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What Is Côtes du Rhône?

What Is Côtes du Rhône?

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Côtes du Rhône is one of the most recognizable French wines on the market. Americans rank number one as the largest consumers of Rhône Valley wines outside of France. But despite its recognition in the marketplace, there’s still a lot of confusion as to what exactly Côtes du Rhône is. You don’t need to be a sommelier to fully appreciate the excellent value and consistent quality of these wines, but it helps to know a few basics when it comes to navigating the vast and complex world of Rhône wine.

First, a word about appellation, the French system that designates the geographic location where a wine is made. A wine can be from the Rhône Valley but not technically be called a "Côtes du Rhône." Confused yet? The easiest way to think of Rhône Valley appellation is as a pyramid. At the very bottom is Côtes du Rhône, which is the most generic appellation that can be granted a Rhône wine. As you move up the pyramid, the criteria for how the wine is made become stricter. Next comes Côtes du Rhône Villages, then Côtes du Rhône Villages with a specific name attached, such as Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne. At the top of the pyramid are the crus, like Hermitage, Lirac, Côte-Rôtie, or Châteauneuf-du-Pape. These are the big dogs in the Rhône Valley, and represent the highest level of sophistication in the winemaking process.

The most important thing to keep in mind about the geography of the Rhône Valley is that it’s divided into two main regions, each producing a different type of wine. In the northern Rhône, where temperatures are colder, reds are made from 100 percent syrah. In the southern Rhône, where the climate is more Mediterranean, more varieties of grapes can thrive, and many of the wines are blends. Vines throughout the entire Rhône are affected by the legendary Mistral wind, which helps to dry out the grapes and concentrate the flavor of the fruit.

There are 27 grape varieties that can be used in Côtes du Rhône wine, the number and proportion of which can vary according to the individual appellation. The three big players in red wine are grenache, syrah, and mourvèdre. Grenache is the foundation of Côtes du Rhône because it can grow in practically any condition. All three red grape varieties result in wines with flavors of dark red fruit, spice, leather, and black pepper. The predominant white grapes are marsanne and viognier, creating dry, florally whites with notes of stone fruit. Reds are really the stars of the show when it comes to Rhône wine, making up 90 percent of production, but the production of white and rosé wines is growing with their popularity.

Some of the most widely recognized Rhône wines are the top crus, such as Hermitage or Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but you shouldn’t necessarily judge a bottle of Rhône wine by the label alone. Many independent winemakers are rebelling against the strict AOC criteria, opting for more flexibility and criteria in the winemaking process, and for many consumers here in the U.S, a well-designed label and the words "typical Rhône wine" are all that are needed to make the sale. That being said, while imitations like the "Rhone Rangers" might be similar, they can’t match the complex history and tradition found in a bottle of true Rhône wine. Becoming fluent in Côtes du Rhône and truly understanding the nuances of each storied winery and appellation could take a lifetime, but it’s a challenge most would happily drink their way through.

Côtes du Rhône AOC

Côtes du Rhône is a wine-growing Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée (AOC) for the Rhône wine region of France, which may be used throughout the region, also in those areas which are covered by other AOCs. In a limited part of the region, the Côtes-du-Rhône Villages AOC may be used, in some cases together with the name of the commune.

Côtes du Rhône AOC
Wine region
TypeAppellation d'origine contrôlée
Year establishedEst. 1937. Used since 1650.
Part ofRhône wine
Climate regionNorth: continental moderate. South: chiefly mediterranean
Soil conditionsNorth: granite, argili-calcairous. South: chiefly sandstone, limestone, alluvia, loess, quartzite shingle
Total area83,800 ha (approx.)
Grapes producedRed varieties (in descending order): Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Carignan, Counoise, Picpoul, White varieties: Grenache blanc, Marsanne, Roussanne, Bourboulenc, Viognier, Picpoul blanc
Wine produced(in descending order) named crus, Côtes du Rhône Villages (named), Côtes du Rhône Villages, Côtes du Rhône.

Côtes du Rhône are the basic AOC wines of the Rhône region, and exist as red, white and rosé wines, generally dominated by Grenache for reds and rosés, or Grenache blanc for whites.

Top pairings

Today is International Grenache Day, a celebration of a grape which is (often anonymously) responsible for some of the most generous and appealing reds in the wine world.

As usual it&rsquos hard to pin down a definitive style but it&rsquos fair to say grenache is usually full-bodied, soft and low in acidity. Some grenaches are pretty powerful - usually due to natural bedfellows like syrah and mourvèdre being blended in - others, like Côtes du Rhône, are easy-drinking.

Its natural homeland is the Southern Mediterranean, especially France and Spain where it is called garnacha but there are some fine examples from Australia, California and Washington State. It&rsquos a great wine for this time of year.

When I asked my fellow tweeters what their favourite food match for grenache was a while back on Twitter I remember that pizza, rabbit and pork featured heavily. (I prefer Italian reds with higher acidity with pizza myself, I confess).

Braises and stews

My favourite type of food for grenache is braises and stews: long slow cooked roasts of pork or lamb that may even be a little bit fatty (shoulder of lamb and lamb shanks, for example). It suits daubes and stews with dark, winey sauces too

I like grenache too with classic French bistro dishes such as rabbit and hearty Spanish or Portuguese country cooking. It can take a bit of spice - I think there&rsquos a particular affinity with paprika and pimenton. I enjoy a grenache with a goulash - and it would certainly go with milder curries like a rogan josh though I wouldn&rsquot serve it with lighter Indian dishes. Grenache-based wines tend to go well with the slight sweetness of Moroccan tagines too.

British pub classics

A simple grenache or grenache blend like a Côtes du Rhône is a versatile match for many British pub classics like sausage and mash, shepherds pie and steak and kidney pie. Its absence of tough tannins also it a more accommodating match for cheese than many more structured reds, especially British regional cheeses such as Cheddar and Red Leicester. Grenache also pairs well with cooked dishes like macaroni cheese and with veggie bakes and lentil or bean-based dishes. Lighter, fruitier styles such as cheap Garnachas from Spain make good barbecue drinking - Grenache seems to like a bit of smoke.

Even the Christmas turkey!

A serious Grenache dominated red such as Châteauneuf-du-Pâpe is good with richer and gamier birds - I think it makes a great match for the Christmas turkey but you could also pair it successfully with guineafowl, pheasant or pigeon, especially if accompanied by caramelised roast root vegetables like carrots, beets and parsnips. Priorat can take even more robust dishes such as venison and oxtail as you can see from this post though other grapes may have a more dominant influence.

There are of course also Grenache - or Garnacha - whites (characteristically earthy/Rhôneish) and strong, dry rosés - good partners for charcuterie and Spanish classics like paella and pork and beans and porty southern vin doux naturels like Maury, Banyuls and Rasteau which, like port, pair particularly well with chocolate, grilled figs and blue cheese (not all together, obviously!)

What not to pair with red grenache?

Well, it&rsquos usually pretty high in alcohol so it wouldn&rsquot be my ideal choice for steamed or raw dishes such as seabass or salads - even ones including meat - or subtle cuisines such as Cantonese or Japanese. It&rsquos not great with citrus either which, for me, rules out Thai. And I think there are better matches for Italian food (most Italian ones) although Grenache is oddly good with dishes that contain cooked tomato and aubergine. But it&rsquos a great seasonal wine - a warming, welcoming bottle to serve for the coming days of autumn and winter. Grenache should have its place in every cellar.

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Pairing Cotes du Rhone and Food

One of the great things about Cotes du Rhone wineries is that you can actually visit most of them without an appointment. So if you ever pass through the region, you should definitely take the time to stop at some of them. You will get a chance to taste the wine, and sometimes you can also stay for lunch, which can provide ideas for food pairing as well.

In truth, Cotes du Rhone is one of the most food-friendly wines you can find, as they match quite well with an abundance of products. You can serve them with any type of meal, whether grilled, roasted, braised or stewed. Beef, pork, duck and lamb will complement your wine perfectly and so will game and sausages. It can also be pair well with spicy Asian dishes.

Of course, like so many French wines, the Cotes du Rhone can be enjoyed with a large variety of cheeses, soft and hard, and even with fish, selfish and sushi as well. Making your decision according to the season is always the best solution!

Côtes du Rhône: Four wines from a splendidly reliable region

Basic Côtes du Rhône should be a warming hug of a wine, satisfying, without any pretension or sophistication, but very welcome on a cold, wet autumn evening.

It is a wine to enjoy alongside daubes, robust stews and game dishes. The southern Rhône is a vast area responsible for huge quantities of wine. There are more than 5,000 producers in the region, including a number of large co-operatives and négociants who between them sell about 350 million bottles of wine each year.

In such a large region, you will find all levels of quality, but I find the cheapest Côtes du Rhône wines are generally a better bet than inexpensive wines from any other part of France. Most contain a generous proportion of Grenache (legally the minimum is 50 per cent), so the wines are soft and rounded with plenty of alcohol. The remainder will typically be made up of a mix of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan or Cinsault, although growers have 21 different grape varieties to choose from for red and white wines.

Some of the larger companies now harvest earlier to make a lighter, fresher style of Côtes du Rhône, but I find this often robs the wines of their true regional character.

An absence of awfulness is a good start in any wine, but most of the really cheap supermarket versions of Côtes du Rhône rarely get anyone excited. The Dunnes Stores version I feature here was the best I came across. For a little more (€14.95), O’Briens has the rich, warming Ferraton Côtes du Rhône.


Some supermarkets offer a Côtes du Rhône Villages, theoretically the next step up, at well under €10. But delve a little deeper and you will discover a host of small domaines, often farmed organically, that produce very high quality wines with real character, all under the name Côtes du Rhône. This includes some of the big names from more prestigious appellations within the Rhône, such as Gigondas or Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Basic Côtes du Rhône accounts for almost 70 per cent of wine produced in the region, the remainder being Côtes du Rhône Villages and the 16 cru villages such as the aforementioned Gigondas and Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

For this article I tasted several dozen wines all labelled Côtes du Rhône. They included some great wines that are well worth seeking out, although you will have to pay €15 or more. It also proved my absence of awfulness theory even the worst examples were still drinkable.

Don’t forget about the white wines from this region too, there are some enchanting, sophisticated wines. As part of the tasting, I also tried two very good Côtes du Rhône Villages, the La Petite Bellane (€18, and Grapevine, Dalkey) and the brooding rich, powerful Les Cassagnes de la Nerthe (€23,

Côtes du Rhône 2019, Le Dôme du Grand Bois, Ortas, 14%, €9.35

Appealing, gluggable, juicy ripe dark fruits with a sprinkle of spice. Medium bodied and supple, this would go nicely with roast Mediterranean vegetables or grilled red meats. From: Dunnes Stores,

Côtes du Rhône 2018 Lou Paris Domaine Didier Charavin, 14%, €17.95

Seductive sleek warming dark fruits with liquorice and herbs. Try it with sausages and mash or a lightly spicy goulash. From: Wines Direct, Mullingar, and Arnott’s, Dublin 1.

Côtes du Rhône Nature 2018 Famille Perrin (organic) 14%, €21.99

Full-bodied with beautiful big meaty herby dark fruits and plenty of backbone. Drink with grilled red meats or an autumnal venison stew. From: Donnybrook Fair, Red Nose Wines, Clonmel, The Corkscrew, Dublin 2, The Cinnamon Cottage, Cork, Ely Wine Store, Maynooth.

Côtes du Rhône 2019 Poignée de Raisins Domaine Gramenon (Biodynamic) 14%, €26.50

A delicious wine with layers of perfectly ripe fleshy red fruits, perked up by a fine acidity. Medium to full bodied, rounded and brimming with flavour. Serve with a really good burger or a lamb braise.

From: 64wine, Glasthule Sheridan’s Cheesemongers, Dublin 2, Kells, Co Meath, Galway, Ely Wine Store, Maynooth Blackrock Cellar, Blackrock, Green Man Wines, Dublin 6,

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What Is Côtes du Rhône? - Recipes

To put it in context, this is the Northern limit of the South of France. Here, the accent changes, the crickets start singing, olives trees and lavender grow, and the ambient smell is second to none. The wines showcase generosity and accessibility, and if you ever find yourself in a restaurant and don’t know what to order Côtes du Rhône should be your go-to. It’s a crowd-pleaser, always delicious, versatile and easy to digest.

On the quality spectrum, beyond Côtes du Rhône and the slightly more complex wines called Côtes du Rhône Villages you will encounter distinct Côtes du Rhône Villages labelled the specific village of their origin. Only 21 such regional towns are allowed to affix their names to an AOC label, and each has their own unique terroir, resulting in a wine of distinct characteristics.

Côtes du Rhône Villages Plan de Dieu

Literally translating into God’s Plain, this area is flat and pebbly. We used to visit after class, and this area produces consistent, reliable Grenache dominated wines. Spicy and fragrant with tons of morello cherries confit aromas it brings le bonheur every day. Simple and tasty it is a perfect match with charcuterie or turkey and cranberry.

Côtes du Rhône Villages Valréas

Beautiful wines are produced in the village of Valréas. Expect freshness and vitality from those hillside wines. Often the presence of Syrah brings a certain pepperiness and create an inkier blend with grip and personality. Think winter dishes, a maple log in the fireplace and braised short ribs ‘’pot au feu’’ or even juicy lamb cutlet with Herbes de Provence. Great Sunday Roast wine.

Côtes du Rhône Villages Laudun

This is white wine territory. Rich, textural with lots of apricots and lemon confit tones. Gastronomic wines have been produced for centuries in Landun, and they should be matched with comfort food. A nice crusty, flaky chicken pot pie or a butternut squash soup with aged cheddar and croutons. Length and creaminess wonderfully complement Côtes du Rhône Villages Laudun wines.

Pier-Alexis Soulière has dedicated the past 12 years of his career to providing world-class wine service and enhancing guest experience in some of the most demanding environments.

The journey started in Montréal, and brought him to excel in 3 different continents from London to Sydney to New York City and California. He has been working in some of the most prestigious Michelin starred establishments, such as Dinner by Heston Blumenthal **, The Modern **, and Manresa Restaurant***.

In 2014, he won the World Young Sommelier of the Year competition held in Copenhagen. In 2016, he became one of very few to earn the Master Sommelier title before the age of 30, a title held by a total of 5 individuals in Canada, only 2 in the province of Québec, and 257 worldwide. The Master Sommelier Diploma is one of the most difficult certifications to obtain in the world of wine. To obtain the Master Sommelier title, successful candidates must exemplify blind tasting skills, extensive wine knowledge, and outstanding abilities in service and beverage management.

In 2017, Pier-Alexis was named Québec’s Best Sommelier by the Canadian Association of Professional Sommeliers and one year later he won Best Sommelier of the Americas by the Association de la Sommellerie Internationale amongst 20 participants from 10 countries. In 2019, he represented the Americas at the World’s Best Sommelier Competition in Belgium and reached the World Top 10. Follow Pier on Instagram @pa_souliere

Step by Step Instructions

Step 1

In a large dutch oven. Heat up butter on medium. Add onion (It will probably fill the pot, don’t worry it will shrink down). Saute onion over medium until caramelized. It will probably take around 40 minutes with occasional stirring to turn good and brown. Be careful not to burn the onion

Step 2

Add fennel, worcestershire sauce, mustard. Stir to combine. Add wine, scraping up brown bits on the bottle. When wine is mostly evaporated add beef stock. Turn to low and cover for 20 minutes.

Step 3

Preheat your oven to broil. In four oven safe bowls, add soup, top with a baguette slice, 1 slice of swiss cheese and topped with ¼ cup shredded smoked gouda.

Côtes du Rhône wines to pair with autumn stews

Taste the Differenc Côtes du Rhône Villages, France 2018 (£7, Sainsbury’s) A recipe for comfort and cosiness at this time of year: a hotpot just out of the oven and a bottle of Côtes du Rhône. In the pot: anything deeply flavoured and slow-cooked, such as Nigel Slater’s silky, earthy multi-mushroom bourgignon. In the glass? Well, in my experience Côtes du Rhône is among the most reliable wine regions around. You get bad bottles, of course. Nowhere can avoid that. And you’ll get bottles that don’t match your own taste or sense of what wines from the region should be like. But you get a remarkable reliability, too. When I’m looking for a red wine to provide character, warmth and depth without sweetness or breaking too far beyond a fiver, a classic Côtes du Rhône Villages such as Sainsbury’s own-label seldom disappoints.

Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône, France 2016 (£11.99, or £9.99 as part of a mixed case of six, Majestic) Part of the reason for Côtes du Rhône’s consistency is that it has some of France’s better larger firms, who can draw on vineyards throughout the large Rhône region from just south of Lyon to Provence. One of the oldest of these is Vidal-Fleury, which makes the most of being the Rhône’s oldest continuously operating winery (it was established before the French Revolution in 1781) although it has been owned since the mid-1980s by Guigal. The house’s 2016 is from an excellent vintage in the valley and hits that classic Côtes du Rhône sweet spot of wild blackberry and raspberry fruitiness, spiciness and supple drinkability. Stablemate Guigal Côtes du Rhône 2016 (same price, same shop is just as good, with a touch more intensity and weight.

Jean-Louis Chave Selection Mon Coeur, France 2017 (£14.99, Justerini & Brooks) Other Côtes du Rhône names worth looking out for include Chapoutier, whose Côtes du Rhône Villages (£9, Tesco) has a satisfying dark-fruited depth Famille Perrin, whose Côtes du Rhône Reserve Rouge 2017 (£12.99, or £10.99 as part of a mixed case of six, Majestic) has a herby-lilt to the brambly fruit and grippy tannins and Jean-Louis Chave, whose 2017 is a stunning wine, with a deep, dark soul of black olive and pure blackberry fruit. But Côtes du Rhône is about more than these big négociant firms. Look out, too, for smaller producers, who are also masters of the region’s classic grenache- and syrah-led blend, such as Domaine Chapoton, which makes a Côtes du Rhône 2018 (£12.35, Les Caves) with a lucid, unoaked vivacity of spicy raspberry and aniseed suppleness born to go with sausages and mash.

A French Wine Expert's Favorite $15 Côtes du Rhône

Olivier Magny is the eyebrow-raising owner of Paris's Ô Chateau Wine Bar and School. Here, seven of his favorite bottles including an incredible under-$20 red.

Olivier Magny is the eyebrow-raising owner of Paris&aposs Ô Chateau Wine Bar and School. Here, seven of his favorite bottles.

2012 Alain Jaume & Fils Domaine Grand Veneur Réserve Grand Veneur Côtes du Rhône Rouge ($15)
"This is an honest, straightforward Côtes du Rhône that really delivers for under $20. A great weekday wine."

2012 Domaine de la Louvetrie Amphibolite Nature Muscadet ($17)
"Jo Landron&aposs wines are completely undervalued, plus the guy has a really awesome mustache."

2012 Les Vins de Vienne Collines Rhodaniennes Viognier ($21)
"It&aposs great when you see French people doing un-French things like working together. Here, three top Rhône winemakers—Yves Cuilleron, François Villard and Pierre Gaillard𠅏ormed a little co-op. If you can&apost afford wines bearing one of their own names, these are cheaper and don&apost compromise on quality at all."

2012 Domaine Zind-Humbrecht Pinot Blanc ($23)
"Really, any wine from Zind-Humbrecht is fantastic. My tasting at the domaine was one of the most impressive I&aposve ever done. I must have tasted 30 wines, and they were all incredible. It was like an enchantment."

2012 François Chidaine Clos du Breuil Montlouis Sec ($28)
"It&aposs very easy to make flabby Chenin Blanc, but Chidaine does an amazing job of retaining the variety&aposs elegance."

2012 M. Chapoutier Domaine de Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem Côtes du Roussilon Villages ($30)
"Chapoutier&aposs Hermitages are among the very best wines on the planet, but they&aposre not cheap. This Roussillon red is a relative bargain. It&aposs beautifully made: a yummy, rich, sensual southern-French wine."

2010 Domaine Léon Barral Faugères ($32)
"People ask which wine you&aposd take to a desert island, and this would be the one for me. It&aposs unique—so expressive, with such finesse and freshness."

The Lowly Côtes du Rhône

The weather turned cooler recently the wind started gusting. Most people’s instinct is to reach for a scarf. Mine is to reach for Rhône wines. This is a palpable feeling I get each fall, a real desire to have spicy and slightly thick red wine coating my tongue. My wife obliged, putting in front of me a mystery glass that smelled like sweet, ripe cherries dusted with a fine mixture of black and white pepper the nose was just smoldering with spice. As I ran the wine over my tongue, I picked up coffee, graphite, and licorice. The wine had a lot of flavor, though it was not heavy it was soft and airy with silky tannins. The pepper suggested a Rhône wine—Syrah, perhaps—but the cherries suggested something else. I thought, finally, that it must be Grenache. A very fine Grenache. But from what great estate?

I was right about the grape but wrong about the lofty provenance. It was a Côtes du Rhône, which most people just think of as weekday quaffs, party wines, or something to serve in plastic cups at art openings. The wines have earned that reputation by being simple, savory, and good, while lacking any outstanding characteristics. But thanks to a surge of youthful energy and ambition in the region, you can find Côtes du Rhône wines that have the complexity, elegance, and concentration that are usually the hallmarks of wines from more high-end appellations.

The designation of Côtes du Rhône is considered lowly because places in the Rhône that make more distinguished wines generally get their own appellations, such as famous towns like Châteauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas. The côtes—meaning hills or slopes—were just those country areas where ordinary wine was grown.

Since winemakers from the lower appellations know that they’ll never be able to sell their wines for as much money as wines from the better regions, they don’t try as hard. In fact, they overcrop to try to make up in volume what they can’t earn by price. The result is an appellation with a mediocre reputation.

Now, members of the new generation have realized that if they make better wines, they can sell them for more money. They’re working organically, dropping yields, and spending more time among the vines. The effort and care show in the wines. The one my wife poured me was Domaine Gramenon “La Sagesse,” a “lowly” Côtes du Rhône that happens to be selling for $35. Another brilliant wine, the 2007 Domaine de la Janasse “Les Garrigues,” is selling for $40.

Great Southern Rhône wines don’t even have to be that expensive. The wines of Domaine Richaud, in the village of Cairanne, are smooth, ripe, plump, and delicious, and the price is still reasonable.

Beef Stew with Côtes du Rhône & Balsamic

I have a few tricks up my sleeve for making an exceptional, stand-out stew. The first one you will thank me for. Instead of browning the meat on top of the stove, which is extremely messy and time consuming, I cook the stew uncovered in the oven. The open pot allows the meat on top to become brown and flavorful. While the meat is cooking, the liquid is reducing, which is concentrating its flavor and thickening it.

The right Wine

Use a blended wine like Côtes du Rhône. I especially like this one from Kermit Lynch.

One of the major contributors to making a hearty and flavorful stew is red wine. I wish I could tell you that I love writing this blog so much that I am willing to make stew a dozen times just to find out which red wine works best. While I don't mind testing a chocolate cake numerous times, stew is a different story. Instead of testing wines myself, I go to my most trusted food source, Cook's Illustrated magazine. They have tested stews with cabs, zins, syrahs, pinots, etc and here's their advice. The best stew is made with a blended red wine and their recommendation is Côtes du Rhône. Côtes du Rhône are the basic AOC wines of the Rhône region in France and their reds are a blend most likely dominated by Grenache. Whenever I make stew or braise any kind of red meat, I always make it with Cotes du Rhone and get stellar results.

The Right Meat

Purchase extra chuck roast and trim off all the fat so you end up with 3 pounds of meat..

My favorite meat for stew is chuck eye-roast and although it is a little time consuming to cut it up, I think it is worth it. You need to purchase 3 1/2 to 4 pounds of chuck roast to end up with 3 pounds of meat by the time you've trimmed off the fat. Any good lean beef stew meat will be fine, too.

One of stews greatest traits is that it warms the soul while warming the body. It also has everything you need in one dish, no sides needed. The meat will be so tender, no knives needed either. So get out your fork and dig in.

Beef Stew With Côtes Du Rhône & Balsamic

4 pounds chuck eye-roast, trimmed, or 3 pounds lean beef stew,cut into 1½ inch pieces
3 tablespoons olive oil
2 onions, chopped
¼ cup all-purpose flour
3 cups dry red wine, such as Côtes du Rhône
1 cup beef broth
2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
½ cup tomato paste
2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme
1½ lbs. baby carrots, unpeeled or large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
1½ lbs. small potatoes, such as Sunrise Medley or Yukon Gold potatoes, unpeeled, scrubbed and cut into 1-inch pieces
1½ lbs. baby turnips or larger ones, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces

Place oven rack in lower middle of oven and heat oven to 325°F. Season beef generously with salt and pepper.

Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Cook onions with 1/4 teaspoon salt, stirring occasionally until well browned, 8 to 10 minutes. Stir in flour and cook 1 minute. Whisk in wine, broth, balsamic and tomato paste, scraping up any brown bits. Bring to a simmer and cook until thickened, about 5 minutes. Stir in thyme and beef and bring to a slow boil.

Transfer pot to oven and cook, uncovered, for 90 minutes, stirring halfway through cooking.

Stir in carrots, potatoes and turnips. Continue cooking until beef and vegetables are tender, about 1 1/2 hours, stirring halfway through cooking. If stew is desired thickness before vegetables are tender, cover pot and continue cooking until done.
TO MAKE AHEAD: Place a sheet of wax paper directly on top of the meat and veggies to prevent them from drying out. Stew may be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen. I even leave the wax paper on when freezing, but remove it before reheating.


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