JP’s Wine Corner: Cheese Assortment, Cucumber Soup, and Beef Tender

My good friend Jean Pascal is a Sommelier/Consultant who runs a successful business in the south of France specializing in the wines of Provence and the Cote D’Azur.  He has forgotten more about ClaretPinot Noir, and Cabernet than I will ever learn in my lifetime, but has graciously agreed to let me take full advantage of his expertise here at Le Stuff.

JP will be joining us on The French Riviera in June for the Mini Cooper Driving Adventure!

My mother called the other day with a simple request.  She was planning a dinner party for several friends and needed help with the wine selection.

Our conversation was quick and to the point:

Mother: “If I email the menu to you can you help me pick out some wines?”
Me: “I’m sorry, did you say you were going to email the menu to me…. on the

Mother: “Yes honey.”
Me: Who the hell are you and what have you done with my mother?”

The Menu:
-Cheese Assortment
-Cucumber soup
-Beef Tender marinated in juice of lime, olive oil, salt and pepper – no sauce
-Fingerling potatoes with butter and chopped parsley
-Green Beans wrapped in bacon and cooked in brown sugar, butter, and little garlic salt
-Strawberries with Creme Fraiche and Coconut Cake

Once I received the menu from my fake mother I made several quick, brilliant decisions based on my many years of experience with French wines.

Our next telephone conversation went something like this:

Mother: “Hello?”
Me: “Hi mom.”
Mother: “Have you heard back from JP about the wine?”


Me: “I’ll call you back.”

And so it is that even my mother, who doesn’t drink by the way, relies solely on our good friend Jean Pascal’s expertise for all things wine related.

Here are his recommendations:

Cheese Assortment: Is it for the end of the meal like in France?  If not, then try the white which I’ll also recommend for the soup – the Chenin grape variety like a Saumur or a Sauvignon grape such as a Sancerre or a Pouilly-Fume’ for the goat cheese.

Cucumber Soup: Cucumber and wine don’t together very well, except sometimes with a dry white from the Loire Valley with the “Chenin” Grape Variety, like a Saumur if you add some cream in your soup, or a Sauvignon grape variety like a Sancerre if you don’t.

Beef Tender marinated in juice of lime, olive oil, salt and pepper – no sauce
Fingerling potatoes with butter and chopped parsley
Green Beans wrapped in bacon and cooked in brown sugar, butter, and little garlic salt: The problem with this dish is the lime acidity with the red meat. One calls for a white wine and the second a red.  The most important ingredient is the meat so try to find another wine from the Loire Valley, but a red this time. Possibly a Saumur Champigny which has a light acidity (good for the lime and the garlic taste). The reds are made with a Cabernet-Franc grape variety. Or look for a Côtes du Rhônes from the North: a Saint-Joseph (sometimes a bit expensive), or a basic(but good) Côtes du Rhône.

Strawberries with Creme Fraiche and Coconut Cake: Never easy with the Crème Fraîche, but if you can find some, try a Muscat, not too sweet but not too dry either. A half-sweet sparkling wine would also be a good selection.

Need some wine advice?

Leave your questions for Jean Pascal in the comments section….

Jean Pascal subscribes to Le Stuff…. why don’t you?
It’s easy, just click here.

3 responses

  1. As someone who was lucky enough to be a guest at this lovely dinner party, I have to join in singing the praises of Jean Pascal. The wine selections were absolutely perfect with Dirk’s mom’s delicious meal. Especially that sparking rose! Where do I sign up for the Jean Pascal Fan Club?!

  2. Please advise! The beef recipe sounds wonderful, but I could not get any further than the marinade…so, no cooking? If not, what cut of beef, please. Merci beaucoup!

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