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Chateau d'Aydie, Madiran, 1995

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;

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