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A Birthday Tradition + Side by Side Sips of Domaine de Verquière Rasteau #Winophiles #Sponsored

This is a sponsored post written by me in conjunction with the November #Winophiles event.
Wine samples were provided for this post and this page may contain affiliate links.

This month the French Winophiles are sharing pairings of Rasteau with Michelle of Rockin Red Blog at the helm of the discussion. You can read her invitation: hereRhône Valley Vineyards sent samples to several bloggers and I am showcasing one of those samples with this pairing.

If you are reading this early enough and are so inclined, join us on a live Twitter chat: Saturday, November 16th at 8am Pacific. Or search for the hashtag - #Winophiles - and read all the tweets at your convenience. For now, take a look at the articles the French Winophiles are sharing. Cheers.

The Rasteau Party

In the Glass

When I first saw 'Rasteau' on the list of topics, late last year, I tracked down a few bottles. Then this month's host was able to wrangle some samples for the group. And I ended up with two different vintages of the same wine, so I'm doing a side-by-side pairing. But first, a bit about Rasteau.

Rasteau is both a small medieval village and an Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for wine in the southern Rhône wine region of France. Just a few key facts: the red wines must include a blend of at least 50% Grenache and 20% Syrah and Mourvèdre; Rasteau was initially past of the Côtes-du-Rhône, then became Côtes-du-Rhône Village Rasteau in 1966 before being elevated to Cru status in 2010!

Rhône Valley Vineyards* sent me a bottle of the 2017 Domaine de Verquière Rasteau as a sample - merci beaucoup! - and I already had the 2015 on-hand. 

The Verquière estate has been passed down from father to son for many generations and is now managed by brothers Romain and Thibaut Chamfort, the family's fourth generation of winemakers. Following longheld traditions and sustainable practices, the estate was recently certified organic. 

With a suggested retail price of around $15 for each one, these wines could easily be a midweek sippers. But they are also elegant enough for a special occasion! Both years are comprised of a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, the 2015 was just a touch more smooth than the 2017. However, both had a fruit forward start that finished more earthly with a tinge of bitterness, like a dark chocolate.

On the Plate: A Birthday Tradition

So, when it came time for me to pair the Rasteau wines, I looked at the calendar and realized that it was time for our annual joint birthday party for two of our best friends - Pia and Mike. The French Winophiles had originally listed this is a Thanksgiving wine pairing event, but, for us Thanksgiving starts early.

Every November I host a dinner party for Pia and Mike. It's a tradition. And it is one of those events that kicks off my month of reflecting on things for which I am grateful. And life-long friendships definitely tops my gratitude list.

Anyway, three years ago, I made a lasagna dinner for the birthday duo. Well, that sealed the deal. It's been lasagna ever since!

I used to use five different cheeses. One of them asked, "You make it with seven cheeses, right?" The other upped it to twelve cheeses. Hmmmm...I was able to get it up to eight for this version.

Ingredients makes 1 pan; we doubled this to have enough for the dinner and leftovers
  • 1 onion, peeled and diced
  • 5 to 6 garlic cloves, peeled and crushed
  • olive oil
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 C fresh tomato sauce
  • 1/2 C red wine
  • 1/2 C water
  • 1 C fresh parsley, chopped
  • 2 T fresh oregano, chopped
  • 2 T fresh basil, chopped
  • freshly ground salt, to taste
  • freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • no boil lasagna noodles
  • 3 C shredded cheese (I used a mixture of provolone, aged mozzarella, asiago, and pecorino)
  • 1 C shredded parmesan
  • 1 C small curd cottage cheese
  • 1 C ciliegie (small fresh mozzarella balls)
  • 1 C whole milk ricotta

In a large, flat-bottom pan, saute the onions and garlic in a splash of olive oil until the onions are softened and translucent.

Add in the ground meats and cook till browned through completely. Pour in the tomato sauce, wine, and water. Bring to a boil.

Reduce the heat to a simmer, stir in herbs, then season to taste with salt and pepper.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. To assemble the lasagna, layer meat sauce, noodles, shredded cheese blend, cottage cheese, ricotta, and more meat sauce.

Repeat till your pan is full though the last layer should be meat so that the noodles are completely covered.

Cover with foil. Bake in the 375 degree F oven for one hour. Remove the foil. Sprinkle with shredded parmesan. Return pan to the oven for another 10 to 15 minutes until the sauce is bubbling and the cheese melted. Let cool for 10 to 15 minutes before slicing. Serve hot.

We served this with bread and salad. Then we finished the meal with two different birthday cakes. Recipes to come soon.

But, for now, this a wrap on the November #Winophiles event. And we'll be finishing up 2019 with an event focused on Vouvray with host Jeff of FoodWineClick! Stay tuned for more information about that.

Find the Sponsor...
Rhône Valley Vineyards on the web, on Instagram, on Twitter
*Disclosure: I received sample wines for recipe development, pairing, and generating social media traction. My opinions do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the organizer and sponsors of this event.


  1. In addition to the Rasteau I wrote about this month, others from the AOC I've tasted are as you say, elegant enough for special occasions. Love hearing about your annual best friend get together. Definitely put a smile on my face, thanks Cam!

  2. I can totally see this wine with the lasagna -- but how was it with the cake?

    1. It was not a match with the chocolate cake, but went well with the pomegranate one!

  3. 8 cheeses, wow. I had a 4 cheese ziti bake recently that was nearly a 3 cheese dish, I ate most of the ciliegie as they were being stirred into the sauce! Better not let me cook with you!

  4. Looks like a lot of fun. And I totally agree that these wines would be great for special occasions as well, and ask you show, they're even ageable at a reasonable price point.

  5. The best part of food and wine is enjoying it with family and friends...and celebrating a special occasion is just a bonus!

  6. Eight cheeses?! What time is dinner! As always, an inspiring post Cam!


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