Saturday, April 16, 2011

Off to France

It's been quite some time since I sipped a French wine, but when I stopped at the grocery today, a representative from a wine distributor was providing samples of E. Guigal's Cote du Rhone rose, blanc and red wines. Naturally, I had to stop for a sip. Who wouldn't? I originally was in search of a Sancerre, (which he explained was the fancy French term for a Sauvignon Blanc). He advised I look in the French section, as New Zealand S.B.'s would be too grapefruity for this dish. However, French white wines are becoming more and more rare with the proliferation of New Zealand and Australian whites, and there was no Sancerre to be found. I went back to the regional expert, and after we spoke about the special dinner I planned to cook tonight, he recommended the E. Guigal Cotes du Rhone blanc, 2009. E. Guigal has been producing wine in France for many years, and is the largest producer of Cote Rotie.
This wine is comprised of 60% viognier grapes, with the rest being a mix of other whites, primarily the marsanne grape. At first taste, you'll experience a slightly minerally and acidic flavor. It's a beautiful pale gold, with melon and honeysuckle on the nose. As you let it warm, you'll get fresh peach and apricot as well. It has a complex and rich palate that provides the fortitude to pair well with chicken, fish and spicy Asian foods. There's a nice spicy finish on the back half.

The reason I went looking for a Sancerre to begin with, was because I planned to cook a meal from a recipe I found in Food and Wine magazine, and that was the recommended pairing.

Dinner was Warm Scallop Salad with Zucchini and Mushrooms. Though originally intended as a side salad for four, it became our entree for two. 35-45 minutes from start to finish. It is an easy dish to make, healthy, filling. It was a little heavy on the olive oil flavor for my taste, but perhaps I could have used EVOO instead of VOO.

Hmmm. All this writing has allowed my glass of wine to breathe even more. And it is tasting even better than with the meal. Perhaps it's time for a refill.

Bon Appetit!

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