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Some Quail, Lamb, and Two Rabbits with Wines from Anjou-Saumur #Winophiles

This month, I am hosting the #Winophiles as we explore the wine regions of Anjou-Saumur. You can read my invitation here. Though I've explored wines from the Loire before, this was the first time I focused on the Mid-Loire, specifically the regions of Anjou and Saumur. Here's what the other #Winophiles shared...

As for me, I tracked down several bottles and just had fun. I ended up making two rabbit dishes, one quail entrée, and - my personal favorite - lamb!

Some Quail...

The first pairing I tried was Roasted Quail, White Bean Salad, and Chateau d'Epire Savennieres Grand Cru d'Anjou 2017.

The Chateau d'Epire Savennieres, made with the Chenin Blanc grape, has the unique characteristic of being both weighty and light. It had a full-bodied mouthfeel that was lightened by bright acidity. It was an interesting, satisfying pairing with the spice-rubbed quail.


Then I paired a Roasted Rack of Lamb with Spiced Nectarine Chutney with the Remy Pannier Rosé d'Anjou 2017. The recipe is still under wraps for an event in August, but the wine was a delight!

A blend of 50% Cabernet Franc, 40% Grolleau, 10% Gamay, this Rosé d'Anjou was a delicious addition to this meal. In the glass the wine was a bright salmon hut. On the nose I got strong aromas of sunkissed berries. On the tongue, those berry notes persisted with an added spark of acidity.

As I was completely unfamiliar with Grolleau, I did some reading. Named for the French word grolle meaning 'crow', it refers to the nearly black color of the grapes. Despite its color, though, the variety has thin skins and low tannins which can lead to a lack of flavor and structure. Behind Cabernet Franc and Gamay, Grolleau (specifically Grolleau Noir) is one of the Loire's most planted red-wine varieties. However, since the varietal is not a particularly flavorful grape, it is not allowed in any of the Loire's red wine AOCs. So, it's used primarily in the production of rosé wines under the Rosé d'Anjou AOC such as this one.

...One Rabbit

Finally, I  started in with the rabbits. I went for a Rosé and poured the Domaine Bourdin Chancelle Saumur Rosé 2017 with Lapin au Vin Blanc à la Cocotte.

The vineyards of Domaine Chancelle - located in the village of Turquant, in the greater Saumur - have been in the family for five generations with Lydie and her husband, Thierry, taking over at the turn of the millennium. Lydie and Thierry are both passionate about the vines, their wine, and the domaine is run sustainably.

...And a Second Rabbit

This is the recipe that I will share for this post. Inspired by a Portuguese rabbit stew, this is my version of  Coelho à Caçador. And I paired it with the only red wine I tried for this event: Chateau du Hureau Saumur-Champigny Tuffe 2016.

When our friends harvest their meat rabbits, I try to be first in line because it's so hard to source rabbit locally...and we love the meat. But I don't reveal who they are and where they live because there are some crazed militant vegans who see fit to harass these folks, trespass on their property, and release the animals they are nurturing and raising. It's a travesty.

I believe that everyone is entitled to their own opinions about food and eating habits, but there's certainly no need to damage someone else's choices and livelihood. Just know that I try to be thoughtful about where I get my food. We belong to CSAs to support local farmers and CSFs to get local and sustainable fish. We purchase shares of locally raised sheep, pigs, and beef. And I try hard to support friends who are doing that hard work of raising animals humanely. So, thanks, guys! You know I love you.

This rabbit, they warned me, was older and needed to be cooked low and slow. So, I opted to braise it for this event.

Braised Rabbit

  • 1 whole rabbit (this one was about 5 pounds)
  • olive oil
  • 2 medium onions, peeled and diced, approximately 2 C
  • 2 C diced celery
  • 2 C diced carrots
  • 4 cloves garlic, peeled and pressed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1/2 C white wine
  • fresh cilantro
  • freshly ground salt

  • 3 T butter
  • olive oil
  • 2 T flour
  • 1/2 C cooking liquid
  • 1/2 C whole milk
  • freshly ground pepper
  • freshly ground salt

Brown the rabbit in a splash of olive oil in the bottom of a Dutch oven. Cook it for 2 minutes on each side to get a nice brown color. Add in the rest of the ingredients, making sure the rabbit is about halfway submerged in liquid. Bring it to a boil. Cover and reduce the heat to a simmer. Braise for 2 hours. 

Remove the rabbit from the liquid and let it cool enough that you can handle it. Pull the meat from the bone and reserve the bones for making stock.

In the meantime strain the cooking liquid. In another pot melt the butter in a splash of olive oil. Stir in the flour to make a roux. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Pour in the cooking liquid and milk. Whisk constantly until thickened to a nice gravy consistency. Season to taste with salt and pepper.

To Serve
Place the shredded meat on a platter. Spoon the gravy over the top. Serve immediately.

In My Glass

The Chateau du Hureau is located in the hamlet of Dampierre-sur-Loire, four miles east of Saumur and fifteen miles west of Chinon. The domaine's name refers to an old, solitary wild boar: a hureau; it occupies nearly two dozen separate vineyard plots spread out between Dampierre-sur-Loire, Souzay, Champigny, and Saumur. And all of them are planted with Cabernet Franc grapes.

Tuffe is Philippe Vatan's blend made from a variety of his vineyards. Aged in stainless, this has classic Cabernet Franc notes including red fruits and a touch of herbs. This wine was a little bit tight upon pouring and benefited from a run about 30 minutes of breathing. After that, it had softened considerably and was a great match for my gravy-laden rabbit.

So, there you have it. This month I tasted and paired four wines from the Anjou and Saumur regions. Two Rosés, one white, and one red. I matched those with a variety of proteins - rabbit, quail, and lamb - to delectable results.

Next month the French Winophiles will be headed, at least virtually, to the French Basque region with Jeff of FoodWineClick! at the helm. Stay tuned...


  1. Yes, the Tuffe absolutely benefited from aeration. I am so sorry that your friends have found themselves to be victims of intolerance. These same "animal lovers" would be incensed, and rightly so, if someone was trying to force their beliefs upon them.

  2. What an impressive array of pairings! Sounds like a lot of fun to good results. Thanks for hosting and sharing!

  3. Looks like you found some really interesting wines and your pairings are amazing!

  4. I loved all your dishes, and except (maybe) the quail, all would fit in the "forbidden" category at our house! I was intrigued by your notes on the Savennieres as mine were so similar. A unique combination of rich and brightly acidic.


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