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A Hearty Red with Cassoulet

Montus Bouscassé Madiran Château Montus 2006
Thomas Matthews
Posted: February 12, 2010

I was invited to a “cassoulet cook-off” dinner party recently, so I brought my version of this traditional bean stew from southwest France and paired it with a hearty Madiran, from the same region.

Cassoulet is one of those dishes, like bouillabaisse, where no one agrees on the “correct” recipe and everyone personalizes their own based on taste and tradition. I took a short cut: I ordered the “cassoulet kit” from D’Artagnan, the American company that specializes in food products from the southwest of France. It included the crucial Tarbais white beans, plus duck confit, garlic sausage, duck sausage, ventreche, veal demi-glace and duck fat. Some assembly was required; it took me nearly three hours to put it all together. But it turned out great.

The Madiran, from the producer Montus Bouscassé, was new to most of the guests, but this smooth, powerful blend of the local Tannat variety with some Cabernet Sauvignon had the depth and structure to hold up to the rich dish. A core of lovely black cherry fruit kept the combination fresh and lively. I rated the wine 92 points, non-blind, and wished I had brought a magnum. Read the original blind-tasting review of Montus Bouscassé Madiran Château Montus 2006 (91, $38).

• Plus, get our quick list of Easy Finds among French reds.

Member comments   5 comment(s)

Michael Bonanno — CT —  February 12, 2010 11:27am ET

Thomas, do you find yourself having a glass while you are cooking?

Thomas Matthews — New York City —  February 12, 2010 12:05pm ET

Michael, Not this time -- believe it or not, there's no wine in my cassoulet recipe. But if I'm adding wine to a dish, I always taste it to make sure I like the flavors, and sometimes I like them enough to pour myself a glass. Doesn't everybody?

D J Fontana — Charlotte, North Carolina —  February 12, 2010 6:46pm ET

yes, otherwise, why cook?

Dennis D Bishop — Shelby Twp., MI, USA —  February 15, 2010 8:11pm ET

Thanks for the photo of the ingredients! I will have to try an order!!

Thomas Matthews — New York City —  February 16, 2010 8:59am ET

Dennis - Let me know how it turns out! And what you drink with it.

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