When it comes to food and wine, “peasant” hardly means low class any more. To me it means small stone farmhouses in the south of France with honest, rustic dishes to match. You know exactly what’s in your glass and what’s on your plate. A good peasant wine will be a truthful representative of its terroir.
Our friends at The Organic Wine Company sent us some wines we thought would be fine examples of peasant wines. The family of Veronique Raskin, the driving force behind the company, has owned the property of Chateau Bousquette for over 200 years and they have been growing their grapes organically since 1975.
We brought these bottles to the Angelica KItchen, the legendary vegan restaurant in New York’s East Village, where they have a cross-section of Asian and American inspired food with bold flavors, but also honest and simple to keep with our peasant theme.
We started with two wines from Chateau Bousquette. First was their Rosé from the St. Chinian AOC in the South of France. It had a wonderful pink color in the glass, showing hints of orange. The nose was a classic Rosé profile showing some light berry and quince notes. In the mouth, the main flavor component is candied fruit and orange peel that was balanced perfectly with a hefty amount of tannin and acidity. The nice balance of acidity, fruit and a lovely roundness to this wine paired perfectly with the tempeh rueben sandwich that was full of tangy, rich, tart and crunchy flavors.
Up next was the Chateau Bousquette Cuvée Tradition. This is a full bodied blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mouvedre and Carignan also from the same St. Chinian AOC. If the Rose made us think of that quintessential peasant village in the summer, the Cuvee Tradition took us straight to the late fall. This wine showed a deep red color in the glass and had wonderful earthy notes with a touch of sulfur that was framed by some candied cherries. This was a big wine in the mouth with a good deal of tannic structure, acidity and fruit that was pleasantly balanced. While no one note stood out, this wine would be well served by a nice hearty stew of locally raised meat and organic veggies. We enjoyed this wine with a dish full of Asian soba noodles, vegetables and wonderfully aromatic broth.
Our last offering from was the 2007 Chateau Veronique; named after Veronique, of course. It is a similar blend of Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah but where the previous wine showed big bold flavors and elements, this wine baffled us a bit. The ruby red color held a nose that was somewhat subdued, showing faint hints of cherry and blackberry and some wet earth. In the mouth, however, there was a very pleasant balance of fruit, acidity and oak that showed no overwhelming characteristic but rather a very pleasing balance of flavors and elements. We all noted that this was the type of wine that would be served alongside many family meals in that peasant farmhouse that had been conjured up in our minds.
Even though our night of drinking was in the confines of an asian-influenced vegan restaurant in the East Village, we felt transported to a more rustic time and place. In this age of over manipulated, mass-produced wines, with little or no unique characteristics, there was no denying that the wines of Chateau Bousquette and Chateau Veronique did their part to distinguish themselves. These are quintessential peasant wines that deserve simple, rustic peasant fare.
The wines for this review were sent to us from the Organic Wine Company.