By Nicholas Harary
The first trip to France that my wife Melissa and I took together in the summer of 1995 was an eye-opener on so many different levels.
First and foremost, I knew without a doubt, I was all in on Melissa. Beautiful, smart, funny and with an extreme tolerance for my quirky travel hang-ups, there was no way I was screwing this one up. For us together, so many of the things we saw and did on that trip became inspiration for what would become Restaurant Nicholas.
One of our favorites was the bouillabaisse recipe I developed after an incredible lunch in St. Tropez. The secret to bouillabaisse is pretty simple: The freshest seafood possible and a chilled bottle of one of my favorite wines from the south of France, Domaine de la Citadelle Luberon Rosé.
Once you’ve got the bouillabaisse ready on the table, the rosé is the next step.
My first taste of true rosé was a revelation, it was so good aromatically, completely dry and great with the food. I couldn’t believe Americans were making White Zin. Things have changed a lot since then. White Zin has almost disappeared in the market and dry rosé has become somewhat fashionable; there’s no way People Magazine did features on celeb-produced rosé 20 years ago. But I haven’t been that impressed with the flashy labels of rosé. I’m still partial to Citadelle and its everyday drinking price point.
No need to spend $30 on Brangelina marketing when for a little less than half that price, you can drink organic, artisanally produced rosé. And, because this wine has been picked up, shipped, stored and delivered at 56 degrees, when you drink it on your deck this spring and summer, it will taste exactly as it does on the terrace of Domaine de la Citadelle in beautiful Ménerbes, in the heart of the south of France. Available now through Nicholas Wines (www.restaurantnicholas.com).
Domaine de la Citadelle’s organically farmed estate is made of 65 small parcels set at 300 meters in elevation, north of the Luberon Mountains. Although Citadelle is only a half-hour away from Chateauneuf du Pape, being north of the Luberon Mountains allows for slightly cooler days and nights, the perfect place to make concentrated yet vibrant wine. Citadelle’s rosé, La Châtaignier, is terrific, fresh and fruity and perfectly bone-dry. It’s aromatically intense; be sure to drink it in a big glass.
Now you know the classic pairing but the beauty of this rosé is that it goes with just about everything – spring asparagus, juicy burgers, roasted poultry and of course, bouillabaisse.
Restaurant Nicholas is located at 160 Route 35 south in Red Bank, and can be reached at 732-345-9977 or www.restaurantnicholas.com.