BY RICK RIOZZA
Hard to believe that it’s been three years since we were at the Roland Garros French Open Tennis Tournament—and, where we took the vino advantage of accommodating three different forays into the famous vineyards of France only a quick train trip away—the regions of Champagne, Chablis, and the Loire Valley.
And remember our recommendation? For a change of pace, we suggested that upon landing at Charles De Gaulle, take the TGV speed train to Champagne, where in 35 minutes you can be tasting at the various famed Champagne Houses and taking in the relaxing countryside—as opposed to the rushed rigmarole of getting into Paris and then checking in at your hotel. That can all be done later in the day when things are less hectic and you’ve had the opportunity to chill and appreciate your fun days ahead!
The two week French Open is the only Grand Slam event played on “la terre battue”—the beaten earth, aka, clay. Clay is the slowest tennis surface and thus makes for the most physically demanding matches—many of them going longer than four hours. Seems everyone would need a refreshing glass of wine—stat! So this time around, let’s stay in Paris for the apéritif hour (un apéro), check out a bistro, and discuss a couple of popular rosés being poured there.
As you French foodies are probably already aware, there is a moving gastronomic infatuation with the French culinary art of “bistronomie”—the idea of rescuing culinary traditions developed in the French provinces and countryside; a combination of simplicity and the best traditions in French cooking. Along with the likes of chef Yves Camdeborde, there are more than one hundred bistros in Paris whose mission is to “bring gastronomy to everyone.” And this sort of means offering high quality and creative French cuisine at accessible prices—usually around thirty euros.
Camdeborde is reported saying of bistros, “It is a place of life, a place of conviviality, a place of high gastronomy but also of eggs mayonnaise. No need to be a connoisseur, a gourmet, or a millionaire to have a top dinner in Paris. No need to bankrupt yourself, either, at a Michelin-starred restaurant in order to eat well and make new gastronomic discoveries. In Paris, as part of “L’Operation: Paris, le plus grand bistro,” it’s to celebrate the culinary savoir faire of the City of Lights.
One of the most celebrated Parisian bistros on the block that’s running with the bistronomie ethic is Bistrot Vivienne. It’s got that classic look: an old Parisian bistro with its mirrors, wall seats, wooden tables and chimney. You’ll taste a seasonal and traditional cuisine that includes all you would expect and dream of: Onion Soup Les Halles, Creamy Potato-Leek Soup, Pepper Crusted Filet Mignon, Nicoise Salad, Coq au Vin, Slow Cooked Duck Confit, Savory Onion and Leek Tart, Potato Gratin with Chèvre, Chocolate Soufflé served with Blood Orange Crème Anglaise.
Of course Bistrot Vivienne is up to the times and one can catch the tennis matches on their new situated TVs. By the way—if you wish to catch some tennis without even getting to Roland Garros, there’s great offsite viewing: The Hôtel de Ville (Paris’s city hall) live streams matches on a jumbo screen—so bring a picnic basket and feel free to frolic French!
Last week, this column exhibited a pictorial celebrating National Rose Wine Day—June 11th. Okay then—here’s a couple of the most popular French Rosés pouring here and there to cheer on with:
2017 Chateau d’Eclans Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence,
This wine has a good story in Coachella Valley. During the Coachella music events, those who enjoy wine at that party, pretty much buy out any Whispering Angel sold around town. When I was a wine steward at the Palm Desert’s Total Wine, the manager would order over 25 cases of the stuff—and that quickly sold out! He then thought it was a great opportunity to attempt to sell Total Wine’s “Winery-Direct” rosés, but so many of those loyal enthusiasts wouldn’t bite: it was Whispering Angel or nothing at all. (I think they went on to buy a bunch of Patron tequila!)
Charming, refreshing and refined, Whispering Angel shows plenty of juicy, enticing, strawberry and berry fruit. There are some fun mineral notes playing against those of floral rose petals. The primary grapes are Grenache and Cinsault—the king and queen of Provençal Rosé. Costa Nichols, over at his Palm Springs’ Desert Wines & Spirits has the best price in town at $19.99
2017 Chateau Miraval Rosé Côtes de Provence, $19.99 at Desert Wines & Spirits.
It is often referred to as the “Celebrity Rosé” because the property is owned by Brad Pitt and Angeline Jolie. Costa Nichols recently wrote, “This vintage with its petal pink color has an aromatic expression of fresh fruit and spring flowers. In the mouth, the acidity is refreshing while displaying elegance and a nice balance, with a saline finish. The wine is gorgeous; peach, citrus, and raspberry notes all leap from the glass. It is juicy, vibrant, and crisp on the palate.”
There is an actual partnership between the two divorced celebs and the famed Famille Perrin in producing Miraval. Perrin is famous for their Chateauneuf-duPape and Côtes de Rhone. They also makes the tasty and inexpensive La Vieille Ferme Rosé . All in all, the Perrins make around 500,000 cases of rosé a year! That’s a lot of pink!