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Short, sharp wine recommendations

Entries in France (3)


Memorial Day Weekend? Think pink.

If you know me at all, you probably know damn well that I view warm weather and lazy days as just another good excuse to drink pink. Even before it became trendy, I was proud to say that I loves me some Rosé. 

And really, let's get real here, when I think pink, my go-to country is most definitely France. Provence? Delicious. Bandol? C'mon - ridiculously good. And today, my friends, I'm hitting the Pyrenees and heading straight into the Languedoc.

I just popped (er, screwed) a bottle of 2011 Domaine Begude Vin de Pays d'Oc Rosé. For $13, this is a screaming deal of a wine, and it's made from 100% Pinot Noir. The nose is brilliant for a hot, sunny day in the backyard. Fresh strawberries and, dare I say, watermelon Jolly Ranchers on the nose (and I mean that in a good way), a bright, palate cleansing acidity on the palate with tart strawberry and a generous minerality (hey, it's from the Pyrenees for crying out loud), and a long pomelo-esque finish really make this wine wonderful for food. It'll easily stand up to salad dressing, but give it to me with fried calamari, thank-you very much. Or just goddamn quaff it down during your bocce game.

If you can't find Domaine Begude - don't fret. Find a good wine store and ask them to point you to their favorite French Rosés. You really can't go wrong. Or, hey VinoRadio is here to help. And also here, for that matter.

Did I mention I loves me some Rosé? Have a great weekend.


Modest Mondays - 2009 Château Coupe Roses Minervois

Everyday opulence - the $13.50 Château Coupe Roses MinervoisFirst, let's get this out of the way: the '09 Château Coupe Roses Minervois is a screamin deal for $13.50. It's got character, opulence, and just a bit of earthy funk underneath its ripe cherry, stewed tomato, and dusty spice flavors. Like many other Minervois AOC wines, this is a blend of old-vine Carignan and Grenache. It is rich, fruit-driven, and delicious, reminiscent of a great Paso Rhone Blend but waaaaay cheaper. There's also some definite French terroir underneath the brambly stuff, which keeps it a bit more down to earth. 

While this is not a natural (or even organic) wine, the vignerons practice something called lutte raisonnée, which in English means "reasoned fight" - this basically boils down to farming in a manner somewhere between organic and conventional: they try to avoid chemicals except when absolutely necessary. Often this is a precursor to a winery going officially organic, and I hope so in this case.

This very tasty treat goes for $13.50 at Arlequin in San Francisco. I had it one night with a burger, the next with ratatouille, and it was quite nice with both. The importer's label specifies that it is "meant to be drunk young," and I can tell you with assurance that this wine will not last long in a cellar - pop it now.


Modest Mondays - Clos La Coutale, 2007 Cahors

A soul pleasing blend of 80% Côt (aka Malbec, for you non Francofiles) and 20% Merlot (sidenote: that grape that got a bad rap when Sideways' Miles hated on them should be reconsidered, people, and not just in blends like this), has a nose of ripe blackberry, herbs, bacon fat, a bit of funk, and goddamnit, Parker's right about the black walnut husks (ok, I admit the guy has a great nose).  Medium bodied, wild berries and black cherry in the midpalate, grippy tannens, racy acid, bone dry: good times, and for $14, I mean, C'mon.  Decant for a few hours (it's tight out of the bottle), or hell, let a bottle or two of this one sit for a couple years to let the tannins smooth out.  Or do it like they do in Cahors: melt the tannins and cut the acid with some nice duck fat!

(PS - three of my favorite people -- and, er, frogs -- I've never met are named Kermit -- Kermit Ruffins, Kermit the Frog, and Kermit Lynch, whose imports you can always trust -- and this Cahors is one of em.)