Rose, Summer and Tagine
Saturday, June 11, 2016 at 11:31AM
Gary Westby

Summer dining is always improved by rosé!

Here in California, we are accused by many of not having any seasons. While it is true that it is very nice around here for almost the entire year, the summer is a special time, and the farmers markets overflow with beautiful corn, peppers and all the bounty of the USA’s vegetable & fruit basket. Cinnamon and I love to get into the spirit and especially enjoy pairing summers produce with rosé. Invariably, one in particular jumps out as special. In 2005, we drank two cases of the great 2004 Rosé de Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Léognan, last year we couldn’t get enough of the 2014 Domaine la Chapelle Saint Victor Coteaux d'Aix en Provence Rosé. This year, we cannot get enough of the 2015 Franck Millet Sancerre Rosé.

On Tuesday, I made one of my favorite dishes to pair with crisp, dry French rosé- merguez tagine. This one pot meal is not only a great way to take advantage of summer vegetables, but also great for leftovers. It is a perfect dish to make early in the week and then pack for lunches. I am not a purist, and I start by buying in-season local vegetables- this version had onion, red pepper, yellow pepper, jalapeño and corn in it.

I start by cooking my merguez sausages until they are brown in olive oil, then I remove them and toast my turmeric, paprika, cumin and dried red pepper in the oil and meat juices. Next I toast the large Israeli style cous-cous in the spice and oil mixture, setting them aside with the sausage once they are brown. After that, I add all the other vegetables except for the corn to the tajine, add a touch more oil and cook until the onions are soft and fragrant. After putting everything back in the tajine, I added my boiling stock to the pot and covered it. I only added the corn for the last five minutes- it is almost sweet enough to eat raw right now!

The Millet Rosé paired perfectly with the dish. While the tajine was layered and complex in flavor, this rosé was forthright. It had the perfect mix of perfect summer rainier cherry and nearly grassy Sancerre minerality. We took it down in gulps, and the bottle did not last long! Cheers to summer!

-Gary Westby

Article originally appeared on K&L Uncorked (
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