Friday Sips

Join Us for Friday Sips!


Come by today Friday, October 25, 3:30 - 6:30 to taste 4 well-crafted yet wild wines from France's large Languedoc region

$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

"All of life is a dispute over taste and tasting" --- Nietzsche. One of the things that seems to make me as cranky as an Oregon Duck Defensive Back who has just run out of weed is the common misinterpretation that Languedoc wines are required to be 8 bucks and basically quaff wines. Truth be told there is a hell of a lot of diverse terroir throughout this vast land and a wine adventure-lover can easily grab a long-term lesson by trying the many wines from the many regions that are coming from handcrafted producers such as Lascaux. In existence since 1984 and situated between Nimes and Montpellier in the northernmost point of the Coteaux-Du-Languedoc appellation, the terroir influence on this wine is awfully impressive.

60% Syrah, 35% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre, limestone soils combine with cool and warm winds along with the surroundings of thyme, laurel and rosemary unite to have significant presence on this underrated gem. Big-time color and aromas of mure (essentially wild plum – no real English translation), white pepper and aromatic herbs. Classy, ripe and showing stellar old vine intensity, spice, roasted earth and all-around Mediterranean warmth that makes you think that you are on holiday in the South of France. A perfect accompaniment with a braised shoulder of lamb with aromatic herbes de provence. Like the Rhone and the rest of France, Languedoc experienced a magical 2010 vintage and given past experience, this wine can and does age, drink it over the next 5-6 years.

$16.99 BTL./$203.88 CASE

Corbieres is a huge area within Languedoc that is responsible for 46% of the wine output of the entire region. Divided up into 11 different "terroirs," this is a region where there is seemingly no middle ground; either outstanding, well-priced flavorful and detailed wines emerge from here or "attractively" priced, one-step-up-from-bug juice is produced. Thankfully Fontsainte falls into the former category. Always outstanding, Domaine de Fontsainte and the Loubacarie family are among the finest in the region. Given the quality of these wines, they are remarkably priced, too. Kilo for Kilo, this is one of the finest red wines produced in the South of France! Made with the same blend as their entry-level (60% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 15% Mourvèdre, 5% Syrah) black label, the difference in their top bottling is the age of the vines - the Carignan portion being from 105 year old vines! Fontsaintes Demoiselles is a Corbieres that thinks it's a Châteauneuf!

Packed, deep Mediterranean aromas of sun-drenched plums, wind-swept lavender, undertones of dark chocolate, white pepper, strawberry and balsamic continually build in complexity. Soulful, layered and very real, Domaine Fonsainte's Demoiselles a compelling ensemble of savory richness and elegance that follows through to the ample dry and vibrant finish. A Corbières of impeccable quality, we have tasted this when it's 10 years old and no problem for this to do the same thing with the 2009 - although it is mighty tempting now. One that is a hedonistic match for smoked or grilled pork in a tangy sauce. If I'm going to hell for eating and drinking this combination, then put me on the escalator down!

$17.99 BTL./$215.88 CASE

Just the other day I was presented with a glossy catalogue for a new lineup of wines from California and in this ever-so-shiny marketing tool there were pictures of beautiful people romping around a fire at the beach, mountain climbing and the like. What has this to do with good wine and what’s actually in the bottle you ask? Absolutely nothing! Just when my soul was shriveling up and could feel my passion for wine seeping out of my ears, I pulled the cork on this full-flavored but balanced red from one of Languedoc’s most exciting regions and leading producers to not only get the nasty taste from the previously-mentioned Cali-marketing plonk that I had to endure, but to also bring me back to reality and the excitement that I have for this growing region.

The Faugeres appellation is located north of the city of Beziers and is packed with schist soils. Chateau La Liquiere is a killer producer of the region delivering wines which are both alluring and true to their origins. The Vieilles Vignes cuvée is the specialty of the house and the term “old vines” really means something here. 45% Carignan, 35% Grenache, 10% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre from vines averaging 50 years, a lovely combination of strawberry, balsamic, violet and Thai spice scents lead into a texture that is hearty, soulful, layered and well-nuanced. The follow-through on this is magnificent and really heads and shoulders above most in the entire Languedoc region. A great pairing with lamb, cassoulet or grilled filet of beef. Drink over the next 6-8 years.

$13.99 BTL./$167.88 CASE

As many of you know, Karen and Bryan have Champagne fetishes and we also recognize that many of you have this same secret dark skeleton. Being the Champagne addicts that we are, we often will turn our noses up at anything produced outside of the Champagne region. This is a bit of a problem mostly because of the constant lightening of the wallet that comes with this mad addiction; hence it is our duty to find good bubbly values no matter where they come from. The coolest-climate growing region of this vast area, Limoux is a region on the western fringe of Languedoc and one that specializes in sparkling and white wines. Alas, there are often too many poor examples especially those with the Blanquette de Limoux designation which utilize the high-yielding Mauzac grape. Fighting against the machine-harvest, mass-produced menace, Champagne native Philippe Collin is more about quality, hence no Mauzac in this sparkling wine.

50% Chardonnay, 40% Chenin Blanc, 10% Pinot Noir comprise the blend and one can see that Philippe’s Champagne roots with the wine’s terrific finesse, both aromatically and in flavor. Lemon-blossom, peach-pit, and an almost cherry scent calmly and gently waft from the glass. Creamy, fine bubbles are enhanced by energetic and citrusy briskness which is especially apparent on the mouth-watering, palate-cleansing, thrusting finish. Excellent for sipping with friends and it will nicely stand up to cod, salmon, shrimp or something drowned in a romesco sauce. This is a fizz that we have absolutely no problem drinking, and you shouldn’t either, especially since it won’t bust the piggy bank like Champagne is doing right now.