Athos, Porthos, Aramis, and the other guy
If you have reached this post by searching for Athos, Porthos, and Aramis, the titular characters of Alexandre Dumas’ novel Three Musketeers, then please see this link:
Domaine Berthoumieu, Cuvee Charles de Batz, Madiran, 2005. Approx. $18 US depending on location.
i was seriously considering calling this post Mad About Madiran this morning, in a bit of a haze, until i was reminded of Paul Reiser, which made me a little bit sick. Instead i have selected a title much less offensive to myself, and i hope you, the reader.
If you hadn’t guessed already, the other guy in the title refers to D’Artagnan the protagonist at the center of the three musketeers, and probably the most well known character, despite being left from the title. i suppose at this point you are wondering what the fictional creations of Alexandre Dumas have to do with wine, but don’t fear, reader, it has
the world very little to do with the subject at hand besides the wine in question being named after the real person (Charles de Batz, Comte D’Artantagnan) whom the Three Musketeers was based upon.
So in a very roundabout way we are talking about something interesting lifted from obscurity, and made live again. Madiran, made in the village of Madiran in Gascony and made from the tannat grape (another obscurity, unless you are in Uruguay, apparently), has the unfortunate distinction of being thought of as both a rustic style country wine. However, on the higher end it is a very ageworthy wine that can sit in the bottle for 5-10 years (more? i can’t get a good answer on this, even from the importer). i suspect the somewhat harsh tannins in the younger wines coupled with the reputation of being a “country” wine is the reason why we don’t see it that often. It should be noted, however, that it is these harsh tannins that allow it to age so well. Luckily for us, there are importers like Charles Neal who have taken it on upon themselves to deliver offbeat wines, hard to find wines to everyone stuck in the US.
It goes without saying that tannic wines are, by necessity, food wines, but it bears repeating. If anything, madiran is not a cocktail wine. Unless that cocktail was some type of steak spritzer, or a cassoulet and coke. This is the stuff to cut right through something nice and fat, something grilled, something rich with flavor. Something to think about on those philosophical sundays when the sun is about to set and the weekend is bracing you once again for what is to come.
Where to buy: here