A meal to capture the flavors of Provence
I’ve been saving a really nice bottle of red for almost a year from les Baux-de-Provence. It is a 2008 Equinoxe by Domaine de Lauzières. I tasted this wine at Spring Restaurant in Paris in January 2014 and really loved it.
Provence is most famous for its rosés. In fact, if I’m drinking a rosé, with a few exceptions, I always opt for a bottle from Provence. Besides rosés, Provence produces exceptional reds in Bandol, which are the perfect accompaniment to hearty, rustic meat dishes (I have two great red Bandols that I will feature in the future here). Les Baux-de-Provence is within the larger Coteaux d’Aix en Provence appellation and it was given AOC status in 1995.
The Equinoxe is made with three grapes: Grenache, Cinsault, and Carignan. It has a beautiful ruby red color, as you can see on the edges of the glass in the picture (though this picture definitely does not do the wine justice). The nose is definitely red and black fruits (on the stewed side), there is also some spice as well as some savage/animal notes. It feels fleshy yet round in the mouth, with smooth tannins. This is a well-balanced wine.
The animal aromas definitely call for a lamb dish. Lamb also loves fruity garnishes so the fruity qualities of this wine will complement the lamb well. I also wanted to highlight the Provence origins of this wine in the dish by including local flavors, such as rosemary, thyme, olive oil, and garlic.
I came up with the perfect lamb dish to go with this wine: pan-grilled lamb chops dressed with herb and garlic infused olive oil.
In a bowl, I mixed olive oil with the herbs and the garlic. This will be the finishing oil for the lamb chops when they are done cooking.
I then seasoned the lamb chops with salt and pepper and grilled them in my iron skillet – just a couple of minutes on each side. As soon as they came out of the skillet, I spooned the olive oil mixture and sprinkled some chopped herbs. I let the lamb chops rest with this dressing for a few minutes before serving.
I am serving the lamb chops with a green salad. In order to highlight the Mediterranean flavors of this dish, I sprinkled some feta cheese (that I brought back from my last trip to Turkey) on the salad. I also roasted some cherry tomatoes in the oven for just a few minutes. I absolutely love roasted cherry tomatoes and I think they will go really well with the lamb.
Here’s the finished dish 🙂
When I sat down to dinner, I was almost shocked as to how amazingly delicious this dish is! It is also so fast and easy to prepare. I think this will make a repeated appearance in future dinners. In terms of the pairing, just as I expected, the wine and the lamb complemented each other really well in terms of aromas and flavors. In addition, this wine is not very complex and I wanted to keep the food free of complex sauces and flavors as well, so neither would overpower the other. In that respect, the meal and the wine were perfectly balanced. Also, the tannins of the wine were a great match to the lamb. Because, lamb has a more delicate texture than beef so you want softer tannins. In the case of the Equinoxe, the tannins are quite smooth and they went perfectly well with the texture of the lamb.