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Beatus ille

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Isabelle Ferrando acquired Domaine Saint-Préfert in the southern Châteauneuf du Pape AOC in 2002. Her 2007 Châteauneuf, one of the few wines I’ve ever called sexy, impressed the hell out of me. She recently began making a Côtes-du-Rhône. Not only does it bear a family resemblance to that CDP, it proved a great match for a grilled bavette seasoned with rosemary and garlic (recipe after the jump).

And in case you’re wondering, beatus ille, Latin for “happy is the man,” is the opening line of Horace’s second Epode, which “praises country life [and] the pristine joys of working one’s own land free from exploitation.”

Côtes du Rhône 2012, Beatus Ille, Domaine Saint-Préfert ($18.90, 11941631)
Grenache (85%) and Cinsault (15%) from 40- to 70-year-old vines grown in La Lionne (on the border of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape AOC in Sorgues commune). The estate has obtained organic certification for the 2013 vintage. Fully destemmed. Matured six months in concrete vats. 14% ABV.
Seductive nose of crushed black raspberry and red cherry, herbes de Provence, faint brick dust and leather and a whiff of kirsch. In the mouth the wine is a silky-textured if heady middleweight. The peppery fruit, splintery tannins, nipping acidity and underlying dryness are wrapped in a gauzy veil of sweetness and glycerine. The long finish – lifted, not heated, by alcohol – leads to a red licorice, red currant jam aftertaste. While there’s nothing Pinot Noirish about it, I kept coming back to the descriptor Burgundian. Proof that Côtes du Rhônes don’t have to be fruit bombs or bruisers. Grenache lovers should make a beeline. (Buy again? Yes.)

Bœuf à la Robespierre
Based on a dish served at Domaine de la Ponche in Vacqueyras (via Patricia Wells)

This can be made with either sirloin flap (aka flank) or butterflied hanger steak. Allow about 150 to 200 g (5 to 7 oz) per serving. Cut the steak into individual portions, about 1.5 cm (1/2 inch) thick. If you like, you can lightly score each side. Lightly brush the steak with olive oil and bring to room temperature.

Meanwhile, for each steak, mince 1 small clove garlic and 1 tablespoon fresh rosemary leaves. Combine and set aside.

On a very hot grill or in a screeching hot cast-iron skillet, sear the steaks 1 or 2 minutes per side. Transfer to a warm platter. Season generously with salt and freshly ground pepper. Sprinkle with the rosemary-garlic mixture. Tent the plate with aluminum foil and let stand for 5 minutes. Transfer to warm serving plates and serve immediately with fried, grilled or roasted potatoes. If you can find some golf ball-size Yukon Golds, boil or steam them in their skins, drain, cut in half, fry cut side down in olive oil until golden-brown (about 5 minutes), place in a bowl and sprinkle generously with Maldon salt.

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Written by carswell

July 7, 2013 at 11:56

Posted in Recipes, Tasting notes

Tagged with , ,

One Response

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  1. […] to the long, minerally, juicy finish. Fresh, balanced and so, so drinkable. Well nigh perfect with bœuf à la Robespierre. (Buy again? […]


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