Fabulous Food Sunny Wines and Jazzy Music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Mediterranean Mingle food and wine

Mediterranean Mingle food and wine

The Languedoc-Roussillon in the south of France is known for it’s sunny climate, seafood and relaxed lifestyle.  The Mediterranean Mingle let us all relax a bit after many days of wine tasting during the Vancouver International Wine Festival.  For lunch we had a wide array of hot and cold appetizers, along with desserts:

  • Fresh Asparagus Salad, Tarragon Mimosa Foam
  • Grilled Zucchini, Roasted Pepper, Chevre, and Pine Nuts
  • Tapenade Croque-Monsieur
  • Tourte a la Brandade
  • Mediterranean Mussel Brasucade au Noilly Prat
  • Saucisse de Toulouse, White Bean Stew
  • Aigo-Boulido “Sip” Poached Quail Egg
  • Ratatouille Languedocienne, Rosemary Bread
  • Beef Boules de Picolat, Picholine Olives and Cepes
  • Butternut Squash Ravioli, Duck Confit, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame
  • Roasted Cod on Fennel, Yellow Potatoes, Black Olives
  • Lemon Almond Creme Catalane
  • Walnut Orange Cake, Yoghurt Wildflower Honey “Pot de Creme”
  • Wedge of Canadian Oka Cheese, Fig and Olive Crisps

To pair up with these dishes we had wines from 11 different wineries:

  • Domaine Paul Mas
  • Gerard Bertrand
  • M. Chapoutier – Domaine Bila Haut
  • Sieur d’Arques
  • Chateau d’Angles
  • Chateau de Jau
  • Francois Lurton – Mas Janeil
  • Francois Lurton
  • Abbaye Sylva Plana
  • Les Vignobles de Constance & du Terrassous
  • Domaine de Babio

One thing I enjoyed about this event was the booklet provided to us contained a page for each wine and the suggested food pairing.  So for example, you may sample a Cremant from Domaine Paul Mas, and try to pairings of Fresh Asparagus Salad or the Tourte a la Brandade.

For sparkling wines, I thought the Gerard Bretrand Cremant de Limoux 2011 was a fun wine to drink.   Dry, high acidity, citrus flavour with small, creamy bubble.  This bubble paired nicely with the Fresh Asparagus Salad.

Domaine Bila Haut Les Vignes de Bila Haut White 2012

Domaine Bila Haut Les Vignes de Bila Haut White 2012

A couple of white wines that I enjoyed:

  • M. Chapoutier – Domaine Bila Haut, Les Vignes de Bila Haut, White, 2012. This is a blend of of Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris, and Macabeu.  Medium stone fruit nose.  Round with bright acidity.  Ripe melon and citrus, with a hint of sweet spice and some minerality.  Overall I would say that this wine would be very versatile when pairing with different dishes. (Pair with the Tourte a la Brandade.)
  • Chateau d’Angles, Languedoc La Clape, Grand Vin, White, 2009. Another blend; this time of Bourboulenc (40%), Grenache (20%), Roussanne (20%), and Marsanne (20%).  Sea salt, and ripe tropical fruit nose.  Medium plus body, medium mouth feel.  Soft and round, and very flavourful.  Ripe tropical fruit with a bit of spice on the finish. (Pair with the Roasted Cod on Fennel, Yellow Potatoes, Black Olives.)

A few red wines that caught my attention:

  • Francois Lurton, Fitou, Chateau des Erles, Red, 2004. This blend consists of Carignan, Grenache and Syrah.  Ripe purple fruit and vanilla aromas.  Violet flowers followed by ripe dark fruit and candied cherries.  Full body and dry on the palate. (Pair with the Beef Boules de Picolat, Picholine Olives and Cepes.)
  • Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l’Abbe, Red, 2011. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Cinsaut or Carignan (I’m not sure for this vintage) make this red blend.  Nice aromas of ripe raspberries, cassis, and dark fruit.  Full body, round with medium tannins and acidity.  Nutmeg, minerality and dark cherry flavours.  Very much a New World, fruit forward style wine. (Pair with the Butternut Squash Ravioli, Duck Confit, Wild Mushrooms, Edamame.)
Les Vignobles de Constance du Terrassous Rivesaltes Ambre Terrassous heritage 1974

Les Vignobles de Constance du Terrassous Rivesaltes Ambre Terrassous heritage 1974

And of course for dessert, I enjoyed:

  • Chateau de Jau, Muscat de Rivesaltes, 2011. Orangy nose, big legs.  Medium minus body, and medium acidity.  Orange, leads to apples and sweet spice on the palate, together with a hint of pine needles, and ends with stone fruit. (Pair with the Lemon Almond Creme Catalane.)
  • Les Vignobles de Constance & du Terrassous, Rivesaltes Ambre, Terrassous heritage 1974.  As the name connotes, it is amber colour in the glass. Nice butterscotch and orange aromas in the glass.  Full body, round with higher acidity that clears up the palate.  Marmalade, nuttiness, honey and butterscotch flavours.  Long length. (Pair with the Walnut Orange Cake, Yoghurt Wildflower Honey “Pot de Creme”.)

Enjoy the pictures below of the event and think about trying the wines of the Languedoc-Roussillon.  There was also a live jazz band playing fantastic music, but I did not get their name.  You can hear and see a snippet of this band if you check my VINE video.

Live music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Live music at the Mediterranean Mingle

Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l'Abbe, Red, 2011

Abbaye Sylva Plana, Faugeres, Le Songe de l’Abbe, Red, 2011

Saucisse de Toulouse with White Bean Stew

Saucisse de Toulouse with White Bean Stew

Chateau des Erles Fitou 2004

Chateau des Erles Fitou 2004

Lemon Almond Creme Catalane

Lemon Almond Creme Catalane

An abbreviated list of wines for the holidays

Isn’t technology lovely? Sometimes you spend a long time writing a long blog about wines for the holidays and it doesn’t get saved! Well that just happened to me, so please enjoy this very short version of my wine recommendations.

Wines to take to a host/hostess. Try a wine they would not normally buy but would enjoy. Try a champagne (from France. Try Bollinger, Lanson, Krug, or Taittinger), or a sparkling wine (e.g. a cremant from France, a prosecco from Italy, Cava from Spain, or a New World sparkling, such as Gloria Ferrer from Napa Valley, or Lindauer from New Zealand).

An ice wine could also be a nice gift. Riesling ice wines are the best in my opinion as the high acidity of this grape complements the sweetness from the grape. Mission Hill and Quails Gate in the BC Okanagan have nice ice wines.

With dinner, assuming you have a turkey feast, try a lightly oaked chardonnay, or a lighter bodied pinot noir. On the chardonnay side try a wine from Deloach in California, Mission Hill Reserve from the Okanagan, or Evans and Tate from Australia. For a pinot noir, try Quails Gate or Mission Hill from the Okanagan, or Villa Maria or Kim Crawford from New Zealand.

People also like fortified / dessert wines. Buller makes a nice Muscat (Australia). You may try a port from Portugal, such as from Quinta do Portal. A full bodied Oloroso Sherry from Spain from Gonzalez Byass.

Enjoy the wines and enjoy the holidays!