Warm Up by the Fireplace with Raclette and Vins de Savoie #winepw

Imaginary Trip to the French Alps
Oh to spend some time skiing/snowboarding in the French Alps, drinking Vin de Savoie every evening! Full disclosure: we have not been skiing/snowboarding in the French Alps.  We are Park City Utah ski/snowboard rats. However, the sentiment is the same.  When you come in from a day outdoors, you want a fun evening by the fire, right? In France, the Savoie is the closest wine region to much of the French Alps, so the wines are well familiar to skiers there. Today, we’re going to create a great winter meal after a day in the outdoors in the winter, whether you are in Minneapolis or Aix-les-Bain!

Perfect evening by the fireplace: raclette!

Wine Pairing Weekend and Wines of Savoie
This month, our Wine Pairing Weekend group is exploring food pairings to go with wines from the little known French wine region of Savoie. We have more than a dozen entries for you to peruse, there are links to each one further down in this post, so read on and join us in our imaginary winter evening in the French Alps.

Bugey and Savoie Wine Region Map courtesy of Vineyards.com

The Savoie region is located in the foothills of the French Alps. With dramatic landscapes looking from mountains to lakes, the region is little known outside of Europe. Maybe you’ll want to include a visit the next time you travel to Europe!

The view down to Lac du Bourget from the nearby mountains

We visited the town of Aix-les-Bains this summer while visiting in France. In the summer, you can hike in the mountains and swim in Lac du Bourget all in the same day. And, if you’d like a soak, you take to the thermal baths in Aix-les-Bains.

Certified organic, rich texture with lively acidity. Perfect for a cheese-centric raclette meal!

Domaine du Cellier du Crays Chignin Bergeron “Cuvee Albinum” Savoie AOP 2017 (purchased in France 23 €, or online here) 13% abv

The Cuvée Albinum by Adrien Berlioz grows in a vineyard with up to 70% gradient which is certified organic. The grapes are 100% Roussette (Roussanne), aged in 600 liter barrels. It is the top white wine among the various cuvées by Cellier des Cray, with the most power and depth of all their wines.

Eye: Clear deep lemon
Nose: Clean, medium+ intensity aromas of baked apples, ripe pears, gardenias, crushed limestone, a bit of candle wax and vanilla. Nose is rich and inviting.
Mouth: Dry, medium+ intensity. Medium+ acidity, medium+ body with creamy texture. Medium alcohol with a medium+ finish. Flavors follow the nose with apples, pears, flower, crushed stones and vanilla.
Conclusions: Very good quality wine with rich mouthcoating texture. Lively acidity cleanses the palate and the rich body stands up to hearty meals. Wine is delicious right now, has the intensity and acid backbone to age.

Gilles Berlioz Mondeuse “La Deuse” Vin de Savoie AOP 2015 (purchased in France 29€ or online here) 10.5% abv

Gilles Berlioz is a committed winegrower, who was farming 7 hectares (about 15 acres), but reduced it to 3.5 ha in order to convert to biodynamic farming. The vineyard is plowed by horse. He concentrates on local grape varieties and maximum quality vs. maximum yields in his vineyard, and has achieved a following in France. You can read an informative post from Not Drinking Poison (in Paris) here.

The back label on this bottle reads as follows: Acidite volatile 0.28 g/l – Souffre libre 10mg/l – Souffre total 38 mg/l – non chaptalise. Produit en conversion vers l’agriculture biologique

Eye: Clear, medium ruby. minimal staining with a tiny bit of sediment
Nose: Clean, medium intensity aromas of ripe cranberries, strawberries, red grapes. Fruits smell a bit candied, with violets and a bit of clean earth.
Mouth: Dry, medium intensity flavors. Flavors follow the nose closely with high acidity, medium fine grained tannins, medium- body, low alcohol and a medium length fruit filled finish. Reminds me of a nice Beaujolais Villages.
Conclusions: Fresh fruit, lighter body but excellent structure provides an interest contrast in this wine. All that fresh fruit indicates drinking now but the wine has the structure to last at least 5-10 years if desired.

Wine Pairing Weekend Suggestions for Vins de Savoie
Take a look at all the great pairing ideas for Vin de Savoie from our group of bloggers.  Interested in more? Join our chat on Twitter on Saturday Feb. 7 from 10-11am CST. Just search for the #WinePW hashtag and jump in the conversation!

Raclette is the ultimate do-it-yourself tableside dinner.

Raclette and Vins de Savoie
If Raclette is new to you, it’s essentially a twist on the concept of cheese fondue. Imagine sitting by the fireplace at a European ski resort with a slab of cheese in a holder, tipped toward the fireplace. As the top of the cheese melts, you scrape it off onto your plate, covering the veggies and other bites. Along with some crusty bread and a bottle of local wine, you’re in heaven. Modern interpretations do away with the need for the wood burning fireplace, you just need to figure out how to melt the cheese.

A few years ago, we were so taken with a sidewalk raclette meal we had in Paris, we ordered a raclette set when we returned home. Now, we enjoy it at least once in the winter months. Looking for a recipe? Try this one for some ideas. A couple of recommendations from our family:

  • Public Service Announcement (PSA) – HOT CHEESE. Do you enjoy burning the roof of your mouth when you eat pizza? Then go ahead and bite immediately.  If not, let it cool just a bit before you dig in.
  • 4 oz. of raclette cheese per person
  • Go heavy on the veggies and light on the meat, this is one rich meal
  • Cocktail onions are fabulous with that vinegary bite under the rich cheese
  • Potatoes are surprisingly good, just cook them first
  • Romanesco (or other bigger veggie bites) is great, just blanch it first
  • Thinly sliced tomatoes are great, just like in your grilled cheese sandwich
  • Of the two wines, I thought the white wine was a better overall match to the cheese and veggies. The Mondeuse was very good and a red wine drinker would certainly be happy with it at the table.

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

32 Responses to “Warm Up by the Fireplace with Raclette and Vins de Savoie #winepw”
  1. culinarycam says:

    I considered getting one of those contraptions once and I skipped it. Now you’re making wish I hadn’t!! Great post, as always, Jeff.

  2. I’m warm just looking at that fire, wine and food. Who needs skiing anyway? Great tips for enjoying this meal, including the PSA on how to avoid burning the roof of your mouth.

  3. Jen Martin says:

    I wasn’t familiar with raclette before, but I love fondue! Sounds like the perfect way to spend an evening after being outdoors.

  4. wendyklik says:

    A friend of ours invited us to a raclette party once. It was so much fun and your post brought back fond memories.

  5. I was introduced to raclette in Germany. It is so communal to sit around a table preparing your own plate with conversation and wine flowing. We also love raclette in our house!

    • Thanks, Jane. Our first raclette experience was in Paris at an outdoor cafe. We were with our two adult children, so a rare treat to have everyone together. Magical evening!

  6. Nicole Ruiz Hudson says:

    I like to say that I exclusively Après Ski thanks to my fear of heights, but to that point, very down for a good raclette anytime! Your spread looks fantastic as do the wines.

  7. terristeffes says:

    Oh my goodness! This looks amazing. I want to do with my husband some weekend. I cannot wait to do this.

  8. Sounds like some interesting wines you tried! I love that raclette setup – and good tip about the hot cheese!

  9. lizbarrett says:

    Love raclette – and love my friends who have the “thing” to make it – so much fun and you’re right – would be perfect with Jacquère!

  10. crynning says:

    Love the raclette with the wines, Jeff. I’m in Breckinridge right now and there’s a French bakery with all sorts of delicious food – raclette is on the menu. I think we’ll have to stop by!!

  11. Jill Barth says:

    I think we may need to do a raclette session at WinePW — so many people love the idea. This was a lot of fun and your trip to Savoie yielded some excellent photos to tempt us!

  12. How fun! With skiing, hot springs, and wine, I definitely need to visit!

  13. Pinny Tam says:

    Is that a marble top on that grill? Love the idea of raclette and sitting next to the fireplace and drinking Savoie wines

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