Beef Stew And A Glass of Bandol Rouge Warm the Heart

Image result for bandol map

This month the French #Winophiles visited Provence. We wrote about “Red wines from Provence” in keeping with the theme proposed by our host Payal from Keep the Peas. Her preview post gives an overview of the region and can be found here. We will be meeting on Twitter at 11am EST. Please join us by using the hashtag #winophiles. You will find blog posts written by my colleagues in this endeavor below. See you later today, February 20th .

Perplexed by what wine to write about, I looked online for what I could find in time for the event and came up with a marvelous choice. Domaine La Suffrene from Bandol. Bandol is widely known for its use of one variety, Mourvedre. It has been an Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC) since 1941. The winery has fragmented vineyards and started by selling its grapes to the local cooperative. It is today run by two men, a grandfather and his grandson. The grandfather has always worked the land and lived on the property. The grandson, Cedric Gravier, is the one who decided in the mid 1990s to bottle under their own label. The winery is located in La Cadiere d’Azur. Cedric moved to the family farm which he had visited as a child permanently in 1996. The launched their first cuvees in 1997-1998. The winery began converting to organic in 2018, a process complete this year, 2021. The family have been growers for a century. In addition to organic viticulture, they are also interested in biodiversity and are doing something called agroforestry which is the planting of trees and vines on the same plot. They are fortunate to have vineyards at some elevation but also proximity to the sea and its healthy breezes. The terroir is such that they do manual harvesting, have low yields, are the plants are goblet trained for the most part.

The wine, I chose was Domaine La Suffrene Tradition ,AOC Bandol Cuvée Tradition Rouge. It was 55% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache, 15% Cinsault, 10% Carignan. It comes from different parcels which have soils with a limestone base, as well as clay and stony. The wine undergoes a cold soak before fermentation using native yeast. It then spends 3-4 weeks fernenting in concrete. It then undergoes malolatic fermentation on its fine lees in 50hl older oak barrels. It’s then racked a number of times during the course of the year and spends more time in even older barrels after the blend is created. Interestingly, the last stage of its ageing takes place in stainless steel.

I was very pleased with the aromas and flavors I found in this lovely deep ruby colored wine. It was spicy and broad on the palate with red and black berries and pomegranate, pencil shavings and garrigue – that quintessentially Mediterranean aroma. It was a fairly big wine with a lot of alcohol but it was not overpowering. The tannins were fine and there was a freshness and minerality to it as well. Structured and elegant, with a long finish, it was a perfect wine to warm you up on a cold snowy February night.

I paired it with a beef stew I made from a New York Times Cookbook recipe by Molly O’Neill. My photos this weekend didn’t come out too well so I will leave it to your imagination, a pot of beef stew in a red cuisinart like pot, brimming with beef, carrots, onions and potatoes.

INGREDIENTS

  • ¼ cup all-purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 1 pound beef stewing meat, trimmed and cut into inch cubes
  • 5 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 1 cup red wine
  • 3 ½ cups beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and chopped
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch rounds
  • 2 large baking potatoes, peeled and cut into 3/4-inch cubes
  • 2 teaspoons salt

PREPARATION

  1. Combine the flour and pepper in a bowl, add the beef and toss to coat well. Heat 3 teaspoons of the oil in a large pot. Add the beef a few pieces at a time; do not overcrowd. Cook, turning the pieces until beef is browned on all sides, about 5 minutes per batch; add more oil as needed between batches.
  2. Remove the beef from the pot and add the vinegar and wine. Cook over medium-high heat, scraping the pan with a wooden spoon to loosen any browned bits. Add the beef, beef broth and bay leaves. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a slow simmer.
  3. Cover and cook, skimming broth from time to time, until the beef is tender, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the onions and carrots and simmer, covered, for 10 minutes. Add the potatoes and simmer until vegetables are tender, about 30 minutes more. Add broth or water if the stew is dry. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle among 4 bowls and serve.

Check out this amazing posts by my fellow bloggers for this topic. We’ve got some great cooks in this group so watch for special pairings and join us on Twitter at 11:00am under #winophiles.

7 comments

  1. When I saw this wine you shared on the chat yesterday it rang a bell. I enjoyed a group dinner with Chateau Suffrene at WineParis and really enjoyed their rosé. Your notes on the wine… now I’ll go find this Bandol!

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