Ahhh Spring is finally in the air… the grass is turning green, buds are appearing and the first daffodil bloomed in my garden today. Even though it has been the shortest Winter I’ve experienced since living in the Prairies, Spring is still a celebrated, welcomed arrival.
Soups, stews and casseroles are being retired for another year, as BBQs being pulled out of hibernation. Root vegetables are being replaced with the bright green of asparagus stalks and spring onions.
To welcome Spring I’m joining a fantastic group of bloggers who are passionate about pairing food and wine for a weekend event called #winePW. This weekend we are exploring the diverse and fascinating wine region of the Rhône Valley in France; for this weeks’ #winePW, we will focus on the wines and winemakers of the Southern Rhône. As many parts of the world welcome the new Spring season, we have been tasked with choosing fresh, seasonal spring foods to pair with regional wines. My hope for all of you is that by joining this journey with me you’ll find new meal ideas to brighten your table and “sample” wines to compliment the meals.When it comes to Spring flavors as much as I love the return of fresh vegetables, what I REALLY love is the abundance of lamb each week at my butchers.
And oh boy do I have a good lamb recipe for you! Lots of great flavors and it is easy. Who doesn’t want to wow their special someone with a meal that takes 40 minutes?! That’s right you can get this gorgeous looking meal on the table in 40 minutes, but don’t worry that can stay our little secret.
More and more the Lovely Husband and I are choosing to stay in and cook ourselves. In opting to stay in we may spend a little more on meat, like we did with this rack of lamb, and select a nice bottle of wine to pair with the meal. My regular readers know the Lovely Husband does not like lamb and may be wondering why am I cooking lamb for him?! I like to believe slowly, but surely he is being converted to a lamb lover, but in reality he is probably just trying to be nice to me. My trick for reducing the moaning over lamb is sauce, sauce is key when serving up something he isn’t keen on.
Let’s talk about this lamb, because there is a lot going on. The hoisin, mango glaze is sweet, and creates a caramelized top when roasted. The lamb is seriously delicious as is, but add the tomato, shallot sauce which is tangy and slightly acidic, and it balances out the sweetness wonderfully. The sauce gives the lamb a nice kick of flavor. Definitely a unique combination, but it works amazing well together.
- 1 rack of lamb, about 8 ribs, at room temperature
- 2 tbsp mango chutney
- 1 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 3 large shallots, finely chopped
- ⅛ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp butter
- 2 tbsp tomato paste
- 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 cup red wine
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Mix chutney with hoisin and spread over lamb.
- Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil. Place lamb, fat-side up, on rack. Roast in top third of oven until a thermometer inserted into centre of meat reads 140F for medium-rare, 20 to 30 min.
- Let lamb rest at least 5 min before slicing.
- Melt 1 tbsp butter in a wide saucepan over medium. Add shallots. Stir until soft, 2 min. Add 2 tbsp tomato paste, 1tbsp Worcestershire and 1 cup red wine. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook 10 min. Drizzle over lamb.
As for the side dish it doesn’t get any simpler than roasted potatoes, but oh my they are so so good!! You can’t beat a good roasted potatoes. Honestly I could have eaten this entire pan!! In fact I may have snuck a few and dipped them into the tomato sauce while plating up and photographing. These potatoes make an awesome side dish for any grilled meat or fish.
- 10 fingering potatoes, halved lengthwise
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- 1 tbsp rosemary, finely chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- salt and pepper
- Preheat oven to 400F. Place oven proof skillet in oven.
- In a medium pot, bring water to a boil. Add potatoes and bay leaf. Parboil potatoes for 5 minutes.
- Remove potatoes from boiling water, rise in cold water, then toss in oil olive, rosemary, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Once oven in hot, remove skillet add in potatoes, and return to oven to cook for 30 minutes. After 15 minutes toss potatoes to cook both sides.
- When the potatoes are browned, removed from oven and serve with lamb.
When it came time to choose the wine pairing for this meal, there were many options from Southern Rhône that would compliment the flavors of the grilled rack of lamb and rosemary potatoes. After some careful consideration, I selected Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher Classic Vacqueyras 2012 as my pairing for this delicious grilled rack of lamb.
If you are not familiar with Vacqueyras in the Southern Rhône region of France you are probably not alone. Vacqueyras was one of the Cotes du Rhône villages until 1990, when its’ consistent quality of wines earned the region the acknowledgement of independent AOC status. Recently I’ve been exploring wines from this region that is Châteauneuf-du-Pape adjacent and I have been loving what I’m tasting. Think similar characteristics of the famed region, beautifully balanced wine, and bonus wallet friendly.
Sheltered by the Dentelles de Montmirail, Vacqueyras stretches out in the baking sun, crafting a wine of colour and depth: a nectar of spice, over-ripe fruit and pungent garrigue scents ~ Christrophe Tassan, Sommelier
Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher Classic Vacqueyras 2012 is one of those bottles that I open and the Lovely Husband asks me how much I paid for wine. Oh how well he knows me! But this gem is a pleasant surprise at $25 (for you lucky wine drinkers in the United States I’m sure much less). Pouring into the glass the wine reveals beautiful rich purple tones with a dark berry nose and elements of cinnamon and cloves. Very well-balanced with a smooth, elegant long finish. The slight pepper finish to the wine, worked well with the sweetness of the grilled rack of lamb. The wine completed the meal wonderfully, not overpowering the complex flavors of the dish.
Take a virtual tour of the vineyard.
From Arnoux & Files website:
2012 Vacqueyras Vieux Clocher – Classic (89/100)
Moving to the 2012 reds, all of which were tasted as barrel samples,the 2012 Vacqueyras Vieux Clocher is a delicious, gulpable effortthat’s blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 5% Mourvedre.Loaded with black liquorice, roasted herbs and sweet currant and cherry fruit, it is medium to full bodied, rich and fruity, with solid depth. Completely destemmed and aged 6 months in foudre, it’s a prime candidate fordrinking over the coming 5-6 years.
Before we leave each other a little more on #winePW… On the second Saturday of each month, a group of bloggers who are passionate about the way good wine enhances a meal come together to blog about a wine pairing they have done. Each month has a different Wine Pairing Weekend theme to focus the pairings.
Spring Meal Pairings for Southern Rhône Wines.
Jeff from Food Wine Click: Rabbit and Rhône
Michelle from Rockin Red Blog: Springtime in the Southern Rhône with #winePW
Nancy from Pull That Cork: Scallops, Spring Veggies + a White CDP for #winePW
Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla: Braised Boar Shanks With Bitter Herb Salad + Vacqueyras Beaumirail
David from Cooking Chat: Kale Pesto Tilapia with Wine from Southern Rhône
Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog: A Tavel Paired with Spring BBQ #WinePW
Meaghan from Un Assaggio: Grilled Rack of Lamb + Arnoux & Fils Vieux Clocher #winePW
Cindy from Grape Experiences : Wine and Dine: Rosé from Costières de Nîmes and Rack of Lamb with Rosemary
Sarah and Tim from Curious Cuisiniere: Escalivada (Spanish Roasted Vegetables) paired with South Rhône Rosé
Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm: Wine Pairing Weekend Celebrates Spring
Kristen from The Armchair Sommelier: The High Crime of Mushroom Substitution
Jill from L’occasion (me, with my husband Jason as the chef): Welcome Spring with Fresh Food & Le Ferme Du Mont Côtes du Rhône
David of Cooking Chat started this event in June of 2014, and every month since then this group of wine and food lovers have had a great time! For more background, check out the original post announcing Wine Pairing Weekend.
On the second Saturday of each month, a group of bloggers who are passionate about the way good wine enhances a meal come together to blog about a wine pairing they have done. Each month has a different Wine Pairing Weekend theme to focus the pairings.
Join us as we share blog posts and experience live Twitter chat at 11 a.m. Eastern Time (10 a.m. Central) on Saturday, April 9, 2016.
Anyone interested is encouraged to join in the chat: food-lovers, travel-nuts, winemakers, Rhône residents, wine-lovers…please join us with the hashtag #winePW.
For a list of past and upcoming #winePW event, visit the Wine Pairing Weekend calendar here. We’d love to have you online with us!