A Journey Of Discovery – Renardat-Fache

21st March 2023

champagne marketing on a lemonade budget

The day began with a visit to my new neighborhood Farmers Market down the street. As a recluse, I rarely go out to interact socially, but this is an unseasonably bright invigorating late winter weekend morning, I was hungry and motivated. After living for 9 years in a residential neighborhood (elementary schools around the corner), and very sleepy evenings. I needed to move to a more happening district. Luck smiled upon me when I found an incredible new apartment building managed by a great company, but my market challenging realization was: “when the hell did everyone become one third my age?” Everybody in the market I spoke to was ambulatory, bright and cleverly quick-witted, I was left in the dust and slothful by comparison. I realized the following Monday I might need to seek therapy for my isolation.

Anyway, back to the market: I found one grocer’s stall, a virtual produce one-stop-shop with late, late winter harvested Chioggia Beets, prime for roasting, fresh fennel bulbs, and blood oranges! I have been mentally kicking myself for 50 years recalling my first introduction to a Blood Orange sitting outside the leaning Pisa Tower plaza in Italy. While rummaging through my brown paper sack cold lunch packed by a tour guide company I discovered a whole citrus fruit (hermetically sealed by nature) that would be a wholesome post prandial snack to remove the memories of the indifferent sandwich provided. I peeled the citrus only to discover what appeared to be infected with larvae speckled throughout the fruit. Foolishly I tossed the gift in the bin, untasted. I would not have an opportunity to taste a Blood Orange again for 3 months when I reached the Amalfi Coast and had seen a segmented blood orange dressed with a savory Limoncello vinaigrette over arugula greens for dessert, a turning point for me in the way I approached food and beverage.

So I needed to think of my luncheon options: how I’d build this salad that afternoon?! Firstly I need to visit my local supermarket to choose cheese, on the way buy a loaf of Focaccia, and stop by the wine shop I’d established a reputation with. Suddenly, I was spending as much money as I was trying to save, by not going to eat at the favorite pub or restaurant down the street. Never mind, I’m in for a penny, in for a pound.

At the Murray’s cheese franchise in my local supermarket I found Cypress Grove Purple Haze, a lavender and fennel pollen Goat Cheese, that might be a reasonable addition to the beet and fennel salad proposed?

Off to the wine shop, to look for a wine accomplice to make this endeavor worthwhile. Thinking of the flavors posed by the salad, I wondered if the wine merchant would have a crazy young fresh rosé I could chill in time to serve with my salad? I thought initially of California memories supplied by Ridge’s White Zinfandel, but I haven’t seen that since the era Donna Summer sang Last Dance. I walked down an aisle spying a 2022 Bugey-Cerdon rosé by Renardat-Fache, it must have just landed stateside, a miracle to tick-off two of my wine criteria! A Methode-ancestral is the original sparkling wine technique for capturing bubbles (Clairette de Die) initial fermentations in the bottle, very popular in the Rhone region. I grabbed this bottle and hurried off to test my brand new oven’s beet roasting virgin voyage. Below was my lunch salad with wine:

Beet, blood orange, fennel – Chioggia beets, citrus supremes, raw fennel, Purple Haze (lavender & fennel pollen) goats cheese, tarragon-mint vinaigrette.

Domaine Renardat-Fache Bugey-Cerdon Rosé, Jura 25$ (Gamay/Poulsard Method-ancestral) a vin pétillant Crémant.

A refreshingly fruity and stimulating wine with the fizzy (first fermentation Methode-ancestral of bubbles captured in the bottle, Crémant style) and crisp mouth watering grapes (Gamay & Poulsard blend) light berry fruitiness and herbal scent that accentuated the beets, blood orange, and flower pollen flavored goat’s cheese.

When I ate and drank this sensational wine and salad combination, I realized that my self diagnosed assessment seeking mental health therapy earlier may have been too hasty. Never underestimate the power of a good meal!

Peter Birmingham

Restaurant General Manager, Corporate Beverage Director, & Hospitality Consultant, with these qualities he represents a Triple Threat: a culinary tableside historian, an accomplished wine taster with the casual ability to make flavor relationships and beverage quality value accessible.