Story and food photos by Manos Angelakis
Restaurant photo courtesy Aldo Sohm Wine Bar
Côtes du Rhône Tasting
The Côtes du Rhône AOC encompasses 171 villages throughout the Northern and Southern Rhône and is one French appellation that usually one hears very little about, even though some quite important vintners are located in the area like Marcel Guigal, Domaine Pegau and Saint Cosme in Chateauneuf-du-Pape.
Grenache Noir, Syrah, Carignan a.k.a Samsó or Mazuelo, Cinsault, Mourvèdre a.k.a Monastrell, and Counoise form the backbone of the red grape production. Blends of those red grapes fill bottles as well as being used to make rosé wines when the must is allowed minimal contact with the black skins. The whites are mostly made from Grenache Blanc, Viognier, Roussanne, Marsanne and Clairette Blanche and their blends.
They do make exceptional wines in that appelation; white, rosé and reds but they normally do very little promotion in the United States, compared to other French appellations like Bordeaux or Provence whose promotions are quite frequent. Winemakers from other countries such as Chile, Italy, Portugal and Spain have ubiquitous and very frequent promotions here in the US plus yearly press trips that help exponentially increase their sales.
So it was with interest that I accepted a lunch invitation to have lunch with paired wines from the region at Aldo Sohm Wine Bar on Manhattan’s West 51st Street.
The restaurant is interestingly set up with the feeling of a wine connoisseur’s living room.
A very nice starter was the Golden & Red Beet Terrine with Seasoned Goat Cheese.
The main course was Braised Short Ribs, Spinach and Fried Shallots in a Red Wine Reduction.
My dessert was the Cheese of the Moment Chef’s Selection platter.
Each course was paired with 3 wines: a white, a rosé and a red.
Of all the wines tasted the following were the most in concert with my tastes and the food presented.
Cellier des Dauphins, Réserve, Rosé 2021. It paired beautifully with the beet and goat cheese terrine; I think it was one of the best pairings of the lunch.
The Andre Brunel, La Becassonne, white 2019, surprisingly paired well with the short ribs, almost as well as the Delas Freres, St. Esprit 2019 red, that was still too young, as I told a friend who was also at the lunch “still in diapers.” I thought that the white would also pair very well with a cheese fondue.
For the cheese platter, the Domaine Catherine, La Goeuil, 2017 white – a floral libation, also worked as well as the Vignoble Anne Collard, L’Aube, 2020 a red. Again the red was just too young, it needed a few more years in bottle to mature a bit more.
And I finished lunch with a well drawn café espress.
To your health!
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