My tennis team had a very good run this year. We won all but one match during the USTA season and earned a berth in the North Carolina state championships. That meant not only more tennis, but a trip to one of our favorite cities, Asheville.
Asheville has a wonderful dining scene, spectacular mountain vistas, great live music and just about anything a person could want. In this case, our hungry group of teammates was looking for a place to eat.
From previous trip, I knew that The Market Place restaurant was a great upscale choice. As we wandered the downtown area I noticed we were not far from the place and suggested we stop there for dinner.
A Reliable French Pick
I had the honor of picking the vino. Most of our group was going for the Wood Grilled Pork Shoulder served with strawberry glaze, Farm & Sparrow faro, spring vegetables and asparagus butter. Scanning the wine list and not wanting to put anyone too deeply in the hole, I settled on the Domaine de Châteaumar 2017 Cuvée Vincent Sélection, Côtes du Rhône.
Côtes du Rhône is a people pleasing wine with a reasonable price tag. Rhône Valley winemakers rely on Syrah and Grenache grapes to craft easy drinking reds. Upon inquiring, our server said that the wine was primarily Grenache. Since that is a smooth, lighter style I thought it would be a spot-on match for our pork.
When it arrived, I was surprised to see that the wine was 180 degrees different – instead of 100% Grenache, it was 100% Syrah. No worries – Syrah is one of our favorite grapes and this wine blended nicely with our meal and conversation. The wine has smooth tannins and delightful blackberry and cranberry flavors. It is medium full in body. There’s a little bit of spice to ramp up the complexity.
Fueled by this great French wine, we went on to win three straight matches, win the semi-final and get into the state championship match. Apparently we needed to buy a second bottle, because we lost the championship match 1-2.
This is a sub-$20 bottle that is guaranteed to improve your tennis game – and if perchance it doesn’t, you won’t care as much!