Côtes du Rhône wines are delicious sipped with Tandoori Cote de Boeuf recipe devised by Masterchef: The Professionals finalist Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga

Jane Clare of One Foot in the Grapes takes up the Côtes du Rhône Wines "cook at home" challenge and discovers tandoori beef and the classic French wines are a perfect match

Thursday, 19th August 2021, 12:30 pm
Updated Saturday, 21st August 2021, 9:46 am
A glass of Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Guigal, as the creamed mushrooms and spinach is prepared

There are some meals destined to hold a place in your heart.

This is the story about one which will always be brought out in the “oooo, do you remember when” chit-chat as the occasion arises.

Because who would have thought that tandoori beef and classic French wines would be a perfect match?

Preparing the spicy tandoori marinade for the at home with Côtes du Rhône evening

I was invited by Côtes du Rhône Wines to spend an evening at home, cooking, sipping wines and then appraising the results.

They didn’t have to ask twice.

Wine making in Côtes du Rhône goes back 2,000 years. Today many of the wine producers are family businesses, going back generations.

The wines from the region have quality classifications which are easy to understand and very good value indeed.

The Cote de Boeuf nestles and marinades in its cushion of spiced loveliness

The appellation Côtes du Rhône covers both the north and south of the Rhône Valley. Wines carrying the fantastic value Villages classification are to be found in the southern Rhône.

Across the Rhône, the grapes syrah (mainly in the north) grenache, and mourvèdre (mainly in the south) are the kingpins of red styles.

White grapes viognier, clairette, grenache blanc, marsanne and roussanne create tumbling flavours to white wines.

The Rhône region has some delicious white wines. It’s not red all the way in these parts.

Domaine Pique-Basse La Brusquembille, from Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Roaix

And there’s one region – Tavel – which is dedicated solely to the production of rosé wines. A total of 12 grape varieties can be used, though all must include grenache noir.

Back to my beast of a feast which definitely wasn’t a burden.

The culinary star was this: Tandoori Cote de Boeuf.

The recipe I followed was created by chef Exose Grant Lopo-Ndinga who reached the final of MasterChef: The Professionals in 2019.

Carving the Tandoori Cote de Boeuf as part of the Côtes du Rhône evening at home

Here’s the marinade ingredients which are all combined in a blender: 3tsp garlic puree; 3tsp ginger puree; 6 green chillies; 6 red chillies; 300ml yoghurt; 3tsp Garam Masala; 3tsp ground cumin; 3tsp curry powder; 3tsp chilli powder; 50ml lime juice; 300g coriander (cut off bottom half of stems).

I then nestled Cote de Boeuf (enough for two) in its cushion of spiced loveliness for four hours (the recipe said one).

I seared, caramelised, then popped in the oven for required tastes.

I make no apologies for a recipe in this wine space as it was absolutely delicious with our Rhône wines. It was the best food and wine combo I’ve enjoyed in a long time.

There’s a little video of me, three glasses in, which I won’t be sharing publicly.

But I say: “The surprising combination of beef in tandoori spices and a glass of Côtes du Rhône is so interesting.

Pinkster Spritz is available in two flavours, Raspberry & Hibiscus and Elderflower & Raspberry

“The red wine has a spicy kick on the back that is matching the kick in the beef. Amazing.”

The beef was served with a red wine sauce (Rhône wine, obviously), creamed mushrooms and spinach, and pomme puree.

We began our sips with Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Guigal 2019 (£10.95, online at The Wine Society), an apricot delight with a silky mouthfeel and a thumbs-up with spice.

An eye-opener was the Tavel: Rosé La Dame Rousse Domaine de la Mordorée (£22.50 , www.leaandsandeman.co.uk) with vibrant red fruits, floral notes and orange peel.

We had a couple of reds, (naughty but nice).

I can’t find an up-to-date stockist for you of Domaine Pique-Basse La Brusquembille, but know that this wine from Côtes-du-Rhône Villages Roaix is the one that floated my boat with its vibrant flirty flirtation with tandoori spices.

I bought our second red at Waitrose, and it was this: Beaumarchais Côtes du Rhône Villages (£9.99).Fruity, spicy, super tasty.

To find out more about wines from Côtes du Rhône, follow them on Twitter @Vinsrhone; and Instagram @cotesdurhone_uk . Facebook page is cotesdurhonewineYou can also follow the hashtags #ExoseFood #cotesdurhone #cotesdurhoneathome

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Pink spritz

I have some gin marinading plums from the garden under the bathroom sink.

They’ve been there since last September.

I bet it packs a punch when I finally bottle it.

The guys at Pinkster Gin are more organised than me.

With summer in mind, they’ve created Pinkster Spritz, in two flavours, Raspberry & Hibiscus and Elderflower & Raspberry.

They’re made with gin-soaked raspberries left over from producing Pinkster Gin. I poured the Raspberry & Hibiscus with Fever-Tree’s Mexican Lime Soda.

It was a ripe, rich, fruity treat. I've also really loved both flavours with lashings of ginger ale.

Both spritz styles are £28 for 70cl / £5 for 5cl, online from www.pinkstergin.com. Master of Malt and Drinkshop.com.

Jane Clare, via One Foot in the Grapes, is a programme provider for the Wine & Spirit Education Trust and can help you learn about wine. Go to www.onefootinthegrapes.co.uk for details.