Texas-Style Chili Paired with Huguenot Cuvee de Rouge, Santa Ynez – California.

Terrapin Hospecutioner

This last Monday, I had the privilege to attend my first ever Monday night football game! Suffice to say it was probably the most American thing I’ve done all year!

For the first time since I’ve been living in Jacksonville, the Mrs and I decided to take a big leap of faith, and become season ticket holders for the Jacksonville Jaguar’s (whom I still insist on pronouncing JAG-U-AHHHS). 
I can’t say why I thought season tickets would be a good idea. I’m basically only there for three things: the cheerleaders, Jaxson DeVille, and the military fly-over. The rest of it (namely the “football"), doesn’t make much sense to me! I guess I don’t see much of a purpose to: playing for 5 seconds, stopping, having a chat about it, changing all the players, having another chat about it, playing for 7 seconds, and then stopping when some-guy throws in a flag! To me, it all just seems like a reason for big men, in tight pants, to roll around in the mud with each other…….and there’s a name for that where I come from!
I digress……now that I’ve insulted your national sport…

Peppers in a Pan.

So bearing in mind this was my first EVER Monday night football game, and tailgating was going to play a huge role, I needed a killer recipe. Searching my usual recipe resource (Foodandwine.com), I came across: Texas-Style Chili with Beer. Without a doubt, it was the most American recipe I could find; and if “AWESOME” had ingredients, some of the individual components for this “chili” would probably be in it:

– 3 different kinds of chili peppers
– One bottle of pale ale (I opted for Terrapin Hopsecutioner).
– Beef short-ribs.
– Coffee.
– Bittersweet Chocolate.

What can go wrong!?!?!


What can (and did) go wrong,  is that it was mediocre. Truly.
I do feel the recipe was a little misleading. Because I was in such a rush, I didn’t realize until I almost got to the end of making it, that it was really just beef short-ribs, in a lot of crazy juice..…and that’s it! Not really a chili at all. The few people we were tail-gating with seemed to like it, although they were probably just being polite, since they were eating free food.
This could have been a very cool recipe, even verging on spectacular; maybe if I’d have cooked it off in a slow cooker all day, and possibly even replaced the short-ribs with pork loin.

Huguenot Cellars Cuvee Rouge

Luckily the wine saved the day! Doesn’t it always!
Huguenot Cellars Cuvee de Rouge is the brainchild of fellow Jacksonvillians Chad Munsey and Fraser Burns. They both started Vingevity, a small Jacksonville-based wine distributor, and have now branched out into creating their own unique wines.
The Huguenot Cuvee Rouge is a kind of  France-meets-Spain-meets-Italy blend; with 47% Syrah, 27% Grenache, 13% Tempranillo, and 13% Sangiovese. 212 case production on the 2007, with just about all of that coming into Florida. 2007 is their first vintage.

Something that I wasn’t aware of was that in 1564, French Huguenots at Fort Caroline (in Jacksonville, about 1/2 mile from my house), are credited with making the first American wine! What an interesting fact! Since Chad is a little-bit of a history geek, he choose to name his creation: Huguenot.

What a mess.

Ahhhhh, yes! Taco’s on the parcel shelf of my car! Tailgating at its finest! We looked like such amateurs! Everyone else had such professional looking gas grills, folding tables, and collapsible awnings. One guy even had a deep-fat fryer! We had tacos, sour cream, lettuce, shredded cheddar, and some weird-chili that I’d thrown into a crockpot dish. All served from my back parcel shelf.

I really didn’t think that this pairing would have worked as well as it did! Truth be told; I actually had a bottle of Chateau Saint Michelle Eroica Riesling in the cooler, in case the Huguenot and Chili proved to be a match made in food-and-wine hell! Oh how wrong I was!
The level of spice in the dish was my main concern, but luckily the alcohol in the wine wasn’t an issue (even at 14.2%). The mixture of flavors in the recipe found a perfect home with the blended components of the wine. The beef short ribs, chocolate, chili, coffee, and beer; although unusual-sounding in a recipe together, worked amazingly well with the Huguenot!
It just goes to show, that sometimes when you think you’ve got it all figured out…!

Texas-Style Chili

The Huguenot Cellars Cuvee de Rouge showed bright red forest fruits and blueberry, going into deeper-darker cassis, and earthy notes toward the back. Complex notes of mocha, dried orange-peel and herbs, and spice. Medium-full in body, with a medium finish. Drinking wine out of a red cup really did make me miss my William Yeoward oversized wine glass though!

Huguenot Cellars Cuvee Rouge...in a cup!

So the lesson to be learnt from this whole experience is that maybe I really do need to be a little more selective over my recipe resources. I can usually trust Food & Wine, and they even gave this recipe their “Tested & Perfected” stamp of approval. I’ll rate this as a:

Perfect Wine and Food PairingPerfect Pairing (even though the recipe was terrible)




The Huguenot Cuvee de Rouge is currently only available from select retailers Florida, for $16.99.

Denise Chislett

English sarcasm was applied liberally throughout this article. If you’re smart, you’ll know which parts.

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