Home > Daily Glass, Food, Food and wine pairing, France, Northern Rhone, Syrah > Daily Glass: Red with Dessert

Daily Glass: Red with Dessert

September 12, 2015 Leave a comment Go to comments

When ordering wine with dinner, especially eating by myself, I practically never think of wine and food together. I usually look for the wine which would be interesting and affordable, without regard to the color or style. As last night was probably my 4th dinner of the trip at the same hotel restaurant, I knew that my choices were limited – I already had some (didn’t want to repeat), and some where just out of my price range. After scanning the list back and forth multiple times, I finally settled on 2013 M. Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes-Hermitage AOC (€7.20 per glass at the restaurant).

That choice combined together a few of the favorites. First, Crozes-Hermitage is an appellation which encircles the famous, but tiny Hermitage, and the wines in both areas are made from the same grape – Syrah, one of my absolute favorites – with Crozes-Hermitage been a lot more affordable. Second, this wine was made by Michel Chapoutier, one of my favorite producers, who I had a pleasure of meeting (and still have a blog post about it in the works 😦 ). The wine was just absolutely delicious – expressive nose of lavender and red fresh berries, touch of smoke, luscious, velvety palate with perfect black pepper and red fruit core, clean acidity and perfectly balanced.

M. Chapoutier Petite Ruche Crozes-Hermitage

I was very happy with the wine just by itself, but it also perfectly matched the main course, which I was contemplating for almost the whole trip, somehow not finding the right moment for – Steak Tartar. I don’t know when and how it became one of my favorites – I still like to recount the story of my horror when I ordered it for the first time at one of the Paris restaurants (8 years ago), and the plate with simply chopped raw beef appeared in front of me. After mixing the beef up with all the condiments, I found it absolutely delicious, and I do ever since. You can find steak tartar in US restaurants, but for some strange reason served already mixed, so I was definitely happy to have the classic version where I’m in control. And yes, the wine was working with the dish just fine.

Steak Tartar at Cafe Novotel

As I loved the wine very much, I was in the mood for another glass, which quickly appeared on the table. Now it was the dessert time, and all of a sudden I was on the mission to find a good pairing. Desserts and dry wines are a tricky combination – more often than not you can end up having sweetness fighting with structure and tannins of the wine. I didn’t feel like cheese (also pairing of cheese and wine is greatly overrated – it is actually very difficult to create matching combination). My only option seemed to be a chocolate cake, but with that I was a bit concerned that chocolate might overpower the wine which was luscious, but quite light. Thus I decided to ask for the advice of my waiter. I found his recommendation a bit surprising – a modern dessert which combines fresh raspberries with almond tartlets and vanilla cream. However, he had a point, suggesting that the fruity core of the wine (same raspberries) would match well with the fruit in the dessert. Well, why not?

Raspberry Dessert at Cafe Novotel

The dessert arrived, I took the first bite and the sip of wine – and couldn’t hold a smile. The dish and wine worked together like a charm, perfectly complementing each other and blending together, with the peppery notes of wine adding an interesting twist.

There you have it – a story of successful red wine and dessert pairing, something I would be skeptical of before – but now I know. Love all this learning opportunities the world of wine holds for us – and may your glass never be empty. Cheers!


  1. September 12, 2015 at 6:19 pm

    I think that sounds like the perfect pairing with the red wine. Very nice and the wine sounds just wonderful. The first time I had tartare was in Europe and it looked exactly as you pictured it here. What a luscious wine and meal.

    • talkavino
      September 13, 2015 at 6:10 am

      Thank you Suzanne. Was a great meal, and definitely an excellent wine. The wine is widely available in US, for under $25, so you might want to look it up.

  2. September 13, 2015 at 4:38 am

    Had a lovely Amarone recently which cried out for a chocolate brownie!

    • talkavino
      September 13, 2015 at 6:08 am

      I agree – red wine with chocolate is usually good together, especially if the wine has nice fruity core of Amarone. Here, I was a bit more surprised as the pairing was done on precision of fruit matching, and even vanilla cream played nicely with the red wine. Live and learn 🙂

  3. Kath Cook
    September 13, 2015 at 5:58 am

    It sounds amazing!

    • talkavino
      September 13, 2015 at 6:06 am

      Thank you – at was a successful accidental pairing 🙂

  4. September 13, 2015 at 3:35 pm

    Sounds amazing from beginning to end!

  5. September 13, 2015 at 4:49 pm

    Surprising indeed! It is always nice when a pairing works better than expected.

  6. September 13, 2015 at 8:17 pm

    An interesting post on pairing Anatoli! I’ll have to store this info away for the raspberry desserts of the future… 🙂

  7. Urs Kaufmann
    September 14, 2015 at 9:04 am

    Thank you for this delicious review. I am really impressed how you make the connection between food and wine. Also, it has been a long time since I tasted any M. Chapoutier wines, now I will look for some of his wine for sure.

    • talkavino
      September 14, 2015 at 9:20 am

      Thank you for your kind words! Michel Chapoutier makes wonderful wines in many price categories, this is really something which makes him stand out. His wines are definitely worth seeking.

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