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by Fred McMillin
for November 5, 1998

 

Happy Birthday, Monsieur Mornay,
Born Nov. 5, 1549



Prologue

Henri IV Sauce Mornay was created for French King Henri IV by his prime minister, Philippe de Mornay--a white sauce made with fragrant fish broth, enriched with Parmesan and Gruyere cheese.

...Betty Wason in Cooks, Gluttons & Gourmets


The Rest of the Story

Since a stack of stuffed crepes coated with Mornay Sauce is the most popular dish my wife teaches, we must toast Philippe's birthday tonight...but with what wine?

Well, about the time Mornay was born, the Feuillant monks founded the winery we know today as Chateau Meyney. The order really went back to the basics, sleeping on the bare ground and drinking out of skulls. They ran it for several centuries.

Now we fast forward to 1990. The monks are long gone and Domaines Cordier is upgrading Meyney. Critic Oz Clark writes, Meyney "has quietly but determinely been coming up on the inside rails for a number of years...the wine is reliably fine because Cordier ruthlessly select only the best vats (creating) a big, broad-flavored claret."

Bordeaux


The Wine

1995 Chateau Meyney
Saint-Estephe, Red Bordeaux Wine
Owner—Domaines Cordier
Bordeaux Status—The Cordier's accomplishments were recognized in 1978 when the chateau was elevated in the Bordeaux classification to the EXCEPTIONELS status.
U.S.A. Contact—Angela Freire, Seagram Chateau & Estate Wines, phone (707) 255-7667.
Price—$31.80


Postscript

About that Mornay sauce, I'm sure King Henri IV could fully appreciate it. Ms. Wason writes that he was "virtually christened a gourmet when the infant's lips were rubbed with garlic, followed by a sip of vintage wine!"

 
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. 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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