This is the second in a series called "Adventures in Bordeaux" detailing memorable experiences of the Millésima 2017 Blog Awards trip to Bordeaux.. Each post has recipes and wine pairing suggestions so you can join in on the experience as well! Here I've included a recipe for marinated skirt steak. You may not think of having a full-bodied red on a hot summer evening but nothing pairs better with red meat (especially hot off the grill) than a red Bordeaux.
It was a beautiful, blue-sky day in the village of Margaux and we had finally arrived! There we were, six Blog Awards winners, on an amazing adventure in beautiful Bordeaux, hosted by a warm and welcoming team from the Bordeaux-based fine wine merchant Millésima. During the weeks leading up to the trip I was frequently asked by friends about the itinerary. I could barely contain myself when I got to the part about lunch at Château Margaux. I knew that this meal would be the pinnacle of a week full of "am I dreaming, or is this real?" experiences. After all, this wine estate is one of the most famous in the world.
Back in 1855, during the Paris Universal Exhibition, Emperor Napoleon III requested wine brokers to rank the best Bordeaux wines. During this official classification the top estates were ranked from first to fifth growths, with only four being chosen as first growths: Châteaux Margaux, Château Latour, Château Haut-Brion and Château Lafite-Rothschild. There are now five, with the addition of Château Mouton-Rothschild in 1973. And here I was in the most famous wine region in the world, sitting by a cozy fireplace in a magnificent castle, feasting on chicken with foie gras and chatting with Madame Mentzelopoulos, the owner, and her two grown children, Alexandra and Alexis. Every time my glass was half empty, the waiter topped it off with a 1996 Château Margaux, no skimping at this lunch!
Upon arriving at the estate I had no idea what to expect. The tall, wrought-iron gates and long tree-lined walkway led us towards an imposing yet beautiful, straight-out-of-a-fairytale Château. Stepping into the home of the Mentzelopoulos family (owners for the past 35 years). We were greeted warmly by Aurelien Valance, Deputy General Manager and one of the judges for this year's Millésima Blog Awards. "Let's have a glass of Champagne, if you don't mind" he said, as the glasses of Krug Grand Cuvée were being served. Did I mind?!?! And so began that memorable afternoon the six of us had been dreaming about for weeks. Read more from Rob Frisch, a fellow blogger on the trip who captured the afternoon so perfectly with his article Chateau Margaux: Is It Worth It? You can plan your visit to Chateau Margaux by appointment only. I can't promise you'll be dining with Mme M, but you will be able to bask in the splendor of one of the most beautiful sites in Bordeaux.
Back home now and day-dreaming about all of the wonderful Bordeaux wines we tasted I can't help but think of a dish which would complement a complex, red Bordeaux. So many possibilities come to mind but since the summertime is upon us, I'm going to pair these Cabernet and Merlot dominant wines with a simple, yet delicious grilled skirt steak. The marinade in the recipe is great for any meat, poultry or fish preparation. You can even whisk some balsamic vinegar into it to make it a salad dressing.
GRILLED SKIRT STEAK
1/2 cup olive oil
1/3 cup soy sauce
4 scallions, cut in half
2 large cloves garlic
1 teaspoon peeled and minced fresh ginger (optional)
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 & 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
1 & 1/2 teaspoons chili powder
3 tablespoons dark brown sugar
2 pounds skirt steak, cut into 3 pieces
1) Heat charcoal or gas grill to very hot. In a blender, add oil, soy sauce, scallions, garlic, ginger if using, lime juice, pepper flakes, cumin, chili powder and sugar. Puree until smooth.
2) In a large ziplock bag, put in pieces of steak and pour in marinade. Seal bag and allow steak to marinate for at least 30 minutes (if the marinating time is longer than an hour, refrigerate). Near the end of the marinating time, start a charcoal fire or preheat a gas grill. Make it very hot.
3) Remove the meat from the marinade and grill for 3 or 4 minutes per side or until nicely browned.
4) Check for doneness by touch or with a thermometer (125 degrees is about right for rare to medium-rare). Move the meat to a cooler part of the grill if further cooking is desired. Remove from grill and let rest for five minutes before cutting into slices, across the grain, using a sharp carving knife. Serve with your favorite summertime side dishes.
RED BORDEAUX SUGGESTIONS (find out where to buy these wines at www.wine-searcher.com):
Three everyday, easy-drinking red wines:
- 2013 Château Fondarzac ($12)
- 2010 Château Larroque ($12)
- 2010 Château Féret-Lambert ($18)
Two great values for wines which are drinking well now:
- 2009 La Chapelle de Potensac ($22)
- 2000 Château La Fleur Peyrabon ($30)
- 2010 Château Phelan Segur ($58)
A few amazing splurge wines:
- 2008 Château Beychevelle ($130)
- 2005 Château Pichon Baron ($190),
- 2009 Château Figeac ($250)
And for the fortunate few out there,
- 1996 Château Margaux ($850).