Rick's Pick: 2005 Maison Bouachon Gigondas Duc de Montfort

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The Rhone Valley has two part: the Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone.  Northern Rhone is known for 100% Syrah or Viognier wines whereas the Southern Rhone is known for Grenache based blends.  Gigondas is an area within Southern Rhone, which means the wines are predominantly Grenache blends, but have a unique characteristic all their own.  The 2005 Duc de Montfort from Maison Bouachon is a great example of typicity.

APPEARANCE

Color: Clear Brightness: Star Bright Red Color: Ruby Rim Variation: Pink representing a few years of age Viscosity: Medium Plus with minor tear staining

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NOSE

Condition: Clean Intensity: Medium Plus Aroma: Youthful Fruit: Black Cherry, Red Cherry, Plum Earth: None detected Other: Violets, Cola, Leather

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PALATE

Sweetness: Dry Body: Medium Fruit: Black Cherry, Red Cherry Earth: None Detected Alcohol: Medium Acidity: Medium Plus Complexity: Medium Plus Finish: Medium Plus

Black fruits and red fruits come together one one of my favorite wine regions.  Gigondas is like the little brother to Châteauneuf-du-Pape with a little bit of Rosé production, but dominated by red wine.  Gigondas has a Mediterranean climate, unlike Northern Rhone, which has more of a continental climate.  The main geographical identifier of Gigondas is the Dentelles de Montmirail, which is a small mountain range dividing the region into two areas.  One area is hotter, while the other is cooler.

I found the 2005 to have just the right amount of age (although it'll get better).  Food pairings with this wine can be fairly easy—tonight we opted for grilled pork tenderloin with balsamic fig reduction sauce, and it was off the hook!  Let me know your suggestions in the comments below.

Cheers!

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Pork Shoulder with Potato & Butternut Bake

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INGREDIENTS

5 LB shoulder of pork 1 small onion, peeled 1 TBSP flour 10 OZ dry cider 10 OZ vegetable stock 3 large potatoes 1 Butternut squash Butter Parmesan cheese sea salt and fresh ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 475ºF.  Score the skin of the pork.  Place pork in a roasting pan skin-side up.  Cut the onion into wedges and place slightly underneath the pork.  Season pork with salt and pepper.  Roast in oven for 25 minutes.  Reduce oven to 375ºF and cook for 2 hours.  Remove from oven and let stand for 30 minutes.  Remove pork from roasting pan, place roasting pan over burners on low and sprinkle flour in mixing with a wooden spoon.  Turn heat up to medium and gradually add cider and stock.  Mix together until you have a smooth gravy.  Salt and pepper to taste. FOR THE BAKE: Pell and thinly slice potatoes, peel and seed butternut squash.  Put a layer of potatoes in a buttered ovenproof dish then layer with butternut.  Layer 2 more times.  Place 2 or 3 knobs of butter on top, pour in 275ml of stock.  Cover generously with parm cheese.  Bake at 170ºF for 1 hour.

What wine to pair?

Do yourself a favor and get a really good pork shoulder for this recipe.  You can see the recipe list and preparation isn't too complicated, so it does well with a nice cut of pork.  Read through the ingredients and preparation and imagine where you're going to taste the sweet, sour, salt, bitter and umami flavors.

Pork is cooked with vegetable stock can get pretty salty, but you'll offset that with the sweet cider.  I find this recipe can be adjusted so there's a good balance of flavors, and sometimes I'll add a TBSP of rosemary just for a little more.

Some of the grapes that tend to compliment this dish well are domestic Pinot Noirs or some lighter Syrahs.  Cabs and Merlots from new world regions aren't ideal, but 1995 Chateau Musar Cuvee Rouge went well.  That's a Cabernet blend made with some Cinsault.  It didn't overpower the flavors of the pork.  One of these days we'll try pairing it with the Chateau Musar Blanc, which, according to Serge Hochar is his "red wine".  The whites are sublime and might stand up nicely to this dish.

Tonight's pairing will feature 2005 Maison Bouachon La Tiare du Pape from Southern Rhone.  The blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre from Chateauneuf du Pape vineyards are influenced by Mistral winds, and are grown in in clay and limestone soils, covered with quartz round stones.  I don't believe there's a "perfect" wine and food pairing, but I have fun experimenting and trying new combinations with the hope that one day I'll experience that one life-altering experience that is "the perfect pairing".  Please leave suggested pairings of what you think would be good with this dish in the comments below.  Cheers!

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