Wednesday, December 14, 2016
Wine-pairing Lunch at the 1-star Michelin Restaurant Claude Darroze, with Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Château de Chantegrive - Bordeaux Tour by ombiasy WineTours 2016, France
Following the visit of Château de Fargues, Sauternes, and ahead of the visit of Château de Chantegrive, Grave, we had a wine pairing lunch at Restaurant Claude Darroze in Langon. Restaurant Claude Darroze has 1 star in the Michelin Guide. Marie-Hélène Lévêque, Owner of Château de Chantegrive, joined us for lunch and poured her wines.
Restaurant Claude Darroze in Langon
The restaurant is an ancient stage coach stop in the center of a typical French very laid back country village in the heart of vineyard country Sauternes and Graves. The cuisine of Claude Darroze concentrates on the traditions of France’s South-West region with a sophisticated twist, and every single bite is a culinary delight.
Michelin Guide: This lovely provincial inn with discreet charm perpetuates the traditions of the cuisine of southwest France and serves it with good Bordeaux wines (there are some 600 different bottles). The little extras are worth noting, such as the pleasant terrace beneath the plane trees and the bright, spruce rooms.
Gault Millau: Une maison de famille depuis quatre générations, aujourd’hui sous la direction de Jean-Charles et Annelie Darroze, qui ont su s’entourer comme il le fallait (en salle, en cuisine) pour conserver à cette institution sa place dans le peloton de tête du canton. La carte évolue gentiment vers plus de modernité tout en conservant une solide assise classique, avec le thon rouge juste snacké pimientos del piquillo piperade d’oignons doux, le pigeon ragoût de petits pois mousseline de carotte fane et la tomate green zebra en dessert, associée à de la fraise, du kiwi et du balsamique blanc. Bonne formule « bistronomique » à 32 € au déjeuner.
Sébastien Putcrabey and David Delieuvin are running the kitchen, under the supervision of Jean-Charles Darroze: Notre cuisine, pleine de saveurs et de gourmandise s'appuie sur des produits de saison et de grande qualité. Nous nous évertuons chaque jour à vous faire partager notre passion et nos émotions, tout en conservant ce que nos parents nous ont transmis, le gout de l'authenticité.
Claude et Marie-Pierre Darozze founded Claude Darroze in 1974 and were in charge until 2010. In 2010, their son Jean-Charles Darroze took over, with his wife Annelie.
The Darroze family
Claude and Jean-Charles Darroze are part of a well-known family of hotel and restaurant owners and Armagnac producers and traders in the Southwest of France. The roots of the Darroze family are in Villeneuve-de-Marsan at the Relais Restaurant and Hotel, which opened in 1895 and was run by the Darroze family for 4 generations (until it closed in 1999). The last chef at the Relais was Francis Darroze, who took over from Jean Darroze, a highly respected chef of the local Landaise cuisine.
Over the years, while running the family restaurant and hotel, Francis Darroze started to get into the Armagnac trade. He developed a talent for hidden treasures in little, out of reach, unknown estates. These first discoveries date back to the 1950s and 1960s. In 1974, Francis Darroze constructed a cellar specifically dedicated to aging and started his business as a trader and producer of vintage Bas-Armagnacs.
His son Marc, a trained oenologist, joined his father to follow in his footsteps in 1996. Today, Marc Darroze is a most respected Armagnac trader and producer. Robert Parker dubbed him ‘The Pope of Armagnac’. Marc learnt his craft from his father Francis and his famous, chef-restaurateur grandfather Jean Darroze.
Robert Parker: I cannot claim to have tasted all the finest Bas-Armagnacs, but I know of no one who makes finer Bas Armagnac than Darroze. All his Armagnacs are unblended from single vineyards from a single vintage. He is considered the “Pope of Armagnacs”… You haven’t tasted real old style Armagnacs until you try one of these incredibly intense, fiery creations. The aromas are undeniably heady, but deliver powerful yet complex scents of vanillin, leather, sauteed almonds, and hickory. Extremely full bodied and intense, the remarkable amount of fruit these Armagnacs possess and the astonishing richness they have set them apart from just about any other brandy on the market
Hélène Darroze, Marc‘s sister, left the Southwest and has three Michelin stars and three restaurants: Hélène Darroze at the Connaught in London, Restaurant Hélène Darroze in Paris and Moscow.
To come back to Claude Darroze, at the peak, he had 2 Michelin stars. Finally, Claude‘s brother Alain Darroze was at some point the private chef of the French President.
Château de Chantegrive
Barry Bros and Rudd: Château de Chantegrive is one of the largest wine estates in the Graves appellation, in the commune of Podensac, with 97 hectares (240 acres) of vines.
It is a member of the Union des Grands Crus de Bordeaux. The Chateau produces a red & rose wines from Merlot & Cabernet Sauvignon,as well as white wines based on Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon from 10 hectares (25 acres) of 30+ years oldvines.
In 1966 Henri and Françoise Lévêque purchased some vineyards around the village of Podensac and gradually set about creating the Chantegrive estate. The baton has now been passed to the younger generation and the progress continues.
The Cuvée Caroline is their white wine produced from 12 hectares of vines. The juice is fermented in barrel and is then aged in new Allier oak casks for 9 months, with regular stirring of the lees to enrich then wine. A recent clutch of awards bears testimony to the exciting quality of wine being made here and the recognition it is deservedly earning.
The Cuisine of Claude Darroze and the Wines Château de Chantegrive
Queues de Langoustine à la Plancha, Petites Ravioles de Petits Pois, Emulsion de Sauce Newberg Infusée au Basilic
Château de Chantegrive Cuvée Caroline 2012
St Pierre de Nos Côtes, Piperade de Piquillos & Oignons Doux, Huile de Chorizo
Château de Chantegrive Cuvée Henri Lévêque 2009
Vacherin aux Fraises, Menthe & Poivre
La Grive Dorée by Chantegrive 2015
This was an outstanding lunch: delicious food, world-class wines and a lovely athmosphere in the garden of Restaurant Claude Darroze. Thank you!
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