Even though the chilly days of Kansas City in the fall are just beginning to arrive, I’ve already been thinking of making cassoulet, pot roast, short ribs, chili and lamb stew.
There is something to be said for a place on earth where wine grapes have been grown for 2,500 years. The Bandol region of Provence in southern France is such a place.
I want to braise, roast, and get the slow cooker out of storage. And these thoughts lead me to thoughts about what red wine I’ll drink with autumn food.
Pinot Noir is always a go-to but I’ll write a whole posting about Pinot Noir later. Cabernet Sauvignon and other Bordeaux blends are winter wines to me. So my mind wanders to something substantial but not jaw crushing.
Because the rose Bandol is one of my favorite summer wines, it just makes sense to transition to the Bandol red in fall.
There is something to be said for a place on earth where wine grapes have been grown for 2,500 years. The Bandol region of Provence in southern France is such a place. Bandol is a town east of Marseille and also the official designation of wine from that area. Mostly Mourvede grape — must be 50 percent — and aged at least 18 months in barrels, it is the top of the heap for Provence wines.
Remember these words: St. Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin a Vent, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Regie, Brouilly, Cote de Brouilly. They are the ten crus of Beaujolais, a 30-odd-mile-long area straddling Burgundy and the Rhone.
Every bistro in Paris serves these wines, many times out of the barrel into well-used bottles.
Do yourself a favor. This November, instead of the one bottle of Beaujolais Noveau you always buy, get a bottle of Morgon or Brouilly instead. Just like the Paris bistros, Cru Beaujolais will become the house wine at your house.
I even make Beef Burgundy with Brouilly. It’s only cheating a few miles.
One of things I love about Rhone reds is that they satisfy at every price point. Feeling poor? A Cote du Rhone leaves some money in your pocket. Feeling flush? Chateauneuf du Pape is worth every penny. Plus it has loads of cache: first noticed in the 14th century when the Pope set up headquarters in Avignon, France, and enjoyed the local wine. You’re drinking history. Maybe not as much history as the 2,500 years of Roman-planted Bandol, but the 14th century will do.
You don’t need me to tell you to try the wines of La Rioja region in Spain. I’m sure you’ve already discovered their value. Where else can you get a reserve wine for such a reasonable cost? Where else can you find aged bottles for such a reasonable cost?
La Rioja measures up in the history department also. Growing grapes in this area is mentioned in documents from 873 A.D.
Tempranillo and Garnacho varietals make good food wines. But you knew that.