Fruity red wine for boudin noir

Boudin noir – known in English as black pudding or blood sausage – is a charcuterie dish that brings great delight to Epicureans. Boudin noir can be served warm or cold and is simply delicious when prepared in the good old-fashioned way. Different chefs bring their own flair to the taste and texture of their own blood sausage preparations, which at the base is made of pork blood and pork fat seasoned with onion, chervil, thyme, parsley, nutmeg.

The fundamental flavours in the blood and the spices are the challenge to the tasting and wine pairing. Scintillating fruit To go with boudin noir, we have to look for a very juicy red that conveys good maturity and vivacious fruit. Wine texture has to be fleshy yet round, with that pleasing, easy-to-drink aspect. Go for quaffable, full-bodied drink-anytime reds redolent with fruit, and avoid wines where the wood is too present. One good example is a lovely Anjou Gamay grown on schist soils. Damien and Didier Richou, in Mozé sur Louet, propose two lip-smacking versions: their 2016 Chateliers that is strong on fruit and appeal, and the 2015 Champ de la Pierre which fully expresses gorgeous ripe Gamay, a very sunny year, and great finesse. However, other grapes also do the trick with boudin noir. You may prefer the Grolleau grape, if so, go for the Clau de Nell estate and their 2015. The property was taken over by Anne-Claude Leflaive and Christian Jacques in 2008 and is managed by Sylvain Potin. Szechuan pepper, juicy and aromatic, the 2015 Clau de Nell made from old vines that are between 60 and 90 years old, is seductively fresh. There are also choices from outside of France. The GD Vajra vineyard, in the village of Barolo, makes a delicious Dolcetto d’Alba produced from phenotypic selection. This cuvée, christened Coste & Fossati, expresses outstanding substance and intensity for the 2015 vintage.

A dash of hot pepper

In Southwest France, boudin noir is often spicier, made with a dash of piment d’Espelette and it also has finer, long-simmered texture. Here I advise the Arbouriou grape variety from the Marmande area. A fruity, lovely Abouriou made by Lionel Osmin and Damiens Satori (Lionel Osmin & Cie) responds beautifully to the thirst-quenching dimension that we seek in this food and wine pairing. For this spicier boudin noir, my choice from outside of France goes to a Catalonian grape – and there are only 100 hectares remaining in all of Spain! – from the Penedès region, the Sumoll grape, overflowing with fruit and spice. Albert Jané, who took over his father’s property in La Bisbal des Penedes (Bodega Jané Ventura), makes a very pure expression from organic vines. Try his 2015 cuvée Gran Autocton. French, Italian or Spanish, these wines pair wonderfully when you decide to go about making boudin noir!

La Revue du Vin de France, avril 2017