Wines of the Southwest. France, that is.

Howdy, my Southwestern Amigos.

I’ve been lucky enough to spend time tooling around not only the Southwest here at home, but also make a brisk trot across another Southwest: Languedoc-Roussillon. So when Mary Grace Rodarte suggested we dedicate this month’s tasting to wines of southwestern France, I did a little jump for joy. We’ll be pouring two wines from one of my fave wineries, but plenty more as well, and all served with little tastes of paired foods. It’s got me thinking about a whole series of Wines of the Southwest tastings, so look out for more, but what better place to start out than the South of France, just a few miles from the Spanish border? The tasting is this Sunday, August 25th, at 3:30 pm, here at Feast. Thirty dollars gets you the tastes of wine, the delicious snacks, and a discount on the wines you fall in love with. Call 326-9363 to make a reservation. We regret that reservations made online or by email cannot be guaranteed a seat at the tasting.

Wines of the Southwest: France

2012 Domaine de la Tour Vieille “Les Canadells” Blanc, Collioure $25.00

The wealth of low-yielding Grenache Blanc gives “les Canadells” its “sea wine” salinity and notes of dry and fragrant scrubland, the Macabeo brings it vivacity, Vermentino hints of dried or grilled fruit, and Roussanne its exotic richness.

2012 Domaine de Fontsainte Gris de Gris, Corbières AOC $17.00

This pink blend of Grenache and Grenache Gris sports a crystalline salmon color, a nose of freshly picked strawberries with subtle notes of tropical fruits. Crisp freshness on the palate balances its richness of fruit and bright acidity.

2011 Domaine de la Tour Vieille “La Pinède” Rouge, Collioure $24.00

Full bodied, intense and muscular. This begins with spiced black fruit accented with a figgy component. Some dark berries show some tartness on the mid palate and play off the tannins beautifully. Rich red fruit over a layer of broad minerality, finishing with fine tannins.

2009 Dom. de Fontsainte Clos Centurion, Corbières AOC $26.00

Dark and almost opaque purple with thick legs. Opulent nose of cherry jam followed by caramelized apples and spices with nuts. On the palate, the density of fruit and firm tannins tie together generous fruit with notes of torrefaction and pine resin.

Château Fontanès Vin Pays d’Oc Rouge (Cabernet Sauvignon), Languedoc $16.00

Fantastic bottle and an outstanding value. The nose is a bit understated. But there is a balanced, seamless wine with some grip to the tannins, but plenty of acidity to bring life and clarity to the black currant and red cherry flavors.

2009 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré Bandol Rouge, Bandol $42.00

The vineyards are composed of both clay and limestone, imparting a pronounced structure of earthy, splintered rock. This microclimate near the Mediterranean brings warm weather and full sun, tempered by the persistent Mistral. Alain leaves his grapes to mature fully on the vine, lending great intensity to the fruit. Where appellation law demands that each blend includes at least 50 percent Mourvèdre, Alain uses 80 percent—a choice that gives more power and concentration to the final assemblage. Do not be fooled by the strength and boldness of the Gros ‘Noré Bandol, though; underneath a big exterior is a wine of character, depth, complexity, soul, and finesse.

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