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Tag Archives: french wine

WOTW – Belleruche Rouge

Belleruche There are some wines that just seem to circle through our wine cellar on a regular basis. It doesn’t hurt that this one is widely available and retails in that precious “under $13” sweet spot.

Belleruche Rouge – a Cotes du Rhone from Domaine M. Chapoutier is made from 80% Grenache (the grape variety used primarily in Châteauneuf-du-Pape to the south) and 20% Syrah (the grape used to make the Rhône valley’s most famous red wines in Côte Rôtie, Crozes Hermitage, Hermitage, and St Joseph to the north). Chapoutier is known for his wines that bring upwards of three figures, but this one, and its blanc and rosé sisters, are an affordable $11.99 or so.

One of the things that will stand out when you see this bottle is the braille label. The label is produced in homage to one of France’s favorite sons, Maurice de la Sizeranne – blind since the age of 9, and one of France’s most famous philanthropists of the 19th century. Braille appears on each of the wineries labels, including Chapoutier’s highest end wines.

Sizerrane is known for his interest in literature for the blind, and founded the Revue du Braille, as well as perfecting the system of abbreviated Braille widely used today in France. Sizerrane also owned a small parcel of land where Michel Chapoutier sources the fruit from one of the Chateau’s most famous wines.

This is a great dinner wine, but works well as a sipper because of the medium body. Spice, pepper, nice acidity. We’ve paired it with chili, chicken, pork and charcuterie.

And to think you get all of that history in a well balanced, fruity, spicy $11.99 bottle! Highly recommended.



Pairing Adventure – Butternut and Bordeaux

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We picked up a new bordeaux the other night. The 2008 Chartron La Fleur Bordeaux – 70%/30%, Merlot and Cabernet from Maison Schroeder and Schyler. The man wanted french wine for dinner, so I went hunting for a new appropriate recipe – it had to include butternut squash, since there was one glaring at me to be cooked from the corner of the produce pile. Velvety and berry on the palate, this wine has balanced tannins and acidity. Its not a cru – but it is a great blend and budget friendly sipping. High QPR wine at $11.99.

I modified this dish from one found on

Chicken Pasta with Sage Roasted Butternut Squash


  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 2/3 cups cubed butternut squash
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 8 ounces uncooked penne pasta
  • 3-5 chicken tenderloins
  • italian dressing
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a roasting pan with the olive oil. Place the squash and onion in the pan, and season with salt, pepper and sage. Roast 30 minutes, or until squash is tender.
  2. Bring a large pot of lightly salted water to a boil. Place penne pasta in the pot, cook for 8 to 10 minutes, until al dente, and drain.
  3. In a large skillet over medium heat, cook the tenderloins, covered in italian seasoning, until done. Remove chicken and cut into bite size pieces, then transfer back to your skillet. Transfer the cooked squash and onion and the cooked pasta to the skillet. Gradually pour in the cream. Season mixture with sage. Continue cooking until heated through. Mix in garlic. Transfer to a large bowl, and toss with balsamic vinegar to serve.

I realize you may look at this and say OMG, that’s a LOT of balsamic. You might even think that again as you are portioning it out into the bowl. I know I did, and it scared me just a bit. Trust me when I say that it does not taste like its overly vinegary. The balsamic brightens the recipe substantially. Also, you only want to turn the squash once when its baking, and get it out of the oven when its just done, otherwise you get a squash that looks less appetizing than it tastes.

This wine was pleasing, balanced this dish well, and I recommend them together, separately, or paired with others.

We loved this adventure – and they are definitely a wine and a dish we will go back to. (as evidenced by multiple bottle purchasing on this one)


WOTW – Le Jaja de Jau Syrah

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We opened this one on a random evening – pairing it up with Frank’s great spaghetti sauce over linguine. One of these days I’ll learn to make pasta… but until then, the box works out pretty well.

From the CHÂTEAU DE JAU in ROUSSILLON, FRANCE – built in 1792, and nestled in the southernmost foothills of the Roussillon slopes of the Corbières Mountains in French Catalonia. The estate produces an array of wines, including three very affordable Le Jaja de Jau varieties – a syrah, a sauvignon blanc and a syrah rose. Jaja is a slang phrase for the region’s delicious full-flavored, everyday wines. It is the house selection in local bistros and restaurants, and that’s a great descriptor for this one. A structured but uncomplicated Syrah, it’s easily paired with your everyday chicken, pasta or beef dishes. Anything with a little bit of kick, or a tomato base, will do well with Le Jaja from the vineyards of the Vin de Pays d’Oc.

I will give you the warning to be careful with the screw cap. This one bit in as we removed it. I’d recommend opening it up with a towel or some covering if you don’t want it to draw blood or leave a scrape. The metal band shredded before we got it loosened up.

Other than the problem with the cap, the wine was a good, drinkable Syrah. Well balanced tannins and acid, a hint of raspberry on the palate. We’ll be keeping a few bottles of this one around.

Every wine lover with a budget looks for pleasant, drinkable wines that don’t break the bank. This one comes in at $8.99 from World Market. Follow this link for other places to buy this wine.

For another opinion on this wine, see what The Reverse Wine Snob had to say.

Light by Beaujolais – A Pairing Adventure

I had the privilege of inviting a few people over to MissWineOH headquarters for a Beaujolais tasting on December 7. It was a collision of two worlds – a few people from #MrWineOH’s office, and a few great people I’d met through my tastings.

SEDavenport and her husband, WhyCLE and her beau, and EatDrinkClev joined us to delve into the beaujolais world and nosh on some appetizers. The entire event was a twitter tasting and broadcast under the #beaujolais hashtag. All of the Beaujolais wines were served chilled to 60°F.

We started the evening with a little palate cleansing French sparkling. Yes, there are reasonable French sparklings – we picked up ours from Wine and Design in Tremont for less than $15.  The first Beaujolais poured was a 2010 Christophe Pacalet, Chiroubles. Most of our guests thought it to be a light, fruity wine. Others tasted a perfume base, followed by the fruit. This was not high on the list of favorites for the evening at $16.99. It was paired with a Pastry Wrapped Baked Brie.

Baked Brie Recipe


  • 1 large sheet of puff pastry dough or 1 tube of refrigerated crescent dinner rolls
  • 1 round or wedge of Brie cheese (do not remove rind)
  • Raspberry Jam, or other sweet jam
  • Brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup of maple syrup

1 Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2 On a non-stick cookie sheet, lay out the puff pastry or the crescent rolls flat; put brie round or wedge on top.

2 Spread jam on brie, fold dough over top, cutting off excess dough. Drizzle maple syrup and place a handful of brown sugar on top.

3 Bake at 350º for 25-30 minutes, pastry should be golden brown. Let cool for 10 minutes before serving.

Serve with crackers and apple slices.

The 2009 Domaine de Colette, Regnie was the second wine poured. All cherry and berry on the palate, this wine opened up nicely and was enjoyed for the duration. We paired it with a soppressata, beef sausage, and smoked gouda platter – the olives were a hit or miss. Some thought they paired well, others thought the quality price ratio was not up to par. This wine retails for $18.99.

The third wine we poured was the 2009 Chateau de la Chaize, Brouilly. This Brouilly is from the among the oldest and most historic estates in the region of Beaujolais. Medium bodied, fruity, with a long finish, most of our guests picked this as the QPR winner of the evening at $13.95. It was paired with a Proscuitto wrapped camembert.

Proscuitto Wrapped Camembert


  • 6 large fresh sage leaves
  • 8 oz. whole round camembert
  • 6 large slices prosciutto
  • 12 slices French bread stick (baguette), toasted
  1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line a baking tray with non-stick baking paper. Arrange 3 sage leaves on top of the camembert. Place 3 slices of prosciutto over the sage. Carefully turn the camembert over and fold in the ends of the prosciutto slices to enclose. Repeat with the remaining sage and prosciutto to completely enclose the camembert.
  2. Place the camembert on the lined tray. Bake for 15 minutes or until the prosciutto is crisp and the camembert is soft. Transfer to a serving platter and serve with the bread.

Our last Beaujolais of the evening was the 2010 Pavillion de Chavennes, Cote de Brouilly – the most complex wine of the night, there was a floral aroma on the nose and spice on the finish. Even at the $21.99 price point, this became the crowd favorite and quickly disappeared. We paired this wine with Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken.

Crunchy Apple Salsa over Chicken


2 cups York or Fuji apples, halved, cored and chopped

3/4 cup (1 large) Anaheim chile pepper, seeded and chopped

1/2 cup chopped onion

1/4 cup lime juice

salt and pepper to taste


1/4 cup dry white wine

1/4 cup apple juice

1/2 tsp. grated lime peel

1/2 tsp. salt

Dash pepper

4 medium boneless, skinless chicken breasts

Combine salsa ingredients and mix well; allow flavors to blend about 1/2 hour. Serve over or alongside grilled chicken. Makes 3 cups salsa. For grilled chicken combine marinade ingredients, pour over chicken breasts. Marinate for 20 to 30 minutes. Drain and cook in an oiled skillet, turning once, until done.

WhyCLE takes pictures, I pour wine. (Thanks, Jen!)

It wouldn’t be #MissWineOH without a cupcake pairing. I chilled and poured the 2007 Markko Select Reserve Johannesburg Riesling. If you have never experienced Ohio wines, Markko makes some of the finest in the state. This is a slightly sweet riesling with floral aromas. I’d pair this with a seafood dinner or a savory chicken dish.

The cupcake I chose for this event and pairing was the pumpkin cupcake with cream cheese icing from A Cookie and A Cupcake, on of my favorite Cleveland bakers. The savory pumpkin paired beautifully with the riesling. It balanced the sweetness of the residual sugar in the wine, while allowing the minerality to show through.

So, what was the conclusion? A rousing success of course! The wines of Beaujolais are always lovely, and you should seek them out when you find them. I’d recommend pairing a Beaujolais with food – try some of the recipes I’ve included. Many thanks to @sedavenport, @whycle and @eatdrinkclev for joining us. Follow them on twitter because they are interesting and cool ladies in Cleveland.

If you’d like to join us for a future event, stay tuned to the calendar. We’ve got #wineandcupcakes and #beerandcupcakes coming up in January. Or like MissWineOH on Facebook for wine related articles and information from around the world.

The Beaujolais wines were provided by Discover Beaujolais.

Wine Experiences – Under $10 – is it worth it?

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MissWineOH spent a few weeks in North Carolina on family business, and didn’t have much time for hunting down and enjoying the usual wine experiences – we did do a fabulous wine pairing experience at City Beverage – and we’ve got more scheduled for Greensboro and Winston-Salem (and maybe Raleigh) after the first of the year – so Triad and Triangle friends, never fear, we will be back!

I did set aside a bit of time to sample a few inexpensive or “budget friendly” wines. I managed 3 before I decided to enjoy the easily available beer and Crown Royal cocktails after my long days of post-surgery recovery care (not mine) and getting the honey do list completed.

Silly Goose Shiraz

The Silly Goose Shiraz was sitting quietly on an endcap and caught my eye because… it      wasn’t on sale, and had a price tag of $4.99. This is a South Eastern Australia wine and is    a pretty standard young shiraz. Its got some bite, and needs to be paired with a strong cheese or a  creamy alfredo perhaps to calm down that spice and pepper in the shiraz. Its got a dark berry and pepper palate – so I’d use it as a 2nd bottle at a casual dinner. I’m not sure it would be come a  staple in the house, as adding a few dollars to the budget gets some more complex wines that I  really enjoy – but if I’m very budget conscious – I’ll bring this one home again.

Kiwi Cuvee

The Kiwi Cuvee is a French pinot noir made by New Zealand winemaker Rhyan Wardmann. Its bottled by Lacheteau in the Loire Valley and produced under the Vin de Pays classification. Apparently this wine is causing a bit of a brouhaha because of the name,  as one might think this was a New Zealand wine at first glance, and the French have been so protective over their appellation naming. Despite a moment of confusion – easily remedied by actually READING the label – this light bodied pinot noir is cherry, with a bit of sweetness. I picked it up for $7.99, making it a contender for an every day budget friendly wine.

I’m a huge fan of the blends, and there are so many available in the $10 to $15 range. The 2009 Liberty School Cuvee, a blend of 85% Syrah, 7% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Petite Sirah, 3% Grenache, 2% Viognier is one I snagged at the local grocery store for $10.99. Syrah gives this wine some great jamminess. the other grapes blend in seamlessly to provide structure, softness and some floral on the nose. One thing blends can always manage is to be very food friendly. and this one is no exception. Put it into the rotation for your dinner wines – it will pair well with mexican, thai or a pork tenderloin. I could see gamier dishes with this one as well.

One thing you should remember when venturing into the “really” budget friendly wine world is that you are not going to find mind bending juice on a regular basis. However, you will find some easy drinkers which will pair well with everyday meals. So, is it worth it? Finding drinkable wine at great prices is always worth it – but don’t get discouraged when you run into a few bottles you can’t stand. The good news is you won’t feel bad about wasting it when you pour it out. ~grin~

Do you have a favorite budget conscious wine? Any budget wines you wouldn’t touch with someone else’s palate? Share the good, the bad and the ugly in the comments.

Happy Sipping!

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