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Flavor or Bust: For the Love of the Lamb

Here is the second entry for our Flavor or Bust series, written by Harry Moen, the ONLY certified sommelier working at Locus Wines. In this episode, Harry drinks a Corbiéres and our flagship blend, Locus Red and pairs them with our signature Lamb Pastry Squares.

For the Love of the Lamb

by Harry Moen

The Wines

2017 Domaine De Fonsainte

Corbiéres Rouge

2015 Locus Wines Red

The Dish

Grilled Bone-in Pork Loin Chop with Black Bean Purée, Corn Mash, and Mango Salsa

Briefly Geeking Out.

Below the Rhône Valley in southern France, lays the Languedoc-Roussillon region and you won’t be judged if you’ve never heard of it. You probably have imbibed on these drinkable offerings more than once however, as the region is the largest producer of wine in the world and accounts for a third of all production in France. I personally love these wines for their unfaltering sincerity, as they make no pretense about what they are and you are paying for the wine in the bottle instead of the name on the label. Many wines from this region are made in the same styles and with the same grapes as those of the Rhône Valley, specifically the southern portion. At Locus, we try to focus on the grapes and wine styles of that region.

In the Glass(es).

I recently picked up a wine from Corbiéres - a significant sub-region of Languedoc-Roussillon that specializes in hearty blends based around the Carignan grape. Carignan grapes are known for having high levels of tannin and acid, as well as providing a spicy-earthy taste. This particular wine, Domaine De Fontsainte, is 60% Carignan, 30% Grenache Noir, and 10% Syrah. From the moment I opened the bottle, there was distinct funkiness in the wine - the good kind. Aromas of dusty earth and garrigue*, there were some red berry flavors and a lingering pungent combination of herbal flavor and baking spices bloomed from my glass.

When I describe our Locus Red to guests, I often compare it to a southern French red wine, and tasting it next to the Corbiéres was a fun and enlightening exercise. For myself, the Red leads with ripe red berries (current and raspberry), and the fruit is much more forward in this wine than the Corbiéres, yet there is still that same baking spice flavor to the wine that makes it perfect to one of my favorite pairings.

Wham. Lamb. Thank you Ma’am.

When I came on board at Locus Wines during the opening of Locus’s Pioneer Square tasting room and we were introduced by the food and wines we’d be serving, I was immediately seduced by the lamb pastry squares. Paired with the Locus Red, it was (and still is) a solid party in mouth.

The gentle red fruit in the wine accentuates the lamb without making it taste gamy, and the baking spice flavors in the wine echo those of the dish superbly. This is some magical shit stuff, and while the Corbiéres is wonderful and was enjoyable with the lamb pastry, I am staying faithful to the Locus Red pairing as it is just better. This to me is the definition of terroir, where in Europe food and wines have evolved over time and are meant to be enjoyed together. It makes sense that the food Ton makes will be best enjoyed with the wines Rich makes.

The verdict.

Lots of Flavor, whichever way you go.

(*) Garrigue refers to the low-growing vegetation on the limestone hills of the Mediterranean coast. Wild juniper, thyme, rosemary and lavender grow wild and the wines of the region express the terroir they’re in.

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