Monastrell, Mourvèdre; Monastrell, Mourvèdre — let’s call the whole thing off

February 18, 2011 § Leave a comment

Another offshoot of my this week (see below) was my re-acquaintance with broccoli rabe. No, it’s not local this time of year (and damn hard to find here in Maine even in season; why is that?). But I made a simple lentil dish (French lentils, and loads of chopped garlic, fresh fennel, fresh sage, rosemary, parsley and mint, plus multiple grindings of black pepper), then blasted the wok for the classic combo of broccoli rabe, garlic and hot red pepper flakes, finished with lemon juice.

The wine was the Atope Monastrell 2008, a bargain of a wine ($13) for what it offers: blueberry at first, then minty bitterness, moderate earthiness, and a shocking kind of freshness that leads naturally to hearty greens. The lentils had fun with the wine’s earth, but it was that green quality — kind of like a balanced Cabernet Franc from the Loire — that took center stage, picking up the herbs of the lentils and bowing in deference to the verdant, bracing tang of the broccoli rabe.

Also-known-as-es: Broccoli rabe is sometimes called “rapini”. And Monastrell is the same grape as what the French call Mourvèdre, that southern-Rhône powerhouse that endows Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe with its spine and can be thrilling as a single-varietal wine in Bandol.

 

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