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Wine & Spirits / WINE OF THE WEEK

2004 Domaine Laffont Madiran 'Hecate'

August 15, 2007|S. Irene Virbila

In the southwest of France, the cuisine is so inextricably linked to the wine that it's hard to think about drinking anything but local reds with the region's duck and foie gras, slow-simmered daubes and braised meats. It's a shame that Madiran, made from the area's Tannat grape, which normally carries a full load of tannin, is still relatively little known in the U.S. This example from tiny Domaine Laffont should remedy that situation.

A dark, massive wine, "Hecate," the domaine's top wine, is smooth and supple for a Madiran. Yet it's made entirely traditionally from older vines -- and 100% Tannat. It starts off innocently enough, but after a couple of sips comes a dark undertow of lush fruit, spice and pepper. Bottled unfiltered and unfined, it needs something more than a pallid chicken breast, something like a gorgeous roast duck, a grilled magret (duck breast) or flatiron steak. Don't hesitate to pour it with braised lamb shank and white beans, either.

And look for Domaine Laffont's less expensive cuvée Erigone, Tannat blended with 20% Cabernet Franc.

Quick swirl

Region: Southwest France

Price: About $28

Style: Concentrated and smooth

Food it goes with: Roast duck, grilled magret or flat iron steak, braised lamb shank.

Where you find it: Mission Wines in South Pasadena, (626) 403-9463, www.missionwines.com; Wine Exchange in Orange, (714) 974-1454 and (800) 76WINEX, www.winex.com; and Woodland Hills Wine Co. in Woodland Hills, (818) 222-1111 www.whwc.com.

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-- S. Irene Virbila

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