As I explained in my article “Happy Anniversary Baby,” my husband and I headed to one of our favorite Dallas wine stores, Pogo’s Wine and Spirits, in early September to shop for delicious wine to celebrate our upcoming October Anniversary. Since the wine we were purchasing was for our anniversary we were willing to pay a more than our usual amount for a delicious bottle of either Bordeaux or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. (Yes friends, my summer of studying and drinking French wine paid off in spades!) As usual we received excellent guidance; recommended a lovely CNP was recommended that was less than we were willing to pay. Of course we were told with a laugh we could be directed to a much more expensive bottle of wine but it would not be better than the one I had in my hand. This is one of the things I love about Pogo’s, friendly, knowledgeable staff who know and understand the wines they sell. It makes a BIG difference buying wine from wine drinkers versus buying wine from a liquor store clerk. (See my article More Friendship Fun and Wine)
Domaine Paul Autard Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 Cuvee La Cote Ronde: This gorgeous wine poured opaque garnet with an orange rim and elegant viscosity into the glass. This CNP was crafted of 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. After being open for two hours it met the nose with a lovely bouquet of vibrant red fruit, chocolate, leather and wet tobacco leaves. On the palate it seduced the front of the mouth with ripe red cherries, plums, pomegranates and crushed blackberries; it danced across mid palate with layered flavors of spice wrapped in chocolate; and lingered on the back of the tongue with earthiness, tobacco leaves, black pepper and a hint of black licorice. Its age showed in its smooth, velvety mouth feel, refined and elegant tannins with round acidity that lingered on the palate, longing for another sip. This CNP was a perfectly refined, dense and smooth. We thoroughly enjoyed it with food and also as a meditation wine; it was a joy to feel the fullness of the wine caress the palate. It was a great anniversary wine; an excellent recommendation to us and one I gladly recommend to you. To find this wine in the US click here.
From the back of the label: “This Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvee La Cote Ronde is the domaine’s top wine. It comes from a separate parcel of vines that are between 75 and 90 years old, planted on stony soil. The grape mix is 50% Grenache and 50% Syrah. The Cote Ronde fruit is vinified separately and is aged in 100% new oak barrels. It is an intensely concentrated, lush-textured wine with vivid dark fruit, spice, chocolate and oak flavors. Autard only makes this cuvee in top years.”
I wanted to make herb crusted steak to pair with this concentrated wine so I began where I often do: Pinterest. I found a delicious recipe for Herb Crusted Tri-Tip that you can find on my Pinterest page. I paired the steak with oven roasted fingerling potatoes with rosemary and olive oil and roasted butternut squash, cubed and steamed for 3 minutes in chicken broth in the microwaved, then sautéed with diced pancetta, finely chopped shallots and topped with crumbled gorgonzola. The herb crust on the steak that was seared on due to high temp grilling paired beautifully with the spice, pepper and earthy flavors of the wine, while the potatoes and squash mixture balanced out the concentrated fruits and chocolate. Additionally, the creaminess of the cheese delighted as the acidity of the wine wrapped around the mouth. It was a perfect food and wine pairing if I do say so myself! Because we had cake for our first anniversary dinner and were going to have dessert the following night as we went out for dinner, I had not planned on a dessert with this evening’s meal. But I must confess when I see macaroons I buy macaroons! So we shared six delicious macaroons. And of course they were great with the wine; all that was missing was sitting in Trocadero Square gazing upon the Eifel Tower!
Domaine Paul Autard is imported by Wines with Conviction. A note about the winery from their web site:
“Jean Paul Autard’s vineyard practice aims to achieve a perfect balance between and soil and the vine. He is guided by the practice known as culture raisonnée. Autard does not need to green harvest because his vines average over 50 years of age (they are between 40-96 years old). The vines’ age, together with the limited use of only organic fertilizer, naturally ensures low yields and concentrated, balanced fruit. No pesticides or chemical anti-rot products or fertilizers are used. The health of the vineyard is ensured by meticulous work by hand, such as the removal in May and June of unessential shoots and leaves that would block the proper aeration of the vines. Jean-Paul is able to eliminate the possibility of problems such as rot and mildew by not allowing humidity to remain on the grapes and leaves.”
My Song Selection: Pairing songs with my anniversary is one of the easiest song pairings I do for these articles. There are an endless amount of songs I would dedicate to my husband. For this second of three articles the song I chose to pair with this wonderful evening, meal and wine is It Had to be You by Frank Sinatra. Not only is this a wildly romantic song sung by the greatest of all crooners, this sultry, refined song is an elegant pairing with the Domaine Paul Autard Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 Cuvee La Cote Ronde….again think Trocadero Square, macaroons, and gazing on the Eifel Tower with the one you love.
Get your own bottle of Domaine Paul Autard Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2001 Cuvee La Cote Ronde and let me know what song you would pair with it. Cheers!