All Natural Bargain

Heads up: If you have $9 or $14 or all together $23 then here is one bottle or another bottle or two bottles that you should not pass up this month…  Got that?

2008 Château d’Oupia Les Hérétiques Vin de Pays de Herault, $9.  Imported by Louis/Dressner Selections.

2009 Domaine de la Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine Sur Lie Clos des Briords, $14.  Louis/Dressner Selections.

Château d’Oupia is located in Minervois, a wine region that is part of the larger Languedoc-Roussillon located in the south of France.  Château d’Oupia is situated much higher than most of the flat, mass-producing wasteland of the Languedoc.  The higher elevation and cool winds from the Mediterranean helps give their wines a freshness that backs up the big style fruit most associated with the area at large. André Iché of the Family Iché (it says so on the bottle) has always bottled wine that he grew himself from old vines.  He used to sell his finished wine to a local négociant who would in return slap his own label on it and sell it off in bulk.  Back in the 80’s André was convinced to start selling his own wine under his own label and has since become one of the leading wine growers of Minervois.

Les Hérétiques (named after some part of the Crusades) is the perfect any night of the week wine.  On the table is it extremely versatile but shows best next to olive oil, tomato sauces, wild aromatic herbs and grilled meats.  Try it with boeuf à la gardiane.  Comprised mostly of Carignan and Syrah, the wine is full bodied, earthy and rustic.

You can find it at J. Emerson Fine Wines for $9.  A steal.

Muscadet de Sèvre-et-Maine is located in the Loire Valley of western, central France.  The Loire river that runs east and west through the valley splits off into two tributaries, one is called Sèvre Nantaise and the other La Maine, that is where this wine comes from.  Clos des Briords comes from a patch of vines that were planted in 1930.  The soil is deeper than most of the other vinyard sites and is composed of well draining clay and silica over a subsoil of granite.  The Muscadet area as a whole sees a lot of rain which can bring on rot, so unless you want to employ fungicide spray against mildew, good drainage is critical for grapes to reach optimal ripeness.   The vinification happens two hours after harvest in cool, stainless steel tanks.  The wine then ages on its lees (residual yeasts, leftover yeasts, spent yeasts, what Sur Lie means) for eight months before being bottled.  Drunk young it is very mineral and tight but with a few years aging it can really blossom, gaining power, weight and a floral bouquet.  It is showing lovely now. Of course Muscadet is the choice wine for oysters and all kinds of sea food.  The crisp, bright acidity also matches up nice with cream and butter based dishes.

You can find it at J. Emerson Fine Wines for $14.  Also a steal.

Check out the back labels, a sign of quality, if you are into that kind of thing.

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