We had gone to the liquor store to get a case of a specific wine that we might not be able to get again, and I wanted to stock the cellar. While there we were wandering about and were stopped and asked if we needed help with anything. I jokingly said something like “not unless you know what to make for dinner tonight and which wine to go with it…” The gentleman thought for a minute and said “Chicken Marsala or a steak.” Now what’s funny is I’d had the same thought. He then continued with “and I have a great Bordeaux to go with it. Do you want to try it?” Sure, why not. About 45 minutes later, we left with 3 bottles of the Bordeaux, a couple of cheap bottles to try for a potential party, and my case of wine. Oh, and a promise that I’d return and let him know what I thought.
Officially called Chateau De La Chapelle Blaye Cotes De Bordeaux, 2018, this is a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Sauvignon.
If you look up Chateau de la Chapelle, you will find a “castle” in Brussels, which is a B&B with restaurant (more). However, this is truly a French wine – vinted by Viognobles Luc Schweitzer and imported to the US by Saranty Imports.
In 2021 Decanter Magazine rated it Best in Show with a 97.
Normally the ancillary information would be in the final thoughts, but given that was more about finding something for dinner and less about the wine when I started, I thought I’d flip them.
Now, let me start by saying I need a better Marsala mix. The HEB one is good – but it’s missing something, and while the addition of extra mushrooms helps it out a bit, it really just made me crave one from an Italian chef.
However, the wine was amazing. We just wanted to keep drinking it.
In the liquor store it had a berry scent and one I likened to French Toast (meaning yeast and cinnamon). At home you could really taste the cassis and spice.
It went amazingly well with the marsala, just as predicted – and I really loved it with the mushrooms. The chicken brought out the berry and spice It became kinda dry and fruity with the pasta, but just sitting and sipping it was good too.
As with most meals, we often don’t plan for dessert. The goal being to not eat it. However, sometimes you just want something sweet. So, a rummage through the kitchen produced fig newtons. That would have to do. The wine went well with the fig newtons. Which made me wonder how amazing it would be with chocolate and raspberry.
This is definitely a Saturday night wine – a date night wine. It has a good price point, so you could even serve it on Sunday for your in-laws to try and impress them. It would be amazing with a steak, especially one with blackberry sauce, blue cheese or crab as a topping. But don’t sell this one short – it’s a good curl up in front of the fireplace and snuggle red too. A great recommendation for a wine that I would have probably ignored, but now would consider a cellar staple (even if it’s not a Texas wine).