… subtle rabbit meat begs for easy-to-drink red wine
April means springtime and the gentleness of mild weather. In April our cravings turn to dishes which express sunshine, especially after the long winter we are just beginning to emerge from. Tasty dishes featuring rabbit are a good example of springtime fare. Rabbit meat is delicate white meat that goes well with red wine whose structure and alcohol are not overly powerful. When simmering rabbit in a lip-smacking sauce and serving it with assertive side dishes, be sure to choose a red wine with sturdy shoulders and good intensity.
In my opinion, rabbit simmered in a Dutch over served with spring vegetables is well-paired with a wine from Northern latitudes that delivers sparkling fruit and good mouthfeel. Here I propose the 2016 Touraine Cabernet Franc 2016 made by Xavier Weisskopf, at Rocher des Violettes. This is a wine that possesses the graphite trace of the varietal it is made from, and that offers up ripe aromas. This Cabernet Franc grow on clayey-chalky terroir. The 2016 vintage has a noble vegetal dimension to it and lovely exemplary Loire freshness. For another alternative for this springtime delicacy, I would go with a luscious wine, a thirst-quenching wine for pleasure, in a word a Beaujolais. Here I turn to En Besset from the estate Domaine de Fa, made by Antoine and Maxime Graillot (Crozes Hermitage). Their 2016 is an outstanding success, made from grapes grown on high granite terroir. This is a bright and brassy wine, just the spirit we are looking for in this appellation: a juicy, easy-to-drink fruity wine.
… and looking South
If you prepare rabbit with olives and thyme or savoury, and serve it with a confit of aubergine, it takes on a different accent, Mediterranean here, and the wine can come from the south. The important thing to remember is that rabbit meat is always a subtle, delicate meat and any wine needs to respect this. Here I suggest trying a 2016 wine from Pays d’Oc 2016 signed by Luc Baudet, formerly the owner of Château Mas Neuf in Costière de Nîmes. Luc Baudet has kept a few hectares of vines and made this Clos des Centenaires primarily from Cinsault completed with Syrah. Whole clusters went into making this wine in cement tanks and the result is impressive. Well-defined fruit that is both floral and spice, matter that is savoury yet not extracted, the roundness and fruitiness of this wine are totally seductive.
Set your sails for Corsica
Going even further south, I head for Corsica and the brand new 2016 Tarra di Sognu cuvée, a red wine made by Yves Canarelli (Clos Canarelli) and the sommelier Patrick Fioramonti (Grand Hotel de Cala Rossa) grown on the clayey-chalking soils in Bonifacio, at the very tip of the island of Corsica. The freshness and acidity of this vintage are irresistible. The blend of Carcajolo nero and Sciaccarellu, with just a dash of Minustellu expresses a slight Southern accent in the aromas, with notes of bay leaf, black olive and wild herbs. This wine is ready to drink as of the present time, but you can also cellar it for later.
La Revue du vin de France, April 2018