By Cathy Huyghe
"Chef Tsai’s team recommends the 2007 Mas de la Dame Rosé as the pairing for this dish. It tastes, they say, of “subtle flavors of fresh berries and fennel with a flowery finish” and has an aroma of “fresh strawberries, peaches and roses,” all of which I love, especially since we’re talking about a rosé that’s likely served chilled on a hot summer evening.
But the added bonus of this particular wine is its label. Mas de la Dame means “Farm of the Woman.” Currently the winery and its olive grove are owned by Anne Poniatowski and Caroline Missoffe, granddaughters of Auguste Fay, a Burgundian wine merchant who founded the property in 1903. The land, and the wines, have a storied history. In 1889 Vincent van Gogh painted the farmhouse, located near the village of Les Baux de Provence in the Apilles Mountains. And Simone de Beauvoir drank the wine on her first trip to the south of France. She arrived at night, she wrote; the wind was blowing hard and lights twinkled in the valley. “A fire was crackling in the grate at the Reine Jeanne, where we were the only guests. We had dinner at a little table close to the fireplace, and drank a wine the name of which, Le Mas de la Dame, I recall to this day.”
If it’s good enough for van Gogh and de Beauvoir, it’s good enough for me.