This all started after we saw the great new film by Julie Deply, 2 days in New York, with Chris Rock, and while the film is not French, Julie and her fictional family were quintessentially so and got us craving something French.
I had a bottle of Rhone Valley wine handy so with a quick trip to Whole Foods we were on our way.
Found some nice Pâté Rustique from Les Trois Petis Cochons, and two creamy rich French cheeses and a good crusty baguette at Whole Foods. We combined that with some very good French mustard and pickles we had in the fridge, who could ask for more.
What made the dinner spectacular, however, was this bottle of Chateauneuf du Pape by Domaine des Senechaux of the southern Rhône Valley in Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur a great producer by any measure.
Chateauneuf du Pape is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) in the southern Rhône wine region. It is different then most Rhone AOCs in that many more grape varieties are allowed leading to more concistent and interesting wines. They are usually mostly Grenache but also include include Cinsault, Counoise, Mourvèdre, Muscardin, Syrah, Terret Noir, and Vaccarèse.
The name comes from history and translates to "The Pope's new castle" as in 1308, Pope Clement V, former Archbishop of Bordeaux, took residence in the area which started a new wine making tradition.
93 Points Wine Spectator says "This is powerfully rendered, with a still taut and compact yet racy core of linzer torte, black licorice snap, fig sauce and cassis notes that all drive through the long finish, where hints of juniper, roasted alder wood and smoldering tobacco lurk."
We found the wine to be very lovely, dense and fruity. It paired nicely with the pate and cheese and sharp tang of the mustard.
Find it at Wine Chateau Domaine des Senechaux Chateauneuf du Pape
The film was really great.