July is one of my favorite months of the year. As an American July begins with the celebration of our nations Independence; friends, family, food, wine, music and fireworks! A couple of weeks after the 4th of July comes Bastille Day, a day the French recognize as the beginning of their French Revolution, which I feel is necessary to support with good French food and wine. When David of Cooking Chat and founder of Wine Pairing Weekend approached me about hosting this month’s chat I needed to decline because I have already over committed this summer but I immediately thought of what a great month of celebrations July holds so I agreed and our theme was born. I challenged my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend participants to come up with wine and food pairings there are all American, all French, or a combination of American and French; I chose an all-American pairing and an all-French pairing of food and wine.
For my first pairing I tried to go as all-American as possible. What exactly is “American cuisine?” Well often it is the enjoyment of a delicious meal with food that did not actually originate in America because we are a country of wonderful immigrants. But one thing is for sure, when we think of American food it usually involves a grill and charcoal. I prepared an “American” meal consisting of grilled chicken, grilled corn on the cob, baked potatoes, corn bread muffins and ending with blackberry cobbler. The meal was easy, delicious and a crowd pleaser! And at least some semblance of the corn on the cob and the cornbread muffins are American, right? Pairing an American wine with such a meal was much easier since there are so many outstanding American wineries; however, like the meal, the grapes are not indigenous to the United States on almost all occasions. I selected a wine from one of my favorite American wine regions: Santa Barbara County and from a winery that hosted my husband and I on our last visit to SBC in their Los Olivos tasting room. If you have not yet explored Santa Barbara County wineries plan your trip now!
Stolpman Syrah 2011 Estate Grown Santa Ynez Valley: This wine was crafted of 94% Syrah, 3% Grenache, 2% Roussanne, and 1% Viognier (yes you read that correctly, they added Roussanne to the Syrah!). This wine poured a dark inky violet into the glass and opened with dazzling aromas of black and dark red fruit, spice, mint, smoked meats and floral notes. On the palate this smooth Syrah delivered bold yet round flavors of blackberry marmalade, black cherries, plums, Asian spices, savory herbs of lavender and sage, pepper, tobacco, espresso and a touch of dry dirt on the finish. It was rich and layered yet elegant and beautifully integrated. It offered round acidity and well developed tannins that left the mouthwatering for another sip. A wine like this should overwhelm grilled chicken, yet it did not. Rather, the pairing danced together on the palate like a sexy tango. SRP $29.99. Click here to purchase direct from Stolpman Vineyards.
My All-American food and wine pairing was outstanding but I could not stop there. Like I said this month two countries celebrate their independence from tyrannical governments and I wanted to do my part to recognize both. I went online in search of a new French cookbook. I found a few intriguing, ordered one then returned it once it arrived because it was a bit too “rustic” for my taste. Instead, I went with my old stand by and one of my all-time favorite cook books, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” by Julia Child, to find a simple and elegant French recipe. What better way to learn how to cook French food than from an American?!
With my wine pairing in mind I decided to make one of Julia’s elegant quiches. Well actually, I took four of her quiche recipes and made them into one delicious quiche. Julia begins with a basic quiche recipe for Quiche Lorraine. I love Quiche Lorraine and wanted this recipe to the base of my quiche. However, she offers amendments to make a cheese quiche, a leek quiche and a tomato quiche among others; therefore, I used the Quiche Lorraine recipe and added 4 oz grated Gruyere cheese, 1 finely chopped and soften leek, and topped my quiche with 5 large slices of Heirloom tomato. I must say it was delicious and I think even Julia herself would have enjoyed it. I added a simple baby greens salad topped with homemade fig vinaigrette and we had a delicious weeknight meal. Additionally, I knew exactly which wine I was going to pair with this dish, a wine I had enjoyed twice before at a local French bistro called Toulouse.
J.J. Vincent Pouilly-Fuissé Marie Antoinette 2013: This wine poured a spun gold into the glass and opened with fabulous aromas of lanoline, crushed stone, minerals, citrus and tropical fruit. On the palate this dry Chardonnay delivered crisp flavors of crushed stone, savory herbs such as oregano, pineapple, a touch of lemon zest and banana. It offered a slightly creamy texture but was smooth and round on the palate with bright acidity and a clean finish that offered a lingering dryness, begging for another sip. I purchased this wine on wine.com for $33.99.
Winemaker notes: The JJ Vincent Pouilly-Fuissé Cuvèe Marie Antoinette is a tribute to Jean Jacques Vincents mother; Marie Antoinette Vincent. The wine is sourced from several parcels including young vines from the Chateau Fuissé vineyards of Le Clos, Les Brules and Le Combettes as well as several non-domaine yet family owned parcels throughout the appellation. Cuvèe Marie Antoinette is created with a fresh, youthful profile in mind. The grapes are vinified in stainless steel tank with only about 25% of the total blend seeing any time in oak. The resulting wine is pleasing, refreshing and crisp on the palate.
This was a delicious journey through American and France, two countries with rich histories and delicious foods and wines. Please take a moment to discover more American and French wine and food pairings from my fellow Wine Pairing Weekend bloggers:
A Day in the Life on the Farm: “An American Feast for #WinePW”
A Pug in the Kitchen: Classic Nicoise:An American/French Pairing
Confessions of a Culinary Diva: “Provence Style Pan Roasted Chicken with Rose”
Cooking Chat: “Gruyere Cheeseburgers with a Bordeaux”
Culinary Adventures with Camilla: “Tapenade-Topped Sablefish + Cave de Saint-Roch-les-Vignes Côtes de Provence Rosé”
Curious Cuisiniere: “Cherry Clafoutis paired with a Cremant Rosé”
Dracaena Wines: “Discovering the Truth About Bastille Day with #WinePW”
ENOFYLZ Wine Blog: “Independence Day at Ridge Vineyards Zins and Blends #winePW”
Food Wine Click: “All American Menu: Farmer & Winery Friends”
Grape Experiences: “Wine and Dine: Les Vignes de Bila-Haut Blanc Cotes du Roussillon and Salade Niçoise”
Pull That Cork: “Domaine de Bila-Haut and Cobb Salad for #winePW”
Rockin Red Blog: “Celebrating America & France with July #WinePW”
Tasting Pour: “Steak with Mushroom Cognac Sauce, Patriotic Potatoes, and Bell Wine Cellars Cab Sauv #winepw”
Vino Travels: The Alchemy of Hunt Country Vineyards Paired with Braised Beef Short Ribs
Please join us this morning at 10 am CST on Twitter for a fun and lively discussion on our American and French food and wine pairings at #WinePW. Also, join us Saturday, August 15 as we explore Portugal, a land of delicious food and outstanding wines!
My Song Selection: This song selection was a no brainer for me. Of course it has to be Gershwin and of course it has to be an American in Paris! This version is performed by Dudamel and the LA Philharmonic. Enjoy!
Have your own American/French wine and food pairing and let me know what song you pair with it. Cheers!