L’Alycastre: The chick magnet
by: Vino Joe
During the hot and humid days of July and August, a cold, crisp white wine can be refreshing, and a perfect match with the summertime salads you see on the picnic table at outdoor barbecues. Usually someone will bring a bottle of Pinot Grigio, another will bring Chardonnay, and no doubt there will be a bottle with a freaky-looking reptile on the label. These are very easy, run-of-the-mill choices. They're popular, inexpensive, found everywhere, and no risk is involved. And of course, they're boring.
For the next barbecue, why not be daring and bring a bottle that is at least borderline interesting? Rather than look like the guy who picked a bottle out of the beer fridge, be the guy who brought the wine that every chick at the party is talking about! Get a bottle that's NOT found in the cold bin at every package store, one with a more mysterious label, maybe even something that is difficult to pronounce. In other words, a conversation starter.
See where I'm going with this?
Picture it: a chick tastes a wine, she likes it, she sees the bottle and it's something she's never seen before, can't even say. Now she's curious...what IS that wine? Where did it come from? WHO brought it, and how did he know this esoteric bottle would be so good? And WHERE is that guy?
I think you get the picture.
One daring bottle that could put chicks on you like white on rice is L'Alycastre, from Domaine de la Courtade. It's from the relatively unknown (at least, to Americans) region of France called Cotes de Provence, on Porquerolles Island. Yes, there are islands in France, and you can do a Google search and some quick research to learn all about it. Add the great story to what's in the bottle, and you have yourself a guaranteed chick magnet.
The nose is clean, fresh and open, exhibiting fresh apple fruit, zingy citrus (lemon/lime) and mineral notes. Also a touch of grapefruit and an herbal note. On the palate it has sharp, lemony citrus and pink grapefruit flavors, dabs of mineral/stone and a good bite of acidity. Through the midpalate it remains clean, crisp and refreshing, with good balance. This is the antithesis of a fat, oaky chardonnay; it is more like a clean and vibrant, unoaked sauv-blanc. By no means is this a complex wine, but it has enough structure to enjoy with a wide variety of foods. Try it with all types of cold salads, including pasta salads, mild fish dishes, vegan cuisine and anything with olives. A refreshing and enjoyable summer sipper. Despite the fancy French labeling, it's only about eight bucks, so it is easy on your wallet -- but you don't have to tell the girls that.
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