Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Smooth Operator

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Domaine de la Roche Paradis
Cuvée: Veauvignere
Appellation: Condrieu (Rhône)
Type: White
Vintage: 2015
Grape Varieties: 100% Viognier
Alcohol: 13.5%
Average Retail Price: U.S. $49.00

When I started writing this column – can you believe it has been four years? – I had never had a French Viognier. I was used to the sweet, strongly spiced American vintages which, I believe, have their place at the table. They are well-liked and, as soon as anyone here says,  “Lobster with drawn butter,” someone else in the rooms puts a Viognier on ice. All that is fine.

But there are exquisite and refined versions out there that don’t slap you in the face. Subtlety and elegance are their calling cards, and they come from France. For today’s pairing, we opened a well-chilled 2015 Domaine de la Roche Paradis Condrieu to accompany my Salmon Wellington, an extremely rich and complex dish I make in homage to Bœuf Wellington. For the recipe, visit Cocoa & Lavender.

For a recipe with so much complexity, it’s flavor profile isn’t overbearing. Scallops, shrimp, and sole are made into a mousse with cream and tarragon, then this is placed on salmon and baked en croûte. The Condrieu was truly the perfect match for the deep, almost dark, flavors of the Wellington, and even held up well to the citrus cream sauce.

The nose of the Condrieu was light and floral – like walking through an apple orchard in full blossom. It opened up a bit as it took on the warmth of the room, and the essences of stone fruits and lemon zest arose. The mouthfeel is creamy, soft, and oh-so-smooth. Odd that a chilled wine can make one’s mouth feel warm and cozy! Primarily I tasted apricot, with side notes of peach and plum. With the Wellington, I even had a few moments of roasted pear and honey. I find it forever intriguing how food and wine play together.

This is a beautifully balanced wine, and I look forward to more Viognier from France to give me a greater perspective.


  1. Thank you, Susan! Another wine to put on the to-taste list when I visit France in May.

    • Hi Mary,
      Oh, you must be so excited! I will give you our recommendations when we see you. I am also going to write a post about our trip from Lyon to Lourmarin. Just to make sure you know, it was David who wrote this article, though.

      • Thanks, Mary! I’m so glad you are getting to go in such a beautiful time of year. We will all look forward to tales of your adventures!

  2. To me, it’s a great match – the texture of salmon en croute fits ideally to what Viognier may offer. And Viognier aromas add a lot the flavor. Gotta be really cool )

  3. Sounds like a beautiful match, David. Thanks for the recommendation and the recipe.

    • Pam – I loved seeing photos of your visit with Susan and Towny! I just wish I could have been there. If I had, I would have made you the Salmon Wellington!

  4. A great blog and this Viognier article is an interesting read – thanks. I absolutely agree: Condrieu is my favourite white wine. Can’t often afford it though as its shot up in price in recent years. With a group of like-minded friends I used to order Guigal Condrieu for about €15 a bottle in the early 2000’s – more than twice that nowadays! I love the southern Rhône too, reds and whites, but for rosés it’s got to be Provence and the Côteaux Varois – I’m fortunate to live just an hour to the east of this region 😁
    (Thanks again for your response on Insta to my Old Fashioned article – this week it’s the mighty Margarita. But my first love is wine.) Chin chin!

    • David – thanks for your note. Condrieu is a wonderful wine and I, too, wish it weren’t so expensive! I love Guigal wines but didn’t know they make a Condrieu… I will be searching for that now.

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