Thanksgiving next week will find me with family and friends. I only need to bring a side dish, so I am hoping I will find a bit of time to relax that day. The Wine House’s 38th Anniversary Sale has had us buzzing around here and my daughter’s foray into musical theatre has been rather demanding with dress and tech rehearsals all week. Not to mention, I made a huge tactical error when I dropped off my daughter’s costume at rehearsal, only to be talked into staying to “help” with make-up. I am now the expert on doing make-up for Cinderella’s mice. Honestly, I love it. Those darling faces are so perfect, how could my ineptness at face-painting ruin their beauty! Wishing you all a bountiful and meaningful Thanksgiving.– Anya Balistreri
On my first trip to France with The Wine House, we visited Mas de Guiot. The winery is located in Saint Gilles, a village south of Nîmes, near the edge of the Camargue. The Camargue is a beautiful geographical region; a river delta where the two arms of the Rhône River meet the Mediterranean Sea. At the “mas” or farmhouse, I spied a rabbit tied up by its feet near the cellar door. After barrel-tasting, we were invited to ride through a pasture on a flatbed truck to view Les Taureaux de Camargue, the famed bulls of the region. At first it seemed a bit silly to me, but quickly it turned out to be a delightful outing into the gorgeous pastoral setting. Not your average tourist excursion. The whole experience left me with a deeper appreciation for how closely connected François and Sylvie Cornut, owners of Mas de Guiot, are to their land. This country living isn’t a lifestyle, it is their life.
I have always found wines from Mas de Guiot to exhibit a pleasant amount of funk. Yes, funk – the good kind, George Clinton-style- like in the 2013 Grenache-Syrah. The dense dark berry flavors snap with a black licorice note that gives it that unmistakable southern Rhône quality. The soil at Mas de Guiot closely resembles what you find in more prestigious Rhône regions like Chateauneuf du Pape, where smooth rocks, les galets roulés, dapple the ground like some sort of moonscape. The age of the vines range from 10-50 years old. The Cornuts pick late, partially de-stem the fruit and cold macerate the grapes for 24-48 hours before putting the wine in tank to finish fermentation.
A 40/60 blend of Grenache to Syrah, the wine is a vivid dark violet in the glass and has an alluring ripe fruit quality. Elevated French country wine? It has enough interest, a touch of rusticity, and rich fruit to make it enjoyable to linger over while you prepare dinner and it will also nicely carry over to the table. The 2013 Grenache-Syrah has a sale price of $8.95, but the deal gets even sweeter on a full case purchase of $99.
The intensity of this time of year has ratcheted up and to help combat all the busyness, I have gravitated towards classic comfort foods for dinner. Things like chicken enchilada casserole and pot roast with mashed potatoes have been on the menu at chez moi. Meals like these do not need sophisticated, complicated wine. What works is something simple, but impeccably made, like the 2013 Grenache-Syrah from Mas de Guiot.