The Wine of the Week by Annette Tomei
Sometimes a simple, refreshing wine is all we need. It may be the middle of the week, or a weekend afternoon picnic that is only the start to a full day of indulgence; we all need a wine that will quench our thirst, respect simpler choices of food, and not knock us out with excessive alcohol, or an excessive price tag. And, this wine should still be “good” – of course.
Maybe French wine was not the first thing that popped into your mind to sate that need. This wine may change your mind.
Vin de Pays (“country wine”) is a designation that may be considered one step up from basic table wine. It is used in classifying wines that are, in some way, representative of a place (typical grape varieties and practices). These wines are held to set standards, but without the stringent regulations applied to the AOC wines. Many winemakers are taking advantage of this designation to experiment with uncommon blends, often introducing some grape varieties that are not originally from their region.
Domaines Les Haute Noëlles is a certified organic producer located in an AOC that specifically produces Muscadet (Melon de Bourgogne). They also grow several other non-typical varieties for use in Vin de Pays du Val de Loire. Most of their fruit is hand-harvested, with traditional methods being the norm throughout the winemaking process.
The Hého rouge is comprised of 45% Cabernet Franc, 45% Grolleau Noir, (both typical red grapes of the Loire Valley) and 10% Gamay (of Beaujolais fame). The Grolleau Noir and Gamay are both vinified by carbonic maceration, while the Cabernet Franc is vinified in the traditional manner. (Sorry, I was not able to establish the meaning of the name Hého… yet.)
This wine has an appealing sheer garnet color. Initial earthy aromas open to reveal bright red cherries, tealeaves and peppercorns, with a touch of cinnamon. This wine has a pronounced, refreshing tartness with flavors of red cassis berries, cranberries, and pomegranates. The tannins are tight and focused on the front of the palate. Though this is not an extremely complex wine, it is definitely tasty… and a great value (just over $10/bottle). Try serving this lightly chilled – remove from refrigeration 30-40 minutes before serving then enjoy – it opens nicely as it warms to room temperature. As mentioned earlier, this is a great wine for an afternoon picnic – delicious with salumi, prosciutto, olives, and hearty salads as well as grilled meats and vegetables. It’s also great for a simple weeknight meal of roasted tomato soup and grilled cheese sandwiches.
Annette is the founder of VinEducation, where she is a food and beverage educator and consultant. She is also a professional chef who frequently contributes delicious recipes to EatSomethingSexy.com.
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