I love a good well-made wine. Sometimes those can be found in a large production winery with high distribution, however most times, I find myself appreciating, wanting and selling family owned, small vineyard, sustainable wines that I never mind drinking myself. I often wax poetic about Italian wines (I always will), but French wines make me a little giddy too. I’m a big fan of the Rhone Valley especially. Last night, right here at our very own Ernest’s Culinary School at NAIT, the students did an amazing job (once again) of pairing foods to go with the wines of Domaine de L’Amauve from the Southern Rhone.
I’ve written about this before. In fact, Christian has been to the market before, and I’m always so pleased to be able to spend time with him and discuss his philosophy on making wine. Coming from a family of both grape growers and winemakers, Christian is passionate about making wine as naturally as possible. Nothing should be rushed, and nothing forced. He uses natural yeasts and never forces malolactic fermentation. It must happen on its own (all part of organic farming). Add in the excellent price tag and the flavours, it’s plenty more reason to love these wines.
With only 10 ha of vines in the village of Seguret, next to Gigondas and close to Chateauneuf-du-pape, Christian’s wine production is not large. His ultimate goal is to have Seguret recognized as a cru, along with the above regions. And here in Alberta, we get about 60% of that production! Lucky us!
2015 Domaine de l’Amauve La Daurèle Vin Blanc- the only white of the evening, a blend of grenache blanc, clairette, viognier and ugni blanc, it paired splendidly with the tomato fish bisque. Boatloads of white blossom and poached pear aromas with a round mouth creaminess, with that ugni blanc inside, to give it a fresh, acidic lift. A seriously lovely white wine that I cannot wait to drink more of!
2015 Domaine de l’Amauve Vins de Pays de Vaucluse – A grenache/syrah blend, it is light in colour, bursting with raspberries, cherries and hints of spice from the syrah underneath. The alcohol in the grenache was tempered nicely when paired with the lamb provençale. In fact, it was pretty much a match made in heaven! I would say this was my favourite dish of the night!
2014 Seguret Côtes du Rhône Villages Domaine de l’Amauve Les Merrilies –The hit of the evening to be sure! Grenache/syrah blend again, but a single vineyard, longer ageing; with bigger, more refined tannins. Lots of black fruit (Blackberries, black cherry) in this one (as opposed to the red fruit) in the Vin de Pays with clove, pepper and black tea. Matched with the venison loin, chestnut pureé, earthy vegetables and potato medallions, it really was a stunning dish, and the wine paired perfectly! In fact, these wines went over so well that the orders came pouring in, and one will now have to wait for vintage 2015 of this wine! And from what I remember, another three grapes in the next vintage! Expect some added mourvèdre, carignan and cinsaut. You’ll have to wait until May though…Santé!