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

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

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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