Welcoming summer, Provence style!
I can’t think of better wine to drink during summer than a rosé! One of my favorite rosé producing regions is Bandol in Provence. And my favorite rosé maker from Bandol is Domaine Tempier. I’m drinking a bottle of their rosé from 2014. While many rosés are meant to be enjoyed fairly soon after bottling, Bandol rosés can definitely stand the test of time. You can age them for years, if you can resist the urge to drink them. I’m actually aging a 2013 vintage of this rosé – we’ll see how long it will last in the wine fridge before I give in to temptation 😉
This Domaine Tempier is a fantastic rosé! Made with the Mourvèdre, Grenache, and Cinsault grapes – all hand picked. Owing mostly to the Mourvèdre, this rosé is robust in flavor yet still very smooth. This is also a fresh yet supple wine with a moderate level of acidity. Really, this is such a pleasure to drink!
And what a gorgeous color this wine is!
I will pair this wine with another one of my summer favorites: Niçoise salad. Bandol rosés actually go really well with canned tuna. More and more places are making Niçoise salads with seared tuna and if that’s the case, a dry rosé might still work but depending on the preparation technique of the tuna steak, a red might work better. For intance, I definitely prefer a pinot noir with a tuna steak if it is simply seared. However, if I add a pepper crust and grilled vegetables, I opt for a Cornas from the Rhone valley (the pepper in the dish mirrors the peppery flavors in the wine and the charred flavors of the vegetables are always a fantastic match with opulent wines like Cornas).
Here’s my version of the peppered tuna with grilled zucchini and carrots:
That I served with a Cornas made by Paul Jaboulet Aine from 2009. It was a fantastic pairing!
In this entry, I will focus on the Niçoise salad and I will stick to the classic recipe and use canned tuna. And with canned tuna, without a doubt, a Provence rosé is the best choice!
Since the tuna is the star of the dish, I’m splurging on a really nice one from Spain: yellowfin tuna in olive oil made by Agromar.
Besides the tuna, a Niçoise typically includes anchovies, olives, haricots verts, egg, potatoes, and tomatoes all piled on top of a bed of greens. There’s not a consensus as to how an original Niçoise salad was prepared back in the day. Some say it was just raw veggies (meaning potatoes are out and it’s uncooked haricots); others say it was either anchovies or tuna but not both. The classic Niçoise recipe I’m referring to the contemporary recipe as we see it now.
Here’s my version of a Niçoise:
I found some edible flowers at La Grande Epicérie last night and I really wanted to incorporate them into the salad (edible flowers are really hard, if not impossible, to find in Abu Dhabi). So colorful and pretty!
I also sprinkled one of my favorite spices on the eggs: piment d’Espelette, a mildly spicy but immensely flavorful chili pepper from the Basque region of France.
I think the Bandol and the Niçoise salad worked beautifully together! The wine goes especially well with all of the salty and briny elements on the plate. More specifically, the robustness of the wine holds up nicely to the strong flavors of the tuna, the anchovies, and the olives. At the same time the saltiness of these foods works really great with the acidity of the wine – acidic wines and salty foods are a heavenly match (think champagne and potato chips). Yet, this wine is light and fresh enough to go with the veggies and the greens. Normally wines are difficult to pair with salads and many vegetables but the Bandol rosé works well here. And finally the suppleness of the wine complements the olive oil component of the salad really well.
And if you’re in the mood for something more substantial than a salad, you can always go for a pan bannat – the sandwich version of the Niçoise.
Note: It’s been a fantastic first week in Paris! I’ve been eating some amazing food and drinking superb wines! Check out my Instagram page for daily updates on everything that I’m trying in Paris this summer! @thatperfectbottle