01 May, 2010

A taste of Provence.

I was shopping at the Costco wine shop and came across this absolutely beautiful bottle of wine. It's from Francis Ford Coppola's Sofia line. While I have had the sparkling Sofia, this rose was one I had not seen before. A quick look of the website and I learned they have been making it for a few years.

It's a blend of Grenache and Syrah, just like you would find in the rose's from the south of France. It's a beautiful dark pink color that looks as great in the glass as it does in the bottle above. On the nose you will detect strawberries, cherries and hints of fruited iced tea. In fact, it reminds me a little of hibiscus tea, because it has very nice floral notes as well. It's fairly light in body, with the alcohol level is at 12%. On the palate, you'll taste those strawberries and cherries as well as citrus notes. What you'll love about this wine is that it isn't sweet like a lot of blush wines, yet it's fruitier than many of the roses from France. It's a perfect summer wine. And at only $11.99 at Costco, it's a great value. I'll be stocking up on this one.

One tip on serving this wine: I found I enjoyed it much more a warmer temperature. I would recommend that you chill it for about 30 minutes before serving, or let it warm up a bit if it's been in the fridge for awhile. You'll see that the fruit flavors are more forward and the wine is less acidic at a warmer temp.

To go along with this lovely wine, I was inspired to try something from the south of France, Provence to be exact. I love seafood so I thought I would try the traditional seafood stew, bouillabaisse.  This works perfectly with the wine because it has just a slight sweetness from the tomatoes and the fennel. The seafood is light and so is the wine. A red would likely overpower the more delicate flavors of the seafood.

Here's the (approximate) recipe I used to make the bouillabaisse. (I usually only follow recipes loosely.) To put a twist on the traditional recipe, I garnished this with some fried chorizo. That makes it a bit spicy so feel free to omit if that's not your taste.

Spicy Bouillabaisse (adapted from Mark Bittman's How to Cook Everything)

2 links of chorizo
Olive oil
2 medium to large onions, diced
1/2 large fennel bulb, diced
Zest of one orange
4 – 5 large cloves of garlic
Pinch of saffron
Cayenne pepper to taste, large pinch
2 – 3 cups of diced tomatoes; canned, is fine
1/2 cup dry White wine
Chicken stock or seafood stock, optional
3/4 lb cleaned squid, cut into bite sized rings
3/4 lb scallops, cut in half if necessary
3/4 lb white fish, such as snapper or rock fish, cut into 1 inch pieces
1 lb mussels, cleaned
Salt and pepper to taste
Chopped parsley for garnish

1.       Cook chorizo sausage, if purchased in its raw state.  I simmered 2 links in about ½ inch water until water evaporated. Brown the chorizo in the rendered fat until cooked, this will take about 10 minutes or so after the water has evaporated. Set aside.
2.        Heat oil in a dutch oven or high sided pan. Add onion and fennel and lower the heat. Sweat the onion and fennel until translucent, about 10 minutes. Add half of the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute. Add the saffron, cayenne pepper and orange zest.
3.       Add the white wine, and bring to a boil to cook off some of the alcohol.
4.       Add tomatoes and bring to a boil. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Cook this mixture over low heat until the tomatoes begin to break down and the mixture becomes sauce like, about 10 to 15 minutes.
5.       If you like the stew to be less thick then add some stock to thin.
6.       Add the squid, scallops and fish. Stir to incorporate. Place mussels on top of the stew and cover the pot to steam. Seafood and mussels should be cooked through in about 5 - 7 minutes. Mussels will be open, discard any that do not open. The remaining seafood should be opaque.
7.       Check for seasoning, adding salt and pepper to taste.
8.       Spoon into warmed bowls.
9.       Garnish with parsley and chorizo.
Serves 6.


  1. The wine sounds delightful. I haven't experienced too many rose wines so I guess I should start here! Hopefully my local Sams club has it.

    We had the Coppola Sophia Blanc de Blancs sparkling wine at Christmas last year and it was fantastic. I have had a number of Coppola wines that were excellent so I would reccomend any of their wines for folks to try.


  2. I do miss Provence......the wines, the food and the people....thanks for bringing back some great memories

  3. Such a lovely bottle. I can't wait to try it at my next outdoor dinner.