You know a wine is good when it inspires you to do something you’ve wanted to for years. In my case, it was the newest direct import from Evening Land: a white Burg, Dominique Lafon’s Saint Veran 09, and cooking a whole rabbit.
If I go to a restaurant and there’s rabbit on the menu, I order it. So don’t ask why I’ve never cooked one – I’ve cooked all my other favorite foods. As I was strolling through Corvallis’ first Saturday outdoor farmer’s market, I knew I’d be drinking the Lafon that night. I’ve walked by our local rabbit vendor hundreds of times without buying one, but something in my coffee-fueled brain clicked…braised rabbit would be perfect with that Lafon Chardonnay.
Several hours later, with the help of a friend’s poultry shears and the encouragement of my wife, I put the pan in the oven. The house started smelling amazing, I plated the rabbit, poured the wine, and inspiration became reality.
Here’s the tasting note for the wine – Arresting aromas of lime blossom, white peach and flint – mouthwatering (the rabbit didn’t hurt, either!). I loved the intensity and harmony of fruit, acidity, and minerals – it carries weight while staying clean. The richness of the rabbit reduction was complemented supremely by the lemony acidity in the wine.
I’m far from a white Burgundy expert, but I know exactly what kind of Chardonnay I like, whether from France or Oregon. And this is it.
Dominique Lafon is one of the world’s most famous white wine makers – he directs the famed Comtes Lafon in Meursault. We have Lafon’s Saint Veran because of his connection to Oregon’s Evening Land Vineyards, where he is the consulting winemaker. Just like Lafon’s involvement with Evening Land in Oregon (think Summum Chardonnay), this wine pushes the envelope for the appellation.
BRAISED RABBIT A LA MARCUS
Here’s what is in the pot:
First, salt and pepper the rabbit pieces, and brown them in butter.
Remove the rabbit from the pot,
Add 1/2 onion, 2 celery stalks, and a handful of diced carrots – cook for a few minutes.
Add 2 cups of chicken stock, 1/2 cup of white wine, one diced tomato, fresh rosemary, oregano, and thyme. Add rabbit back into the pot.
Remove from heat and cover. Pop in the oven at 350 degrees for 1.5 – 2 hours, or until super tender.
Remove rabbit and let sit, reduce the braising liquid as desired.
A couple minutes before serving, put the rabbit back in the pan.
Note: I’m not a recipe guy, so I may have omitted a step or ingredient here…