by Fred McMillin
for September 14, 1998


Born Sept. 14,1768
Vicomte de Chateaubriand
French Author and Great Gourmet


The Vicomte de Chateaubriand was joined for dinner by another legendary gourmand, Anthelme Brillat-Savarin, at a Parisian restaurant. The owner announced he had created a new dish, named for the vicomte himself--in honor of Chateaubriand's latest novel, La Genie Du Christianisme. It turned out to be a succulent tenderloin encased between two slices of flank steak. The outer steaks were seared until black, then discarded; the tenderloin between them remained juicily rare. Chateaubriand steak had been born!

...Cooks, Gluttons & Gourmets by Betty Wason

The Rest of the Story

So it's the birthday of Vicomte Francois Auguste Chateaubriand. What wine to serve with the "succulent tenderloin" that bears his name? We nominate the best-tasting 1994 California Cabernet sampled so far this year.

The Wine

St. Clement1994 Cabernet Sauvignon, Howell Mtn., Napa Valley
St. Clement Vineyards, St. Helena, CA.
Composition—100% Cabernet
Production—Only 250 cases
Tasting Notes—My palate agrees with the comments of Winemaker Dennis John: "This is as big a wine as possile, mouthfilling and rich, yet with subtle tannins."
Price—$45 range
Contact—Jennifer Lamb, (707) 963-7221


About that new dish, even French royalty was impressed; King Louis XVIII, who came to the throne in 1815, was so pleased with the Chateaubriand steak that he also had cutlets and chops grilled the same way, between two thin steaks.

Note—For more about the winery, see the 2/25/97 WineDay titled "Heaven Sent St. Clement."

About the Writer

Fred McMillin, a veteran wine writer, has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents. He currently teaches wine courses at San Francisco State and San Francisco City College and is Northern California Editor for American Wine on the Web. In 1995, the Academy of Wine Communications honored Fred with one of only 22 Certificates of Commendation awarded to American wine writers.



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