‘E’ Wine Of The Week
by Bruce Cochran
This week we’ll look at a fine red wine for foods, from Mediterranean menus to barbecue. I still hear comments about past barbecue wine dinners at Whole Hog Cafe, and questions about doing it again. If we do, this wine will probably be included.
If you’re in Little Rock, my next Little Rock Dine Around Series dinner, will be at Trio’s on March 10. Purchase your seats online at brucecochran.com.
The wine list includes a winery new to our area, Wildhurst Vineyards of Lake County, just north of Napa.
This month’s Wine 102 topic is an overview of Santa Barbara County wine regions, some of the best wines around, yet an area relatively new to many wine lovers. Wine 102 is distributed free via the countertops of wine retailers around the state. Go to brucecochran.com to find out where.
Try a new wine this week!
Le Drunk Rooster
Some of the best “food wines” I’ve enjoyed over the years have been made from the Grenache grape. Its combination of deep red/purple color, rich fruit flavors of strawberry and cherry, and smooth finish make it a great match for smoked meats, Mediterranean menus or grilled chicken.
To many of us, smoked meats means barbecue. This may sound unfriendly to wine, and can be, unless you serve it without the sauce. Then, it’s simply smoked meat, cooked “low and slow” until flavorful and tender. And that’s very wine friendly. If you do serve it sauced, it usually works best if the sauce doesn’t have much vinegar flavor.
Some think of rose when they think of Grenache, and there’s a long history of great pink wines made at least in part from this grape. Like most of the grape varieties we know from California, it came originally from France, in this case the south. Some of France’s best rose is made, at least in part, from Grenache and often blended with Syrah. Today, you can say the same thing about the increasingly popular roses from California. You’ll see a lot of them later in the year as the weather warms.
Le Drunk Rooster is a colorful, if not very dignified, name for a win. The French would disagree, as the rooster is their state bird, but this wine comes from a place where wine is so intertwined with life that it’s taken very casually. In countries where wine is enjoyed daily with meals, including lunch, it’s the simple, good wines that are seen most in restaurants. The great, powerful, expensive wines are more for special occasions.
And Le Drunk Rooster could easily be the house wine at Chez Cochran, a place where wine can be enjoyed at lunch. With simple, pure fruit relatively unencumbered by heavy doses of oak and tannin, Le Drunk Rooster still has a good deep color and plenty of food friendly, berry-like flavors, and all at the very good price of around $12.99. This is the type of wine I remember when I return from a trip to Europe and look for when I go back.