South-western France is an up and coming wine region. There are about 10 million bottles of Madiran AOC produced in an area of about 3200 acres (1300 hectares) facing the Pyrenees mountains. This particular wine comes from the southernmost part of the region and is made from 50% Tannat and 50% Cabernet Franc grapes. You may guess from its name that the Tannat grape variety is highly tannic. Roger Corder in his well-known book, “The Wine Diet” published in 2007 devotes 3 pages to one wine and that wine is Madiran. He did not refer to this particular producer. Corder talks about the technique of micro-oxygenation which is used to reduce the ferocity of the tannins without lowering the levels of some chemicals alleged to be good for the heart when wine is consumed in moderation.
Let’s start by quoting the marketing materials. Tasting Note : A blend of the local Tannat and the worldly Cabernet Franc grapes, Château Peyros's Madiran is remarkably soft and round, considering Tannat's robust nature. Filled with sweet cherry, raspberry and plum, this dry, fruity, balanced wine is showing nicely right now. An elegant wine that deserves an elegant cut of grilled-rare beef or lamb. (VINTAGES panel, July 2009). And now for my review.
At the first sips the wine was powerful with strong tannins. But the tannins were not unpleasant tannins, probably because of the wine’s acidity. The first meal involved London Broil meat, potato patties, and green beans all slow cooked together. The Madiran was plummy and grapey, and now the acidity was somewhat harsh and on the edge. With a canned corn, chickpea, pimento, and sliced palm heart salad the wine was thinner and the tannins were almost gone.
The next meal consisted of broiled merguez, a spicy, fatty North African lamb sausage, potato patties, and a salsa-salad. With the meat the wine was strongly but not excessively acidic. It was round and refreshing. The potato patties reduced the Madiran’s acidity but increased its fruit. When I added Louisiana cayenne pepper sauce to the meat (I like spicy but am no fanatic) the wine lost some power. With the salad the wine was quite long and refreshing.
My final meal involved slow cooked beef ribs accompanied by potatoes roasted in chicken fat. The wine displayed a good balance between acidity and tannins, presenting sweet dark cherries and some tobacco. It handled the potato’s grease well and I tasted plums. With a Turkish salad composed of sweet pimentos, tomato paste, hot peppers (very little), and garlic the Madiran lost some of its fruit.
Prior to the traditional two cheeses I enjoyed some Matjes herring. The wine was round with some oak. It wasn’t bad. When paired with a Swiss cheese, it tasted of dark cherries and some oak. Then I tried a goat’s milk cheese that was made with roasted garlic. The wine was round and barely acidic, tasting of sweet cherries.
Final verdict. This wine was nothing special unless you go for the health claims. Since I had to pay more than $10 I don’t think I would buy it again. I was surprised to see a Madiran for $60 boasting a 93 rating from Wine Spectator. Even though I am now reviewing wines in that price range I have no plans to buy that a Madiran.Access the companion wine I Love French Wine And Food - Another Provence Bandol
Levi Reiss has authored or co-authored ten books on computers and the Internet, but to be honest, he would
rather just drink fine Italian or other wine, accompanied by the right foods. He teaches classes in computers at an Ontario
French-language community college. His wine websites include
www.theworldwidewine.com and http://www.wineinyourdiet.com
Visit his website devoted to Italian travel www.travelitalytravel.com
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