Maydie Tannat

Categories: Expert guidance

A match for this month’s choice ingredient dish: candied beetroot chocolate pots

If beetroot and chocolate sound to you like an unearthly combination, then beetroot, chocolate and wine must seem out of this world. Once you’ve got your head around the former—and that, with Tom Hunt’s delectable recipe for candied beetroot chocolate pots, is easy enough—it’s only a matter of time before the latter suggests itself as not just conceivable, but indubitably the right thing to do.

Step forward Maydie Tannat, a quaffable portmanteau of the tiny commune in which this wine is made, Aydie, and its more famous neighbour Madiran in Gascony: the heavy, luscious red wines of which are renowned for the unique tannat grape they are made from.

“Gascony is 150 miles south of Bordeaux, so it’s a really warm climate. The tannat grape is rich in tannins”—a fine complement for the earthy beetroot—“but this is a sweet wine, which in the south of France is traditionally paired with chocolate,” says Kevin from Borough Wines. “That would work really well with Tom’s pot.”

The family behind Maydie, Laplace, produce a variety of wines under Château d’Aydi, and have spent generations mastering the tannat grape and its properties. Maydie Tannat is the family’s fortified wine—“a slightly funkier, quirky bottle”—made from 100 per cent tannat grapes which are left to ripen almost to raisins on the vine before being harvested and fortified with spirit to stop them fermenting.

The result is a figgy, blackcurranty nectar which, Kevin points out, is not dissimilar to port. “There’s the sweetness of the fruit, which will work brilliantly with chocolate, but then you’ve got the slight dryness there from all the tannins—and that, with beetroot, will just bring it out.”