Steak & Claret

While there are four words that get most of our Bordeaux customers excited about Bordeaux (92 points Robert Parker), let me tell you about four words that get us excited to drink Bordeaux here at K&L: steak and claret night. You see, as a staff we came to the conclusion a while back that there are few things more enjoyable in life than drinking a glass of delicious cabernet or merlot-based wine along side a plate of still-sizzling beef. As the pre-eminent retailer of Bordeaux wine in the United States, we consider it a duty to not only know the specifics about our tremendous selection of claret, but to also know exactly what they taste like when enjoyed in the most proper of all settings! That’s why, at least once a week, a number of K&L staff members partake in what’s come to be known as: steak and claret night—the chosen evening of the week when Bordeaux and beef will be consumed side-by-side, creating one of the most sacred of unions.

I decided to join in on the fun this weekend and do my own steak and claret night this past Sunday. I ordered some beef kebob from my local Lebanese spot and decanted a bottle of the 2010 Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux, one of the best deals I've come across in the Bordeaux department over the past few months. The wine is simply stellar, showcasing pure cassis fruit (a characteristic I often read about, but rarely taste) and plenty of bold structure for long-haul aging. God, it tasted good with that steak. And I didn't have to blow a bunch of cash to drink a great wine, either. The Gressier is a total insider's secret at $19.99 and it's from a serious estate of vines, to boot. I'm considering going back for a case today because it's really all top-quality Chasse-Spleen fruit for half the price.

I'll give you the lowdown here:

The vineyards at Chasse-Spleen

Gressier Grand-Poujeaux—once a thriving and prestigious property in the Moulis region of the Mèdoc—is now actually a side label for prominent producer Château Chasse-Spleen. Chasse-Spleen, perhaps the most-respected producer from the Moulis region of Bordeaux, was once part of a larger estate called Grand-Poujeaux that was split up in 1822 due to inheritance disagreements. One half of the estate became known as Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux, and the other half was divided into smaller properties, one of which became Chasse-Spleen. The property would change hands between various owners over the next 150 years until 1976 when it was purchased by the Merlaut family, who would later go on to own a number of famous châteaux including the beloved Gruard-Larose. With a new and dedicated force behind it, Chasse-Spleen’s star would rise to shine quite brightly over the following decades, while the once great Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux fell into neglect. In 2003, more than 180 years after the original Grand-Poujeaux estate was divided, the vineyards of Gressier were purchased by Chasse-Spleen and the two properties were once again united. While Chasse-Spleen decided to continue the Gressier-Grand-Poujeaux label and reinvigorate the vineyards, much of the fruit from the 2010 Gressier is proper Chasse-Spleen-grown cabernet. Except that the 2010 Chasse-Spleen sold for $40 and the Gressier is selling for $20.

So—to give you the short version—this is a great wine from a great vintage from a great producer at half the price of what it should probably cost.

That little piece of information makes my steak and claret taste that much better. Feel free to join in on the new tradition with us.

-David Driscoll

David Driscoll