Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

A Special Occasion

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Château Vignelaure
Cuvée: Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Appellation: Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Type: Red
Vintage: 2007
Grape Varieties: Cabernet Sauvignon (70%) and Syrah (30%)
Alcohol: 14.5%
Average Retail Price: U.S. $18, France €16, and Great Britain £19

Special wines, and special foods, should be saved for special occasions. Today is the 10th anniversary of Mark’s and my move to Tucson, and we wanted to celebrate in an appropriate fashion. The wine – a 2007 Château Vignelaure Coteaux d’Aix en Provence – was chosen to mark the day, and the meal to go with it had to be equally special. I chose to serve a roasted pork tenderloin crusted in Provençal herbs with mustard, pommes Duchesse, and sautéed leeks Niçoise. We decanted the wine a couple of hours prior to our meal, as suggested by the Château Vignelaure website. The wine had an intense nose of dark, jammy fruit: fig, blackberry, and cherry. I even got a whiff of orange zest at first. The mouth feel was velvety and soft, with flavors consistent with its nose. Lightly tannic, it is a bold wine, not one for the faint of heart. With its high alcohol content (14.5%), I wonder if earlier vintages were lower, and that this has changed over the years to meet market (American) demands. Does anyone know? The pairing was perfect: the herbs in the pork (rosemary, lavender, parsley, fennel seed, and shallot) brought out the upper notes on the palate, while the potatoes and leeks played to its darker side.

This is an excellent wine for grilled steaks, and grilled meats or fowl of any kind. I can even imagine it with a richly sauced salmon dish, although that might raise a few eyebrows. Of the many Provençal reds I have enjoyed, this wine is by far one of my favorites.

Recipes for the Roasted Pork Tenderloin Crusted in Provençal Herbs with Mustard, Pommes Duchesse, and Sautéed Leeks Niçoise may be found on Cocoa & Lavender.

Post and Photos by David Scott Allen

12 Comments

  1. MON BON ROI DAVID,
    CHÂTEAU VIGNELAURE A ÉTÉ SANS DOUTE LE PREMIER DOMAINE DU SUD-EST DE LA FRANCE À VINIFIER… À LA BORDELAISE (STYLE CABERNET-SAUVIGNON) ! JE SUIS CE DOMAINE DEPUIS LES ANNÉES 80, ET JE CROIS BIEN QUE LE MILLÉSIME LE PLUS ANCIEN QUE J’AVAIS SUR LA CARTE DE MON RESTAURANT, EN ALSACE, ÉTAIT DU 1978. À L’ÉPOQUE, LES DEGRÉS ALCOOLIQUES TOURNAIENT PLUTÔT AUTOUR DES 13° : ON SE PRÉOCCUPAIT MOINS DE LA MATURITÉ DE LA PEAU (COULEUR, TANIN, ETC.) QUI, COMME ON LE SAIT, ÉVOLUE MOINS VITE QUE LA MATURITÉ DE LA PULPE, ET ON RENTRAIT LE RAISIN PLUS TÔT, DONC AVEC MOINS DE SUCRE (D’OÙ MOINS D’ALCOOL – MAIS LES AMATEURS DE VIN CONNAISSENT TOUT ÇA).
    TON PLAT PARAÎT PARFAIT AVEC CE STYLE DE VIN, SURTOUT AVEC LA TOUCHE PROVENÇALE. TU ES UN VRAI CHEF !
    TENDRESSES VERS TOI ET MARK, ET ENCORE JOYEUX ANNIVERSAIRE, ARIZONA MEN…
    PIERRE SCHOTT

    • Pierre – Merci mille fois – pour l’information que tu as partagée sur le vin, et aussi pour tes mots très aimable! Tendresses, aussi, vers toi et Muriel! À bientôt, j’espère!
      David

  2. What a delicious article David. The quote by Charles Caleb Colton “Imitation is the highest form of flattery” applies to you, as we try to duplicate your dinner and search for the wine. Thanks for the inspiration.

  3. I feel like canceling my long standing order for a turkey for Thanksgiving and doing exactly this recipe and pairing. So confused. Nonetheless will do this on another occasion. Thank you!

    • Pam – you know something? I just ordered a pork shoulder for Thanksgiving! I feel as though I am cheating on my country, but honestly, good pork is (to me) is so much better than turkey!
      À bientôt, David

      • I hope we’ll be hearing about you Thankgiving dinner and seeing some of your lovely photos!

        • Pam – my Thanksgiving is TOTALLY non-traditional this year! All-Italian! Roasted porchetta, white beans and sage, and peas with celery and Marsala. Should be fun, eh? What are you doing?

  4. David,
    Pierre has hit the alcohol point on the head. But there something else going on, related to climate. Reds that were once 12.5 are now more like 14.5, or higher. Twenty five years ago virtually the only red table wine at that level was Amarone, vinified after drying out a bit on racks. Climate change a factor? You bet. I am told the forward thinking Bordelais are looking at land in Scandanavia. I will not be around, but I smile imaging my great grandchildren drinking Lapland Red.

  5. Jerry – I read your comment just before heading to bed last night, and I have to say I fell to sleep with a big smile on my face thinking about a Lapland Red! It is sad and frightening – and fascinating – what climate change is doing to our foods and wines. I hadn’t thought about the percentage of alcohol from that point of view, so I am great appreciative to you and Pierre for your input.
    David

    • David,
      If the vineyard move north comes earlier than I expect I will be ready for it. I have been enjoying eiswein, vin glacier, etc. for many years now.

      • Yes, I have been enjoying those as well and, as long as the wine is good (even Arizona wines!), I am happy to drink! I imagine we are cut from similar cloth in that way…

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  1. CHÂTEAU VIGNELAURE: "THE" RED IN PROVENCE BEFORE TRÉVALLON CAME ALONG - Provence WineZine

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