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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée + Déferlante Orangée 2023 #Winophiles

This month - and this week - the French Winophiles are looking at wines from Languedoc. My official pairing will post on Friday, but I wanted to share an unexpected wine: a skin-fermented Languedoc with onion soup.



As I mentioned, this weekend the French Winophiles are heading to Languedoc, formerly Coteaux du Languedoc. It's an appellation in France's Languedoc-Roussillon wine region and produces mostly red wines. I read that 75% of all Languedoc wines are red; and the remaining 25% of the wines are split evenly between whites and rosés. The typical Languedoc red is medium-bodied and fruit-forward wine. And most of the time, the grape varietals used are Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre, sometimes with hints of Carignan or Cinsault.


Déferlante Orangée 2023


Made by Olivier Cohen, a young winemaker from the Languedoc in the area behind Montpellier called the Hérault. His estate is called Les Vignes d’Olivier and started as a wine-seller, not a wine-maker. While working at a renowned natural wine bar La Part des Anges, his passion for natural wine blossomed and he was determined to learn to make his own. He traveled to Corsica to learn from Antoine Arena, then added other mentors before starting his own vineyard in the Languedoc in 2013.



This 2023 vintage is a red-white blend - made with Clairette and direct press Cinsault. The organically-grown grapes were hand-harvested and, then, fermented with wild yeasts.


The wine poured a deep cantaloupe hue with abundant aromas of citrus. Think grapefruit and tangerine with a tropical twist and layers of red berries. This lively wine is complex and smooth. I'd definitely consider this a summer wine darling that I will be buying again.


But as the weather is not quite warm and balmy yet, I actually paired it with a rich wintery soup in a clash-of-the-seasons pairing.


Soupe à l'Oignon Gratinée


Since Jake is cutting back on breads and carbs, I floated a butternut squash coin topped with melted cheese on the soup instead of the traditional toast.


Ingredients


  • ¼ cup butter

  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil

  • 5 medium onions, peeled and thinly sliced (I use a mandolin slicer)

  • ½ teaspoon fresh thyme + more for garnish

  • 2 Tablespoon dry wine

  • 3½ cups beef stock

  • 1½ teaspoon salt

  • ½ teaspoon black pepper

  • slices of butternut squash

  • ½ cup cheese, thinly sliced (I used a Pecorino)


Procedure


Melt the butter in olive oil in a large soup pot, or Dutch oven, over medium heat. Stir in the onions, and thyme. After 15 minutes, or as soon as the onions begin to brown, reduce the heat and cover, stirring frequently. Cook until the onions are caramelized, approximately 30 to 40 minutes.


Stir in the salt and pepper. Pour in the wine and raise the heat. Bring the liquid to a boil and let the alcohol cook off, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Pour in the beef stock and bring it back to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for another 20 to 30 minutes. Season to taste with more salt and pepper, as needed.


While the soup simmers, prepare the squash. Place round on a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Drizzle with olive oil and place in the oven for 30 minutes. Then top of the squash with thinly sliced cheese and return to the oven to melt and brown.


To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls, float cheese squash on the top, and serve immediately.


Stay tuned for all of the Languedoc pairings from the group this weekend.

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