The SOMM Journal

October / November 2015

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120 { THE SOMM JOURNAL } OCTOBER/NOVEMBER 2015 { france } ROUSSILLON WAS INITIALLY KNOWN FOR ITS FORTIFIED SWEET wines, designated in 1936, but the region's dry wines received official recognition in the 1970s and now boast a total of 14 quality appellations, along with three IGP designations (see sidebar for permitted varieties). Côtes du Roussillon, the largest, produces 64% of the region's AOP whites, rosés and reds, while the more restrictive Côtes du Roussillon Villages is exclu- sive to red wines produced from 32 towns. Consequently, Roussillon offers a wide range of flexible and food-friendly wines ready to take on many food pairing challenges—perhaps even that quintessential quandary: What to serve for Thanksgiving? We asked a group of sommeliers to help vet pairings with a selection of poul- try dishes at Streetbird, Marcus Samuelson's new Harlem eatery. Nicole Hakli from the Nomad Hotel, Keri Levens of Chefs Club by Food & Wine, Nicholas Mechak at Buceo 95; and A. J. Ojeda-Pons of the Lambs Club joined me and Eric Aracil, Export Director for the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon (CIVR), for the roundtable tasting. Fourteen wines accompanied an approximation of Thanksgiving dinner— several whole rotisserie chickens and a bevy of sides including "notti greens" (roasted green beans, chili and peanuts), pickled cucumbers, "yin yang fries" (combining white and sweet potatoes) and mac-n-cheese. We started with three dry whites and found the Coume Marie Blanc from Domaine La Préceptorie the most complex; this blend of Grenache Gris, Grenache Blanc, Macabeu and Carignan Blanc worked especially well with the spiciness of the greens. A. J. remarked that this singular white could go well with many dishes. Though Nicholas mused about explaining the unfamiliar Grenache Gris to a fictitious "Aunt Jean," we all concluded these were straightforward wines that would be enjoyed by non–wine geeks. By law, AOP dry reds must blend at least two varieties, most commonly including black Grenache, Carignan, Mourvèdre and Syrah, but the IGP designa- tion permits mono-varietals. We tasted blends and a 100% Carignan made from 80-year-old vines. Eric explained that Carignan is a great variety for the region, especially when grown on slopes and/or from older vines where the lower yields express complex aromas and flavors of black fruit (blackberry, black cur- rant), spices and flowers (roses, violet, peony). With a focus on the bird itself, Keri especially liked the wines with the Maillard reaction of the crispy skin. Similarly, Nicholas noted that the skin's fattiness inter- acted nicely with the structure of the wines. The Clos Saint Georges Cuvée Chevalière, in particular, offered notes of licorice and olive that were a nice counterpoint to the paprika-spiced chicken. Eric Aracil is Export Director for the Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Roussillon (CIVR). Thanksgiving in July: Nicholas Mechak from Buceo 95, A. J. Ojeda-Pons from the Lambs Club, Nicole Hakli from the Nomad Hotel and Keri Levens of Chefs Club by Food & Wine discuss Roussillon wines at Streetbird in Harlem, NYC. Roussillon & Rotisserie by Tracy Ellen Kamens, Ed.D., DWS, CWE / photos by Lisa Ramsey A PRE-THANKSGIVING PAIRING OF WINES FROM THIS UP-AND-COMING SOUTHERN FRENCH REGION WITH CHICKEN AND FIXINS

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