Bottoms Up — June 17, 2014 at 3:25 pm

Rhône Valley Wines: An Odyssey


Always excited to learn about new wines, Manhattan with a Twist partook in an exhilarating evening that blended together food, travel and wines from Rhône Valley. The area, which is comprised of towns bordering the Rhone River in France, all of which can be viewed here. The valley’s soil is made up of four different types of rock, including granite, sandy silica, limestone and clay, all of which play an important role in how the vines are supplied with water, which in turn produces varied aromas and flavors in the region’s wines. All of the grape varieties can be found here.

Last week, we joined Rhône Valley Wines on a journey around the world, as part of Rhône Odyssey. The evening began with guests sampling an array of wines from the region at their own discretion. After a while, we were escorted into what seemed like a simple, white rectangular room where we were to dine.  The meal was guided by Michael Madrigale of Bar Boulud and Boulud Sud, with a menu created by Chef Russell Jackson of SubCulture Dining and The Next Food Network Star. As our wine pairing dinner began, so did our journey. The seemingly simple white room transformed into various destinations throughout the course of our dinner.

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We began our dinner in Scandinavia in the wintertime, where a snowy barn landscape surrounded the formerly white walls as snow fell from the ceiling. During this course we enjoyed two dishes; the first, rye and bulgur crisp, with fat, butter, ash and malted wheat dirt with pickled carrots and brussels. The second, poached egg, parsnip, nettle whey and farmsted cheese. The dishes were paired with two wines — Costiéres de Nîmes, Michel Gassier La Petite Ruche Nostre Païs 2012 and Tavel Prieuré de Montézargues 2013. The first, a white wine, was crisp, yet subtle and the second, a rosé, was absolutely wonderful and probably one of the best rosés I’ve had.


From there, the room transformed into Spring in Japan, complete with blooming flowers and a light spring shower. For our Japanese Spring meal, we had Kombu cured tuna, rice, egg, pickled vegetables, nori smoked kombu broth with fermented tofu. This light and flavorful dish was paired with Cornas Clape Cuvée Renaissance 2011 and Vinosobres Perrin Les Cornuds 2011. Both of these red wines were fantastic and matched exceptionally well with the Japanese fare, which made us realize how diverse Rhône Valley wines can be.


From Japan we moseyed over to Mexico for a festive Summer meal. In Mexico, we donned our shades as we checked out the relaxing beach waves and old Mexican ruins. The chef prepared us a deconstructed mole, which included poultry roulade, smoked grains and seeds, rose petal mole with tcho bitter chocolate, pepper raja and chévre tamale. This course paired with Gigondas Ogier Oratorio 2010 and Hermitage Delas Fréres Cuvée Marquise de la Tourette 2008 — both red wines that helped to mellow out the dish.


Lastly, we headed to New York City (convenient) for the Fall, where we found ourselves in a lush park with leaves falling amongst us. The dessert sampling was fabulous and included a modern apple pie made with Wood’s Hudson Bourbon Barreled Maple brandied cured apples, cinnamon crumble, malt vinegary creme and citron confit, as well as a modern cheesecake made with cheese cake curd, vanilla bean gel, graham cracker crust and dehydrated custard. Round out the trio was an SCDNYC almond black and white cookie that was to die for. Joining these sweet triplets was a Muscat de Beaumes de Venise Fenouillet 2012, which was the perfect wine to end the evening with.

These spectacular Rhône Valley wines were honestly some of the most delicious I’ve ever had. They are well balanced between the full body, fruit and spiciness, making them go down smooth. For those of you looking to pair some Rhône wines of your own, we’ve got some tips for you! While 80% of the production of the region is red wine, their white wines, which are made from Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne and Grenache Blanc, are rarely found anywhere else and are best enjoyed with cheese, white fish and sushi. If you are looking to enjoy rosé, classic pairings include charcuterie, cheeses, barbecue or smoked salmon and Asian cuisine. The Southern Rhône reds are best with stews, spicy food, game foods, and salmon, while the Northern Rhône reds are best served alongside tomato based pastas, beef, chicken, vegetables and lamb. Become an expert on Rhône Valley Wines and pick up a bottle or five at your local liquor store!

Twisted Talk: Are you familiar with Rhône Valley Wines? Do you have a favorite? Discuss below! 

Receive $100 Off a $160 Order of 6 or More 750ml Bottles of Wine. First Time Customers Only.


  1. Good enthousiastic comments over all, , here and there could it be more precise on the tasting notes but for sure good ambassadory work for the Rhone.

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