It’s the heart of winter here in Southern California, and we’ve been getting drenched.
While grateful that this may mean the end of the drought, the intense rain raises fears of floods and debris flows. Indeed, after four days of steady rain, we got about 8″ which is more than half of our average annual rain fall for this desert region. Many people were evacuated and the Ventura River flooded its banks requiring the exodus of people camping in the RV resort along its banks.
On these cold dreary days and nights, we want to be warmed and satisfied and refreshed.
That’s why we made a nine hour French lamb roast in the Instant pot — and why we made osso bucco (pictured above) , and why we used the leftover lamb and broth from both for a French inspired stew called Navarin ragout (and the leftovers from that were even better!)
Ragout is a term from the French ragoûter, meaning: “to revive the taste”. With vegetables and lamb or mutton it’s called ’Navarin’ or, if made in the spring with the new season’s vegetables like peas, carrots, leeks, and turnips, ‘navarin printanier’ (from ‘printemps’, the French word for ‘spring’). The name navarin may come from the French word for turnips or ‘navets’ or it might honor the 1827 Battle of Navarino.
As a hearty rich dish, it makes a wonderful foil for the rich flavors of Michel Chapoutier’s organic, and biodynamically farmed but not certified yet Les Meysonniers Blanc (Marsanne) and Rouge (syrah) wines.
To balance out the meal, and for the Marsanne, we prepared a lyonnaise salad, coquille St. Jaques, and a cauliflower soufflé along with a cheese platter with pate.
These wines have a way of making the food shine.
But are they biodynamic or not?
They lacked any sign of a certification logo on the label. What was up with that?
When we set out to host this month’s #Winophiles focus on Biodynamic wine, our intention was to focus on these wines. According to tech sheets provided by Terlato, the importer, they are biodynamic. According to other information from Michel Chapoutier, they are organic, and in other information they are farmed biodynamically.
To ascertain the truth, I searched for clues on the website for Michel Chapoutier as well as Terlato the importer. I searched my email for clues, but I came up empty handed. Finally, I contacted M. Chapoutier via their facebook page and surprise surprise someone responded almost immediately. But I still didn’t have an answer, so we took to email. Finally, I learned that, yes the wines are organic and have been farmed biodynamically for several years and are in the process of getting certified, and once they are, they will have the Demeter logo on the label.
In the meantime, a shout out to Michel Chapoutier for being a leader in the French biodynamic movement, and for working to get so many of their wines to be biodynamic as well as organic and for working with their growers to go the distance as well.
According to their website, “The Maison M.Chapoutier has chosen to use organic and bio-dynamic farming for most of its vines (certified since 1999).
This is born out of a conviction: that one should let the land live and speak. Above all else, it is about enabling the terroir (soil, climate, know-how) to express itself fully. In fact, the expression, transmutation of mineral into vegetal, can only exist with a living terroir, able to transmit life.”
2015 – M. Chapoutier Les Meysonniers – Crozes – Hermitage – Blanc – 12.5%
Marsanne vines that are 20-40 years old.
This wine is a sample provided for my review consideration.
Color: Very pale yellow.
Nose: Honeysuckle, orange blossom and minerals; effusive.
Palate: This wine is all about the mouthfeel — it is smooth, supple, viscous in the mouth, very evocative and exciting, with white fruit, white peach and pear, and apricot pith on the finish. Elegant.
Pairing: When I first tasted this wine, I wished for a roast duck or roast chicken garnished with lemons and rosemary, and I was disappointed with how it went with the salad. However, paired with the coquille St. Jaques was amazing: it loves the creamy richness and has a double wonderful mouthfeel. The dish is super rich, and the wine cuts through and helps manage the richness. I loved the soufflé with the wine and based on these experiences, I think it would be great with a bacon and mushroom quiche.
Surprisingly this white can handle a rich lamb navarin stew. Who would have guessed? You don’t usually think of serving a white wine with red meats, but it works with this wine. The rich mouth feel is in harmony with the lamb stew. Not to diminish how excellent the stew went with the Rouge, I felt that in some ways it went better than with the red being a bit fresher and brighter.
2015 – Les Meysonniers – Crozes – Hermitage – M. Chapoutier – Rouge – 13% alcohol SRP 15,80 euros
Syrah vines that are 25 or more years old.
This wine is a sample provided for my review consideration.
Color: Garnet, maroon, very deep, mauve ring
Nose: Musky with tart bright red fruit, raspberry, barnyard
Palate: This also has a very nice mouthfeel, it glides across the palate. There was nice earth and richness when drinking this wine in a Bordeaux glass; there also seemed to have more fruit on the front palate and dirty silt or mud on the finish.
Pairing: So well with osso bucco, it loves rich foods, and was my favorite pairing of all. Surprisingly, it did not like the pate as well as we thought it would. This wine was incredibly fantastic with the rich mushroom base of the coquille St. Jaques. It is a WOW moment. The wine was wonderful with the lamb stew. It loves the stewed root vegetables and the bone broth.
If you are preparing a rich stew or braised meat dish, and you want both a white and a red wine, these wines are a great option.
Join the French #Winophiles for our discussion on Saturday at 8am Pacific! Here’s a taste of what we’ll be talking about. Please join us this month as the French #Winophiles learn what biodynamic wine has to offer.
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla whips up “Learning about Biodynamic Wines + M.Chapoutier Wines with Some Cross-Cultural Pairings.”
- Jill from L’OCCASION shares “Lessons From A Biodynamic Winemaker In France”
- Wendy at A Day In The Life On The Farm reminds us about “Eating and Drinking Responsibly”
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen tells us how “French Biodynamic Wines get Crabby.”
- Jeff from foodwineclick discusses “Our Biodynamic French Friends”
- Kat from Bacchus Travel & Tours tells us how “The #Winophiles Unlock the Mystery of Biodynamic Wines”
- Jane cooks things up at Always Ravenous and shares “Why You Should Give Biodynamic Wines a Taste.”
- Nicole from Somms Table shares “Somm’s Table: Cooking to the Wine: Marcel Lapierre Morgon with a Hearty White Bean Stew”
- Lynn from Savor the Harvest shares “ Biodynamic Bordeaux- Nobody’s Perfect But The Wine Is Fabulous.”
- Susannah from Avinaire joins us with “Biodynamic Wines Crémant D’Alsace“
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles entices us with “Fabulous French Biodynamic Wines and some exquisite pairings”
- Host Gwendolyn on Wine Predator presents “Navarin French Lamb Stew with Organic, Biodynamic M. Chapoutier “Les Meysonniers” and “Still and Sparkling: 2 Biodynamic Wines from Alsace #Winophiles”
Join us the Third Saturday of the month for our twitter chats and check out our blog posts! On February 16, 2019, Wendy Klik of A Day In The Life On The Farm hosts our exploration of Provence and encourages us to seek wines beyond the pink — even i it’s just after Valentine’s Day.
For the rest of the year, we plan the following:
- March 16, 2019: Women of Champagne | Host: Julia Coney, Julia Coney
- April 20, 2019: Chablis | Host: Liz Barrett, What’s In That Bottle?
- May 18, 2019: Gérard Betrand Wines Languedoc- Roussillion | Host: L.M. Archer, L.M. Archer
- June 15, 2019: French Cheese & Wine | Host: Martin Redmond, ENOFYLZ Wine Blog
- July 20, 2019: Loire Reds
- August 17, 2019: French Basque Country (or Jurançon) | Host: Lynn Gowdy, Savor the Harvest
- September 21, 2019: Corsica | Payal Vora, Keep the Peas
- October 19, 2019: Cahors | Host: Nicole Ruiz Hudson, Somm’s Table
- November 16, 2019: Rasteau with Thanksgiving| Host: Michelle Williams, Rockin Red Blog
- December 21, 2019: Vouvray | Host: Jeff Burrows, FoodWineClick