Rabbit & Rhône #WinePW

Spring in the Southern Rhône
Our Wine Pairing Weekend group (#WinePW on twitter) is celebrating spring by creating and sharing wine pairing recipes featuring wines from the Southern Rhône.

rabbit and white chateauneuf-du-pape

Rabbit with mushrooms and thyme served with a couple of Southern Rhone beauties.

Lapin = Rabbit, Good Luck Finding One
One of the things I envy about cooks in Europe is the wider variety of fresh products. They may not have 50 different mac & cheese boxes in the dinner aisle, but the butcher counter will have rabbit, lamb, liver, veal, and a host of other meats we never see in the states. Oxtail? I don’t think so. If you want to go outside beef, pork, chicken, you’ll need to go to the farmers market or a specialty butcher. So that’s what I did, time to try my hand at rabbit!

rabbit in mushrooms and thyme

Looking to be a bit adventurous? Try rabbit!

Southern Rhone Wines
There are a wide variety of allowed grapes in the Southern Rhone and the majority of wines are blends, of course, named either for the region (Cotes du Rhone) or by the village name. Reds are nearly all a combination of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Whites are fewer and less well known, but also can be a blend of a variety of grapes. Lastly, the Southern Rhone and Provence are well known for dry rosé.

Less known than the red, there's also a White Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Less known than the red, there’s also a White Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Brotte (White) Châteauneuf-du-Pape Les Hauts de Barville AOC 2013 (purchased at the winery, available for $25 in the US)

We toured the Brotte winery and museum back in 2014 and brought a few bottles back with us, time to break one out! White Châteauneuf-du-Pape is pretty rare, at least partly because Red Châteauneuf-du-Pape fetches a much higher price. Which would you grow? Anyway, this wine is a blend of Grenache Blanc, Roussane, and Bourboulenc. Hand harvested, destemmed, cold settled then fermented over a about two weeks, malolactic fermentation is prevented, giving the wine a bright, fresh character. After fermentation, the wine is aged 40% in French oak barrels and 60% in stainless steel, again, to give freshness.

Eye: Clear, pale lemon
Nose: Clean, medium intensity nose of white flowers, pears and almonds.
Mouth: Rich, full body, mouth coating, but with good cleansing acidity. Nice long finish of pears and almonds.

Domaine Rouge-Bleu Dentelle

An easy red blend from our friends at Domaine Rouge-Bleu

Domaine Rouge-Bleu Dentelle IGT 2012 ($15 at South Lyndale Liquors)
Domaine Rouge-Bleu is a favorite of ours in the Southern Rhone, first because they make delicious wines and second because we had a wonderful time staying in their Bed and Breakfast on our 2014 trip. Not only was Domaine Rouge-Bleu a wonderful place to stay, Thomas gave us great suggestions for restaurants, hikes and wine tastings.

The Dentelle red wine is named after the distinctive mountain range in the Southern Rhone. Consisting of 60% Carignan and 40% Grenache, the grapes are grown organically, and the grapes are left whole cluster during fermentation. The wine is not aged in oak, consequently, you’ll enjoy a lively medium bodied red wine suitable for lighter meats like chicken and yes, rabbit.

Eye: Medium intensity, ruby color with a purple edge.
Nose: A little funky immediately on opening, dissipating after a few minutes. Bright garrique herbs greet you enthusiastically. jAlso strawberries and balsamic vinegar.
Mouth: Medium body, with lively acidity and medium tannins. The aromas from the nose carry into the flavor, with a nice lingering herbal finish.

rabbit_winophiles_rhone 20160401 116


Wine Pairing with Monsieur Henny’s Rabbit
Both wines were great with the rabbit dish.  The White Châteauneuf-du-Pape was a natural, rich body but good acidity and fresh.  The Dentelle was different, but equally good with the rabbit. A lighter red leading with herbs and not overly fruity, it just worked beautifully with the dish.

Wine Pairing Weekend with Rhône Pairings for Spring

If you see this by Saturday morning, April 9, please join our chat on Twitter at #WinePW, we love new voices! Here’s what our group will be exploring:

Rabbit with Mushrooms and Thyme

This recipe is adapted from Patricia Wells “Bistro Cooking” cookbook, and Patricia translated the recipe from her butcher “Monsieur Henny”. I love this cookbook, the recipes are eminently doable at home, highly recommended!

Your first rabbit?  Here’s a link to help you cut it up like an expert. Easy!


  • 1 rabbit, around 2.5 lbs cut into 8 pieces
  • 1 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
  • 2 medium onions, coarsely chopped
  • 4 oz. bacon, chopped
  • 2 cups of dry white wine you’d be willing to drink
  • 8 oz. baby portabella mushrooms, sliced
  • 4 fresh bay leaves
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 3 Tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 1/3 cup fresh thyme leaves
  • 1/2 cup fresh bread crumbs
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper


  • Tie the bay leaves and sprig of thyme together with kitchen twine
  • Lightly salt and pepper the rabbit
  • Heat EVOO in a skillet over medium heat
  • Sear the rabbit on all sides, in two batches to avoid crowding. About 10 minutes total
  • Remove the rabbit to a plate and cover with foil to keep warm.
  • Add the onions and bacon to the skillet and cook until just browning, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the wine and stir the onions and mushrooms, scraping up any brown bits in the bottom of the skillet
  • Add the rabbit, bay leaf bundle, and mushrooms. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer.  Cook for 20 minutes until the rabbit is just cooked through (test a hind leg).
  • Process the mustard, thyme leaves, and bread crumbs in a food processor until very fine, adding some liquid from the simmering rabbit if necessary to moisten.
  • Stir the mixture into the rabbit in the skillet
  • Remove the bay leaf bundle and serve over egg noodles or rice.

Local Sources
Clancey’s Meats and Fish in Linden Hills for rabbit, from Rocky Acres Angus in Weyerhauser, Wi.

Embossed wine bottle from Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Gotta love an embossed bottle


23 Responses to “Rabbit & Rhône #WinePW”
  1. Camilla Mann says:

    We LOVE rabbit. I’ll give this a try soon, Jeff. Thanks!

  2. Cooking Chat says:

    interesting that you found the white and red equally good with the rabbit! The white CDP sounds great, I think I’ve only tried one once or twice, recall liking it. Don’t see them much.

  3. I would have never thought to pair a white with rabbit. I love this recipe that you shared. Thanks.

  4. Jill Barth says:

    This is a gorgeous post, one I learned from having never prepped rabbit. I’ve actually only had a taste, not a meal centered around the dish.

    Brotte sounds like an absolute treat…looking forward to reading more.

    Thank you!

  5. What a delightful pairing. I’m a huge fan of CDP blanc. Harder to find, but worth the effort. Cheers!

  6. Looks like you had a couple of wonderful wines Jeff. I like rabbit, but you’re right it can be a challenge to find. Great looking dish! Cheers!

  7. This sounds heavenly! I have an extra rabbit in the freezer and this may be the dish for it. I think of rabbit as fall or winter; however, this sounds like an earthy dish for year round enjoyment. And the wines….YUM! Thanks for sharing Jeff. I will hang on to this recipe!

  8. Deeeeee-lish! I’ll hand this over to my husband to cook. He’ll thank you later. xoxox

  9. Luca Marchiori says:

    Rabbit is widely available here in Italy but can you believe I’ve never cooked it? I may very well be giving your recipe a go. Talking of unusual meats, there’s a write up on my blog about a traditional horse meat stew I just tried in Verona. Thanks for the post!

  10. Whites can be surprising food partners, can’t they? The only time I ever had rabbit was at a hunting estancia in Argentina. It was a very (how shall I put this?) rustic preparation. Yours looks much better! Cheers!

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