Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food Cool Wine, Daddy-O… I’m Hip!

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Léon Perdigal
Cuvée: Côtes du Rhône Blanc
Appellation: Côtes du Rhône
Type: White
Vintage: 2015
Grape Varieties: Bourboulenc, Clairette, Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, and Viognier
Alcohol: 13%
Average Retail Price: France €7, U.S. $17

I found the following on the British blog Golly’s Wine Drops: “Léon Perdigal Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc ’15 has a full on hipster collection of grapes in it… So cool you’ve never heard of half of them. It doesn’t hold any truck with oak either so the grapes get to do all the talking.” It makes me wonder, what would really make a wine “hipster?”

For me, hipster status would start with the label. It would be cool and funky; maybe it would try just a little too hard to be enigmatic. The text might be sideways, or only legible with 3D glasses. The Léon Perdigal is just the opposite – completely traditional in its Art Nouveau font and illustrated label.

Then, we get to the grape(s). If everyone is drinking California Chardonnay or Venetian Pinot Grigio, what would attract the hipster? My guess would be the clean-cut, unoaked French Chard, or the fully bearded Oregon Pinot Gris. To go out on a limb, they might go completely retro and sip a Chablis (but not retro enough to buy it in a gallon jug). Perhaps a flip-top can of bubbly? You know, just to be chill?

The thing about the grape varietals in this white Côtes du Rhône is that they are all about tradition. They have historic root stock. They aren’t new. They aren’t unheard of. They aren’t “now.” They may not all be household varieties, but they aren’t “hip” by any means.

With the light aromas of jasmine and grapefruit, the wine pours a beautiful, clear, bright yellow. It looks – and is – crisp and refreshing, tasting mostly of green apple with highlights of citrus on the finish. I chose to pair it with a rather sweet Chinese dish – Honey Walnut Shrimp. The recipe, as always, can be found on Cocoa & Lavender.

Prior to tasting the wine, I assumed, from the varietal blend, that it would be a bit more full-bodied. With the bold flavor and sweetness of the honey and walnuts (also some sweetened condensed milk), I was concerned – after my first sip – about a raging mismatch. Happily, it all worked. The acidity in the wine was a great foil for the sweet fried shrimp. In fact, because it was fried, the dish actually needs this lighter style of wine. When describing the pairing to a friend, his first thought was, “Gimme a good beer with that!” And he may be right, although having only had maybe five beers in my life, I wouldn’t know.

I like pairing Provence and Rhône wines with Asian food. They might not seem like the most natural partners, but I think you will find that they work well together… Maybe not traditional, maybe not quite hipster, but definitely good.

7 Comments

  1. I’m a foodie by the name of Eggnog and liked your raging verbiage. Bold, behind uncompassed directional arrows for all sensory unmisgivings. Tongue 👅 quivering as I’ve poured a glass and I am standing stove side waiting for my timer to go off, as I prepared your suggested entree pairing.
    The table is set all in crystal with a retro hinge from Doris Dukes era, with real English sterling cutlery, that gives the first bites a metallurgical on the frontal palate.
    I’m giving this 10 winks on my celestial gastrointestinal medal of the highest of possibilities!
    Thank and Godspeed for your article of the best is yet to come to you and yours during this Xmas season.

    • Eggnog. Wow, how can you not love someone whose blog name is Eggnog? And how many comments mention a Doris a Duke? Thanks so much for the comment that is definitely the best I’ve gotten this year – one to remember! All the best to you and yours, too, for the finest in holiday dining and imbibing!

    • 10 winks from me as well, for David’s original writing and delicious photos, and for this amuse-bouche review by Eggnog. Well done!

  2. Lovely dishes and a tremendous blog.Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball. Everyone has heard about of this drink, and it is available at almost any bar in the world. It is not that simple to make a perfect Mojito. You need six mint leaves, twenty ml of fresh lime juice, twenty ml of simple syrup, forty-five ml of white rum and forty-five ml of club soda. The mint leaves should we provide Pubs and bars for clients.

  3. Sounds like a great paring! Thanks for the article.

    Did you taste much salinity in the wine? I had always heard that Bourboulenc is somewhat saline but it is only used in blends so it is hard to know.

    Then this spring I met a vigneron doing a 100% Bourboulenc. It was like drinking a glass of very salty water! So I wonder if that came through in the wine you tasted.

  4. Keith – sorry for the tardy reply! I have to say that I didn’t notice the salinity in the wine, but it was such a small percentage. However, your comment helped me to understand the wine I am pairing and reviewing for March! It is 30% Buorboulenc and did add some saltiness but it came across more as minerality than salinity.

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