At the Taste of Two Souths on Friday afternoon, Frederick Corriher of Routes des Vins Imports argued the case that the wines from France’s Southern Rhône valley are the perfect match for Southern food, thanks to a similar climate and shared ingredients like pork and greens.
Corriher brought along six different reds — a Côtes du Rhône-Villages, a Lirac, a Gigondas, and three Châteauneuf-du-Pâpes — as evidence.
Chef Joseph Lenn of Blackberry Farm, the Walland, Tennessee resort, cooked two simple but flavorful dishes to use in the test: a play on chicken and dumplings made with guinea hen and potato gnocchi and a plate of roast pork over braised collards and purple cape peas.
I’m not sure I fully buy the thesis of a special Southern Rhône-Southern U.S. connection, but only because the wines have such subtle, complex flavors that I think they would work well with all sorts of cuisines. But I thoroughly enjoyed the wine seminar format, which is a great way to sample the wines of a region side by side, learn more about them, and pass off an afternoon drinking wine as “continuing education.”