And that's about as specific as I could have been.
Squeezed between Côte-Rôtie and Saint-Joseph in the northern reaches of Northern Rhône, Condrieu and its surrounding AOCs represent a huge blind spot in my wine world. Heck, red Burgundy, much of Northern Italy and the Northern Rhône...you may as well be talking about carburetors and manifolds or something because I'm clueless. All of it shoots right over my head.
That will change in time. It's usually some unassuming bottle bought on a whim that cracks the code of a region/AOC/style, sending us scurrying to find out more.
This François Villard viognier might be one of those bottles.
Delicious, fairly unique stuff that if given blind, I'd have thought it was a white Burgundy in many ways from some Burgundy AOC I know nothing about.
Hate to get wine-sappy here but that's one of the great things about wine. There's always a new surprise. Always something you've never had. Always something you didn't know.
Food: B'stilla - Moroccan phyllo pie with arugula and pomegranate seeds
Modified from Around My French Table, a gift book that's getting some good mileage in this house.
From Mrs. Ney's description: "Take the meat from one whole roasted chicken. Make stock with its carcass. Simmer three pounds of onions with a cup of stock and chopped dried apricots, diced preserved lemon, garlic, honey, ras el hanout, and saffron. Add lots of cilantro and parsley, a big handful of toasted sliced almonds, and shred in the chicken meat. Wrap the huge goopy mass in phyllo and bake for an hour or so. Drink French viognier. Be happy you know about Moroccan food."
Big, goopy, delicious, chicken mess. Deep baseline flavor from the onions and the ras el hanout playing together with the preserved lemons offering a touch of acid perk-up. Looked like pot pie but never tasted like heavy, nap-inducing pot pie. Tasted like Moroccan comfort food. Halfway through, I was sad that at some point in the near future, there would be no more on my plate.
Arugula salad with pomegranate seeds to finish.
The wine rounded everything out quite nicely, thank you very much.
Wine: 2008 François Villard De Poncins Condrieu ($40 - Binny's)
Grape: 100% viognier
Vintage (WS): 86 - Drink or hold - Cool, gray season made ripening reds difficult. Some successes, but many lean, herb-inflected wines; whites are excellent, with ripe tropical fruit flavors and tangy acidity. A tough year, but better than '02
$40, down from $70, most likely due to the Wine Spectator review saying its drinking window ends this year. Another example of Wine Spectator saving us money by not revisiting initial reviews.
The wine's low-ish acid was probably the culprit for the idea behind its short window but we experienced nothing to suggest this is dying anytime soon. 2008 was a good year for whites in Northern Rhône according to vintage reports. This might be an example of a white able to arrest the breakdown of the integrity of its acid and stay in a wonderful place for years, something I'm trying to get a better understanding of lately.
Lively honey and floral notes with a touch of cream defined its entry, transitioning gracefully to an exotic fruit profile of kiwi and maybe quince, some peach-pear combo and a delicate touch of something orangish. Herbal notes that changed to vegetal zucchini-eggplant notes with the arugula. A white chocolate hit once that was entirely interesting. Lingered beautifully overall with some nice confident changes. Such a delicate yet chiseled, glasslike structure.
Condrieu...I like you. Let's get to know each other.
Pairing: 93 Both elements gracefully gave the stage to the other at just the right times
Even with the most aggressive, bullying, loud food and/or wine, that's the key to a good pairing. Will each element allow its defining characteristics to hobnob and rub elbows with the other when the time comes to do just that?
With the subtle yet confident acid in the wine and the preserved lemon in the phyllo pie, a lift out of the possible doldrums of flatness allowed every other ingredient in the food and flavor in the wine to intermingle and talk to each other like everybody was hopped up on coffee and in a good mood.
As Mrs. Ney said. Drink French viognier. Be happy you know about Moroccan food.