Thursday, July 02, 2009

Wine of the Week - Terrebrune Rosé and Tapenade

I've lived in New York essentially for my whole life (there were four years of college in the mid-west and a year in Southeast Asia and India). I've never seen a June like the one we just had, with rain almost every day, skies overcast. We had 18 days straight of rain at one stretch.

But you know what - it's still summer, and I'm taking every chance I get to treat it as such. For example, the other day while my daughters were both down for their mid-day nap, even though the sky was white, and the air thick and humid, I found myself thinking of rosé and tapenade. Probably because Bert of Wine Terroirs and I had been emailing recently about the glory of Bandol wine, and I recently re-read his post about this classic Provence pairing.

Bert says that it is easy to make tapenade - all you need is some olives, garlic, anchovies, capers, and lemon juice. A food processor helps, although a mortar and pestle is fine too. My kids nap for about two hours in the middle of the day. Could I make tapenade, enjoy it under gray skies on our deck, and still get some work done while they sleep? The answer, I'm happy to tell you, is yes.

Not a bad lunch on a humid and gray day. A food processor would help.

I used just over 6 ounces of pitted kalamata olives, one large garlic clove, two anchovy filets, about two tablespoons of capers, and the juice from half a lemon. I don't have a food processor, although we've been meaning to buy one for months. The mortar and pestle was fine though. Start by pounding the garlic with the anchovies and capers. I buy capers packed in salt usually, but for this dish it seemed better to buy a jar of large capers packed in water. Put the creamy garlic/caper mash in a bowl, then pound the olives - I had to do this in two batches. Add the olives to the caper/garlic/anchovy mash, and add the lemon juice. Stir well, and spread on slices of a baguette. My tapenade was not as creamy as Bert's, but there's only so much you can do with olives in a mortar and pestle. And coarse tapenade tastes great too.

The sun poked through the clouds as I was choosing a rosé, and I realized that celestial forces were telling me to open the very best Provençal rosé that we have. There are many fine rosés from Bandol, and every Bandol lover has his or her own favorite. Right now, mine is Terrebrune, and so I opened a bottle of the 2007 Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rosé, $25, Kermit Lynch Imports. Bert wrote a truly great profile of Terrebrune, and I won't waste space paraphrasing him.
Just look at that gorgeous orange color.

Terrebrune's rosé is made from the same low-yield, top quality Mourvèdre as is the estate's famous red wine. It offers rich and delicious fruit, and also a strong sense of the mineral soils that make up Terrbrune's vineyards near the sea. It is a rosé that typically benefits from cellaring. In fact, in its youth it can be quite wound up and intense, even difficult to drink. It has the classic and beautiful color that many Bandol Mourvèdre based rosés have, a deep coppery orange.The 2007 Terrebrune rosé is 50% Mourvèdre, 30% Grenache, and 20% Cinsault. The nose is tense with minerals at first, and opens up to to reveal herb-infused fruit, 7 hours later the lavender is quite clear. The oxidative nature of this wine gives the fruit an orangey character that contrasts nicely with the tension of the minerals and herbs. I saved two-thirds of this bottle to enjoy with BrooklynLady that evening, and I don't think the nose ever finished opening, although it certainly was lovely. This wine really glides across the palate with great textural richness. It is not heavy or sweet, but it is an intense and big rosé, with sunny seaside fruit flavors, a metallic mineral frame, and a nostril-filling fragrance. It demands food, and it worked perfectly with the assertive flavors of the tapenade. I hope I have the self control to cellar one or both of my remaining bottles of this wine. I would love to see how it evolves with say, 10 years. But it's just so good now, this will not be an easy task.

By the way, one thing that I particularly love about Terrebrune's wines is that they defy the trend towards higher alcohol in Provence. Not just the rosé, the red Bandol too. The 2005, the current vintage on NYC shelves, is a completely reasonable 13% alcohol. Perhaps wine maker Reynald Delille is using modern equipment to de-alcohol-ize the wine? Unlikely. But I would love to attend a presentation in which he and other Bandol producers discuss vineyard work, cellar work, and alcohol levels in Bandol over the past 15 years.

9 comments:

Dr. Debs said...

I agree that rose and olives are a great pairing. In spite of the wine's typical subtlety, it just works with what you described as the "assertive flavors" of olives. Thanks for reminding me I have some olives and some rose--a great idea for this weekend.

Charles said...

A fantastic wine--it was being liquidated on Acker Online last month. I picked up 15 bottles at $7 each!

Do Bianchi said...

BrooklynGuy, we are so glad that you turned us on to that wine.

Dr. Deb, do you know where that woodcut comes from (the one in your avatar)?

Cabernet Sauvignon Often said...

That Rose looks fantastic to enjoy on any summer day even dreary ones like we've had in the northeast lately.

Brooklynguy said...

I'm going to be SICK. $7 a bottle?!? I hope you got a good bunch, and can open them without feeling like you have to save them, like me.

Dr. Debs said...

Do Bianchi--no, it's from a medieval clipart collection that doesn't cite the source. I've never seen it. It looks German and 15th century to me. I'm always on the lookout for it and if I see it in my travels I'll let you know.

Do Bianchi said...

Dr. D, I believe it's a woodcut from Bartolomeo Scappi, 16th century, Italy. Dr. J

Bertrand said...

Thanks, Brooklynguy... I wanted to comment last week on this post but that's only last weekend that we opened a Terrebrunne 2006 in Burgundy (we have another one left there in a cellar). the amazing thing is that like some reds or even whites this wine took a long time to open. After an hour or more speaking and chatting, it showed more aromas and complexity. I think it was upset at the beginning to be disturbed in his sleep (2006 is an early awake)...

Andrea said...

I must say, I really enjoyed the review of the wine but what really caught my eye was that you Made Your Own Tapenade, and in a mortar and pestle no less! During the kids' mid-morning nap! My hero.