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About this Episode

In this episode, sommelier Grace Hood joins host Robert Tas to visit the wines featured at Le Coucou, where acclaimed Chef Daniel Rose shrinks the intercontinental divide separating the City of Light and the Big Apple, proving that the true essence of fine French dining can thrive in any time zone.  

Wines reviewed include:

  • Domaine Auguste Clape
  • Philippe Colin Bourgogne
  • Valentin Morel Trousseau
Transcript: Le Coucou

Le Coucou

RT: Hello and Welcome to CorkRules! 

A podcast where (in each episode) we will review a wine list from your favorite restaurants. I’m your host Robert Tas along with Grace Hood, Wine Educator and Certified Sommelier. Hello Grace, it’s great to have you!

GH: Hey Robert! Happy to be here :)

RT Before we jump in, let’s talk about CorkRules.

We created CorkRules to demystify wine lists because we know from experience, that sometimes when we get that list handed to us, well… it can be intimidating, and even a little daunting.

Our aim is to help prepare you to navigate that list, find those hidden gems, or value wines or that special bottle that will take your dining experience over the top.

RT: So, sit back and listen as we review your favorite wine list.

So’ Grace today we are talking about the divine NYC French bistros Le Coucou. I bet you were excited for this one b/c I know France is one of your favorite wine regions.

GH: OH, Robert don’t tempt me with a good time Robert! You know my weakness for French wines!

RT: Ah Oui Oui Madame! So, what are your initial thoughts on the Le Coucou?

GH: So, when I was doing a deeper dive into Le Coucou, I came across this quote on their website which I just loved. It says, “Proof that the true essence of fine French dining can thrive in any time zone.” And that just really spoke to me. France is notorious for decadence, indulgence and joie de vivre. I have a personal connection to it due to the fact that I have French heritage! My grandmother's family is French and they absolutely embodied that “I am French and fabulous and do not care what you think! I will smoke my cigarette and drink my wine in a fur coat at noon and no one can tell me otherwise!” That attitude of the French is so apparent in their food and wine - so rich and delicious, with the vibe of “we’re amazing and we know it” lolllll

RT: Spot on Grace - when you think of a life well-lived, you definitely think of France. So where do you start when it comes to this quite heavy wine menu?

GH: Well, since the menu is completely French, including the language, I would say we can stick with the classics like the menu has done. I know we’ve touched a bit on certain regions in France, and I would love to highlight some other regions and producers. If we wanted to start with someone white and light, I would go with a Didier Dagueneau Pouilly Fume which is Sauvignon from the Loire valley of France. Many people are familiar with the most famous sauv blanc from that region, Sancerre. However, Pouilly fume is a great alternative - crispy aromatic delish.

RT: Love it! Sauv blanc on a warm sunny day is one of my favorites. Where else should we go from there?

GH: So, if we wanted a slightly more full-bodied white, I would try the  Domaine de la Grange Roussane/Marsanne from the Languedoc which is in the Rhone valley of southeast France. The Rhone Valley is home to what I called the cousins of Chardonnay - Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier. I call them the cousins of chardonnay b/c just like chardonnay, these are going to be your weightiest richest white wine grapes. They are much lesser-known varietals than chardonnay, and I love introducing chardonnay drinkers to them, to give them an alternative that they will still really enjoy.

RT: Awesome! I love learning about new varietals. Now, what would you recommend for reds?

GH: Well, we’ve talked a lot about burgundies and Bordeauxs so I’m going to steer us in a different direction with reds! Let’s stay in the rhone since we’re already here and talk about the famous reds from this region - Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. These three grapes a vastly different from one another - Grenache being light and austere, Syrah being medium-bodied and lush, and Mourvedre being very dark and tannic. The Rhone valley uses  1 2 or all three of these in their wines, depending on where you are. One of my favorite regions is Cornas which is in the northern Rhone and almost exclusively produces Syrah. On the Le Coucou menu I would choose any of the Domaine Auguste Clape, a classic producer making delicious rich elegant Syrahs.

RT: Sounds delicious! Where should be looking in the Rhone if we want Grenache or Mouvedre?

GH: So for that we head to the Southern Rhone, to probably one of the most famous French regions, Chateauneuf du Pape! If you like zingy, acidic, bright reds, these will be right up your alley. I would recommend the Lucien et André Brunel if you’re looking for a purely Grenache Mourvedre experience.

RT: Awesome! Now we know that French wines can get quite pricy. Where would we look if we wanted to find the value wines on the list?

GH: For whites, I would go with the Philippe Colin Bourgogne. Finding a white burgundy under $100 is quite a feat but this one fits the bill! And then with reds, I would try a lesser-known region and style - Jura! It is in the eastern part of France near Switzerland, and is known for producing pretty high alcohol high acid reds that are usually at a very reasonable price point. From the Le Cou Cou list, I would try the Valentin Morel trousseau, which is one of the grapes that is used in making Port!

RT: Oh wow I had no idea! Interesting information for sure. Now Grace - what is we’re looking for a special occasion bottle?

GH: Oh man - there are so many amazing wines on the Le Coucou list, it is hard to choose. But if you’re going to twist my arm, I would go with the 2010 François Raveneau ‘Valmur' Chablis Grand cru or the 2005 Domaine Dujac CHAMBERTIN GRAND CRU, both very prestigious burgundy producers and excellent years to enjoy these wines.

RT: Grace Thank you so much for all your great suggestions and helping us navigate Le Coucou. To our audience, Thank you all for joining us here on Corkrules.  If you would like us to review one of your favorite restaurants, please send us email to: Info@corkrules.Com or visit our web website where we have a request form available and we will do our best to get it in the queue as quickly as possible.

We are looking forward to being with you on another CorkRules episode soon. In the meantime, please check out our website for other episodes of your favorite restaurant wine lists. Follow us on social media @corkrules and @wineswithgrace

And finally, drink what you love and please make sure you drink responsibly.

Thank you.




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