Sunday, April 04, 2010
Vin nature & andouillette... nature
Terroir, yes, indeed. It is often said—and rightly so, I think—that the foods and wines of a region flush, by nature. Some kind of terroir symbiosis. Some earthy confluence of tastes and angles. Swig that Sancerre with your local goat cheese (come to think of it, hit the crottin motherlode at a small boutique in Chavignol, if you're ever in that bend of the Loire Valley); pour some dark and stainy Cahors with your cassoulet (and avoid heart disease while plowing through duck fat and sausage).
Readers of this blog might know that sometimes I drink champagne. But what regional specialties does that call forth? Gougères have been sneaked in the side from Burgundy. Puffy interlopers. Oysters? Forget about it, they're from coasts afar.
But... Champagne production also gravitates around the more southerly town of Troyes. Whose specialty is a rare delight: the tripe sausage known as andouillette, grilled crispy and often served with a mustard sauce.
Thus it was that Troyes native and genial vigneron Emmanuel Lassaigne arrived at a natural wine tasting last weekend in Paris as an ambassador of his terroir. With a small array of bottles showcasing his compelling way with chardonnay, what else to taste alongside than a very natural andouillette, he opined. Served nature. So nature that it was simply raw, and Lassaigne took it from its plastic sleeve and cut it into thick rounds with his folding knife. Cut and serve.
Jarring to eat something raw that usually gets fried up, but the thing was fatty and tasty and a great foil to the chiseled beauty of the bubbles. With a pedagogical smirk, he explained that of course, you have to choose wisely the andouillette that can withstand the direct glare of raw eating. Often, seasonings include chopped onion and the like, which just doesn't do.
But this did. As did a magnum of La Colline Inspirée, Lassaigne's cuvée made from old vines and redolent of the sunny slopes of Montgueux, and the poem that inspired the bottling's name.
Pic by Meg Zimbeck