With the propensity of les Français to pair their wonderful French wines with their delectable cuisine, is the so-called French paradox really a myth? I’m referring to the observation that the rate of coronary heart disease in France is low relative to a diet that is seemingly high in saturated fat. In female jargon, the paradox could be restated as, How do French women stay so damned thin when they start the day eating buttered croissants?
I type this as I sip and savor this month’s wine, the Doisy-Daëne 2007 from Sauternes. Smelling it, I want to dab it behind my ears and on my wrists to seduce every living creature under the sun; sipping it, I want to drink the entire bottle. Intoxicating on both fronts.
Another paradox lies in the man behind the wine, Denis Dubourdieu. Born into a family of Bordelais vignerons, he runs his family’s five wine estates, consults wineries worldwide and is also a professor of oenology at the University of Bordeaux. Conversations with him on wine can become a lesson in geek speak as he waxes poetic on yeast metabolism and molecules producing varietal aromas. Pardon?
Well, as Ashton Kutcher’s Beauty and the Geek and the creation of Kelly LeBrock in Weird Science proved, brains and beauty make the perfect pairing. An academic rooted in science can indeed create a work of natural beauty, and the Doisy-Daëne is Professor Dubourdieu’s Pygmalion.
A blend of 95 percent sémillon and 5 percent sauvignon blanc, the wine is a delicate balance of white peaches, toffee, white flowers, honey and marmalade. While sweet, it is not at all cloying. You may think of Sauternes only as a dessert wine, but let’s create the new French paradox! Sauternes can and should be enjoyed from the beginning of a meal (foie gras, bacon-wrapped dates) to the end (blue cheese, tarte tatin). And don’t overlook savoring the wine with the main course. A friend and I once drained an entire 750-milliliter bottle of Sauternes during a dinner of game and poultry at la Tupina in Bordeaux, leaving our red wine practically untouched. The sweetness of the Sauternes was the perfect foil for the saltiness of the entrées.
The 2007 Doisy-Daëne served at every course? Pourquoi pas? The new French paradox has arrived.