The Mediterranean flavors of Bouillabaisse; saffron, anise, tomatoes, garlic, orange, and of course a taste of the sea in a variety of fish make for the perfect pairing with a southern Rhône white wine from Lirac. Lirac (map) is an appellation in the Southern Rhône Valley only 10 miles northwest of Avignon, on the right bank of the Rhône River. The climate in Lirac is Mediterranean with lots of sunlight (2700 hours annually), low rainfall (only 27 inches annually), an average temperature of 57 F, and the famous “Mistral” northern winds that help circulate air through the vineyards keeping them healthy.
White Grape Varieties of Southern Rhône
Marsanne – Full-bodied, rich texture, depth of color, and medium-low acidity. Flavor notes roasted nuts, pears, peaches, honeydew melon, flowers, and spices.
Viognier – Full-bodied, medium-low acidity, and lush, soft character. Highly aromatic with notes of peach, pear, violets, and minerality.
Grenache Blanc – Full-bodied, low acidity, medium aromatics, and a long finish.
Clairette – High in alcohol, low acidity with flavor notes of fennel, apple, lime, apricot, and peach.
Bourboulenc – Good acidity, low alcohol, fruit, and floral notes, depth of color.
Picpoul – Full-bodied, high acidity with lemon flavors, adds to the overall blend.
I paired my Bouillabaisse with the Château de Montfaucon “Comtesse Madeleine” Lirac Blanc 2016 and here is why ~
Disclosure: The wine was provided to me as a media sample. All opinions are my own.
2016 Château de Montfaucon “Comtesse Madeleine” Lirac AOC
13% abv || $30.00 SRP (sample) | 35% Marsanne, 20% Viognier, 20% Grenache Blanc, 15% Clairette, 10% Bourboulenc
Bright pale gold in color. Medium acidity and body. On the palate a creamy mouthfeel with notes of citrus, pear, fennel, and mineral notes.
Chateau de Montfaucon is a 111-acre estate located across the Rhône River from Chàteauneuf-du-Pape. It is owned and operated by Rodolphe de Pins, a UC Davis graduate. This wine is named after his grandmother, Comtesse Madeleine, who managed the estate for over 60 years when she inherited the Montfaucon castle from her great-uncle Baron Louis de Montfaucon.
Soil Type: sand and silt
Vinification: The grapes are whole-bunch pressed. After the juice has naturally settled, it is racked, fermented, and aged in French oak barrels on its lees for six months.
Food Pairing: Bouillabaisse paired with Château de Montfaucon “Comtesse Madeleine” Lirac
- Regional Pairing – If it grows together it goes together. Bouillabaisse is a classic fish stew from southern France.
- Matching Flavors – Both the wine and Bouillabaisse have flavor notes of anise, citrus, mineral/salt.
- Matching Acidity – The wine and Bouillabaisse are in balance with the acidity.
- Matching Texture – The wine has a creamy mouthfeel which is echoed in the texture of the cod and shrimp.
- Intensity Match – Both the wine and Bouillabaisse have the same flavor and weight intensity.
Bouillabaisse a Provencal fish stew originating in Marseille pairs nicely with a southern Rhône Lirac Blanc.
- 6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large white onion, chopped
- 1 large red sweet bell pepper, cut into 3/4-inch pieces
- 2-1/2 cups fennel bulb, cut into 1/2-inch pieces
- 1 teaspoon saffron threads
- 1 pinch Piment d' Espelette
- 1/4 cup garlic, minced
- 1 cup dry white wine
- 2 tablespoons Pernod
- 3 cups seafood stock
- 1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, diced
- 1 3- inch orange zest strip
- 3/4 cup orange juice, freshly squeezed
- Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1-1/2 lb. fresh cod or halibut fillets, skinned and cut into 2-inch pieces
- 1-1/2 lb. large shrimp, deveined and shelled
- 36 fresh mussels, cleaned and debearded
- 1/4 cup fresh Italian parsley, chopped
- French baguette, for serving
In a large Dutch oven, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion, bell pepper, fennel, saffron, and Piment d' Espelette and sauté for about 15 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the garlic and sauté for 30 seconds, stirring. Add the wine and Pernod. Bring to a boil and cook for about 2 minutes. Add the seafood stock, tomatoes, orange zest, orange juice, 2 teaspoons kosher salt and 1 teaspoon black pepper. Bring the mixture back to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cook for 25 minutes uncovered, stirring occasionally.
Remove and discard the orange zest. Gently stir in the cod or halibut and shrimp. Increase the heat and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered or until fish JUST begins to flake. DO NOT STIR.
Add the mussels on top, COVER, and simmer for about 5 minutes or until the mussels open. Discard any unopened mussels.
Serve in large shallow bowls, sprinkle with chopped parsley, and french baguette slices.
Here’s a list of great Lirac wine suggestions from the French Winophiles
- Michelle from Rockin Red Blog shares Lirac AOC Produces Your New Favorite Wines
- Payal at Keep the Peas shares “Lirac AOC: Hidden in Plain Sight”
- David at Cooking Chat shares “Mushroom Mac and Cheese Casserole with Wine from Lirac”
- Gwen from Wine Predator shares “Discover Lirac’s Southern Rhone Palate with the #Winophiles”
- Wendy from A Day in the Life on the Farm shares “Savory Stew paired with Lirac is Luscious“
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares “Poulet au Citron et Lavande + La Lôyane 2016”
- Jane from Always Ravenous shares “Mediterranean Flavors of Bouillabaisse Paired with Lirac Blanc”
- Jill from L’Occasion shares “Lirac: Five Star Wine And Travel“
- Robin from Crushed Grape Chronicles shares “Lirac – Castles, Keeps, Wolves & Divas in the Southern Rhône”
- Martin from Enofylz shares “A Taste of Lirac – Rhone’s Undiscovered Cru”
- Kat from Bacchus Travel and Tours shares “Lirac: The Rhone’s Hidden Gem“
- Susannah from Avvinare shares “Lirac Wines- Discovering the Southernmost AOC of the Rhone”
- Liz from What’s in That Bottle shares “Lirac: the Rhône Valley’s Secret Right Bank Ringer”
- Rupal from Syrah Queen shares “Discover Lirac – Rhône’s Best Kept Secret”
- Nicole from Somms Table shares “Cooking to the Wine: Clos de Trias Ventoux with Bacon Teriyaki Burger”
- Jeff at Food Wine Click! shares “Lirac: Wine from the Wrong Side of the Tracks”