Chicken Roasted with Oranges … Served with an Exquisite Condrieu

Pairing: Chicken Roasted with Oranges, Rosemary and Bay Leaves, Served with Barley Pilaf and Peas, Paired with a 2015 E. Guigal Condrieu

Food: There are so many wonderful seasonings and ingredients that make a simple roast chicken even better (Is that possible?). Raising our own flock of hens year after year has given us ample opportunities to try umpteen recipes and to experiment with a vast array of flavorings. This recipe … Chicken Roasted with Oranges, Rosemary and Bay … has become a family favorite. Amanda Hesser’s singular book, The Cook and the Gardener: A Year of Recipes and Writings from the French Countryside is the source of this inspired recipe. A roasting chicken is first marinated in a combination of freshly squeezed oranges, garlic, rosemary, bay leaves, and the remaining orange rinds. Refrigerate for 6 to 8 hours, basting several times in the marinade. Make a sauce out of the marinade and some rich stock (Hesser recommends duck stock). What a memorable integration of flavors! And paired with the Condrieu, it ascends to the stratosphere!

Note: Amanda Hesser is a great writer. Her book is a really good read even if you never make any of the recipes.

Wine: I have said this before, but,… what the heck … I will say it again. If I have a favorite white wine, and … let’s be honest … I do … it has to be Condrieu, the appellation of the Viognier grape grown along a short stretch of the Northern Rhone River. Condrieu is the exemplar … the standard bearer … of the Viognier grape. And to think that Viognier almost completely disappeared. As recently as the 1960’s, the last vestiges of the grape were holding out on a few acres in some quiet corners of Condrieu. A resurgence occurred in the late 20th and early 21st Century as growers and winemakers responded to the growing interest from wine aficionados. Viognier is now grown all over the globe, some of the best coming from South Africa, Australia, California, and elsewhere in France (e.g., Languedoc-Roussillon).

Tasting Notes: Beautiful dark gold in color. Fragrant bouquet of ripe yellow peach, honey and orange (the blossom and the ripe fruit). The palate is light and refreshing with the gorgeous flavor of Charentais melon and honey with only the barest touch of sweetness. Very drinkable by itself (delightful actually), and pairs astonishingly well with the orange overtones to the roast chicken. “It tastes the way an orange smells!” “Gosh … this is good!!” And now … a little musical interlude … bluegrass!! … Orange Blossom Special.

Other Wines That Pair Well with Roast Chicken with Oranges: Riesling (Germany), Chardonnay (California), Semillon (Australia), Gewürztraminer (Alsace)

Other Food That Pairs Well with Condrieu:  Crab Cakes, Lobster, Filet Mignon (with Citrus Hollandaise), Roast Pork with Fruit Glaze or Sauce (Mango, Peach, Orange)

Views of the Condrieu Wine Region: Condrieu

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Sunday Dinner … Roast Chicken with a Red Bordeaux

Pairing:  French Roast Chicken paired with a 2005 Balthus Bordeaux Superieur from Château de Reignac

Food:  Every family has a favorite food that everyone loves and doesn’t mind having again and again over the year. In our household, that beloved meal is French Roast Chicken served with mashed potatoes, peas, and rich brown gravy. Maybe some pie for dessert. Now that’s comfort food! To make a simple french roast chicken, stuff the cavity of a whole chicken (about 4-5 lbs) with 1-2 Tbs of tarragon and some cut-up onion, carrot, and celery. Sprinkle more tarragon on the outside of the bird, along with generous shakes of paprika. Lay three strips of bacon across the breast. Roast in a 425 F oven for 30 minutes, then turn down the temperature to 325 F for another hour or so until done. Baste the bird periodically with beef stock while it is roasting. Make the gravy with the pan drippings from the chicken and the basting beef stock.


Wine:  A few weeks ago I wrote about the versatility of Roast Pork as a food that goes well with so many different types of wine, both red and white. The same thing is true of Roast Chicken. Favorite pairings include Chardonnay, Riesling, Pinot Noir, and Cote du Rhône. This past Sunday, we decided to try a Red Bordeaux. Bordeaux is more commonly paired with strong flavored, rich meats like lamb and beef. It turns out to be a delicious accompaniment to roast chicken as well. This Château de Riegnac Bordeaux Superieur is made from 100% Merlot from old-growth vineyards north and east of the city of Bordeaux.  And, it’s worth noting that 2005 was a fabulous vintage year for the Bordeaux region.



Tasting:  Rich, lush ripe dark fruits (notably blueberry and raspberry), along with leather and chocolate are all offered on the nose. Amazing! On the palate, much of these same things can be tasted in a true medley of flavors. The fine tannins are present, but not at all overwhelming. And a pleasant taste of black currant and cedar lingers on the finish. Wow! An exceptional bordeaux.

Other Wines that Pair Well with This Food:  Pinot Noir, GSM, Beaujolais, Chardonnay, Dolcetto

Other Food that Pairs Well with This Wine:  Roast Lamb, Beef, Pheasant, Venison

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