It’s Loveuary! Romance from France: Fun Fondue, EZ Coq a Vin with Biodynamic Alsace and Saint Cosme Rhone Wines #Winophiles

france for romance

Did you know that February is Loveuary? Yes, according to Hallmark, but between Galentine’s and Valentine’s, President’s Day, Super Bowl, and the Lunar New Year, we’re here for all the ways to warm up the winter with fun times, romance, fine wine and dining! Especially if it means celebrating February with romance from France as suggested by Winophiles host Wendy Klik!  For Loveuary 2022, we have a cheese fondue with crusty bread and veggies paired with two wines from Alsace and the easiest but still fancy coq a vin paired with two Rhone wines, and, for the grand finale, strawberries and banana dipped in gooey organic dark chocolate melted with cream. And no I am not going to saying anything more about “coq a vin” which simply translates to “cock in wine.” But yeah– the menu is all about… that! 

choc fondue and French wine

Menu

  • Swiss Cheese Fondue “kit”
  • Asparagus, Broccoli, French Bread, Yukon Gold Potatoes for dipping
  • Instant Pot Coq a Vin with Yukon Gold Mashed Potatoes
  • Organic Chocolate Chips melted with heavy cream (can also use dessert wine or liqueur)
  • Strawberries, Bananas, nuts and crackle for dipping 

Rhone wines with coq a vin

Wines

fondue with wines from Alsace

The ROMANCE of ALSACE

Located in the far northeastern part of French, Alsace is known for pretty, romantic villages full of gingerbread and mountain views. It’s also one of the top three greenest wine-producing areas in France with over one-third of all vineyards certified organic or in conversion, and increasing yearly.  In terms of biodynamic producers, in 2019 Alsace producers became the number two for certification in France with 4.5% certified; the first vineyards were certified in 1969 giving them pioneering status. The climate in Alsace favors green practices: the Vosges Mountains to the west help protect the vineyards. Read more about Alsace in “Alsace Outdoors: Four Winemakers Share their Favorite Places to Ski, Hike and More.” 

 2017 Domaine Albert Mann Riesling Alsace

SRP $33
ABV 12.5%
Importer: Weygandt – Metzler
sample for my review

While the bottle has no indication, Albert Mann is an organically-run and biodynamic practicing domaine. Operated since 1984 by Jacky and Maurice Barthelmé (Maurice is married to Marie-Claire, granddaughter of the late Albert Mann), they work carefully with the local ecology, prune hard with low yields, and avoid chemicals in the vineyards. This particular Riesling comes from vineyards situated near the domaine in Wettolsheim.

Color: Golden, daffodil.

Aroma: Petrol, Herbs, fennel, fennel pollen, meadow flowers, chamomile, very intriguing. 

Palate: Simple on the palate compared to the complexity of the nose; bright, fresh, acidic, stone finish, dry, glycerol, salivating tartness yet easy to drink.

Pairing: Easy wine to enjoy for a picnic, especially with the screw top. The asparagus and fondue becomes so sweet with the wine, while the wine remains acidic and tart. While the broccoli and fondue was fine, the starch of the potatoes is perfect with the herbs present in the wine elevating both of them so well. Great with the bread and fondue also.  The strawberry dipped in the chocolate fondue was excellent with the riesling so we decided to try the banana in the chocolate fondue and were so pleasantly surprised at how well everything worked together. Maybe because it was a high quality organic dark chocolate but the banana kept bringing us back to try another. 

 

2019 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Alsace Pinot Gris

SRP $35
ABV 13.5%
Importer: Kobrand
100% Pinot Gris
sample for my review

While there is so much we love about this wine, how about vineyard Organic certification since 1998? That’s right: no synthetic chemicals in the vineyard. Further, Olivier Humbrecht M.W., the General Manager and Owner, sees the benefits of biodynamic farming so he uses low impact farming, organic composting, restricted yields, hand-tending of the vines, and native yeasts earning biodynamic certification in 2002 (BIODYVIN/ ECOCERT); the Biodyvin certification is small but on the back label where it also says “WINE MADE WITH GRAPES FROM BIODYNAMIC AGRICULTURE.” The family has been growing grapes since the 17th century and the Domaine Zind-Humbrecht returned to useing animals to work the land instead of machinery, to avoid compacting the soil. That’s a lot of love! 

Winemaker Jolene Hunter joined the Zind-Humbrecht team twelve years ago, starting as an intern during the 2010 growing season and for her thesis compared the soil water potentials across biodynamic, organic and conventional viticulture. After graduation with her Masters degree, Jolene worked in the cellar and vineyards to better understand biodynamics and gain experience in minimum intervention winemaking. PS If you’re looking for women in wine to celebrate in March, look no further!   The Pinot Gris grapes had an extended pressing cycles, abbreviated clarification cycles to retain natural yeasts and proteins in the must, natural malolactic fermentation, and extended aging on the lees. The wine fermented bone dry, then aged eight months in 40-year-old (neutral) French barrels.

Color: Golden daffodil.

Aroma: Petrol, honey, bee pollen, honeysuckle, sweet nose.

Palate: Dry, floral, honeysuckle, interestingly sweet without being sweet, nice even acidity, honey, mead, lemon, with a kiwi finish. 

Pairing: Great with the fondue; the wine loves the nutty quality of the cheese. Very nice with the asparagus, even better with the bread dipped into fondue. A tartness to the cheese brings out sweetness to the wine. I loved the potato with the fondue; it was actually my favorite. The acidity and minerality of the wine cuts through the rich creamy cheese. Asparagus and fondue brings out an herbal quality in the wine. 

The ROMANCE of RHONE  

Warm days, exciting cuisine, rolling down the Rhone River, day trips to the sea…

NV SAINT COSME Little James’ Basket Press Rouge NV

SRP $16
ABV 14.5%
Importer: Winebow
100% Grenache 
sample for my review

A leading estate of Gigondas, Château de Saint Cosme produces benchmark wines. The Little James’ Basket Press, however, is atypical, using a solera style that blends vintages starting with 1999 to create an ideal wine to introduce Southern Rhone Grenache’s vibrancy. Winery owner Louis Barruol’s son James is featured on the label welcoming visitors.

Color: Very dark and dense, garnet, plum, bright mauve rim

Aroma: Plum pie, baking spice, cherry tobacco, carnation, spicy red roses, muddy earth, 

Palate: Bright tart fruit, bold acidity, cherry, cranberry, pomegranate, clay, well rounded tannins, great budget wine, introductory Rhone wine, speaks to the pleasures of Grenache. 

Pairing: This very light bright wine pairs nicely with this bright light dish. They both elevate each other. The earthy skins on the potatoes as well as the chicken in the dish are perfect companions for this wine. The bright fruit in the wine compliment the earthen meal. The tart fruit contrasts and elevates the meal. I would like to try this wine with salmon. Neither Sue or myself care for chocolate and red wine, but the fondue and strawberry was a game changer. Because the chocolate was bittersweet, and not milk chocolate it worked so perfectly. The chocolate alone does not really work with the wine, but the chocolate and tart sweet strawberry really does. 

2018 Saint Cosme CHÂTEAU DE ROUANNE Vinsobres

SRP $30
ABV 14.5%
Importer: Winebow
sample for my review

Louis Barruol, owner and winemaker of Château de Saint Cosme, purchased Château de Rouanne in May of 2019 when he saw a lot of potential in the property and found that it reminded him of Saint Cosme. Located in the northern part of the southern Rhône, this historic estate with a 12th century medieval castle lies on the site of an ancient Gallo-Roman villa (just like Saint Cosme). Surrounding the vineyard is a large forest that sits atop the slope and regulates the temperatures, making Rouanne a particularly cool micro-climate. This Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre blend has a distinctive freshness and saltiness, with notes of raspberry, violet, peony, black pepper and gingerbread.

Color: Super dark and dense, blackberry, with a lovely fushia rim

Aroma: Earthen and herbaceous, nice depth, different layers, forest floor, violets and iris, leaf litter, pretty perfume, potpourri, carnation, dried rose petals, herbs de Provence. Tart plum and bramble fruit crabapple.  Very lovely complex nose. 

Palate: Big and bold, heavy tannins, plum rhubarb, cranberry, mushroom, plum fruit roll up, interesting tannins, talk, chalky tannins.

Pairing: French food, French wine, Divine! The earthy mushrooms and potatoes pair perfectly with this earthen wine, the thyme and the bay in the dish are enhanced, also present is the richness of the bacon which is tamed by the big bold wine. We were not going to go here for dessert, because as we stated, we don’t always like chocolate and red wine even though it seems to be a thing for some. However, it worked nicely for me while Sue preferred them with the Grenache. 

For more Romance from France, check out these blogs where love is in the air!

  • Susannah of Avvinare is “Falling In Love All Over Again, With Champagne”.
  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Finding the right wine for Romance…we chose a trip to the Loire”. 
  • Camilla of Culinary Adventures with Camilla is “Keeping It Spicy: Blackened Salmon + Domaine Lafage Cuvee Nicolas 2018”.  
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm says “Love is in the Air and We are Spicing Things Up with a Cahors Wine paired with an American Steak”.
  • Cathie of Side Hustle Wino tells us “Love is on the Table”.
  • Terri of Our Good Life  sings “Wild Thing, I Think I Love Le Pont Bandol and Wild Caught Orange Roughy” 
  • Nicole of Somm’s Table shares “A Girls’ Weekend, Grilled Branzino, and a Mag of Palmer & Co. Champagne “
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator dishes up a twofer with “It’s Loveuary! Romance from France: Fun Fondue, Coq a Vin” and “Clink sustainably: Create climate conscious conversations with Bordeaux Wines and Stemple Creek Ranch Beef “

You’re invited to join our Romance is in the Air February 2022 #winophiles Twitter Discussion! Here’s what we will be discussing when: 

11:00 a.m. EST  Welcome to the #Winophiles chat on Romance and French Wine. Introduce yourself, and where you are tweeting from. Share a link to your blog if applicable #Winophiles. 

11:05 a.m. EST Q1 France is a country known for Romance and February is a month dedicated to Love.  What bottle did you open that speaks of Romance and Love to you?  #Winophiles

11:10 a.m. EST Q2 Do you think French wines are more romantic than those made in other countries?  If so, do you think this is due mostly to marketing?  #Winophiles 

11:15 a.m. EST Q3 Please talk a bit about the wine you chose for today’s event.  What made you choose that particular wine? #Winophiles 

 11:20 a.m. EST Q4 Did you pair your wine with a romantic dinner? What did you choose to serve?  Was the pairing all that you hoped it would be?  Share photos and links with us. #Winophiles  

 11:25 a.m. EST Q5 I have not had an opportunity to visit France but my sister did and reports it to be the most romantic place she has ever been.  Have you visited? What was your impression?   #Winophiles 

11:30 a.m. EST Q6 Do you have a certain wine that you always open for special occasions? Did you stick with that wine for this month’s event or try something new?  #Winophiles  

11:35 a.m. EST Q7 In addition to Valentine’s Day we also celebrate other cultures during the month with the Lunar New Year and Black History Month.  Did those holidays have any influence on the wine you chose?  #Winophiles  

11:40 a.m. EST Q8  Did you choose a wine known for its romantic qualities, perhaps a Champagne or Bordeaux or does something more obscure speak of romance to you?  #Winophiles 

11:45 a.m. EST Q9  Shout out to the  #Winophiles who joined in chat today @Vignetocomm, @crushedgrapechronicles, @culinary_cam, @SideHustleWino, @tsteffes, @sommstable, and @ArtPredator.  Thanks for joining in the fun.

11:50 a.m. EST Q10  #Winophiles any final thoughts about your Romantic interlude? Do tell!  

11:55 a.m. EST Next month (March 2022) #Winophiles will celebrate Women’s History Month with @ArtPredator as she invites us to Toast France’s Women in Wine.  https://winepredator.com/2022/02/14/a-toast-to-frances-women-in-wine-an-invitation-for-winophiles-on-valentinesday-for-whm/

12:00 p.m. EST Thanks for joining the #Winophiles chat discussing Romance and French Wines.  See you next month….same time, same place.

Love to travel? 

Please take this survey to help me decide which travel tours (domestic and abroad, wine, writing, walking, yoga, or other topics) might interest YOU and others! Thank you!
 https://trovatrip.com/surveys?entry.292094233=art_predator

 

What’s up in 2022 for the French Winophiles? 

January: Provence with the Experts | Hosted by Jill Barth and Susan Manfull 
Post:
A Different Perspective from Provençe: Chateau Vignelaure Coteaux D’Aix Rosé #Winophiles

February: Romance is in the Air/ Hosted by Wendy Klikwhat wine means romance to you? Do bubbles tickle your fancy? Or perhaps a strong Bordeaux with a steak shows your love.  Maybe something from the Sea with a crisp, bright white.  

March:  A Toast to France’s Women in Wine for Women’s History Month  (invite) 

April 16:  Joyeuses Pâques! Hosted by Camilla Mann –  It’s the day before Easter. Let’s share Spring recipes, French Easter traditions, and whatever wine you would pair with those dishes. No required region or variety. Be creative. 

May: Southwest France – Hosted by Linda Whipple – A wide open field that includes Bergerac, Cahors, Gaillac, Irouléguy, Jurançon, and Madiran, among others. If you’ve already written about one of these regions, why not choose another?

June: Crémant d’Alsace | Hosted by Jill Barth 

July:  Summer of Sancerre or Sauvignon Blanc around the World | Hosted by Deanna Kang 

August: Languedoc (organic if possible) | Hosted by Jeff Burrows

September: TBA 

October: TBA

November: Affordable Bourgogne | Hosted by Cindy Rynning

December: Champagne | Hosted by Jeff Burrows

6 thoughts on “It’s Loveuary! Romance from France: Fun Fondue, EZ Coq a Vin with Biodynamic Alsace and Saint Cosme Rhone Wines #Winophiles

Please Comment! I'd love to hear from you!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s