Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

The Governor

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Domaine de la Citadelle
Cuvée: Gouverneur Saint-Auban Rouge
Appellation: Côtes du Luberon
Type: Red
Vintage: 2011
Grape Varieties: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvèdre
Alcohol: 14%
Average Retail Price: $35

Big. Bold. Luscious.

Those are the first three words I used to describe my first taste of Gourverneur Saint-Auban Rouge from Domaine de la Citadelle. We had it last week paired with Seared Lamb Medallions with a Tamari-Ginger Glaze. To see the recipe, visit Cocoa & Lavender.

Okay, I got a bit ahead of myself. Back to opening the bottle…

We decanted the wine several hours before our meal, and I could not wait to get to the tasting. Upon opening there was a resinous quality and a touch of manure. After breathing for a while, it converted to earthy aromas, the spicy scent of ferns in the forest.

Aside from big, bold, and luscious, the first taste was of spice — cloves and mace: sweet, yet savory. There is a lot of dark fruit here – plum and blackberry, and an underling note of quince, giving it almost a sense of honey. When people describe wines as “jammy,” I usually think of American Zinfandel, and I generally dislike the use of the word. But here I feel I need use it — no other word comes to mind.

The mouthfeel — this is where luscious came in. It just felt so good in my mouth: thick and chewy and comforting. It is incredibly well-balanced, with the perfect acidity for the meal. The tannins are present but not overwhelming. The finish on this wine is long and luxurious, and includes notes of licorice and a very pleasant smokiness.

I will finish by wishing there was a case of this wine in my cellar. (Okay, I live in the desert — we don’t have cellars/basements.) But I wish this for my dark, cool closet… More recent vintages are available and I will start my search now.

I really liked this wine a lot, and it is an excellent choice for your Pascal lamb, or any roasted meat or game. It can handle a good amount of spice, too.


  1. This recipe sounds absolutely wonderful but not for the lamb here in Provence. Here, yes it too is grass fed it’s but much more than that as I can see from my window. They’re grazing on thyme, rosemary and the wildflowers that are covering the hillsides. I wouldn’t want to do anything more than something simple. But of course, the wine sounds perfect.

    • Thanks, Jan — I completely understand wanting to use the simplest preparation as possible with your lamb! You could easily try this with beef or pork — it would be just as good! Oh, how I would love some if that Provençal lamb now!

  2. David, it is so interesting to see this post. Just yesterday Dennis was making a lamb dinner and I had remembered an earlier post where I believe you suggested, in this pandemic, to pull out the fancy china and tablecloth for everyday encounters. I pulled out a beautiful white cloth that was a yet unopened gift, and my grandmother’s china which I had never used. I was struggling to select the appropriate wine for the lamb so I went to Cocoa and Lavender, searched through all recipes for lamb, and this exact recipe with your wine selection came up. You were with us as I set the table and decanted a French red, Domaine de L’Ocre, 2015 De Natua Vini (the closest I could find to your blend). Thank you for enhancing our table and evening!
    PS Dennis says he will return to this recipe for his next lamb dinner.

    • Heidi – I am so glad you got out the white tablecloth and your grandmother’s china — I wish I could have seen your beautiful table and Dennis’ beautiful lamb. The wine sounds like a great choice. Thanks for bringing Cocoa & Lavender to your table. Hope you are well and safe.

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