What is French-Style Season? #winophiles

The French Winophiles French-Style Season
The French Winophiles are a group of French wine loving bloggers. You’ll always hear us gush about our appreciation for France, French wine, food, travel. We’re realistic, though, too. We recognize no one place in the world is perfect. Currently, we hear about the Gilets-Jaune and how demonstrations are disrupting life in many cities. The French are nothing if not passionate! Take a look farther down this post to see how all my French Winophile buddies are interpreting “French-Style Season”.

First, What’s American-Style season?

  • Convenience.
  • Drive over and pick up the dish already-made at the deli.
  • Buy what’s on sale.
  • Take shortcuts for fewer dishes, less time.
  • Throw it all in the Instant Pot and have dinner ready in 30 minutes.
  • Buzz through dinner quickly so you can get on with the next activity. We’re so busy!

American-Style. You make it, but all the ingredients are prepped and ready to go, instructions included, refrigerator to table in 30 minutes. (I’m not opposed, it’s just indicative of the American approach)

What is French-Style Season?
Our cousin, Kay, has lived in France for more than 25 years. She tells us about the iceberg of French culture (you only see 10% of the whole thing). My son, Peter, lives in France. He can tell you all about French bureaucracy. We have been visiting regularly for the last several years, so we have some experience, at least as observant tourists. While preparing food and wines for my post, I was reflecting on the question: What is French-Style? My answer came to me as I was preparing our main course for this post and dinner that day.

My idea of French-Style is this:

  • Pay attention to the details.
  • Harder but worth it.
  • Make it yourself.
  • Doesn’t need to be fancy, but do it with passion, precision and finesse.
  • No shortcuts.
  • Enjoy the process.

Our French-Style Season Dinner
In typical French fashion, we served our French style dinner in two courses

  • Entrée – Simple green salad with chevre toasts served with Pouilly-Fumé from Chateau de Tracy
  • Plat – Classic Boeuf Bourguignon with Chateau Haut Selve Graves

(click on any photo for a full size slide show, hit escape to return to the post)

The salad was a simple one, but made with care. Tear the greens, don’t chop. Mix the dressing in the bowl where you’ll toss the greens. The chevre toasts are equally simple, made with local chevre and our favorite local baguette (even the French buy their baguettes!).

I’ve made beef bourguignon many times from many different recipes, I’ve come to think of it as an easy one pot meal. This month, I decided to try a classic preparation, so I went to my favorite classic source: Julia Child. Julia’s instructions call for searing the meat first, of course! Sautéeing the mushrooms separately, OK. Browning and braising the onions separately, whoa! Finally, after the meat has been braising for a few hours, strain off the liquid and reduce it separately before combining all the ingredients shortly before eating. Harder? Yes. Worth it? Yes! Best beef bourguignon I’ve ever made.

The Vignobles & Signatures Wineries
Some of our Winophiles group were provided samples this month from the Vignobles and Signatures Club. This is a group of highly regarded wineries from all around France, who found they have similar approaches. In 1984 they decided to band together to collaborate in representing their wines. Now sixteen in number, all are Family wineries, and you are likely to recognize many of their names . We have had the honor to visit two of the wineries in our prior travels in France.

Disclosure: the wines for this post were thoughtfully provided as samples by Vinconnexion and Vignobles & Signatures,  a group of French family grower-producers. No other compensation was involved. All opinions are mine.

Château de Tracy Pouilly-Fumé 2017

Château de Tracy Pouilly-Fumé 2017

Chateau de Tracy Pouilly-Fumé AOC 2017 (sample, 21€, or online here)
Eye: Clear, pale lemon. Barely any color whatsoever, delicate. No legs, sheeting.
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity. Bright gooseberry, grapefruit, gunflint, herbaceous. Bright aromas and fun to just take in.
Mouth: Dry, pronounced intensity flavors. Bright gooseberry, tart grapefruit, tarragon. Medium- body, medium+ acidity. Bright lively flavors but not overly tart. Medium- body, medium alcohol. Nice, long finish of tart green fruits. Delicious.

Château Haut Selve Graves 2015

Château Haut Selve Graves 2015

Chateau Haut Selve Graves AOC 2015 (sample, $25 SRP or online here)
Eye: Clear, deep ruby with a narrow ruby rim. Lightly stained legs
Nose: Clean, medium intensity. Ripe, dark blue fruit: blueberries & blackberries. A bit of nutty caramel, leather and tobacco, but dominated by the sweet ripe fruit
Mouth: Dry, medium+ flavor intensity. Medium body, medium alcohol. Medium acidity, medium+ tannins, but smooth tannins. Flavors of ripe blue fruit, graphite. Fresh texture, not plush or jammy at all. Very good quality wine, can certainly enjoy it now, especially with food. Would age well for 5-10 years easily. Very nice match with the rich, dark beef bourguignon.

At our AirBnB in Beaune, we enjoyed a French-Style dinner. What will you make for yours?

Your Own French-Style Season
This holiday season, give “French-Style” a try. Enjoy a dinner with family or friends. It doesn’t need to be fancy (it can be if you like). Do it yourself. Avoid shortcuts. Take your time, enjoy the process. At the table, leave plenty of time for conversation. Enjoy the food and wine, but enjoy your company more. And if you’d like to enjoy wine with your dinner, see if you can find a bottle from one of the Vignobles & Signatures families!

Our Winophiles Proposals for Your French-Style Season
Bound to be many other takes on our theme. Read them and join our chat on Saturday December 15 at 10am CST on Twitter at #Winophiles. See you then!

Recipe Links
Julia Childs’ Boeuf Bourguignon – recipe is available online here. Or you can always buy yourself a copy, it’s a classic!

24 Responses to “What is French-Style Season? #winophiles”
  1. “Enjoy the company” best advice ever! While appreciating the wine and enjoying the pairing is important, I think you are very right that the point is the company. And the idea of the attention to detail in creating the meal…so important. For me it is the meditation that comes before the event. Your photos of Pouilly Fumé and Alsace are wonderful.

  2. Lynn says:

    The most prevalent items I’ve acknowledged living in France are exactly what you share as French-style. Such a refreshing take on the topic, stunning photos. Happy holidays to you and your family.

  3. culinarycam says:

    I LOVE the juxtaposition of French and American-style holidays. We’re getting ready for Christmas in Denmark and I’ve been telling the boys all about the Christmas markets…and how different from Target it is! LOL.

  4. Wow. What can I say, you’ve outdone us all. We are packing our bags and heading to Minnesota for Christmas.

  5. Beautiful post, Jeff! I had to laugh, though, when I read your description of executing Julia Child’s recipe for boeuf bourgignon. I first made it when I was a novice cook and really enjoyed the results. Although I was so exhausted afterward I had to take a nap! Happy holidays to you, Julie, and the crew!

  6. Looks like you had a great meal Jeff! I enjoyed how you compared/contrasted French vs. American Holiday Seasons. I need to slow down! Happy holidays my friend!

  7. Deanna says:

    LOL your definition of American style season is hilarious! Have to say though I don’t mind it, am a proud practicer of it, and will pair it with French wine!

  8. Love your American-style and French-style comparison, so on point! Julia’s Boeuf Bourguignon is the best, I think I need to make it again over the holidays! I do wish I had an aunt and child living in France….not that I need that excuse to travel to France, but it wouldn’t hurt. Merry Christmas!

  9. Family in France is a great reason to visit frequently and deepen your appreciation for French-style food and wine! Interesting about the separate sauteeing of the beef bourguignon ingredients.

  10. Jill Barth says:

    Happy holidays to you and and yours! We are so blessed to savor these moments with friends and family. Cheers and more cheers!

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