Fillet Steak a la Raymond Blanc with Burgundy

Tonight was an occasion for celebration and D produced one of her tours de force: fillet steak, a carefully concentrated tomato sauce, pesto, tappenade and some sautée potatoes for contrast and self indulgence. There are a lot of tastes on the plate and they are designed to set off each other, not to blend. The tappenade provides all the darkness you need while the concentrated tomatoes provide a lot of challenging fruit. The pesto, rather surprisingly, complements the meat which comes from our favourite local butcher and is simply beyond compare, mild and melting. I like this with a fruity wine, not a dark and plushy one, so I went for a mid-rankBurgundy.

I chose a Chorey les Beaune, Pièce de la Chapitre, Tollot-Beaut 2005 that has been lying in my cellar since I bought half a dozen in bond in 2006. It then cost £14.40 from The Wine Society; expect nearer £20 now. It is probably near its best. The nose is strawberry and raspberry, but powerful; the palate is concentrated fruit with the tannins beautifully integrated while still providing some serious backbone. This pairing is very hard to improve on. You might try some lighter fruitier clarets – I have had a Ch. Talbot that would have been wonderful, but to me this meal doesn’t lend itself to other clarets like the big Paulliacs and Margaux or anything too tannic or oaky, no matter how well integrated. There are Rhones that would work well, perhaps a Cote Rotie (why economise?) or an Hermitage – this needs class and refinement.

We slowed down towards the end in a way we seldom do, and just sipped and tasted, increasingly at leisure. Once in a while it is worth pushing the boat out.

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