The more wine I drink, the more challenging it becomes to find a delicious, well-made wine at a great price. Vintage after vintage, Les Heretiques Pays d’Herault is a wine that is interesting and made with integrity. This vintage is a blend of 90% old vine Carignan and 10% Syrah made in the Languedoc-Rousillon region of France. It is relatively easy to find in boutique wine shops and retails at a staggeringly low price of $11.
Les Heretiques Pays d’Herault awakens your palate with fresh flavors of berries, plums, and violets. It is well-balanced and with a relatively long finish. The most striking thing about this wine is its powerful minerality; it is not a characteristic that would normally be found in a wine at this price point. Such a great value…I think I will pour myself a glass now!
I was cruising the aisles of Whole Foods looking for an inexpensive wine to pair with burgers and was pleasantly surprised to see a bottle of Château Coupe Roses La Bastide Minervois on the shelf for $14. I have uncorked many bottles of this blend of old-vine Carignan, Grenache, and Syrah in the past and was pretty impressed with the QPR. The wine hails from the Languedoc region of France and the family-run winery adheres to minimalist winemaking philosophies.
This is a fun and funky wine. Fresh tastes of plum, dark berries, tar, and anise are surrounded by earthiness and bright acid. Not too complicated yet far more satisfying than a lot of other wines in the same price range. Perfect for grilling and just light enough for warm, summer nights! (13% alcohol)
Today is the first Tuesday Night Farmers’ Market of the season in Sonoma and I cannot wait to go. The whole community comes together in Sonoma Square to enjoy wine and food while listening to live music. Rosé is a mainstay in our cooler and we are kicking off the first farmers’ market celebration with a bottle of Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris Rosé. It is a blend of 50% Grenache Gris, 20% Grenache Noir, 20% Carignan, 5% Cinsault, and 5% Mourvèdre from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc region of France. The wine is made with minimal intervention in the winemaking process and is imported by Kermit Lynch. It is a Rosé I come back to vintage after vintage and it never seems to disappoint!
The 2015 vintage of Domaine de Fontsainte Corbières Gris de Gris Rosé pours a beautiful salmon color in the glass. The wine has aromas of red berries with hints of citrus. The palate is vibrant and juicy with tastes of strawberries, cherries, and tart cranberries. A fun and refreshing Rosé that we will undoubtedly be enjoying throughout the farmers’ market season! (For all of you fellow Sonomans, Whole Foods Market in Sonoma sells this bottle chilled and ready to sip)
Although I don’t believe that Rosé is only for warm weather, I definitely start drinking more of it this time of year. Last week, I uncorked a new vintage of one of my everyday favorites for the first time; Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé. It is a blend of Grenache Gris, Grenache Noir, Mourvèdre, Carignan, and Cinsault from the Corbières appellation in the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France.
The wine pours a bright salmon color in the glass and has soft aromas of strawberries and cherries. The palate offers fresh flavors of strawberries and cranberries that mingle with traces of minerality. There is also healthy acidity and a refreshing finish. When I think of a beautiful yet affordable wine to sip by the pool, I think Domaine Fontsainte “Gris de Gris” Corbières Rosé! (12.5% alcohol, $14)
I have been sipping Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de l’Hérault for the last few vintages. While it has always been a great mid-week wine, I have to say, the 2013 is an outstanding value. The wine is 100% Carignan from 40+ years old vines in the Languedoc region of France. Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections, it is relatively easy to find at specialty wine shops.
The nose has abundant aromas of dark fruit with hints of earth and spice. The palate is incredibly rich with juicy acidity and smooth tastes of blackberries, violets, earth, and minerals. Straightforward yet very quaffable and full of flavor. A perfect companion for a casual meal…I will most definitely pick up a case soon! (13% alcohol, $10)
Fall ushers in some of the best seafood California has to offer so I like to make sure we have plenty of wine on hand to pair with oysters, crab, and other seasonal delicacies One well-priced bottle we always have chilled is Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc. This blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Clairette comes from 25 to 50-year-old vines that are organically farmed on the Mediterranean shores of the northern Languedoc. With 12.5% alcohol, it is fairly easy to find at a retail price of around $10.
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc offers pretty aromas of citrus, melon, and pear with floral nuances. The palate is crisp and lively. There are ample tastes of citrus followed with a refreshing finish. Super enjoyable and very easy to sip…this wine definitely over delivers on value!
Domaine Lafage Bastide Miraflors Vieilles Vignes is a blend of 70% Syrah and 30% Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussillon region of France. As I have mentioned before, there are some awesome values coming out of this area due to the depressed economy in the region. This wine caught my eye and I had to grab a couple of bottles.
The wine starts with aromas of dark berries and hints of earth. Rich tastes of berries and spice with mineral undertones are complex enough to keep your mouth entertained sip after sip. A little hefty on the alcohol (14.5%) but not hot on the palate. Such an enjoyable everyday wine at a price point of around $13!
If you are searching for a great mid-week wine bargain, look no further than Domaine L’Hortus “Le Loup Dans La Bergerie” Vin de Pays. For around $9 a bottle, this blend of 40% Syrah, 30% Merlot, and 30% Grenache is quite a steal. The grapes are grown organically and the wine is aged in stainless steel tanks. It is definitely a mid-week winner in our household!
This blend opens with rich aromas of red fruit and anise. The palate is smooth and flavorful with soft tastes of black cherry, raspberry, black tea, and spice. Fresh, balanced, and very easy to sip! (13% alcohol)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with rack of lamb, pulled pork sandwiches, or pizza topped with mushrooms and sun-dried tomatoes.
I am wrapping up the week with another pick from Paul Mas. Their 2011 GSM is a blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 30% Mourvedre. It hails from Herault Valley in the Languedoc region of southern France and is definitely a nice pick for a BBQ!
Rich aromas of dark fruit and spice make up the majority of the nose of this GSM. The fruity palate is medium-bodied with sweet tastes of strawberry, plum, boysenberry and a hint of earth and spice. There is noticable acidity but the finish is a bit short. For the price, this bottle is definitely worth pouring. (14% alcohol, $10)
My Wine Rating – B
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with grilled beef, pork chops or a pizza topped with mushrooms and peppers.
Last night, we grilled a couple of Mahi Mahi filets and uncorked a bottle of Paul Mas Estate Picpoul de Pinet. The wine comes from Languedoc, which is a wine region in the south of France. Languedoc is known for producing some great values and Paul Mas Estate 2011 Picpoul de Pinet definitely delivers a great QPR!
This Picpoul de Pinet opens up with a melody of tropical and citrus aromas. On the palate, the wine is refreshing and vibrant. There are tastes of lemon, lime, grapefruit and slate with a creamy mid-palate and zingy acidity. Simple drinking and easy to enjoy with a variety of foods! (13% alcohol, $10)
My Wine Rating – B+
Food Pairing Suggestions – Pair with oysters, Mahi Mahi or a salad topped with strawberries and goat cheese.