Domaine Rouge-Bleu CdR & Lamb Chops
After discovering Sunshine Harvest Farms at the farmers markets this year, I now keep locally raised lamb chops in the freezer, ready at any time! I really wanted to make some lamb chops this week, so I was looking forward to trying this wine with lamb.
Cotes du Rhone wines are some of the most reliably good red wines and are usually well priced. They typically don’t see much new oak, so they have less of the vanilla aromas and flavors of many American wines. This wine was really interesting to follow from opening over the next few hours. The wine’s color is a warm, dark red, not quite opaque. Immediately on opening, the aroma was very earthy with some dark fruit in the background. If earthy aromas don’t agree with you, don’t worry as they dissipate pretty quickly. As the wine opened up, the aroma was dominated by dark fruit with a bit of smoke and a faint sense of herbs. The wine has a tannic finish, which really contributes to it’s food friendliness, as it cleanses the palate between bites.
Since it was a weeknight, the lamb preparation was simple. A quick marinade for the lamb chops with rosemary and thyme. Roasted cauliflower with onions and mushrooms, and a quick salad. The Mistral was great with lamb chops from the grill! The rich lamb was balanced by the tannins in the wine, and that balance allowed the dark fruit in the wine to really shine.
The surprise with this wine happened after it had been open for 90 minutes; the tannins really seemed to moderate and the wine became much more mellow. Post-dinner blue cheese with a bit of honey was a nice match for the wine. The rich and sharp blue cheese was contrasted nicely with the dark, smooth flavor of the wine. We also tried it with chocolate (BT McElrath Salty Dog) – the wine worked pretty well, the chocolate echoed in the dark rich wine, more-so in the aroma. Not quite as nice as a dedicated dessert wine, but pretty darn good! The surprising thing was that the wine worked so well in these two very different roles, nice!
We often have a bit of wine left after day one, and it’s nice to see how the wine does the next day. On day two, the Mistral was still really nice. Dark fruit, still has some good acidity, no noticeable oak, nice and smooth.
Domaine Rouge-Bleu is a small winery in the Southern Rhone. The Mistral, a Cotes du Rhone, is their flagship wine and they only produced 1000 cases in 2009. It’s available locally at Pairings Food & Wine in Minnetonka for around $25. It is made with Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and a small amount of Roussanne grapes. The winery takes a very natural approach in winemaking, and this wine is unfiltered.
Note: this wine was provided by Pairings Food & Wine in Minnetonka for evaluation. Thanks!