Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Flight of Fancy

by David Scott Allen

Producer: Mirabeau en Provence
Cuvée: Classic
Appellation: Côtes de Provence
Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2016
Grape Varieties: Syrah 60%, Grenache 35%, Cinsault 5%
Alcohol: 13%
Average Retail Price: U.S. $16.00, FR €8.00, U.K. £ 9.00

Producer: Mirabeau en Provence
Cuvée: Pure
Appellation: Côtes de Provence
Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2016
Grape Varieties: Grenache 60%, Syrah 40%
Alcohol: 13%
Average Retail Price: U.S. $19.00, FR €11.00, U.K. £9.00

Producer: Mirabeau en Provence
Cuvée: Étoile
Appellation: Côtes de Provence
Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2016
Grape Varieties: Grenache 60%, Syrah 40%
Alcohol: 13%
Suggested Retail Price: U.S. $35.00, FR €16.00, U.K. £16.00

 

Three wines; flight of fancy or fancy flight? I say it’s both.

It has been a good year in Provence… most specifically, in Cotignac. Jeany and Stephen Cronk, founders of Mirabeau en Provence, situated in Cotignac, sent me the full flight of their rosé wines to create food pairings. All three of the wines won gold medals this year: Pure and Étoile received the 2017 Médaille d’Or in Paris and, in addition, Étoile scored an impressive 92 points from the Wine Enthusiast. The Mirabeau Classic won the 2017 Médaille d’Or at the Concours International de Lyon. These awards are well deserved, as all three wines – in my opinion – are true winners for all of us rosé enthusiasts.

I paired each course with one of the Mirabeau wines: their Classic, Pure, and Étoile. My meal consisted of potted salmon with brioche toasts, a ragoût of fennel and langoustines with saffron, and a mascarpone tart flavored with honey, lemon, and saffron, in a butter crumb and rosemary crust. Recipes for the potted salmon and ragoût can be found now on Cocoa & Lavender. The recipe for the tart will be posted on the blog in the future – keep your eyes out for it!

Based on my tastings, I chose the Pure to accompany the potted salmon. The wine has aromas of apple, rose, and grapefruit; the mouthfeel has a light and very pleasant minerality. The wines’ acidity is well integrated and it finishes on a floral note of jasmine. The salmon really accentuated the citrus, playing well with the wine’s acidity. It is a very elegant and complex wine, featuring a very pale shade of pink. I enjoyed this rosé very much – with and without food. It pairs well with lighter and simple foods: entrée salads, grilled fish, seafood, and poultry, as well as light Asian cuisine – a great sushi wine!

The Étoile was, indeed, the eponymous star of the evening. It is in an entirely different class – it’s clear and ethereal pale pink is reminiscent of one of my favorite gemstones – morganite, also known as pink beryl. This wine pairing – with my ragoût of fennel and langoustines, served in pastry boxes – could not have gotten any better in my mind, or to my taste buds. With every bite and every sip, this combination was heaven. Most prominent on the nose was banana. A guest agreed but suggested a slightly green banana. Each to her or his own nose, eh? Mine was a ripe banana. Also on the nose were hints of peach and citrus. On the palate, the banana reigned but was joined by dried apricots; it has a very silky and almost buttery mouthfeel. I could drink this on its own with great ease. This wine is a very special wine, and one I recommend highly for special occasions. Like many rosés, it pairs well with grilled fish, shellfish, poultry, and meats, but can also take on truly complex meals with cream, spices, and herbs. This is a great with anything with tarragon or fennel.

The Mirabeau Classic is redolent of summer red fruits – strawberry and raspberry – and was a great accompaniment to my mascarpone cheese, honey, and saffron tart with its rosemary butter cookie crust. Not as complex as the other two vintages, I found the simple honesty of this wine to be quite alluring. It is quite a bit bolder than the other two, yet still refined. While it pairs well with desserts – in addition to a host of Provençal foods – I see this as a wonderful wine to serve at apéro; it also stands well on its own.

I am grateful to Jeany and Stephen for their kindness, and for allowing me to taste these wonderful wines in flight.

All opinions herein are, as always, my own.

4 Comments

  1. I wasn’t very hungry until I got to the langoustines entree. Now I must make a shopping list and add a few bottles of Mirabeau.

  2. jacques Navarre May 7, 2017 at 7:15 pm

    I love Langoustines, such a delicate “crayfish” The pairing with the Etoile rose must have been a big hit! Thanks for sharing and make our mouth watery!

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