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Exploring Pineau d'Aunis Rosé: Two Bottles and Chicken Two Ways #WinePW

This month the Wine Pairing Weekend group is sharing new-to-them varietals. Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm is hosting and she wrote: "Please share a new discovery that you have made in your wine explorations and the food with which you paired your discovery." Here's what the writers are postig...

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Pineau d'Aunis Rosé

When I started searching for a new-to-me variety, I landed on the Pineau d'Aunis grape...and located two bottles of the grape made as Rosés. Through my reading, I discovered that Pineau d'Aunis is a dark-skinned wine grape variety whose origins can be traced to the Medieval era in France's Loire Valley. Named for a priory located halfway between Saumur and Champigny- Prieure d'Aunis - the monastery still stands among the vineyards where the Pasquier family continue its winemaking traditions with their Saumur-Champigny wines.

The grape is also simply called Aunis. And, across the Atlantic, the grape made its way to California where it is bottled under the name Chenin Noir. As I mentioned, I got my hands on two bottles of Pineau d'Aunis Rosé. First I poured...

 Patrice Colin Coteaux-du-Vendômois Gris 2020

This is a single varietal made from 100% Pineau d'Aunis that are certified organic and were planted in the early twentieth century by Georges Colin, the grandfather of the current estate owners, Patrice Colin and his wife, Valérie. The family history of winemaking goes back to the eighteenth century and Patrice is an eighth generation winemaker!

This wine poured a deep salmon hue and had aromas of white pepper and grapefruit. On the palate the aromas were matched with a a layer of ripe raspberries. That intriguing interplay of sweetness and spiciness inspired me to merge sweet vanilla and savory curry powder.

  • vanilla bean, halved lengthwise, seeds scraped out and reserved, bean cut into 1/4- to 1/2-inch pieces
  • 4 teaspoons mild curry powder
  • 1 teaspoon  freshly ground sea salt
  • 6  boneless, skinless chicken thighs, cut into bite-sized pieces
  • 4 Tablespoons butter
  • splash of olive oil
  • 2 cups sweet onions, peeled and chopped
  • 2 cups organic potatoes, scrubbed and cubed
  • 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon whole cloves

Combine the vanilla seeds, curry powder and salt in a mixing bowl. Rub the mixture onto the chicken pieces and set aside.

In a large, flat-bottom pan, melt the butter with a splash of olive oil over medium heat. Add the chicken and the vanilla bean pieces brown the chicken. Cook for approximately 15 minutes.

Add the onion and cook softened. Add the tomato, potatoes, and the cloves. Cook uncovered for 45-50 minutes - until the chicken is tender and the sauce is no longer watery. Remove the cloves before serving.

I served this vanilla-kissed chicken curry with a scoop of steamed jasmine rice and the Patrice Colin Coteaux-du-Vendômois Gris 2020. The wine had just the right amount of acidity to be truly food friendly. I was looking forward to another exploration of Pineau d'Aunis. I didn't have to wait too long.

Henri Bourgeois Pineau D'Aunis Rosé 2020

The next bottle I opened was the Henri Bourgeois Pineau D'Aunis Rosé 2020. Just like Patrice Colin is an eighth generation winemaker, the Famille Bourgeois is in their eleventh generation of the winemaking. Their domain spans nearly seventy-five hectares between the Sancerre and Pouilly-Fumé appellations. What started with Henri Bourgeois progressed to his sons, Jean-Marie and Rémi, and now the estate is run by Arnaud, Lionel, and Jean-Christophe Bourgeois.

This wine had a more pale salmon pink color than the first wine. On the nose, there were bright red fruits. Think raspberries, watermelon, and cherries. On the palate, the wine was crisp with notes of citrus that added a pleasant tartness while hints of minerality lent the wine an elegant structure. The citrus flavors inspired me to roast a chicken stuffed with organic lemons and oranges.


  • 4 pound whole chicken, with giblets and neck removed from cavity
  • two lemons, halved
  • one orance, halved
  • one onion, halved or one head of garlic, halved
  • one or two (more) heads of garlic, halved
  • small bunch of herbs
  • two or three carrots, sliced to the width of your roasting pan
  • three to four stalks celery, sliced to the width of your roasting pan
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup wine
  • freshly ground salt
  • freshly ground pepper
  • 2  to 3 Tablespoons freshly chopped herbs
  • Also needed: 100% cotton twine; roasting pan or Dutch oven

Preheat oven to 425 degrees Fahrenheit. Place sliced carrots and celery in the bottom of your roasting pan or Dutch oven to create a "rack" of sorts.

Stuff the chicken cavity with halved citrus and onion or garlic. Wedge the bunch of herbs side, then truss the chicken with 100% cotton twine and place it on top of the carrot-celery rack.

Rub the chicken with the softened butter. Sprinkle with salt and pepper and freshly chopped herbs. Nestle the halves of the garlic around the chicken. Drizzle the olive oil and wine over the chicken.

Place the chicken, uncovered, in the oven and roast for 30 minutes. Baste the chicken and return it to the oven for another 30 minutes. Baste one more time and roast it for another 20 to 30 minutes until the skin is crisped and golden brown.

Let the roasted chicken rest for 10 to 15 minutes before carving. Serve with a crisp green salad and a nice glass of wine.

And that is a wrap on the new-to-me variety for #WinePW. Next month we'll be exploring the wines of Mexico with David of Cooking Chat leading the discussion. Stay tuned.


  1. I love Roses, especially during the warm months. I will have to look up this varietal. Your pairings sound perfect.

    1. Thanks for hosting, Wendy. I always love an excuse to try something new to me! Cheers.

  2. I love Pineau D'Aunis and these pairings sound delicious. I love the idea of "vanilla kissed". I already love your roast chicken recipe, now to try this curry!

    1. I hope you do. I love that vanilla just adds an earthy sweetness to savory dishes. I just tracked down a bottle of nosiola wine. Thank you for the introduction!

  3. I need to try this! Sounds so delicious.

  4. Your Curry dish sounds great. And I learned something too. I didn't know it is called Chenin Noir in California.

    1. Yep. Totally new to me. And I don't think I've ever tried a Chenin Noir. Looking for one now.

  5. These wines sounds wonderful, and I love the pairings with the two very thoughtfully made chicken dishes!

  6. Looks like you discovered some good wine! I love the sound of the chicken, especially that first chicken thighs recipe.


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