Idol and Bandol

Above: On Tuesday nights, Tracie B and I watch American idol, play armchair critic, and open a good bottle of wine. Last night we splurged (in celebration of my Princeton translation) and opened the 2007 Bandol Rosé by Tempier, which I found at a surprising palatable price at a “local” market. We paired with her excellent nachos.

The counterpoint wasn’t lost on me and Tracie B last night: we watched what may be the apotheosis of the commercialized and reified American dream (where rags-to-riches hopes are dashed or indemnified by the almighty texting hand of the American consumer) and we sipped a rosé made by a small winery in Provence in the south of France, that counts a meager 8 employees and just 30 hectares (that’s about 74 acres, 6 less than 2 X 40 acres and 2 mules!).

Tracie B and I had tasted the rouge a few weeks ago and she had not-so-subtly mentioned how she wanted to taste the winery’s famous rosé. There’s not a lot of this wine in the U.S. and not a lot of it made: according to Domaine Tempier’s site, its total production is 120,000 bottles, of which 29% is the rosé. I really wanted to surprise Tracie B with a bottle and I struck out at a few of my favorite wine stores.

But when I called my colleague, wine specialist Jen Powell, at a little local grocery store called Whole Foods in Austin, she told me that she had a nice allocation — at a great price. Btw, just because I work in the wine trade doesn’t mean I don’t have to buy wine like everyone else (even though the company I work for reps this wine!).

Above: Tracie B’s nachos are awesome. You can read her recipe here. The bright acidity in the rosé was a perfect match for the spicy flavors of the salsa, the wine’s tannin a great complement to the fat of the refried beans and her sautéed ground turkey topping.

One can argue whether or not Tempier’s Bandol Rosé is the best in the world (as a few did in the comments of a recent post), but when you taste this wine, there’s no question that it is a hand-crafted, artisanal wine that truly tastes of place where it is made, Provence — a classic and superior example of a terroir-driven wine, imported by rock star terroiriste Kermit Lynch, who, btw, just launched a new blog.

I can’t help but wonder (on tax day in our great land): is our country interesting because our Coca Cola (official sponsor American Idol) culture reigns supreme or because at our “local” markets we can find the wines of a tiny little winery in Provence in southern France, where slopes are so steep that they must be tended by hand? Or is our country interesting at all? Or does the answer lie in the fact that the two phenomena live side-by-side?

Rock on Bandol, rock on idol.

12 Responses to Idol and Bandol

  1. Jason Schulze says:

    Great post. One of my favortie wines as well. But did I miss the link for the recipe? Looking forward to trying this combination…maybe tonight while watching the Houston Rockets clinch home court for the play-offs? Take care.-Jason

  2. Do Bianchi says:

    Jason, thanks for your kind words. Don’t tell our bosses but Tracie B and I have been tandem-blogging this morning ;-) and I had to wait for her to post before I could add the link.

    It’s there now and here it is again:

    http://mylifeitalian.blogspot.com/2009/04/call-me-crazy.html

    Thanks for reading and enjoy the nachos… they’re awesome (and I’ll let you know next time the company I work for is doing a tasting in Houston).

  3. Kermit Lynch says:

    One of my favorite pairings is the Bandol rose (Domaine de Terrebrune also makes a winner) with popcorn. No, not buttered popcorn. To really make the wine and popcorn work wonders, I use olive oil, salt, and dried thyme stirred into the popped corn. A hit of Provence.

  4. Danny says:

    I love their wines, anyone who doubts terrior should submit themselvse to the wines of Domain Tempier. A glass is all you need to be transported to the south of France.

    If you are looking for another damn good rosato look for this. http://www.wineaccess.com/store/moorebrothersny/ecommerce/product.html?product_id=11118070

  5. Stuart says:

    Jeremy, Long time no see, and how cool are you!Stumbled on to your blog and love it! Glad to see you are doing well. Did you get rich and go to Texas?? Looks like you found a southern belle.
    Bandol and nachos sounds fantastic. For me it was Idol and Langhe last night. Had a chicken breast with fresh sage leaves pressed onto it and “poached” in olive oil, accompanied with curried cauliflower and peas with fresh basil and garlic.
    Had this with the ’06 Sottimano Langhe Nebbiolo. Very nice indeed-Sweet red fruit with a floral component and nice fine grained tannins.
    Thanks for the link to Kermit’s blog, will be sure to check in on that. I have consumed an ocean of his selections over the years.

    I am pretty sure I can make the show at Spaceland and look forward to seeing you.

    Cheers,
    Stuart

  6. I think it’s the last choice–our country is interesting because the two co-exist side by side. Over the past year living in Europe, I’ve had a lot of occasions to realize that things that seem very normal to Americans because our country is so huge and various (mixed marriages, many cuisines, the list goes on), are things that many people here can’t even conceive of (not that these countries don’t have many things America is missing–it’s not a question of better, just different. And not that there aren’t exceptions to what I just said…anyway). Of course this leads to awful things, too, like the re-election of Bush when half the country wanted him jailed for war crimes, but so it goes. As bad off as America is right now, I do think we’re still pretty interesting.

  7. tracie b says:

    i’ll tell you what 2B, if drinking a french wine with mexican (inspired) food while watching an indian-american sing ain’t interesting, then the pope MUST be lutheran!

  8. [...] heard of some unconventional pairings (like nachos and American Idol, for example). But [...]

  9. Do Bianchi says:

    Thanks everyone for stopping by and weighing in…

    Jason, great to hear from you as always: did you get the nacho recipe?

    Kermit, wow, thanks so much for the comment and for the recipe! I’ll have to make it for Tracie B.

    Danny, Moore Brothers is an awesome store… Always dug the selection there… especially the French.

    Stuart, I was just thinking of you the other day when I listened to some Neil Young… I know Andrea Sottimano… he’s a good guy… Psyched to see you at the show in LA on May 9: Amos and Sean will be there too! As will my Southern Belle… :-)

    Melanie (Eating for Beginners), I think you sniffed out my bizarre out-of-body experience when I actually thought for a moment that our country is indeed interesting… You, Noah, Tracie B, and I share that experience of having lived in Europe and the monotone that it can be in terms of culinary options. I remember I once I brought some Brunello di Montalcino to colleagues in Modena and they told me I was crazy. The supremacy of their cuisine caused scorbutic myopia. Thanks for stopping by.

    Tracie B, all I can say is that my whole world tasted vanilla until you were in it… I’m totally hooked on Idol! Who knew?

  10. adrian says:

    You’re right about the Modenese, they tend to favor the local hooch over that foreign stuff from Montalcino. Gastronomic Campanilismo.

    Love the high brow/low brow juxtaposition. I contacted Grant Achatz on Twitter to ask him how he would prepare a cheeseburger if it were on the menu at Alinea. He has yet to reply w/his recipe;-).

  11. Jason says:

    Got the recipe and made it last night. It was great…my wife loved it. Even my 6 year old was a little curious about what I was making! No Tempier so we went with a basic Burgundy imported by Neil Rosenthal (another one of my favorite importers). Let us know when you make it to Houston.-Jason

  12. tracie b says:

    jason, really?! aw :)

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