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A Red Blend from the Slopes of 'The Giant of Provençe', Slow-Braised Venison Stew, and Merci!

Updated: Jan 13

Welcome to the first event of our combined wine writing groups. To kick off 2024, Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm invited us to share French Wines We Were Gifted. As always, the theme can be loosely interpreted. It could be wine we gave to someone else or wine we wish someone had given us. But, in the end, I was able to actually share a wine that was gifted to me.


Here is the January #Winophiles line-up.



Let's start with the 'Merci Beaucoup!'

I had a completely different pairing planned with a wine I bought for a friend; I picked up a second bottle for myself. Then, one afternoon last month, a courier showed up with a wine delivery from the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. I hadn't ordered anything from them and didn't remember agreeing to do a post for a winery. Then it occurred to me that my friend - and this month's host - Wendy was a member of the Wall Street Journal Wine Club. I messaged her and asked if she had gifted me some French wine. Yes! So, merci, Wendy!


Domaine de Ju Ventoux 2020


Reading up on the bottle that Wendy shipped it - Domaine de Ju Ventoux 2020 - it's a red blend from the slopes of what they call 'The Giant of Provençe,' Mont Ventoux. Ventoux is located thirty miles from Châteauneuf-du-Pape and has some of France's oldest vineyards. Most of the vineyards have limestone and mineral-rich soils; several have galets roulés, those large rounded stones that have been shaped by glacial and fluvial actions and deposited in the region by the Rhône River.


The galets roulés absorb heat during the day and continue to radiate the warmth throughout the night. Plus the famous Mistral wind cools the vineyards and keeps the vines pest-free.


Domaine de Ju is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Carignan. What an interesting collection of grapes to blend. While all three lean towards ripe red fruits, the Grenache bring some notes of cinnamon and star anise while the Carignan also brings in aromas and layers of licorice. The tannins in the wine were delicate and the finish long and elegant.


Civet de Cerf, Slow-Braised Venison


To go along with the wine, I opted to serve Civet de Cerf, a slow-braised venison stew.


Ingredients

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 to 1-1/2 pounds venison, cubed

  • 1 cup onion, peeled and diced

  • 3 to 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed

  • 1 cup diced carrots

  • 2 cups diced potatoes

  • 1-1/2 cups liquid (I used 1 cup beef broth and 1/2 cup leftover wine)

  • 2 cups diced tomatoes

  • 2 bay leaves

  • 2 sprigs fresh oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

  • salt and pepper to taste


Procedure

Heat the oil in a large, Dutch oven. Add the venison into the pot. Sear on each side for 3 to 5 minutes - until a nice brown begins to appear. Add the onions and garlic to the pot. Let them cook until the onion is translucent and beginning to caramelize. Add in the carrots and potatoes. Cook for another 3 to 5 minutes.


Pour in the broth or combination of liquid that you're using. Stir in the tomatoes, bay leaves, oregano, and red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil. Then, reduce the heat to a simmer and cover. Let the meat braise for 3 to 4 hours - longer is fine, if you need to. You can leave the venison in cubes or shred the meat a little bit.


Once the venison is tender. Remove the cover and turn up the heat to reduce the sauce to your desired thickness. Season to taste with salt and pepper.


That's a wrap for my January wine group offering. Next month I will be hosting the February event as the Wine Pairing Weekend host. I have the writers looking at pink wines and or Valentines' Day pairings. You can read my invitation.

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