Stuffed Zucchini & Rhône Red

A spicy, smoky Crozes-Hermitage brings out the bacon and thyme flavors in a Provençal-inspired dish.

Although I was in my Brooklyn kitchen when I came up with this stuffed zucchini, it was inspired by ingredients I found while living in Provence. When pairing wine with food, I like to think in terms of regional affinities; so, for something to go with the zucchini, I looked to wines from the Rhône Valley, which runs right through Provence, from south of Lyon all the way to the Mediterranean Sea. A particular favorite of mine is Crozes-.Hermitage, made from the region’s Syrah grape. The spice and smoke of Alain Graillot’s 2000 Crozes-Hermitage ($21) mirror both the smoky bacon and the herbal spiciness of the thyme and olives in the stuffing, and the wine’s medium body. matches the texture of the food. Another good choice is Jaboulet Domaine de Thalabert Crozes-Hermitage 1999 ($22), with aromas of currants and plums and notes of smoke and leather.

--Daniel Johnnes

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