Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Jumping to Conclusions

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Domaines des Vaudois
Cuvee: Leoncé
Appellation: IGP Vaucluse
Type: Viognier
Vintage: 2014
Grape Varieties: Viognier 100%
Alcohol: 13.5
Average Retail Price: Europe €6.50, U.S. $12.00

I did it. I jumped to a conclusion. I made an assumption. And I was wrong. I have been eating lobster most of my adult life, and as far back as I can remember, Viogniers were among the wines of choice to pair with lobster. I assumed that was a good idea when I made Lobster Thermidor, as I had a lovely Viognier from Domaines des Vaudois sitting on my shelf.

There are two things that went wrong with this pairing. First, I assumed that all Viogniers are the same. And, when I say “the same,” I am taking into consideration a variety of characteristics: body, sugar content, minerality, mouth feel, nose. Second, when pairing with lobster, most of my experience was based on steamed lobster with drawn butter. By making a dish with such complicated favors – lobster, butter, sherry, mushrooms – I should have taken that into consideration.

What happened?  Happily, guests who came to dinner for this meal brought wines that were much more appropriate for pairing with the lobster.

In the end, the Viognier, much lighter than the Viognier I had assumed, was a great match for the soup course – a chilled, minted melon-lime soup. The balance between the two was beautiful. There was very little nose to the Viognier (perhaps it was too cold?); the mouth feel was pleasant and light (not as long as their website indicates). At first taste, we all agreed that it was citrusy, but not any specific fruit. After food, we found apricot, green grass, and cactus. For those who aren’t in the habit of eating cacti, it has a very green, earthy taste.

All those around the table agreed that this was a perfect summer sipping wine, and could accompany light, delicate dishes; chilled and lightly dressed seafood salads would be just the thing. The moral of this story? Don’t make assumptions when pairing wines for an important dinner. (Did I mention that it was my birthday dinner?) Test a bottle first, so that you can be sure it will complement the food.

Recipes for both the Lobster Thermidor and the Minted Melon-Lime Soup may be found on Cocoa & Lavender.

Post and Photos by David Scott Allen


  1. Happy Birthday David. As usual, this sounds devine. Thanks for the tips.

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