Provençal Pairings: Wine with Food

Wine for Food

by David Scott Allen

Winery: Domaine La Rabiotte
Cuvée: Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Appellation: Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
Type: Rosé
Vintage: 2014
Grape Varieties: Grenache (70%), Cinsault (20%), Syrah (10%)
Alcohol: 12.5%
Average Retail Price: U.S. $13.00

I was perusing the rosé section at Total Wine last weekend in search of a bottle to have with my Moroccan harira, a soup I enjoyed when traveling in Morocco in 1991. The thing I love about winter – even here in Tucson – is that the stock of rosé wines is good. But this is also dismaying to me, as people – people who should know better – say that rosé is “summer wine.” Yes, that is true, but why not drink it year round? It still pairs magnificently with a variety of meals, light to hearty. Which brings me back to my harira.

It is a wintry, hearty soup, chock full of pulses, lamb, tomatoes, and spices. Because the temperatures were near 90°F (32°C), I thought a good rosé would pair perfectly. I read the descriptions provided by TW, and was intrigued by a bottle of 2014 Domaine La Rabiotte, and particularly by the descriptive phrase, “It’s definitely for food.” Now, what did they mean by that? I got a bottle. Okay, I got two. The price point was good, and it had a decent review.

The nose is light, not unusual for rosé wines – metallic with hints of verjus. The first taste was light and slightly thin, but very pleasant. For me, strawberry was the dominant flavor. I liked it, but worried that pairing such a light wine with a complex and earthy soup might have been an error in judgment. I tasted the soup (which is pretty amazing, by the way – the recipe is at Cocoa & Lavender this week), then tentatively, I sipped the wine. It was a Jekyll and Hyde moment. What was meek, simple, and gentle was suddenly full, robust, and complex with a mineral mouth feel and bursting with berries, cinnamon, and stone fruit. I understood… It’s definitely a wine for food.

It pairs well with intensely flavored foods, those with tomato sauces, and a variety of meats and poultry: lamb, veal, chicken, and duck.


  1. This sounds like a very robust & complex meal experience. I love pairing rosé with food and this exotic & hearty stew is so tempting!

  2. Soo excited to see this Moroccan soup recipe. First because for me winter and soup have always gone hand and hand. Secondly, I have been holding on to a tube of harrisa since we returned to the US in 1994, and immediately thought it can be part of this. So now the $64 question. If I get Ben to prepare harira will it be a sacrilege if I add in some harissa?

    • Jerry – I don’t think a little harissa would hurt this soup at all! Not being sure how strong your harissa is, I would start with a small amount – perhaps a teaspoon. Then you can gauge how much more or less you might want. Non appétit!

  3. There is magical light streaming through my Portsmouth window this morning as April snowflakes sparkle and glisten. My eyes are drawn back and forth from my window to your photos of hearty soup, people of the high Atlas Mountains (link) and your robust and surprising rose. Thank you for sharing these photos, thoughts and the recipe. I will try your warm soup recipe on this cold spring day and search for my own Provence pairing.

    • Heidi – I thought I was reading an old comment from February when you mentioned snow… I think harira is a perfect soup for a day like today, and if you can’t find the perfect rosé, you can try a Côtes du Rhône, as it pairs well with try soup, too. Let me know what you think! ~ David (And stay warm!!)

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