The Wine of the Week
by Annette Tomei
2012 Raisins Gaulois, M. Lapierre, Vin de France (red wine)
It’s easy to find a reasonably priced, basic, drinkable white wine but it can be a bit more challenging with reds. The wine making process alone requires more investment of time and resources for the producer – that cost, of course, is passed on to us. Still – though difficult, it’s not impossible. There are a few simple approaches to this search: a) look for under-appreciated grapes or regions, b) look for old world wines in your price range from reputable importers (most won’t sell what they won’t drink), and c) find “entry level” second or even third label wines from high-end winemakers.
This week’s wine fits all of the criteria – made from the Gamay grape, imported by Kermit Lynch, and produced by M. Lapierre. Marcel Lapierre, following his ancestors’ footsteps, was for three decades one of the most respected winemakers of Morgon, a cru Beaujolais. He left his legacy to his son Mathieu who continues to uphold the traditions and standards of his family. Though certainly not a Morgon, this simple Vin de France is made from the same (just younger and unclassified) Gamay grapes with similar care in producing a quality, casual wine that is meant to drink young.
On first approach, there’s a slight yeastiness hovering in the glass that, with the ripe strawberry aroma bursting out from behind, made me think of fresh strawberry jam on still-warm brioche… not a bad way to start. There’s a little black pepper there too, adding a pleasant spiciness and a bit of character. The flavor of tart red berries and plums is mouthwateringly fresh; with light tannins, the finish is clean and pleasant. This wine would go well with many types of food from pizza to salmon; a nice assortment of charcuterie with classic accompaniments would be great, or for a vegetarian option try zucchini blossom tacos with homemade salsa fresca (not very French, but very delicious!).
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