Wednesday, October 6, 2010


RN13 pique nique blanc

A Sunday trip to the Larchmont Village Farmers' Market - which is a superb experience, by the way: great produce, lots of shade - played directly into a lunch for two at a nearby restaurant.  I love when that happens!  And yes, there was wine.

RN13 is a Vin de Pays wine from l’Herault in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.  It’s named after a road which leads to the south of France.  No doubt, on this road, you’ll be drawn to stop the car and have a good ol’ French pique nique on a blue checkered blanket along the way.  The makers of this wine would recommend you have a bottle on hand in case that desire overcomes you.  At only 13% abv, it is a great wine to have for lunch.

The wine is made by Bioghetto, a collaborative effort between Gilles Valeriani and Alain Coumont.  The latter heads up the organic French restaurant chain Le Pain Quotidien.  That’s where we were served this wine - they also have the accompanying rosé - at the fairly decent price of $5.75 per glass.

Showing a light, golden color, the RN13 has grassy and citrus elements on the nose, but not overwhelmingly so.  On the palate, it’s more herbal than fruity.  Some pear comes through, but herbs get my attention first.  The finish has basil and lemongrass in it.  Good, but not great, acidity makes me think it will mate with food well.

The wine itself is quite ordinary, but pairs well with food.  We ordered two dishes, a roasted corn Caesar salad and a ham and Gruyere sandwich.  The sandwich was great, but the salad was boring - uncharacteristic for the food here.  It was also virtually corn-less, a real black mark for a salad with “corn” in its name.  Denise fixed the salad with a little mustard-based dressing she whipped up at the table.

The interesting thing is that the wine and food went hand in hand.  The wine - plain and unassuming - made the boring salad seems better than it was.  The sandwich - which deserves a food group all its own - lifted the wine to place higher than it probably deserved.  The way the wine and food worked together was impressive, and it’s the reason a meal simply isn’t complete without wine.

Online information showed RN13 Blanc to be a blend of 40% Viognier, 35% Chenin Blanc and 25% Sauvignon Blanc.  It was billed on the menu as a Sauvignon Blanc/Airen blend, but that seems a little sketchy to me.  I’m going with the website’s information.

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