La Tupina

The go-to bistro in Bordeaux, La Tupina has long been a wonderfully comforting place to eat. You can’t beat the entrance where you are greeted by a fireplace with rotisserie meats, chickens and ducks roasting over an open wood fire. Proprietor Jean-Pierre Xiradakis knows traditional Bordeaux cuisine as well as anybody and offers everything from fried innards (served as a free appetizer) to gorgeous rillettes of duck or pork, and an incredible stuffing (basically rustic country bread soaked in chicken fat and then fried) that accompanies the chicken. This is definitely a restaurant where one needs to forget about their cholesterol levels. The chickens, which come from Les Landes, are as delicious as any found anywhere in the world, and the french fries cooked in goose fat are to die for. I was lucky to be having lunch at La Tupina on the day when the first white asparagus of the season arrived. Bordeaux is famous for this delicacy and the season is very short (usually three weeks maximum). This large white asparagus, grown in pure sand, literally melts in your mouth. Even though it is considered taboo to serve them with a vinegarette because of the wine match-ups, I had no problem ordering the vinegarette and it worked marvelously well with the 2001 Haut Brion Blanc, the rare but sumptuous dry white wine made at Château Haut Brion. The wine star of the day, which worked fabulously well with the chicken, was a magnum of 2000 Lynch Bages. This vintage has taken a long time to come around, but at age 11, it is a splendid wine that is performing even better than I remembered. A classic Lynch Bages, it reveals lots of cassis, a full-bodied mouthfeel, beautiful purity and a super-intense style. It is just coming out of its infantile stage. In total contrast was the more noble, nuanced, subtle, complex, lighter 1995 Haut Brion. Smoke, camphor, earth, blueberry and black currant characteristics were all present in this beauty. It is still young and seemingly more backward than the 2000 Lynch Bages, which is not unexpected given the tannic 1995 vintage.

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