Wine: Château Corconnac 2012 Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois
Origin: Bordeaux, France

Taste: This smells of mulled berries, peat logs and pencil lead. Some barnyard funk and lifted balsamic notes give it an appealing rustic edge that meshes nicely with the ripe but lightly coarse tannins. Mercifully, the integrated acidity doesn’t over-highlight the tannins, so the wine’s overall integration is spot-on.

Expectation: With 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Merlot, this blend is particularly generous in Cabernet Sauvignon for an Haut-Médoc. The Bordelais eat lots of meat with their husky reds, so I naturally turned in that direction.

Hit: Braised Veal Breast Stuffed with Black Trumpet Mushrooms
I love black trumpet mushrooms, and recently I enjoyed three meals centered around them. They were fresh on my mind when I tasted this wine, and I thought they’d work brilliantly together. I considered lamb to amp up the funk factor, but I decided instead to go with a milder meat to contrast the wine. Braised in dry Madeira, this was a killer trio.

Miss: Wild Rice Soup with Andouille
Keeping rusticity as a theme, I planned a hearty winter soup based on wild rice to match the wine’s forest floor notes and its grainy texture. I tossed in andouille sausage to add lusty, meaty notes and to counter the firm tannins. While the porcini mushrooms also worked well, the tomatoes and Swiss chard did not. The wine’s fruit flavors were too black and ripe for the sweet-tart character of the tomatoes, and the chard contributed pyrazine-like notes to a wine with perfectly ripe fruit. Alas, I wish I’d had root veggies on hand.