Rose’ in September

I’m crazy about the wine I’m about to tell you about. I’ve been drinking it all summer long, but it wasn’t until the temperatures dropped slightly and I could feel that crispness in the air that I could really appreciate all this little gem has to offer. The producer (Maxime Magnon) labels this wine as a rose’. If I were to taste this blindly, I probably would not assume rose’; in fact, I don’t think that I would be able to figure out the grape varietals or origin at all, as it is a unique style of wine from the region of Corbieres. But I do love this wine.

Maxime Magnon Corbieres Rose “Metisse” is a blend of cinsault, grenache noir, carignan, and grenache blanc. Like many of the vintners in the Corbieres region, Maxime approaches viticulture and vinification of his wines with the utmost respect for nature and the soil. He is a naturalist at heart, certified organic with biodynamic practices in his vineyard management. His vineyard land is comprised of mostly limestone and schist, making the terrain a very difficult one to farm. The yielding fruit has such complexity, because of the characteristics of the ground. All of his wines are aged in neutral barrels and they all, especially the rose’, are meant to have immediate approachability.

I love the bright cherry notes that I get on this wine; not as reminiscent of a rose’ as much as it is a light pinot noir. On the nose, I get berries, red cherry fruit, and some herbaceousness that I can’t exactly put my finger on. On the palate, I get a bowl of berries with some leafy tones. Definitely drier and higher acid than your typical fresh rose from Provence. I love the complexity, and the diversity of the wine. It will pair with everything from simple salads to light game.

This is the perfect sipper for the beginning of the Fall season… Still warm enough out to enjoy a rose’, but one with a little more structure and complexity will match the chill in the air as we approach the cooler months. I love pairing this with grilled salmon brushed with a little berry-chili glaze. There’s not a lot of heat, but the flavor of the chilies and berries together have great balance especially with the salmon.

Grilled Salmon with Guajillo Berry Glaze
Serves 4

3 oz dried guajillo chilies, stemmed and seeded
2 cups boiling water
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 teaspoons olive oil
2 cups fresh berries (raspberries, blackberries, and strawberries work best)
2 tablespoons sugar
salt, to taste
4 (6 oz) salmon fillets (with skin)
oil, for brushing grill grates and fish
salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce: Place dried chilies in boiling water. Let sit for 30 minutes, until chilies are softened. Reserving the soaking water, remove the softened chilies and place them in a blender with the garlic, and blend with a few tablespoons of the soaking water so as to form a paste. Place two teaspoons of olive oil in a medium saucepan, and bring to a medium high heat. Add the chili paste, and saute until fragrant, about 1 to 2 minutes. Add the berries and stir to combine. Add all of the soaking liquid and sugar and bring to a boil. Simmer the mixture on low for about 5 to 7 minutes. Transfer the berry sauce mixture to a blender, and blend until combined. Strain the mixture into a clean saucepan, pressing on and then discarding the solids. Simmer the mixture until slightly thickened, and is just about 1 cup. Season with salt and divide the sauce equally into two bowls.

For the fish: Preheat your grill to high and lightly oil the grate. Pat the salmon dry, brush with oil, and then brush the flesh side of the four fillets with the sauce from one of the bowls that you’ve set aside. You should use the entire 1/2 cup. Season the fillets with salt and pepper. Place the salmon, skin side down, on the grill and lower the heat to medium. Flip after 4 minutes, and continue cooking for another 3 to 4 minutes (7-8 minutes total.)

Serve the salmon with extra sauce, if desired.

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