margaux. The best match, of course, is with the difficult to find Agneau de Pauilliac, pairing local food with local wine. Since this is not possible in most of the world you must bring the Bordeaux to the lamb. Local American lamb can be quite tender and delicious. The best American lamb we ever had was in Douglas, Wyoming. Sonoma produces beautiful stuff and the Tovey's lamb from Oregon has always pleased. But, alas, the local stuff is not always available, either, so more often than not, we have had to resort to lamb from Costco or Trader Joe's. Since the Great Recession. however we have had at least two bad experiences with lamb from Australia at Trader Joe's and Costco. Generally speaking New Zealand lamb seems younger and more tender and we have had no trouble with it. Australain lamb can be bigger, tougher and older, a little closer to mutton which we also love.

So what's the problem. Well, it appears that since the crash of 2008, the Australians have been using more and more Hydrogen Sulfide as a preservative. So not only is the meat vacuum packed, but the bag is imjected with Hydrogen Sufide to keep the oxygen out and thus add extra shelf life to the product. The problem is the product stinks! H2S smells like rotten eggs. If the right amount is used it usually dissipates and the meat smells reasonably fresh in a few minutes. On the other hand, if too much is used, the lamb continues to smell like rottens eggs right through cooking and onto the palate, Ugg! Yuck!!! Perhaps the only appropriate pairing at this poin twould be with a corked wine. Just think of  the smell of rotten eggs paired with the smell of wet dog, sweat socks or wet cardboard. Let's give the TCA cheer - 2,4,6 trichloroanisole, rah, rah , rah! Nah, nah, nah! Take it back. Stick it in their face if necessary.

We once had lamb paired with 1995 Chateau Labegorce Zede, a Cru Bourgeois Margaux, a real treat..  Get yourself a real treat. Look for domestic or New Zealand lamb and pair it with Bordeaux, perhaps a 2009 Haut Sorillon from Trader Joe's (about $10) or a 2009 Bois Redon from Total Wines (about $9). Avoid that hydrogen sulfide and enjoy! 

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