Just what a Wednesday night calls for – hearty peasant food and an everyman’s Bordeaux. So I invited my friend over for French Dip Sandwiches cooked in a crock pot and a Cru Bourgeois tasting. We called it our Boozy Bougie Night.”
And the theme was fitting. The Cru Bourgeois wines are the wines of the middle class. Bordeaux classifications can be a little tricky. The very top wines of the Medoc on Bordeaux’s left bank were classified in 1855. Out of 3,000, 61 Chateau were classified into 5 tiers. If you are like me you probably are not popping a bottle of First Growth from that 1855 Classification. You may not be sipping a Fifth Growth for that matter.
But in 1932 Bordeaux established a classification I can afford to pop. Cru Bourgeois applies to the eight appellations of the Médoc: Médoc, Haut-Médoc, Listrac, Moulis, Margaux, Saint-Julien, Pauillac, and Saint-Estèphe. Producers’ wines are selected by the Bordeaux wine merchants and are rated on quality and value. Once the producer wins the title, it stands for five years and then it is re-tasted and judged again. All Cru Bourgeois wines will be mostly Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot blended with other Bordeaux grapes.
Cru Bourgeois Wines
Our favorite of the night was 2011 Chateau Rollan de By Cru Bourgeois from Médoc ~ $25. The nose was a combination of richly oiled leather, woody cinnamon stick spice, and concentrated fruits – black cherry, raspberry, and boysenberry. A supple texture, flavors of deep, rich red fruits grows across the palate with bright ripeness and soft velvety tannins.
Our second favorite was 2012 Chateau Greysac from Médoc ~$20. A pretty nose of blue raspberry, red plum, floral notes, spice, leather and little ashy dust. The palate tells us this one needs a little more time in the bottle to ring true. A little tight and with tannins that are beginning to integrate but are still a bit coarse. Bright red plum and a long finish promise better things to come.
French Dip Sandwiches
We love any recipe that is make ahead and wafts an aroma through the house to greet guests.
- 3.5 pound boneless roast – trim visible fat
- 3 cups beef broth
- 2 bottles dark beer
- 4Tablespoons favorite grilling marinade. (we used Simm's Sauce)
- 3 Tablespoons Worcteshire
- 4 Tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 long rosemary branch
- 2 bay leaves
- Black pepper
- 1 large onion minced
- 4 garlic cloves minced
- Cook roast with other ingredients in crockpot on high until done - approx 3 hours. Remove meat and shred. Remove rest of fat. Puree juice with onion and garlic – not bay leaf and rosemary. Return meat to crockpot with enough juice to cover. Cook on low 1.5 hours. Reserve remaining juice for dipping sandwiches. Serve on a toasted French roll or for a lighter version on a spinach salad.
Wines were received as samples and enjoyed by the wine writer without bias. Seriously we did not write about the ones we did not like.
What are some of your hearty midweek go to meals and wines?
John Engstrom says
Please note that the “French Dip Sandwich” is not French, any more than Chop Suey is Chinese, or the Caesar salad is Italian. It was first made in Los Angeles, California at either Phillippe’s or Cole’s depending on whose story you believe.
Thanks for commenting. It is just the name of that particular sandwich which was also a great pairing for the wine. Sorry if that was confusing. I guess you could call it a shredded beef sandwich dipped in broth but that would not be good in a Google search! Ha!