Because we're big fans of good, coarse country pate, we often find ourselves wondering what wine that we haven't yet tried might go perfectly with a judicious slice, some crusty bread and a handful of cornichons. Often our thoughts turn to Bordeaux, since its denizens tend both to appreciate a good pate and to demand good wine, which is where the 2006 Clos du Cheval Blanc Cotes de Bourg (about $13 at wine shops and big-box stores) comes from. We were not disappointed in the match, although this hearty red would go equally well with steak au poivre and french fries crisped in duck fat.
The clay/limestone soils of the Cotes de Bourg, which lies on the right bank of the Dordogne River where it meets the Gironde, produce primarily medium-bodied tannic red wines and the Clos du Cheval Blanc essay is no exception.
This wine is a lovely garnet color in the bottle and boasts beautifully married aromas of bright cherry and raisins in the glass. On the tongue, the cherry is right up front, along with currants, chocolate and blackberry, all with a fine tannic edge. Its medium-long finish is very dry, with a pronounced note of unsweetened black tea at the back and just a hint of clove.
In short, this is a handsome and accessible taste of Bordeaux at a price that makes it tough to beat.
By Colette and John Bancroft. She is the Times' book editor, and he is a freelance specializing in food, wine and travel.