Bang for the Buck – Les Heretiques Pays d’Herault 2015

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!

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A Perfectly Paired Wine Lunch Hosted by Santa Julia Winery

This week I had the incredible opportunity to enjoy a wonderful lunch put on by Santa Julia Winery.  If you read my blog, you probably have noticed a few entries featuring Santa Julia’s wines.  They are one of my absolute favorite lines of wine priced under $20.

The lunch was held at the beautiful Rivera restaurant in downtown Los Angeles.  When we arrived (I was joined by my husband Brandon), we were greeted by Julia Zuccardi, the namesake of Santa Julia, who flew in from Argentina along with the chef from the winery’s restaurant, Ana Rodriguez Armisen.  We were taken on a journey through Santa Julia’s wines and each was perfectly paired with a delicious Argentinean dish prepared by Chef Ana and the staff of Rivera.

During the appetizer reception, Chef Ana gave us a demonstration of how to make her signature Chimichurri sauce.  We were also served a tasting of their estate grown olive oils and meat empanadas.

One of the stand out wines served with the appetizers was the Santa Julia Brut Rosé NV.  It is light with notes of strawberries and cherries and is super food-friendly.  For only $13, it is a perfect apéritif.  We were also served Organica Chardonnay (review here http://wp.me/p1vdhr-g8) and the [+] Malbec…all of which I enjoyed.

We were then seated and served a first course featuring a shrimp and watermelon mojito salad paired with Santa Julia [+] Torrontes.  You can find this review on my blog at http://wp.me/p1vdhr-ej.  Torrontes is fast becoming a staple in my home and Santa Julia’s is one the best you will find for the price.

Our main course was a grilled lamb with crispy smashed potatoes, a malbec reduction, and a warming salsa criolla. 

The course was delicious and it was also paired with my favorite wine from the Santa Julia line; Santa Julia Malbec Reserva 2010.  The wine is rich with layers of ripe, dark fruit, tobacco, and vanilla.  It paired nicely with the lamb and is an incredible value for $12.

The final course of the day was a rich chocolate torte with drunken pineapple.  The torte was paired with Santa Julia Tardio 2009 (a late harvest Torrontes) which honestly exceeded my expectations.  The perfectly balanced dessert wine has an aromatic nose with notes of citrus and peach and tastes of pear, honey, and pineapple.  A nice dose of acidity elevates the wine in the finish.

Everything about our lunch was lovely.  I had great conversation with both Julia and Ana and learned a lot about the family values and sustainable farming practices that have come to make Santa Julia so successful.  I also was reminded with each course how wonderful and well-priced each of Santa Julia’s wines are.  I definitely recommend that you give at least one or two of their wines a try.  They can be found at Whole Foods and you can also get more information at www.santajulia.com.ar.  I hope you enjoy them as much as I do!

*This experience was provided by Santa Julia Winery, Winesellers Ltd, and Folsom and Associates.  The opinions contained are my own.

 

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