TheWineRambler "A German wine label is one of the things life's too short for" - Kingsley Amis



Chateau d'Aydie, Madiran, 1995

Posted by Julian 21 Mar 2010

Ink-coloured, almost black, smelling of plum jam, eucalyptus and donkey stable and puckering your mouth all over with overwhelmingly rough tannins, here we have a text book Tannat (note the linguistic closeness to "tannin" as well as to "tanning").

To drink it on its own would expose you to the danger of massive tissue damage in the inside of your mouth. I may be naively and recklessly curious about wine, but I'm not that foolish. I prepared myself, for Madiran is not only fit for human consumption, but actually tasty, when a few key ingredients are involved:

A controlled, carefully monitored setting in which to expose yourself to a Madiran could then look something like this:

I'm drawn to those brutally uncompromising wines from time to time. A good Madiran is structured like a nuclear shelter built into a swiss mountain. Sturdy, if you get my point. So it's a safe pairing with stews, steaks, or wild boar on a spit. It will handle the most savoury food, and nothing will subdue it.

And since it's a silly, but long-standing tradition of wine journalism to associate those wines with virility, I now turn over to someone with no shortages in that department:

brace, brace

When you hear a warning such as 'tannins, tannins', take the tannin food position. Again, it seems that I missed one of your powerful bastards. But then I am more of a feminine drinker of lighter wines anyway, and I cannot sing blues..


Madiran

Your description v. amusing and Muddy Waters too. I visited the Ch d'Aydie
some years ago following a great evening at a tapas bar outside Lourdes.
We sat to eat and I asked the young waitress to recommend a local wine.
Outside it was cascading rain. The windows were steamed up. 'Madiran, monsieur.'
said the girl. Half way through Bottle 2, when the cook had joined us at the
table and a small man who turned out to be the local hotelier ordered more
madiran, I thought to note the address of the producer on the wine label. Things
therafter became riotous as we quaffed the powerful nectar and ate all the food
the cook kept bringing from the kitchen.In the morning at the small man's hotel
I was attempting to introduce a croissant into my face when the hotelier appeared
looking rather battered and offered to sell me the hotel. As an Englishman, he said, this place is just the ticket. And you. monsieur, I said, where are you going? He drew back a curtain to reveal a huge reclining blonde lady.
They were decamping to Peru or somewhere. We eventually drove out to
the Ch d'Aydie, set in rolling hills like Yorkshire. I rang the old bell. A woman opened the door, fixing me with a granite sod-you stare. I asked if a case
of the madiran might be available? 'Oddbins, monsieur,' she replied and closed the door. I've never forgotten the wine or that evening but I havent tried it since