1998 Cabernet Sauvignon – Cassoulet

1998 Cabernet Sauvignon – We chose the 1998 Cabernet to represent the best of the past of Wooldridge Creek Winery because it is drinking beautifully. One of the reasons that this wine has held up so well is that it is actually a Meritage (or Bordeaux) blend. The 1998 Cabernet Sauvignon is blended with 17% Merlot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 2% Petite Verdot. Blends, like stews, if done well always seen to taste better once all of the flavors have merged together and become one. This is what the 1998 Cabernet has done. We have paired this wine with the Classic French stew- Cassoulet. For us happy cooks and very satisfied tasters, it is a wonderful, rich pairing that brings out the black cherry fruit in the wine.

1 lb white beans
1 chicken bouillon cube
3 cloves garlic (minced)
2 medium onions (finely chopped)
1 carrot (finely chopped)
2 cups chopped canned tomatoes (drained & rinsed)
1 clove
1 allspice
½ tsp dried thyme
¼ lb salt pork (chopped)
2lb Italian sausage (1 inch cubes)
2lb boneless leg of lamb (1 inch cubes)
2 lbs pork shoulder (1 inch cubes)
2 cups red wine
1½ cup bread crumbs
1 cup parsley
1 stick melted butter
Soak rinsed beans in water overnight

Add carrots, 1 onion, clove & allspice (in cheesecloth) thyme and salt pork

Simmer until beans are done (approx 1.5 hours)

Remove beans and cheesecloth from water (do not dump out water)

To the bean water add 1 cup red wine, tomatoes, bouillon cube and simmer until reduced by half

Sauté sausage, lamb and pork shoulder (may take a couple of batches)

After last batch is sautéed, add 1 cup red wine and 1 finely chopped onion and deglaze pan

Pour liquid into reduced bean water

Assemble — in a large casserole pan alternate layers of beans and meat (beans first and last)

Pour the bean water/wine reduction over top layer

At this point the dish can be cooked immediately or it can be refrigerated up to 24 hours

Place in a 250 degree oven for 1.5 hours until bubbling

Take out and punch down crust that forms on top

Mix together bread crumbs, parsley and melted butter

Spread on top of casserole

Bake 20 additional minutes (should be browned on top)