Showing posts with label Vin de Pays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Vin de Pays. Show all posts

Monday, September 6, 2021

Fine Wine Gets More Portable Than Ever

A new packaging format is being introduced into the single-serving wine category.  It's new to me, at least.  The containers come from Le Grand Verre and are billed as award-winning, ethically-made single-serve bottles.  

The 6.3-ounce plastic cylinders stand about eight inches tall,  have a diameter of only a little more than an inch and are topped with a screw cap.  You could stuff a lot of those into a picnic basket or backpack.  But it's not just the convenience and quantity that impresses - so does the quality.

Le Grand Verre's entire line consists of French wine from various wine regions, like Bordeaux, Languedoc, and Provence.  The company says they curate the wines every step of the way to your glass, partnering with mostly female-led boutique estates which are organic and sustainable.

The tasting samples provided to me were made up of two reds, two rosés and a white wine.

Le Grand Verre Domaine Caylus Rosé 2020

This pink wine hails from the Pays d'Herault region of southern France, a part of the larger Languedoc-Roussillon region.  LGV partnered with Inès Andrieu of Domaine de Caylus for this organic blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache.  Andrieu took over the property from her grandfather, Henri Andrieu who was in charge since buying the property in 1963.  The Domaine Caylus rosé carries alcohol at 12.5% abv and a price tag of $25 for a 4-pack.

The nose of this pale pink wine is loaded with strawberry and tropical notes.  The mouthfeel is full and the palate is earthy.  Flavors of apple, pineapple and ripe red cherry are a delight.  The acidity is somewhat tame, but the sip is juicy and the finish is very long.

Le Grand Verre Château Val D’Arenc Rosé 2020 

Bandol is generally considered to be the top Provence region for rosé, where the pinks are spicier, more structured and more flavorful than typical rosés thanks to the use of the Mourvédre grape.  This one is a critic's darling, an organic-certified Provencal blend of 80% Mourvèdre, 10% Grenache and 10% Cinsault.

The wine was produced by young, innovative winemaker Gérald Damidot, and under his leadership the estate converted to organic farming practices in 2015, bringing about an enhanced quality of the wine.  Alcohol sits at 13.5% abv and the retail is $30 for a 4-pack.

This wine is a little richer in color than a Provençal rosé, approaching the red side of pink.  The nose brings some watermelon into play with the berries and the citrus notes.  The palate shows a healthy streak of grapefruit through the melon.  Acidity is nice, and the finish is long.  This is a great rosé to pair with seafood or salads, or both.

Le Grand Verre Domaine Nadal Hainaut Red 2019 

Here is a gorgeous wine for the coming cooler weather this fall, but it takes a chill well, too - for those of us still stuck in summer.  This somewhat rustic Cabernet Sauvignon is made with organic grapes from the Domaine Nadal Hainaut estate in the Côtes Catalanes region of the Pays d'Oc IGP, which covers most of the Languedoc-Roussillon area.  The Château was built in 1826 and has belonged to the Nadal family since 1900.  Martine and Jean-Marie are currently turning over the winemaking duties to their three daughters.  This red wine's alcohol level is 13.5% abv and a 4-pack will set you back $25.

The nose and palate are both dominated by black and blue berries.  Anise aromas make an appearance as well.  The tannins are medium firm, while the acidity is quite refreshing.

Le Grand Verre Château Peyredon Red 2019 

This LGV selection comes from the Haut-Médoc Crus Bourgeois.  Laurence Dupuch of Château Peyredon Lagravette works with her husband Stephane Dupuch to produce this wine.  The fruit was picked from vines over 100 years old.  The blend was envisioned by world-famous oenologist Hubert de Bouard - winemaker and owner of Château Angelus, one of the four most prestigious Saint-Émilion estates. 

This classic Bordeaux is 63% Cabernet Sauvignon and 37% Merlot, with grapes that are sustainably farmed.  Alcohol is a restrained 13% abv and an LGV 4-pack of the canisters costs $30.

On the nose are rich blackberry, cedar, vanilla and bacon grease aromas.  The palate shows elegant dark fruit, very firm tannins and a playful acidity.  This is a wine that wants a steak next to it. 

Domaine Prataviera Sauvignon Blanc 2020

The Côtes de Gascogne region occupies France's far southwestern corner and is known primarily for the white wines produced there.  The grapes which are allowed in the region read like a list of grapes you never heard of:  Abouriou, Duras and Portugias bleu among the reds, Len de l'El, Ugni Blanc and both Mansengs - Petit and Gros - among the whites.  Of course, there are also some grapes you have heard of - Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon.

The grapes at Domaine Prataviera have been grown under the female hand since 1960 - that's when Elisabeth Prataviera's mom took over from her father.  The Prataviera is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, has alcohol sitting low at 11% abv and sells for $20 in the 4-pack.

This SauvBlanc is lightly tinted and offers up a lovely nose of grapefruit and grass.  The citrus/mineral element outweighs the herbal, so it does not come off like a fully New World wine.  On the palate, the grapefruit really shines, with a full mouthfeel, an apricot note and a pretty good level of acidity.  I don’t drink a lot of Sauvignon Blanc, but when I do, it's usually French, and this wine is a perfect example of why. 

In a Zoom meeting to kick off the product, a couple of LGV bigwigs talked with a collection of wine writers.  Nicolas Deffrennes (LGV Founder) spoke about how he started LGV, with an eye towards presenting fine French wines in a format that made it easy for people to sample.  He also said that part of his innovation was to focus on female-owned and organic, sustainable wines.  He estimated that within the next couple of years, the plastic containers will be made from organic, plant-based plastic.

Deffrennes then threw it to Régis Fanget (Brand and Artistic Director) who talked about the inspiration for the pretty little bottles - cosmetics.  He said they wanted to present the wine in a physical manner that resembled the way perfume is sold.

Pauline Nadal (one of the daughters behind Le Grand Verre Domaine Nadal Hainaut Red 2019, a beautiful wine from Languedoc-Roussillon) spoke about all the animals they have on the property - sheep, swans, bees - and the importance of the animals being happy in the absence of chemicals, and the happiness of the vines themselves.  They don't irrigate the vines - she says her grandfather maintained that watering the vines made them "lazy."  


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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Novellem Chardonnay

Here’s another of those Top 12 Holiday Wines from Whole Foods Market, which they promoted back in December.  It’s a wine that could serve as well now, with the Groundhog Day festivities out of the way.

The Novellum Chardonnay 2012 is from the southern part of France.  It’s categorized as a Pays d’Oc wine, which I love to hear Americans try to pronounce.  We’ll just say it comes from a Vin de Pays region that roughly corresponds to the geographical area of Languedoc-Roussillon.

This white is produced by Jean Marc and Eliane Lafage for Eric Solomon Selections.  The importer rides under a banner that reads, "Place Over Process,” and their offerings are top-notch.  This one is no exception, and it’s a great value wine, too, at only $11.

The wine is unoaked, but is aged three months on Viognier lees, according to the Solomon website.  This accounts for the generous mouthfeel and somewhat spicy nature of the wine, and also tricked me into thinking there was oak aging involved.  The alcohol level for this custom cuvée is a moderate 13.5% abv.

Novellum sure looks good in the glass, giving off a rich, golden color.  The nose has some fairly big fruit aromas, with apples and pears clearing a path for a touch of honeysuckle and a hint of spice.  The acidity is moderate - certainly enough to consider the wine to be extremely food-friendly.  The palate is loaded with juicy fruit, and minerals play a larger role than on the nose.  It’s a great sipper, but it really belongs on the table.


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Monday, July 1, 2013

French Wine: Vin de Pays

Viognier pairs well with Indian food, so I ordered the Domaine Pennautier Viognier, Vin de Pays, France 2011, to go with aloo gobi.

The Pennautier château has reportedly been in the Lorgeril family since the time of Louis XIII, 1620 to be exact.  Nicolas and Miren de Lorgeril are the tenth generation to make wine there.  The estate is in the northern part of the Languedoc region, near the town of Carcassonne in the south of France.

Vin de pays means "country wine.”  These wines occupy a spot in the French wine classification system just above the table wine, but below the AOC level.  The classification allows vignerons to classify wines that were made using grape varieties other than those required by the AOC rules.  It keeps a winemaker from having his wine relegated to vins de table status.  There are six Vins de Pays regions in France, the largest being Vin de Pays d'Oc, which is in the Languedoc-Roussillon region.  Pennautier Viognier is grown and made.

The wine cost $8 by the glass at Santa Monica’s Pradeep on Montana, convenient to the Aero Theater.  It has an alcohol content of 13% abv.  The blurb on the menu promised a fragrant nose, which did not materialize for me.  It was served very cold and in a small, narrow glass - there just wasn't much there.  Plus, it is an Indian restaurant.  Conditions would have to be optimal for a wine's bouquet to overcome the atmosphere of spices.

On the palate, the Domaine Pennautier is lush and fresh with a touch of herbal notes mixing with the flavor of peach.  It's a good wine, and it paired nicely with the aloo gobi and its wonderful array of spices.


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Monday, July 11, 2011

SAINTE CHANELLE VIN DE PAYS D'OC PINOT NOIR 2010


Sainte Chanelle Vin de Pays D'Oc Pinot Noir 2010

The wines on the list at Salades de Provence, my favorite French bistro in Los Angeles, are not fancy, but they always seem to pair to perfection with the wonderful food they make.  I tried one recently which fit well with the food, but was a bit lackluster on its own.

The Sainte Chanelle Vin de Pays D’Oc Pinot Noir is the wine in question.  It was smooth as silk, but dull as dishwater.

The Vin de Pays designation translates as “country wine,” and is a French wine production level below that of the A.O.C. and above the Vins de Table classification.  Vins de Pays D’Oc hail from the Languedoc-Roussillon area in the south of France, near the Mediterranean.

The jury is mixed on this wine’s nose.  Denise smells raisins and beef, while I find the nose quite challenged, with just a hint of roses.  The taste is nice enough, if a bit plain.  Earthy cherry dominates the palate and it pairs well with mushrooms and smoked salmon.  I do not find its unobtrusive quality to be a virtue, though.

The Sainte Chanelle cost $9 per glass, and I’ve seen the ‘07 vintage for $9 a bottle at a local wine store, but I’ll take a pass on it the next time I see it offered.

The trip wasn't a total loss where wine was concerned, though.  Denise enjoyed her Bordeaux Blanc quite a bit.  I've written about it before.



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