Wine and Walnuts

A blog about eating, drinking, cooking and reading in the not so Deep South

Food and Wine Pairing: Chili and Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone 2007

I recently had some friends over for dinner, and made my Dad’s awesome chili recipe.  Except it didn’t turn out nearly as awesome as Dad’s, but, oh well. I ate this chili for years growing up; I think Dad got the recipe from his buddy, Charles, who he was in the Marines with.  I always just loved it, and was so happy when the answer to “what’s for dinner?“ was, “Chili!“ 

The really great thing about chili is, there are so many ways to make it, you almost can’t go wrong, and there are endless ways to be creative and add your own unique touch.  And every region has its own specific do’s and don’t’s.  For example, Dad NEVER uses beans in his chili, but the friends I had over for dinner that night seemed to prefer them, so add beans I did.  When I called Dad to get the recipe, he gave it to me from memory, because he’s never really written it down anywhere, so measurements and exact ingredients and such were not precise.  I was game though, and decided to fly by the seat of my pants and see what I came up with.  Well, the end result was pretty good, but it didn’t match the chili of my youth, alas.  Life’s tough, ain’t it?

But, the best part of the evening was, naturally, hanging out with friends, eating and talking and laughing, and drinking lots and lots o’ good red wine — a couple of different Cotes du Rhone, and a very tasty Zinfandel.  So first, the wine notes, then the chili recipe.


Domaine de la Solitude Cotes Du Rhone 2007

Domaine de la Solitude Cotes Du Rhone 2007

Domaine de la Solitude Cotes du Rhone 2007 was a good match to the chili, with its nice, smoky, savory-ness (word?), and the perfect heft for the chili.  Now, the wine professional at the tasting where I first tried this wine said it had “cherry chocolate notes,” and maybe it did, but all I know is, this wine and my chili perfectly complimented each other. To each (palate) his own. It’s all a subjective thing, anyway. 

This wine is from the estate of the Lancon Family who have been producing top quality Rhone wine for more than five centuries. It is a robust and full red wine made from Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre grapes. Cost:  about $20 at The Seasoned Gourmet.

Here’s what Robert Parker says:

Wine Advocate

“Throughout the southern Rhone, 2007 is the greatest vintage I have tasted in my thirty years working in that region. Nearly every producer has attained largely unprecedented levels of quality. Moreover, the vintage is remarkably consistent from top to bottom. This historic Chateauneuf du Pape estate went through a period of mediocrity, but recently, spectacular wines have been created from their sensational old vine holdings throughout the appellation. Given the brilliance of this estate’s Chateauneuf du Papes, it is not surprising that they have also turned out a delicious, attractive, elegant, deep, berry fruit-filled 2007 Cotes du Rhone. With a velvety texture as well as wonderful length for a wine of this pedigree, it can be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years.”
Score: 87. —Robert Parker, October 2008.

We also drank the La Vieille Ferme Cotes du Ventoux Rouge, 2007 (about $8 at World Market), which I previously wrote about here.

di Arie Zinfandel 2007, Sierra Foothills

di Arie Zinfandel 2007, Sierra Foothills

And then, there was the third bottle of the night, di Arie Zinfandel 2007, Sierra Foothills.  Zinfandel has always been my absolute favorite varietal, I just love how it can be so many different styles and flavor profiles, from light and fruity to big and serious.  This one was somewhere in between I’d say, but I gotta tell ya, after drinking the two French wines first, the Zin seemed really fruit driven and . . . almost too much.  I know though, that it’s the result of drinking lots of European wines lately, with their (mostly) more restrained nature.  At the end of the day though, it’s all good.  Wine is meant to be enjoyed!  So we did.

You can read more about this wine here.  Cost:  around $20 at The Wine Sampler at 4107-I Oleander Drive, Anderson Square behind Tazy’s Burgers.



Recipe:  Gene Houston’s Awesome Chili


· 1.5-2 pounds lean ground beef
· 1 medium onion
· 1-14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes
· 1-8 oz. can tomato sauce
· 1 can dark red kidney beans, if you insist
· ½ teaspoon chili powder
· ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
· ½ teaspoon oregano
· ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
· 1 packet McCormick’s chili seasoning

Not called for, but I added:
·1-14.5 oz. fire-roasted diced tomatoes (mostly because I wanted to get rid of the can I’d had in the cupboard for over a year)


· Brown onion and beef; drain
· Add dry ingredients
· Add tomatoes and canned tomato sauce; bring to a boil
· Reduce heat and simmer for one hour, covered
· After one hour, remove cover and add the beans, salt and pepper, simmer uncovered for 15 minutes


I don’t really have any of my usual cooking tips here, because everything is pretty straightforward, and you almost can’t go wrong.  That’s the great thing about chili! 

Bon Appétit!

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About The Author

Kimberly Houston


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