Château Roc de Candale Saint-Émilion with Skirt Steak and Roasted Leeks and Mushrooms

Aged Bordeaux can be quite reasonable if you know where to look. Here we take a look at a bottle of Saint-Émilion Grand Cru paired with an extremely simple and delicious skirt steak preparation with leeks and mushrooms.

Today’s wine was provided as a sample by Big Hammer Wines, with whom I have an affiliate relationship. No compensation was received for this article, but this post does contain affiliate links, from which I might receive a commission at no cost to you. All opinions are my own.

I’ve long held that Bordeaux needs to be taken down a peg. By that I don’t mean that we should all start insulting the region, but just that it’s often seen as pretty highfalutin because of the fame of its top-tier Chateaux. The history of these houses is pretty amazing, but their prices are imposing, to say the least. The problem is that despite the fact that these uber-famous wines make up less than 5% of the total production, they overshadow all the wonderful wines that you can find at really great prices –– people kind of forget they exist! 

I’ve already shared a couple of posts on this theme, including a post entitled Faux Fancy Bordeaux that I wrote earlier this year, in which I shared the opinion that BDX is a particularly good choice if you like aged wines. There are really great options out there for aged Bordeaux if you know where to look. Today, I have another bottle for you and it’s paired with a super simple recipe

We covered the basics on Bordeaux here and here, so if the region is completely new to you, I invite you to check out those posts.


Welcome to the Right Bank! Merlot is the star of the blend here, often with Cab Franc in the supporting role, in contrast to the Left Bank, where Cabernet Sauvignon tends to get the top spot in the blend. This is due to the fact that the climate and soils (which we'll take a look at in a moment) are different. The Right Bank is cooler since it's further inland and the moderating effects of the ocean, and Cab just doesn't ripen quite as well in most places here as a result.

Interestingly, while the Left Bank, with its grand Chateau enshrined by the 1855 classification, is more famous today, the Right Bank is far older. There have been vineyards on the Right Bank since Roman times, whereas most of the Left Bank had to wait for Dutch engineers to come and drain their swampy land in the 17th century and make it farmable. Today, this is an excellent area to look for wine values. 

Map borrowed from .

Saint-Émilion, with its Romanesque architecture and many ruins, is often described as the prettiest town on the Right Bank. It was also part of the route to Santiago de Compostella, so many travelers have passed through here over time. The town’s long history and cultural importance led it and its vineyards to be named as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1999. 

A panoramic view of the town of Saint-Émilion, France.

Image borrowed from Wikipedia.

This is also an area of small farms, as opposed to the large grand estates of the Médoc on the Left Bank. The town lies just a few miles north of the Dordogne, near the point where the river spills into the Gironde estuary, after completing its journey from the hills of the Massif Central.

There are three main vineyard areas, geologically speaking, as laid out here by Wine Searcher:

The most significant is the limestone plateau on which Saint-Émilion town is located, and the slopes around it. Most of the very top vineyards and châteaux are located here, within a mile of the town (Cheval Blanc and Figeac again provide two notable exceptions to the rule).

Immediately south of the limestone plateau is the alluvial, sandy plain which slopes gently down to the banks of the Dordogne. Few wines of any note are produced here, and none of the Grand Cru Classe properties are located here.

In the northwestern corner of the Saint-Émilion area is an ancient alluvial terrace, formed by glacial activity at the very beginning of the Quaternary period roughly 2 million years ago. This boasts the same free-draining 'gunzian' gravels as are found in the best properties of the Graves and Médoc, which explains why the two most famous châteaux here (Cheval Blanc and Figeac) are able to grow and ripen both Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This terrace – known as the Graves de Saint-Émilion – continues westwards into neighboring Pomerol, and underpins the vineyards of such revered estates as Le Pin and Petrus.

Saint-Émilion also has a Grand Cru appellation (today’s wine is an example), under which wines are produced under slightly tighter regulations than regular Saint-Émilion wines. However, this has been the subject of a lot much controversy since its inception as the rules are widely regarded as being way too loosey-goosey to really be indicative of any major quality shift. As a result, there’s twice as much Saint-Émilion Grand Cru wine is made each year than regular Saint-Émilion. Somewhat confusingly, there is also a classification system, Saint-Émilion Grand Cru Classé; which confers grand cru classé and premier grand cru classé status on the top-tier wines from Saint-Émilion. 

For a more in-depth description of the Sanit-Emilion's quality tiers and classification system, please check out this post by Jeff at FoodWineClick.

Château Roc de Candale

Image borrowed from VOS Selections.

Magali and Thibaut Decoster are the owners of Château Roc de Candale, along with three other estates, Clos des Jacobins and Château La Commanderie. They purchased Château de Candale in 2017, which is located in a desirable area east of the Saint-Emilion’s limestone plateau.

Each of the properties has a different character. Roc de Candale sits on silty limestone clay soils which helps to make the wine more approachable in its youth. The wine is always predominantly Merlot with a splash of Cabernet Franc, although the exact amount might vary a bit (5 to 10%). The land is farmed sustainably with no herbicides or pesticides, although copper and sulfur treatments are used. 

ABV: 13.5% | Average Price: $28 |  Find additional details here and here.

The Wine and Pairing

On the day we opened the Château Roc de Candale Saint-Émilion Grand Cru 2010 it showed a nose of notes of black cherry, blackberry, licorice, and cedar. These notes were joined on the palate by tobacco, lots of herbs, and a dusting of cocoa and black pepper. It had smooth, fine tannins, medium acidity, medium body.

It was a pretty classic Bordeaux. I always get an interesting mix of herbs and spice, and since it had a few years on it, the notes of tobacco and earth were elevated. I wanted the accompanying dish to complement all of that, but not to overwhelm. I came up with an incredibly simple dish to accomplish it all.

I had splurged and purchased some Wagyu skirt steak from a very good butcher here in Oakland, Clove and Hoof.  It was a lovely piece of meat and I wanted to let it shine simply. I just rubbed it with some herbs, shiitake powder, and salt and pepper, and then broiled it for a few minutes on each side. I served it with a slick of butter and a sprinkling of flaky fleur de sel on roasted leeks and mushrooms. I always think mushrooms work wonderfully with an aged wine and their earthiness matches that in the wine and then somehow helps to bring out more of the fruit. Meanwhile, leeks mirrored the herbal components in the dish. The meat just completely melted in our mouths and wine and the food danced together beautifully.

I decanted this wine in advance to separate it from any sediment and to give it a chance to open up, which helped quite a bit. Even though this wine is intended for earlyish drinking and has a few years on it already, I still think it could go a few more. 


This wine was sent to me as part of a collaboration with Big Hammer Wines. They offer fine wines at discounted prices. Find more details here. While this particular bottle is sold out, you will find other bottles of Bordeaux, including many aged options, at very reasonable prices.

You also find a curated list of my selections here. Use the discount code NICOLE15 for $15 off any purchase. (Limit to 1 use per customer.)

The glasses in the photo are also the result of a collaboration. These are Dragon Glassware’s Aura Wine Glasses. Click here to see their selection and use the code NICOLE10 for 10% off. 

Steak, Skirt Steak, Mushrooms, Leeks. Easy Dinner
Servings: 3 to 4
By: Nicole Ruiz Hudson
Skirt Steak with Roasted Leeks and Mushrooms

Skirt Steak with Roasted Leeks and Mushrooms

Prep Time: 10 MinCooking Time: 5 MinInactive time: 37 MinTotal Time: 52 Min


For the Skirt Steak
  • 1 ½ lbs skirt steak
  • 1 tsp shiitake mushroom powder
  • 1 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil
  • Butter, to serve (optional)
  • Flaky fleur de sel or Maldon sea salt, to serve (optional)
  • For the leeks and mushrooms
For the Leeks and Mushrooms
  • 1 lb mushroom (oyster mushrooms used here)
  • 4 leeks, whites and light green parts only, thoroughly cleaned and thinly sliced
  • Salt, to taste
  • Pepper, to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix together the shiitake mushroom powder, rosemary, salt, and a generous pinch of pepper. Rub the mixture on the steak. Set aside while the vegetables cook. Note: You can also place the rub on steak several hours in advance or overnight and keep it in the fridge. Remove the steak about 30 minutes before you plan to cook it to allow it to come up to room temperature.
  3. Toss together the leeks and mushroom in a thin layer in a baking dish. Drizzle with 1 to 2 tablespoons of olive oil and season generously with salt and pepper.
  4. Place the baking dish or roasting pan in the oven and roast for 20 to 30 minutes, or until the leeks have started to soften, tossing halfway through the cooking time.
  5. If your roasting pan has a rack inset, add it to the pan, or if not use a separate pan or baking sheet. Place the steak on the rack Switch the oven to the broil setting and place the pan near the broiler. (If you’re using separate pans, place the one with the steak near the broiler, and keep the vegetables further down in the oven.) Broil the steak for about 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium-rare to medium (130–135°F).
  6. Remove the pan from the oven. Allow the steak to rest for about 10 minutes. While the steak rests, taste and adjust seasoning on the vegetables. Finish the steak with a light dab of butter and sprinkling of flaky sea salt. Slice the skirt steak against the grain and serve with the mushrooms and leeks.
Did you make this recipe?
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And if you're looking for more on BDX, check out these posts:


The rest of the French Winophiles (#Winophiles) will be exploring Affordable Bordeaux for the holiday season. Check out their posts here:

Additional Sources and Extra Reading:



  1. This looks positively amazing! And I love this theme. Thanks for sharing such a fantastic pairing, Nicole.

  2. What a lovely pairing. Love the flavor profile on that steak.

  3. Nice post and I totally appreciate letting the steak shine all by itself. I, too, think the Right Bank is MUCH prettier than the Left.

  4. I like how you demystify the Bordeaux name and then let it play a supporting role to the steak. Great post!


Thanks so much for leaving your comments and questions. I always love to hear from you!