White Wine Club
White Wine - May
This month, we travel back to France, and to the Northern Rhône to sample wines from Les Vins de Vienne, a side project of three of the Rhône's best winemakers: Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard, and François Villard.
Your allocation is for one bottle each of Les Vins de Vienne St Peray 2008 Amphores d'Argent and Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu 2008 Amphores d'Argent.
Les Vins de Vienne was the name given to the wines of the Seyssuel region in the Roman times, which were reportedly well known and loved. It is also the name given to the négociant firm and a domaine recently set up by three leading winemakers from the Northern Rhône, Yves Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard and François Villard.
For the domaine, the team have resurrected a long-neglected vineyard area on the steep hills in the commune of Seyssuel, a little bit further north of the town of Vienne, in the far northern reaches of the Rhône Valley.
For the négociant business they have pooled their resources and genius to forge a new benchmark for négoçiant and domaine Rhône wines. From the smart aesthetics of the packaging through to the sheer class of the wines themselves, the operation has made a very big impression in a very short period of time.
With plantations of Syrah and Viognier they have created wines which resemble their famous progenitors in Condrieu and Côte Rôtie, yet with subtle, fascinating points of difference. They have now spread their wings to create a whole family of wines including this extraordinarily good Côtes du Rhône
Les Vins de Vienne St Peray is 100% Marsanne, done in an open, fruitier style from grapes raised sustainably. Look for a mix of apricot, tangerine zest and almond notes, backed by a slightly soft, buttered finish.
Les Vins de Vienne Condrieu is 100% Viognier, vinted in a fruitier style. 90 points, Wine Spectator: "Bright and fresh, with tangy green apple, lime, green melon and tarragon notes stretching through the tangerine-tinged finish. This has the crunchy acidity of the vintage, with ample length."
RECIPE: Farfalle Pasta with Golden Beets, Pine Nuts and Lemon Butter Serves 4
This recipe uses the entire beet, for a colorful, delicious and rich pasta supper.
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 4 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
- 2 large onions, quartered lengthwise through root end, sliced crosswise (about 4 cups)
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 bunches small golden beets with fresh healthy greens; beets peeled, each cut into 8 wedges, greens cut into 1-inch-wide strips
- 12 ounces farfalle pasta
- ⅓ cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
- Juice and zest of a lemon
- 3 tablespoons heavy cream
- 8 ounces cold unsalted butter, cut into cubes
- 3 tablespoons chopped parsley
Heat heavy large skillet over medium heat. Add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted, about 3 minutes. Transfer to small bowl. Add half the olive oil and all the onions to same skillet and sauté until the onions begin to soften and turn golden. Reduce heat to medium-low and continue to sauté until onions are tender and browned, about 30 minutes longer. Add garlic and stir for a few minutes. Scatter beet greens over onions. Drizzle remaining oil over; cover and cook until beet greens are tender, about 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, cook beets in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 10 minutes. Using slotted spoon, transfer beets to medium bowl. Return water to boil. Add pasta to beet cooking liquid and cook until tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid.
In a small heavy-bottom sauce pot set over medium low heat reduce the lemon juice and zest until almost dry. Add the heavy cream and reduce until thickened. Turn the heat down to very low, and whisk in the butter, a little at a time, until fully blended and smooth.
Return the pasta to pot. Stir the onion-greens mixture and beets into pasta. Season with salt and coarsely ground black pepper. Stir in the butter sauce and remove from the heat. Stir in the grated Parmesan cheese. Divide among 4 large dinner bowls. Sprinkle with the pine nuts and chopped parsley. Serve, passing additional cheese.