Bringing the Bistro Home with Anne-Cecile Jadaud Côtillon Rouge and Pork Rillettes (#Winophhiles)

Today we’re going to bring the bistro home. We’ll keep things relaxed, but elegant, and above all tasty with an easy-going red blend from the Loire Valley and a simple spread of pork rillettes with a salad and fresh-baked bread. No need to overthink things – just kick back and enjoy. 

A Cocktail of Loire Valley Red Grapes

We’ve visited the Loire Valley in north-central France, several times before, and we’re likely to head there many more times in the future since I find it to be a treasure trove of affordable, food-friendly wines. Ideal for accompanying a bistro meal.

Map borrowed from

It’s a long region that follows the Loire River from the center of the country to the sea. Because it’s such a long region, the terroir varies A LOT, and there many different grapes are grown throughout it. Among the red grapes, the variety it’s probably best known for is Cabernet Franc, but there are many others, many of which you don’t hear all that much about. Today’s wine includes two others. Côt makes up the majority of the blend, along with Cab Franc, and a splash of Gamay, the grape that is usually associated with Beaujolais. 

Côt is really just the local name for a grape we’ve explored many times before – Malbec. Here, Malbec tends to take on more herbal and earthy notes, and will usually have higher levels of acidity than versions from Argentina, and even when compared to its homeplace of Cahors since the Loire is cooler and farther north. It’s not as common in the region as it once was, but isn’t unusual to find it in red blends from the mid-Loire regions like Anjou and Touraine, and often as a part of this trio with Cab Franc and Gamay. 

Anne-Cecile Jadaud Côtillon Rouge 2018

Anne-Cecile Jadaud is an oenologist and she usually works in partnership with viticulturist Tanguy Perrault. The couple met while teaching at the lycée viticole at Amboise. Each of them spent a decade working in a wine before starting their own project together. For her part, Anne-Cécile, spent that time working as a consulting enologist in southern France before returning to the Loire (she’s a native of Tours) to teach and make their wines. The Perrault-Jadaud wines focus on Chenin Blanc. The couple works eight hectares of organically-farmed vines near their home and winery in Chançay, in the northeastern portion of Vouvray.

Image borrowed from

Anne-Cecile also loves red wines, however, and she also makes a few red cuvées, which she bottles under her own name. Today’s wine is one of these. The Côtillon Rouge 2018 is a red field blend made from grapes from a friend’s vineyards that are about to be certified BIO/organic. (There was also 2019, but from what I’ve seen online that one was all Côt.)  

While I wasn’t able to find a tech sheet on this specific wine, the rest of Perrault-Jadaud wines are made via natural fermentations and with as little SO2 as possible, and I don’t doubt that this was the case for this wine as well. There was no oak used on this wine. 

As we took our first sips of the wine, Greg commented that this was “a wild red,” and it definitely had a wild edge. A cotillon is a French country dance, so I think this wine is Côt in a playful dance, perhaps even a raucous one as suggested by the label. It’s a natural wine and certainly had that slightly feral quality natural wines often have, so perhaps it’s not for everyone. There was a bit of brett in the mix, and it might have also benefited from decanting, although I didn’t do so this time. However, accompanying the wine’s wild side there was rich, dark, bright fruit. On the nose, there were blackberries and black cherries, along with lots of herbs and wildflowers. On the palate, the fruit was dark and juicy, seasoned with white pepper, a bit of game, and stony minerality. While the alcohol on this wine was only 13% ABV, it read as a bigger wine, and there was plenty of freshness to add vibrancy.

The Pairing: Rillettes des Tours

I bought this wine via the Garagiste newsletter ($16.81) which noted:

As far as no-thought, “bistro” reds are concerned, this VERY RARE and sumptuous hand-made treat    (courtesy of 2018 and Anne-Cecile Jadaud) is at the top of the bargain heap. It will pair with everything from grilled burgers to cassoulet to a plate of thinly sliced San Daniele to a no-fuss afternoon throwing touchdown passes with your 10 year old.

I liked the bistro allusion, as well as the ideas of charcuterie and richer, even gamey fare. That was all playing in my mind as I looked for cooking inspiration online. Then I came across a recipe for Rillettes des Tours, which seemed to bring everything together perfectly. It’s exactly the kind of thing I’d order at a bistro-style restaurant. It’s a bit decadent, yet easy-going, and even comes from the same region as our winemaker and wine to boot.

If you’ve never had rillettes (pronounced “ree-yets”), it’s kind of like pulled pork meets confit, meets a very rustic pâté. The pork (or other meat) is slow-cooked in fat for several hours, then is shredded up and covered in fat. It was originally meant as a preservation technique because covering the meat in fat creates an anaerobic environment that protects the meat from spoiling. It’s not at all hard to do, but it does take a long time, so just be sure to plan in advance. 

I used this recipe from Epicurious, although instead of using fatback as indicated by the recipe, I used bacon fat. I always reserve bacon fat whenever I can because it’s delicious, so I had about a cup on hand, and I saved myself from having to buy an extra ingredient. It worked perfectly, although I think I could have easily gotten away with cutting down the amount to ⅔ cup or even ½ cup. The recipe indicates that you should wait two days before eating the rillettes, but we waited only about 8 hours and they were delicious as was. I split the total amount into three small containers and will be storing two in the freezer so that we’ll be set up for future bistro nights. The total amount created by the recipe would be A LOT for two people to eat in one sitting. 

We spread the rillettes on crusty homemade bread and ate them with pickled veggies and mustard. They made a perfect pairing for the wine as the wine cut through the fattiness of the rillettes, while their richness helped the to tame the wine’s wild side. 

I served a salad with goat cheese and sliced Anjou pear (to keep with the theme) and a vinaigrette made with an aged balsamic vinegar that was slightly sweet alongside the rillettes and toast. The salad didn’t really pair with the wine, but I’d argue that a salad is an almost necessary counterpoint to the rich rillettes. 

It was an altogether delightful meal that succeeded in bringing the bistro vibe home. 


For more posts related to the Loire Valley check out:

The rest of the French Winophiles (#winophiles) are exploring French wines by women winemakers in honor of Women's History Month.  Be sure to check out the rest of their posts:

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  1. I have been daydreaming of relaxing days and this inspired home getaway to a bistro hit the nail on the head for me. I want to make this rillettes! (I also want to find cute little jars like those to put it in! The wine sounds wonderful and this little getaway...well, I'm just going to close my eyes for a minute and pretend I'm there.

    1. Thanks so much Robin. It was lovely, relaxing evening -- and I'm happy to have a couple more jars stashed away for more!

  2. I love a good field blend, and the Anne-Cecile Jadaud Côtillon Rouge sounds wonderful. Also, thanks for the introduction to how Rillettes are made. I've had them quite few time, but had no idea how they were made. My hat it off to you for DIY! I can see this as a lovely pairing too!

    1. Thanks Martin -- they're so much easier to make than you'd think!

  3. Well, you've certainly captured the Bistro vibe for this "wild red." Such an interesting wine, and that plate of food looks incredibly delicious.


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