Issue #17 August, 2020
This month, actually this week in the year 1912, Julia Carolyn Child was born. 49 years later she would become known for bringing French cuisine to North America with her cookbook, ‘Mastering the Art of French Cooking’. Julia Child would go on to become television’s favourite chef with her show, ‘The French Chef’ which premiered in 1963.
She had a no-nonsense, genuine way about her with a slightly quirky, high-pitched but all the same, proper voice. And she came across with the casual confidence of the culinary expert that she was.
Interestingly she was not only born in August, but she left shall we say, ‘the kitchen’ in August as well. With that in mind, this month’s issue of Jim’s Affordable Cellar is dedicated to August’s child; Julia Child. And what better way to pay tribute to this icon of cuisine than to make this edition specifically about, wines that make a meal.
Welcome back to the cellar.
I’ve set the old oak tasting table with our usual three-course meal of three splendid wines, so let’s dig in. One of Julia’s (we’re on a first-name basis here in the cellar) favourite summer meals was pacific salmon; steaks or filets. And the perfect wine to go alongside this flavourful fish is a flavourful Pinot Noir.
Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2018
Casablanca Valley, Chile
750 mL bottle VINTAGES#: 14148
I’m sure a delicate, French burgundy would be ‘The French Chef’s’ choice but for a good one, we’d have to throw ‘affordable’ out the window and kick it down the hill. However, I’ve found a more than worthy substitute from the Casablanca Valley in Chile.
Emiliana Novas Gran Reserva Pinot Noir 2018 is a wonderfully good Pinot. It’s a deep, semi-transparent purple with that signature Pinot earthy aroma. But this one wafts a ripe peachyness as well. The instant it touches your tongue it throws a silky veil of goodness over your palette with flavours of cherries and spice.
Personally I like to grill salmon but Julia was a ‘poacher’. Just for fun, here’s her simple recipe.
Julia Child’s Poached Salmon Fillet
8 6-8 oz. salmon fillets
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup white-wine vinegar
Lemon wedges (optional)
Hollandaise sauce (optional)
1. Bring 2 quarts of water to the boil in a large skillet, adding salt and white-wine vinegar.
2. Slide in the salmon, bring back almost to the simmer, and poach just below the simmer for 8 minutes—the fish is done when just springy to the touch.
3. Drain, remove skin, and serve with lemon wedges, melted butter, or hollandaise sauce.
However you choose to do your salmon, by no means do not forget a glass or three of Emiliana Nova Reserva.
Another favourite of Julia Child’s is the lunch or light dinner classic, Quiche Lorraine. Quiche loves to sit at the table with a crisp, white wine like an extra dry Reisling from Alsace or a Sauvignon Blanc. The perfect partner could be Champagne but considering ‘affordability’ is our mantra here in the cellar, Prosecco fits the bill quite nicely.
Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superior comes to us from the Veneto region of Italy. It’s made from the Prosecco grape, which by the way underwent a name change in 2009 thanks to the Italian Minister of Agriculture at the time who decided it would be henceforth called ‘Glera’. Wow, doesn’t that have a ring to it. I’m sure that’s an entire newsletter of its own.
At any rate, we still know it and love it as Prosecco. And there is plenty to love with this one.
Santa Margherita Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore
750 mL bottle | VINTAGES#: 687582 Always Available
Santa Margherita is the softest straw yellow color with a never-ending flow of rising vibrant bubbles. It’s fresh on the tongue with a richness of citrus. And with the beautiful and unique design of this bottle, you feel you’re drinking way above what it cost to bring it home. Apparently, it’s a celebrity favourite. But all that matters is that it’s a favourite down here in the cellar.
For our third course we have a delicious wine to go with perhaps the quintessential Julia Child dish; Beef Bourguignon. I know, Beef Bourguignon is more of a cold weather thing but we couldn’t talk about Julia Child without including it. And besides, it truly is a wine lover’s meal.
Chateau Pesquie Edition 1912m Ventoux 2017
750 mL bottle | LCBO#: 577238
Typically a Bordeaux or a full Pinot Noir would partner well with Beef Bourguignon, but a Rhone blend of Grenache grapes is excellent as well. Chateau Pesquie Edition 1912m Ventoux 2017 was created in honour of Mount Ventoux which reaches 1912 metres into the sky as part of the Alps. It is often referred to as ‘the Giant of Provence.
In the glass, this Rhone blend is an elegant ruby. It has aromas of raspberries, Saskatoon berries, plum and wood smoke. And it tastes full, smooth and fruity with hints of spice. Any self-respecting beef bourguignon would be honoured to share the table with this very nice wine.
Well I’m stuffed. Never before have we had so much food and wine down here in the cellar. Clearly, I’ve got some tidying up to do. We’ll see you in September.
I’ll close this edition with my usual parting sentiment. Keep your glass of wine close and your friends even closer.
But I’d like to give the last word to Julia Child, who finished every episode of her popular cooking show with her signature sign-off.
If you’re enjoying my wine meanderings, I’m really glad. And please let me know your thoughts or tell me about any great wine you’ve discovered. Of course, if you know someone who might like to join us in the cellar each month, send me their email or they can contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org