Saturday, November 16, 2019

One Rabbit, Two Turkey Drumsticks, and Four Rasteau Wines #Winophiles

Rasteau wines are totally new to me. Where in France do these wines come from? How do they taste? Are they red, white, rose or orange?? Liz of What’s in That Bottle? invited the #Winophiles bloggers to celebrate Thanksgiving with Rasteau wines. What’s even better is Michelle of Rockin Red Blog was able to coordinate the Rasteau samples via Teuwen Communications. With a Thanksgiving invitation and new wines to be explored, let’s see what I cook for Thanksgiving - Chinese-style. Maybe One Rabbit, Two Turkey Drumsticks and wow - Four Rasteau Wines!
Rasteau is an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée in the southern Rhône wine region of France, located in the Haut-Vaucluse, 21 miles from Avignon and 12.5 miles from Orange, covering both fortified and unfortified wines. The production of fortified wine was introduced in 1934. The Rasteau AOC for VDN wines was created in 1944. Dry red wines from the same area historically had to be sold under the Côtes du Rhône Villages designation. In 2002, the Rasteau winegrower's syndicate requested that Rasteau should become its own appellation, and they were finally approved by INAO in 2010, effective from the 2009 vintage. The Rasteau AOC produces around 96% dry reds and 4% Vin Doux Naturals (fortified red), Rosé or White. The main grape varieties for unfortified wines from Rasteau are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Picpoul, Terret noir, Counoise, Muscardin, Vaccarese, Picardan, Cinsault, Clairette, Roussanne, and Bourboulenc. 
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The soils of Rasteau are relatively diverse, although the proportion of clay which gives the reds their distinctive body and richness is higher. The terroir contains clay and limestone soils, skeletal soils on marl, and Safres (a special type of sandy red soil atop sandstone). Situated at the ancient alluvial terraces, this terroir mainly faces towards the south and the sun, at 656 feet of altitude, looking out to the Dentelles de Montmirail mountain range, but is tempered by the cool Mistral winds.

A Rasteau AOC red must have a blend of 50% Grenache minimum and 20% of Syrah and Mourvèdre combined. Each of these grapes plays a crucial role in giving these Rasteau reds a good rep for being structured, complex and balanced: 
  • Grenache Noir: finesse, adds body and roundness
  • Syrah: structure, acidity and aromatic complexity
  • Mourvèdre: structure, tannins and balance

🍷Four Rasteau Wines

🍷Château du Trignon 2015 – Let the family tradition shine!
SRP$25/Alcohol: 15%/Varieties: 60% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre
Château du Trignon started as a traditional farm, with mixed agriculture and livestock, in 1896 by the Roux family. Five generations slowly refocused the land to vineyards and sold to the Quiot family in 2007. The vineyards span several appellations, with 12 acres in Rasteau. 
How this wine taste?
  • Intense garnet with aromas of ripe blackberry and raspberry
  • Full-bodied with velvety tannins and vibrant acidity
  • Flavors of berries, garrigue, and sweet spices coat the mouth with a long finish of notes of spices and garrigue 
🍷Domaine La Font de Notre Dame Le Chêne 2016 – Brother duo who built a new brand for themselves
SRP$25/Alcohol: 14.5%/Varieties: 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah, 5% Cinsault
This old family estate is run by Frédéric and Boris Roux. The brothers worked under their father for 30 years before taking over the property and establishing La Font de Notre Dame in 2016. The duo cultivates just under 32 acres in Rasteau on south-facing slopes, with clay soils and an abundance of heat-retaining pebbles.
How this wine taste?
  • Expressive blackberry aromas with white pepper, cocoa, and toast 
  • Full-bodied and boasts concentrated notes of ripe fruit
  • Silky tannins stay on the palate through the long finish
🍷Domaine Mikael Boutin M.B. 2016 – Small but an Organic Mighty
SRP$20/Alcohol: 14.5%/Varieties: 60% Grenache, 10% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Carignan, 10% Cinsault
Mikael Boutin is a fifth-generation winemaker, who took over the family’s vineyards in 2008. Boutin’s first bottling was released in 2011. The modest production facility is roughly the size of a two-car garage, mainly holding a few large concrete tanks. Boutin has just under 5 acres of vines averaging 40 years of age, scattered across eight parcels of varying exposures and soils. The small holdings in Rasteau are farmed organically and have been certified since 2012.
How this wine taste?

  • Ripe black plum and cherry aromas on the nose
  • luscious fruit is contrasted by leather, balsamic and brambly, muddy earth
  • rich and framed by fine-grained tannins, with flavors of juicy raspberry, black pepper, and herbs de Provence
🍷Lavau 2015 – Sourced Grapes from family-run vineyards in the community 
SRP$20/Alcohol: 13.5%/Varieties: 50% Grenache, 50% Syrah
In the 1960s, Jean-Guy and Anne-Marie Lavau took over a small winmaking cellar in Sablet. Their sons, Frédéric and Benoît, joined the domaine in the 1990s. The duo took the reigns of the facility in 2000, investing heavily into modernization. Not only did they update the facility, Frédéric and Benoît built a new cellar in Voilès and invested in vineyards. Now fully equipped, Maison Lavau began to produce its own estate wines. While making wine from their 445 acres, Frédéric and Benoît still work with many small, family-run vineyards to be involved in the community.
How this wine taste?
  • Crisp blackberry and cherry flavors, contrasted with savory notes of smoke, garrigue, and mushroom
  • Full-bodied and plush
  • Firm tannins, balanced with lively acidity, leading to a chestnut finish

🐰One Rabbit

While a perfectly roasted turkey is the icon of an American Thanksgiving meal, the bird by no means is easy to cook, perfectly – overcooked white meat and/or undercooked dark meat are commonplace. In lieu of a turkey, the Chinese-style Thanksgiving meals sometimes improvise and opt for other meat dishes that are easier and gamier. What I cooked here is a rabbit mushroom stew that’s modified from the Eat Smarter recipe. It takes much less cooking time but guarantees a great result with tender rabbit meat that’s packed with lots of savory flavors! The common traits of these Rasteau wines – earthiness, smokiness, dark fruit, leather, full-body are an ideal match for the rabbit stew. Even though the rabbit is a bit gamey, the complex notes of the wine tame the taste a bit without overly masking it. You taste the rabbit and the wine, but even more, is the balanced flavor that a good pairing strikes.

🍗Two Turkey Drumsticks

When I go to the theme parks or state fairs, l always love to eat the gigantic turkey drumsticks. They are smoky, juicy and flavorful. Roasting turkey drumsticks by themselves are much easier as these dark meats are fool-proof. To speed up the cooking process, I first cooked the drumsticks in the instant pot at the meat setting for 30 mins, then roasted them in the oven to crisp up the skin.  Since I used dark soya sauce to marinate the drumsticks, they look extra brown after the roast and look truly like the ones you can buy in the state fairs. These Rasteau wines have the savory undertones that work really well with the soya sauce and fatty meat. It’s heavenly when you bite into the crispy skin of the drumsticks and sip these wines. 
Thanksgiving will be here in the US in two weeks. Think Rasteau wines for your meal as they may surprise you, especially your palate!

Disclaimer: wines are the sample. Ideas are mines.

Let see what other #winophiles say about the Rasteau wines: 
  • Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Cam Shares “A Birthday Tradition + Side-by-Side Sips of Domaine de Verquière Rasteau”
  • Cathie from Side Hustle Wino “Getting to Know the Wines of Rasteau”
  • David from Cooking Chat Food Writes About "Chicken Lentil Stew and Rhone Wine from Rasteau"
  • Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen tells us how to “Become a Rasteau—farian”
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator says “Go Grenache, Go Rasteau”
  • Jane from Always Ravenous Writes About “Flavors of Provence Paired with Rhône Rasteau Wines”
  • Jeff from Food Wine Click Explains “Rasteau and the Côtes du Rhône Quality Pyramid”
  • Kat from The Corkscrew Concierge Explain How She is “Expanding my Rhône Valley Palate with Rasteau Wine”
  • Linda from My Full Wine Glass Writes about “Basking in the Glow of Rasteau” #Winophiles
  • Liz from What’s in That Bottle Says, “You Like Big Reds? Get to Know Rasteau”
  • Lynn from Savor the Harvest writes about “Rhone Valley Rasteau Cru - A New Generation Wine With Duck Confit #winophiles”
  • Martin from Enofylz Writes About "Getting To Know Rasteau"
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table Shares “Five Nights of Rasteau”
  • Pinny from Chinese Food & Wine Pairings Writes About “One Rabbit, Two Turkey Drumsticks and Four Rasteau Wines”
  • Payal from Keep the Peas writes about “Rasteau: Not So Rustic in the Southern Rhone”
  • Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles writes about “Fall, Thanksgiving and the flavors of Rasteau”
  • Rupal from Syrah Queen writes, "Rasteau -  Exploring The Gems of Southern Rhone"
  • Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm Shares “A German-Style Shepherds Pie with a French Rasteau”


  1. You have me convinced that I need to get an Instapot. The turkey legs sound delicious! I'm curious as to your thoughts on the Domaine le Font de Notre Dame le Chêne. I found this wine lighter and more elegant and lean than the others, mostly from the grenache I would imagine. Did you find it paired differently than the others?

  2. I love your pairing suggestions for gamier meats, I can absolutely see that working with these wine. Everything looks delicious!

  3. There's that Instapot popping up again! All for making things easier/quicker. The turkey legs, especially marinated in dark soy first, sound delicious. The umami-like flavors... I can imagine these GSM+ blends working with both your dishes.

  4. I love rabbit, I only wish it were more popular at our house. It's on my "forbidden foods" list, and I jump at the chance to cook it when my wife, Julie, is out of town!

  5. Nice notes on the wines Pinny! I'm also loving what you did with the turkey drumsticks! I recently started using an Instant Pot. Will try this!