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Enjoy TASTING NOTES with award-winning Chef Mark Tarbell, who has converted his fine dining restaurant Tarbell’s and Tarbell’s Tavern into take-out and delivery during these stay-at-home times.
If you’re hittin’ the slopes for the day or hiking up north, and don’t know what to pack away for your meal when you come off the mountain, here’s my call: Rosé, the unsung hero of France. The best French rosé stays nicely chilled in your car while you’re skiing—a great sport for social distancing—then hold its own with whatever you choose to munch on après-ski. Face it, unless you’re at one of the extra special ski resorts, the food isn’t particularly the point of your day. But French Rosé is the best and will do the freestyle on your burger and fries; heck, it’ll even skinny up to mom’s trail mix.
But French Rosé is the best and will do the freestyle on your burger and fries; heck, it’ll even skinny up to mom’s trail mix.
And nothing is more romantic than making an impromptu hot toddy for your mate or enjoying your favorite red of the moment. After a long day on the frosty slopes, it’s even warmer than the crackling fire you’re sitting in front of to offer to make something to take off the chill. When you return from the kitchen minutes later with a mug of homemade spiced wine, I predict there’ll be sweaters a’flyin inside ten minutes.
Here are a few recommendations for the best French rosé to get you started.
DOMAINE TEMPIER BANDOL ROSÉ | Provence
If there was ever a reason to smile, this wine is it. It transcends color, origin, lineage and any preconceived notions of what it “should” be.
TASTING NOTES: It’s powerful yet kind, smooth but not soft, and full of complex flavor without a hint of being overbearing.
DOMAINE CHARLES JOGUET CHINON ROSÉ | Loire Valley
The famous reds of Chinon are made with 100 percent Cabernet Franc. These are one of the northern most successful plantings of this grape, most commonly used in Bordeaux blends. There are now some successful plantings in California and Italy has made some interesting Franc wines.
TASTING NOTES: These wines are quite sturdy and, blindfolded, you might mistake one for a red. Monsieur Jouget is the big name in this town, among the best French rosés.
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DOMAINE HIPPOLYTE REVERDY SANCERRE ROSÉ | Loire Valley
The Reverdy family has been making wine for generations. When Hippolyte and two of his three sons died, it was left to the remaining son, Michel, to carry on the tradition.
TASTING NOTES: With crisp, dry pinot noir blends that are aged about 30 years, he’s done it.
CHATEAU DE TRINQUEVEDEL TAVEL CUVEE TRADITIONELLE ROSÉ | Rhône Valley
The Famous Rosés of Tavel in the southern Rhone Valley of France represent a great value and have a long and glorious history!
TASTING NOTES: They are a little warmer and softer than their Loire Valley
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MARK’S OLD SPICED WINE RECIPE
3/4 bottle Any of the best French Rosés listed above
2 cups Fresh Apple Cider (may substitute apple juice)
1 cup Fresh Orange Juice
2 tsp. Cinnamon (or 3 cinnamon sticks)
1 tsp. Coriander
1 tsp. Brown Sugar
½ Fresh Orange Pierced with 1 Clove
1. Place all ingredients in a large saucepan.
2. Bring to a simmer and remove the half orange.
3. It’s kinda cheesy, but pop in “La Vie en Rose” sung by Edith Piaf.
4. Serve in coffee mugs wearing nothing but a smile!
Mark Tarbell is an award-winning chef and owner of Tarbell’s since 1994, along with The Tavern, The Wine Store, and Tarbell’s Catering. He is the Emmy-award-winning host of the PBS show “Plate and Pour” and an Iron Chef America Winner. He was nominated Best Chef Southwest by the James Beard Foundation and Food & Wine magazine named Tarbell’s Best Restaurant. Tarbell studied in Paris at the Ecole du Cuisine La Varenne where he earned a Grande Diplôme d’Etude Culinaire. While in Paris, he also studied wine at Steven Spurrier’s l’Academie du Vin. In addition to being an expert and irreverent food and wine personality, he is extraordinarily charitable in his community, and we look forward to his Tasting Notes on iconiclife.com monthly.