Rosé for Wine Lovers
I can honestly say I forgot how good the Bandol Rosé from Domaine Tempier is, until I recently had the rare chance to buy some from importer Kermit Lynch's retail site. If you're not already familiar with it, the Tempier Rose is allocated - code for hard to get - and usually gets snapped up as soon as it hits the US market. Even when I ran a high volume retail operation, I would go to another retailer who specialized in French wine (having bought lots from the importer's entire portfolio for years so he was at the top of the list for Tempier) to pick some up as soon as I received their notice. (Because of moving and other craziness I had cut myself off from buying any wine! So did not grab any last year. That time has since passed.......) So I was surprised when I could actually still order this in February, long after the release date - because, of course, restaurants have been through the ringer the last two years and did not grab their "normal" allocation. The short story is - if you see some, buy some, because it's that extraordinary. I haven't had Rose for probably a year! Living in South Florida, where it's Rose season all year too so that tells you it's not at the top of my list. But I am so glad I took this opportunity to reacquaint myself with this exceptional wine. Even if it's winter where you are and you think of Rose as a warm weather sipper, stash some away and be prepared to be wowed. Exquisitely balanced, aromatics that will knock your socks off and a lasting elegant finish begging for another sip - this is not reality TV rose. This is the real deal.
PS Tempier's red Bandol wines are fantastic too - will save that for another time.
I paired this with a Classic French Onion Soup, so here are a few key tips. #1, take it easy with the cheese! This soup is all about the caramelized onions and rich beef stock - as in all things food and wine, balance is the key. I typically place a slice of baguette in the bottom of the bowl, ladle on the hot soup and sprinkle on the Gruyere. The heat of the soup is enough to melt the cheese without placing it under a broiler. #2 Stating the obvious but choose a quality, imported aged Gruyere (Costco has a budget friendly Gruyere that isn't a huge piece) and please, save the Mozzarella for Eggplant Parm...... #3 Caramelizing onions takes time! I have been guilty of underestimating this in recipes - typically at least 45 minutes for sweet onions like Vidalia or Walla Walla to color and soften. #4 If you don't want to make beef stock, buy a good brand and "doctor" it a bit - simmer with aromatics like thyme and bay leaf along with coarsely chopped carrot and celery, or add a tbsp. of good quality veal demi-glace (D'Artagnan's fresh demi-glace is the best, but in a pinch Williams Sonoma has a decent jar version - I don't include links because unlike any other recipe website, I don't get a dime if you buy what I recommend! So I can recommend freely.) For deglazing the caramelized onions, I prefer a dry unoaked white like Sauvignon Blanc. Bon appetit.