Pheasant is a tasty game, its flesh is intense in tastes and needs wines of character that developp undergrowth aromas but matured tannins in order to find a perfect harmony : our choice went to a Bandol 2001, which must be matured enough now. A blending of Grenache and Mourvèdre : the last one, when getting old is prone to provide game and humid earth aromas.
2001 was a year of drought from June to September, grape harvest were dry, it went fast and rather in small volume.
Tasted January 8th 2012 - Domaine La Suffrène 2001 - AOC Bandol - Winemaker : Cédric Gravier at La Cadière d’Azur - Grape varieties : 55% : Mourvèdre, 20% : Grenache noir, 15% : Cinsault, 10% : Carignan. Alcohol : 15%. Medium colour intensity, dark garnet with important brown nuances. The first nose expresses fragrances of truffle which will vanish later. A broad olfactory range : brown spices, humid earth, black crystallized berries, plum,’s jam, soot, laurel and Corinth. The mouth is very powerful and shows a supple attack. Fatness and volume are balanced by tannins, just a bit dry but grained, dense, growing in the middle of mouth and persist for long time to give a drop of fine bitterness at the finish. The mouth is dominated by concentrated notes of Corinth then dry plum and aromas of torrefaction finished by undergrowth, spices, crystallized blach cherry. Very long, airy aftertaste, with a fine touch minth/cocoa. Very good wine, a bit heady, big complexity.
With the roasted pheasant in casserole and Jerusalem artichoke : the firm flesh of the fowl, its slightly dry nature and especially its wild taste was emphasized by this type of baking. Jerusalem artichokes braised in sauce before service, sapid and mellow, brought the sofness to the whole. The wine, with its powerful tannins and its envoloping alcohol was perfect on the association fowl and vegetable. The strong aromas of the pheasant met those of humus of the wine, the smooth tannins merge with the flesh, almost perfect association, intense torresfaction and raisin aromas were sometimes dominating, without weakening : a success, to do again !