Behind Door #10
Ortas – Cave de Rasteau ‘Tradition’
Cru des Cotes du Rhone
About this winery
In the heart of the Cotes Du Rhone, you will find the small township of Rasteau – a place where wine making tradition has been documented back to Roman times. First settled in 30 BC, the area has been known to produce some of the finest Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah grapes. Interestingly, the production of white wine is disallowed under the Rasteau A.O.C, and instead is labelled as Cotes-du-Rhone Villages with Rasteau as a suffix. Gotta love those French wine laws!
Cave de Rasteau is one of the areas oldest cooperatives between 8 established growers, all working together to establish a reputation for aromatic and well balanced wines that show their character of place. That character was awarded in 2009 when their region was granted the A.O.C. Crus des Côtes du Rhône status. This official Appellation designation places Rasteau among the greatest of the Southern Rhone growing areas – right up next to the likes of Gigondas, and Chateaneuf du Pape.
A deep and velvety wine, the nose exudes black currant, blackberry, and blueberry with hints of anise, pepper, pencil shavings, and cigar box. On the palate the juicy acidity and firm but extremely fine tannins plays a push and pull game with one another. This is a structured wine, but in a fine grained sense. Dry and full in body, the notes of black currant, sour cherries, green tobacco, and bitter cocoa step forward to then linger on the finish.
Made from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre Old Vines, this is a wine that is beautifully concentrated, and will likely reach it’s drinking peak in a few years time. However do not be shy about enjoying it now! If you do, this is one wine that is ideal with hearty red meat dishes or small game. Our household favourite recipe to pair it with is my Red Wine Braised Beef Short Ribs, which are delicious served with mashed potatoes, or over Mushroom Risotto!
RED WINE BRAISED BEEF SHORT RIBS
- 6 large beef short ribs (14 to 16 oz. each)
- 3 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
- 3 medium carrots, finely chopped
- 2 medium celery stalks, finely chopped
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 2 Tbs. balsamic vinegar
- 1 Tbs. fresh thyme leaves, plus 3-5 whole sprigs
- 4 cups hearty but fruity red wine (like Zinfandel or Côtes du Rhône)
- 5 cups homemade or low sodium beef broth
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt
- Put the short ribs in a large mixing bowl and rub them with the thyme leaves and 1 Tbs. black pepper. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate for 2hrs to overnight. Before cooking, remove the ribs from the refrigerator and season on all sides with salt and pepper. Allow the meat to sit at room temperature for 30min-1hr before beginning to brown
- Position a rack in the lower/center of the oven and heat the oven to 325°F.
- Heat a 8-quart Dutch oven or other heavy-duty pot over medium/high heat
- Once heated, pour in the olive oil, and wait until it begins to lightly smoke. Add as many short ribs as will fit in the bottom as a single layer. Brown on the three meaty sides , approx 2- 3 minutes per side.
- Transfer the browned short ribs to a large plate or bowl. Repeat with the remaining ribs and transfer those as well
- Once all ribs are browned and removed from the pan, reduce the heat to medium and add your onion, carrot, celery, bay leaves, and fresh thyme. Cook, stirring to scrape up the browned bits from the bottom of the pan, until the onions become lightly translucent (approx 7mins).
- Add the balsamic vinegar and then the red wine. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil.
- Once boiling, return the ribs to the pot, making sure the vegetables are in the broth and not on top of the ribs (the short ribs should be nearly submerged). Tuck the full thyme sprigs in around the meat, and cover with the lid. Put the pot in the oven and braise until the meat falls away from the bone when poked with a paring knife, about 3 hours.
- Once cooked remove the short ribs from the oven and set aside entire pot for 30 minutes before serving.Serve atop mashed potatoes, and top with braised vegetables and pan juices.