Vintage Beacon Circa 11/2011: Chateau du Grand Barrail, 2000 Revelation paired with Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce

I so often do single bottle reviews, but readers should know that I often eat as well too! Usually I do the review first, then, later, I finish off with a meal.

My husband Eddie had been out of town and I wanted to make him a really good, hearty, beef stew his first day home. And, I didn’t want anything dull.

The recipe, using Hoisin sauce and red wine, sounded, and proved to be, awesome. And the wine, this time, neither added nor took away from the experience. Read on…

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First, the wine

Chateau du Grand Barrail, 2000 Revelation

Premieres Cotes de Blaye

Bottle #10865

13% alcohol

Color, appearance – Garnet, darkening to deep ruby edge, like a sparkling red cellophane.

Aromas – Stewed cranberries, red to deep black cherries, sautéed mushrooms, gamey, leather, slight anise.

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Taste – Dry yet slight jamminess, nice developed fruit, medium tannins, tobacco, dark chocolate, growing astringency over time.

Finish – Medium length, counted to 6 out of 10.

Back label: Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Vines that are 30-40 years old.   New French oak 12 months.

Disclosure: Purchased at Valencia Wine Co. for $25.99, maybe five years ago and found it during a “cellar cleanout” while making room for newer wines.


Mahogany Beef Stew with Red Wine and Hoisin Sauce (From, via friend Deja Munn.) My notes are in italics.

Yield: Makes 6 servings


4 tablespoons olive oil
3 1/2 pounds boneless beef chuck roast, trimmed, cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces (I bought pre-cut at Ralph’s)
3 1/2 cups chopped onions (Whatever. I cut up one really large onion.)
2 cups Cabernet Sauvignon (2000 Aneas Cab – a very early vintage from Agua Dulce Vineyards that did not fare too well over time. I didn’t serve remainder.)
1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes with Italian herbs, undrained
1/2 cup hoisin sauce (I never used this before and it did well in replacing the usual beef bouillon.)
2 bay leaves
1 pound slender carrots, peeled, cut diagonally into 1-inch lengths (I used a medium sized package of cleaned carrots.)
1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Heat 2 tablespoons oil in heavy large pot over high heat. Sprinkle meat with salt and pepper. Add meat to pot; sauté until brown on all sides, about 10 minutes. Push meat to sides of pot. Reduce heat to medium; add 2 tablespoons oil to pot. Add onions; sauté until golden brown, about 15 minutes. Mix meat into onions. Add 1 cup wine, tomatoes with juices, hoisin sauce, and bay leaves. Bring to boil.

(This is where I shifted everything into the crock pot and dropped all the pesky instructions in 45, 30, 15 and 8 minutes increments.)

Reduce heat to low, cover pot and simmer 45 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add carrots and 1 cup wine. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally. Uncover, increase heat to high; boil until sauce is slightly thickened, stirring occasionally, about 15 minutes longer. Reduce heat to medium, add cornstarch mixture and simmer until sauce thickens, stirring occasionally, about 8 minutes. Discard bay leaves. Season stew with salt and pepper. (Can be made 1 day ahead. Cool slightly. Chill uncovered until cold, then cover and keep refrigerated. Bring to simmer before serving, stirring occasionally.) Transfer stew to large bowl. Sprinkle with parsley; serve. (Forgot the parsley, perhaps I’ll try it with the leftovers…)

Pairing and Conclusion

The flavors in the stew –the Hoisin sauce and red wine – were amazing. Hubby wanted noodles or potatoes (what a surprise) so I will try that with the leftovers.

The wine, though complementary, didn’t add anything but, with that said, it did appear to become what is commonly referred to as “a food wine” where it was good for washing down a hearty stew. I hoped some of the wine’s growing astringency would be cut – but that was not the case.

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