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A Surprising Côtes du Rhône Villages Food and Wine Pairing

Very rarely do you come across a Côtes du Rhône Villages so incredible that it might as well be a Gigondas wine. However, in this case, the red wine that we used in this wine pairing from Paul Jaboulet Aîné (2020) is a nice upgrade.

It is big and bold, rich and intense, and it paired perfectly with my recipe for Steak with Hatch Chile Cream and Tomato-Corn Salsa. There is some spice involved in the recipe, and some robust flavour, too — and the wine was an excellent match for each element of the dish. Please read the original Provence WineZine post here.

More Côtes du Rhône Villages

If you like French wine, there is a good chance that you have sampled some vintages from the Rhône Valley. Some vineyards in the southern Rhône are near the famous Mont Ventoux – Provence’s giant mountain. This article focuses on six (6) villages in the Côtes du Rhône wine region. These six (6) towns are only some of the 51 villages surrounding Mont Ventoux, each with a distinctive character. While these villages share the same geography and historical background, each town is unique and worth visiting.

Gigondas Rhône Wine Village village creative commons attribution Jean-Marc Rosier from

©Jean-Marc Rosier

Previously known for white wines, Gigondas now has a reputation for excellent red wines. Many consider this perched village with the Dentelles de Montmirail backdrop, one of the prettiest in the Côtes du Rhône. The town, more of a hamlet, is adorable, so plan a visit to Gigondas, especially if you love red wine. The city feels like a hamlet, home to 478 people (2021), with the ruins of an old château above the town centre and the soaring mountain peaks above. However, the small town packs a punch for its wine production reputation with an AOC designation. The wines from Gigondas are often compared to Châteauneuf-du-Papes but are more affordable.

Renowned wine and a famous troubadour are among the many reasons to visit the walled village of Vacqueras—this wine-producing commune in the Côtes-du-Rhône region where they have made wine since the 15th century. The town is circular, with an old gateway, a 12th-century bell tower and a ruined Medieval Château. This area rewards both the outdoor enthusiast and wine lover with fabulous hiking in the Dentelles de Montmirail and the potential to sample famous “cru” wines from the heart of the Southern Rhone Valley and nearby Châteauneuf du Pape.

Rasteau used to be merely one town among many Côtes-du-Rhone villages. It has, for many years, boasted two appellations – a sweet AOP wine and a dry AOP red Cotes-du-Rhone Villages variety. However, status derives from producing a classic red to rank with Cairanne and Séguret – the first Rasteau AOC dry red sold in 2010.


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Susan Newman Manfull

It was love at first sight when my family and I arrived in the charming village of Lourmarin for a short vacation, nearly 20 years ago. We returned home to Portsmouth, New Hampshire, and the next thing I knew, we were planning a much longer sojourn in that village and making arrangements to enroll our daughter in the local school there. That led to buying a maison de village— actually two, then a courtyard, a parking spot, and a bergerie— in our favourite Provençal village where we (readily) adopted that certain joie de vivre, established dear friendships, and, to this day, endeavour to blend in with the crowd at Café Gaby.

We no longer own property in Lourmarin, but we continue to hang our hats there frequently and gather fodder for our souls and The Modern Trobaors and Provence WineZine. There is never a shortage.

The Modern Trobadors, conceived in 2008, is about all things Provence: its markets, hilltop villages, lavender, art, literature, culture, history, food, wine, and news. Provence WineZine, launched in August 2014, focuses on wines from Provence and the Southern Rhône Valley regions—with a special emphasis on Provence's world-renowned rosés—and the men and women who make them.

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