Springtime in Southern Rhône with #WinePW

Last October our French Winophiles group visited the Rhône Valley. At that time I wrote an extensive article called “Separation of Church and Wine?” highlight the history of the Rhône Valley and many of its wine production statistics. This month our Wine Pairing Weekend is revisiting the Rhône Valley, southern Rhône to be exact, by pairing a southern Rhône wine with a spring meal. Since I have already taken a deep dive into the Rhône Valley in my previous article I am going to dive right into the wine and food. If you missed my previous article and want to learn more about the history and wine production statistics of the Rhône Valley please click the title above.

One thing that is important to reiterate, 95% of total wine production in the Rhône Valley is made in southern Rhône. Thus narrowing on wine from southern Rhône really leaves our choices almost wide open. Another important point for me is my true love of Rhône Valley wines. Of course Châteauneuf-du-Pape is the crème-de-la-crème of the M; however, there are many outstanding Rhône Valley wines available at less expensive price points. Furthermore, because the US is the number one export for Rhône Valley wines, great wines at good values are fairly easy to find. Here is what I selected for this month’s #WinePW.

Southern Rhone wines (2)

Southern Rhone M Chapoutier BellerucheM. Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes-du-Rhône Blanc 2014: A blend of Grenache Blanc, Clairette, and Bourboulenc; straw in the glass; delicious flavors and aromas of lemon curd, citrus zest, saline, lanolin, and a touch of fresh cut herbs; rich and round on the palate, crisp yet creamy texture, well-structured acidity with a long finish; fermented in stainless steel, no malolactic fermentation, 13.5% alcohol; SRP $10-14. Everything I want in a white wine! 


From the M. Chapoutier web site:

Terraced vineyards in the Cote Rotie district around Ampuis in northern Rhone planted with the Syrah grape. A sign saying M Chapoutier one of the producers. Ampuis, Cote Rotie, Rhone, France, Europe
Terraced vineyards

“Humility and determination”

The words that best describe Maison M. Chapoutier.
An Estate that nurtures its vineyards with the greatest respect for natural balance and terroir since 1808.
The family motto “Fac et Spera” – do and hope – says it all.
Two words that sum up all the patience and daring that this art demands: patience in relation to nature which presides; daring for the winemaker, who observes, chooses and assists.
The wine will be the faithful expression of this alchemy.

m chapoutier southern rhone vineyards

Southern Rhone Domain Boisson Cairanne 2012Domaine Boisson L’Exigence Cairanne Cotes-du-Rhône Villages Rouge 2012: Crafted of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre; deep ruby with purple hues in the glass; great aromas of black cherries, black berries, plums, spice notes, pepper, savory herbal notes, licorice, and a bit of violet notes; great length on the palate, rich and round, blanced with depth of acidity and integrated tannins, long mouth-coating finish; aged in oak barrels for 9 months; 14% alcohol. Superb wine!

From the Domaine Boisson web site:

“That which is good to eat is good to make into wine” …

Domain Boisson Grape Harvest Southern Rhone Valley

At the Domaine Boisson, vine-growing is deeply rooted in the family culture, and it is their way of thinking and openness which inform their choice of environmentally-friendly methods that take into consideration the total production cycle. The vineyards are traditionally ploughed. Trials for cover crop management are also in progress. They use methods which protect the vines against disease but also respect the environment. It is Mother Nature herself who starts by providing the independent-minded team at the Domaine Boisson with the ripest, most concentrated fruit. Then there is the inspiring environment and their acquired know-how, which transform a gift of nature into the specific wines of the Domaine Boisson – a theatre of pure magic and beauty against a backdrop of family history.

Domain Boisson Vineyards Southern Rhone Valley

The challenge was to pair these beautiful wines with a “spring meal.” Well folks I tried to meet this challenge, but sadly I ended up with a very average meal my first try. My first attempt was “Slow Cooker Thai Coconut Chicken Wild Rice Soup.” It was not a bad recipe, in fact my family ate every bite but as my 17 year old son said it was “average.” Now I am not any kind of great cook but I am better than average. Problem was I had a very busy schedule and no real time for a thoughtful redo. Therefore the following night I attempted a quick but delicious spring meal to pair with the same two wines. This time I made a Caprese salad with delicious Heirloom tomatoes and Chicken and Artichokes in Wine Sauce with  pasta. The good news was the wines paired beautifully with both dishes. Obviously the blanc was a bit better of a pairing with the chicken dishes than the rouge; however, only slightly. Both wines were quite delicious and great finds!

Southern rhone dinner

Chicken and Artichokes with pasta

Take a look at the delicious Southern Rhône and springtime meals my fellow #WinePW friends have created:

Jeff from Food Wine Click: Rabbit and Rhône

Nancy from Pull That Cork: Scallops, Spring Veggies + a White CDP for #winePW

Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Braised Boar Shanks With Bitter Herb Salad + Vacqueyras Beaumirail

David from Cooking Chat: Kale Pesto Tilapia with Wine from Southern Rhône

Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog: A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW

Meaghan from Un Assaggio: Grilled Rack of Lamb + Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher #winePW

Cindy from Grape Experiences : Wine and Dine: Rosé from Costières de Nîmes and Rack of Lamb with Rosemary

Sarah and Tim from Curious Cuisiniere: Escalivada (Spanish Roasted Vegetables) paired with South Rhône Rosé

Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm: Wine Pairing Weekend Celebrates Spring

Kristen from The Armchair Sommelier: The High Crime of Mushroom Substitution

Jill from L’occasion (me, with my husband Jason as the chef): Welcome Spring with Fresh Food & Le Ferme Du Mont Côtes du Rhône

David of Cooking Chat started this event in June of 2014, and every month since then this group of wine and food lovers have had a great time! For more background, check out the original post announcing Wine Pairing Weekend.

Please join us this morning at 10CST on Twitter using #WinePW to share your favorite spring meals and wine pairings as well as share the Southern Rhône wine love.

My Song Selection: A good jazz trio is like a Rhône Valley wine. One instrument may start the song but before long all three instruments create the unique and groovy sounds that blend so well together. You cannot beat a good Rhône Valley wine paired with a good jazz trio composition! Listen to how the individual instruments come together to re-create the harmony of the wine.

Get your own bottle of wine from Southern Rhône and let me know what song you pair with them. Cheers!


22 responses to “Springtime in Southern Rhône with #WinePW”

  1. Both great bottles and the dish looks outstanding. It really is a rich and exciting region, with many fine winemakers… I always find inspiration from the Southern Rhône wines, beauty and food. Thanks for sharing this pairing!

  2. I think you are an excellent cook, Michelle! Even having an “average” homemade meal is so much better than processed store-bought pre-packaged stuff, and of course MUCH cheaper than dining out every night!

  3. I love my slow cooker . . . I’d cook everything in it if I could!! Both dishes sound great (I never met an artichoke I didn’t love) . . . both wines, too! Love the trend here to do both red and white. Cheers!

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