“The New Castle of the Pope”

Or in other words, “Chateauneuf-du-Pape” (here on out called CdP), one of the finest red wines of the Old World. Last night, I attended a CdP tasting at Richard Kinssies’ excellent Seattle Wine Outlet. I haven’t had much exposure to this Southern Rhone wine, so I was looking forward to learning as much as I could. Another cool thing about the evening was that I ran into Kris Mikami at the tasting. Kris is one of the folks in the Washington Wine industry that has a pulse on the entire industry. Definitely a mover and shaker. But yeah, I learned a ton from the event and in the spirit of sharing information, I’ll summarize the knowledge that was dropping.

The wine. Chateauneuf-du-Pape is unique in that the blend has the potential to reach up to 13 different grapes! Grenache is the dominant grape, with Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and a host of others invited to the shindig. Where the CdP region is located is in the Southeast of France, where the Rhone River drains. The terroir is unique here because there isn’t much visible soil, instead there is a top layer of ‘galet’ or stones that shield the soil and insulate the rootstock. Interesting stuff.

Oh yeah, the name. It was called Chateauneuf du Pape. Because a long, long time ago in a country far, far away, the papal ministry wanted to move the papalcy to France. Pourquoi? Because Pope Clement V was a wine lover. So he moved the church to Avignon and built the new castle to the Pope. And the embossing on CdP bottles? That means it was estate bottled. Flex that trivia sometime. You won’t even have to give me credit.

The taste of CdP is unique in that there is no definitive common bond between them, yet you’ll know one when you taste one. Some can be fruit forward, evident tannins to wines with strong spice components, tart, tangy tendencies. This huge palette has much to do with the blend of grapes. One thing that is certain is that it must be 50% Grenache by law.

To conclude, Chateaneuf du Pape is an utterly delightful wine that I look forward to drinking more of soon. With some grilled lamb perhaps? Enjoy this delightful wine, now or down the road. It’s aging potential is excellent! Cheers to all!

Up in yo Grill at Joule

This summer, Joule will be doing something really cool. Every Sunday, they’ll be hosting an Urban BBQ with a different theme as the week starts anew. What’s cool is that they are treating it like one big family picnic; live music, kids encouraged to come, affordable prices ($3-12), there is no reason not to visit this Wallingford gem.

Went to Joule for Valentine’s Day and had a great time. We more or less stumbled upon the place and were greeted and immediately seated. Not bad for not setting up a reservation on one of the more prominent date nights in the calendar. The menu is very original and intuitive. Three categories, with distinct cooking styles to each. We had a number of great dishes. A couple really stood out. One was the branzino. Branzino is a tasty fish that is usually served whole; head, bones, tail, all of it. Delicious. The other was anchovy potatoes, amazingly delicious. Anchovies are an item that most people shy from; we on the other hand, love it. They add a unique flavor and brine to dishes and are excellent on a toasted baguette. The balance of the saltiness from the tasty little fish, with the fruitiness of the olive oil, and the sublime texture of perfectly cooked potatoes combine into a near-perfect dish.

In addition to the food, the service, ambiance, and feel of Joule were top notch. It is a restaurant that’s creative and inventive enough to make you curious to see what comes next. The chef/owners of Joule are Seif Chirchi and Rachel Yang. They come to us after doing their thing at Coupage in Madrona. They opened Joule late last year to spread their wings and showcase their skill with Korean and French techniques. Unique pairing, but one that allows for the pair to shine with interpretation and ingenuity.

I think that is why I’m so excited to try a couple of the Sunday BBQ dinners, to see their takes on all sorts of themes and ingredients. From chicken to pork, streetfood to salmon, I’m looking forward to seeing what Seif and Rachel have in store for us.

Joule Restaurant
1913 N. 45th St
Seattle, WA 98103

Joule on Urbanspoon

Photo from Seattlest