Does your palate say pricey French bubbly while your wallet says non? Pas de problème. Why not check out Limoux, a region in the South of France that is building a reputation for delivering scintillating sparklers that will not burst your budget.
The bottle says 14.5% alcohol. My nose and eyeballs suspect if might be well north of 15%. This is a big wine, with brawny red fruits, a bowl of mixed cherries ranging from barely ripe to nearly black and strawberries to match, fighting it out with blackberries in a ring made of American Oak, refereed by a box of raisins. Sweet dusty tannins abound, but there is enough acid to match. This might settle down and blend together with a few years in the cellar. It is more a stand-alone snack than a food wine, but if you must, match it with a very sloppy cheese steak sandwich. Recommended.
Clear, medium-light intensity, ruby. Clean aromas of earth, moss, leaves, dirt, anise, baking spice, fennel, savory herbs, dark fruit, cherry, blackberry. Dry, medium-full body, medium tannin, medium-low acidity, fleshy, round, medium-long finish, round, lush dark fruit, smoke, brown sugar. Recommended, but hold for another year.
Would you drink fluorescent green wine? Most molecular biologists-in-training experience their first taste of genetic engineering by transferring a jellyfish gene into (harmless) Escherichia coli, making the bacteria glow green under UV light. One slow day this past winter, my lab-mates and I contemplated the ramifications of transferring that same gene into Vitis vinifera. Fluorescent green wine? Fluorescent green wine! Oh, wait a minute. Do we seriously want such a thing? And has someone already done it?
Clear, bright, medium straw yellow; Clean nose with medium intensity white flowers, candied citrus rind, apricot, sweet hay, yellow apple, and hotdog water (not bad! this is a classic Viognier marker for me!); Dry on the palate with medium-full body, medium acid, medium alcohol, medium flavors of yellow apple, peach skin, honeysuckle, candied lemon; rich texture and a medium-long finish. Pair with pan seared tofu glazed with spicy peach preserves. Highly recommended.
Clear, bright lemon yellow color. A clean, aromatic nose with notes of flowers, stone fruit, peaches in syrup, and lychee. Off dry to medium sweet on the palate (2.5% residual sugar), medium acidity and body. Flavors of candied orange, peach, tinned pears, lanolin, and sweet apple. Drink with spicy Asian BBQ. Recommended.
A mouthful of wine, this Zin is a moderate (by today's standards) 14.8% alcohol, but has loads of black fruit, cocoa, and coffee. The nose is slightly vegetal, suggesting perhaps some whole cluster fermentation. Blackberries on attack are followed by raspberries on the mid-palate and finish. Black pepper runs under everything from attack to finish. On the mid-palate, first mocha, then dark chocolate, come through. The long finish tastes of dark chocolate and dusty tannins. Drink with well smoked pork ribs. Recommended.