This article was published in The 30 Second Wine Advisor on Friday, Aug. 12, 2005.

Wear your grape

Pinot Noir If August's sultry weather makes you want to shed that three-piece suit and tie and get into something a little more comfortable, but you're not really into attire bearing political or commercial slogans or not-so-witty bons mots like "I'm With Stupid," here's a sartorial suggestion that a wine geek could learn to love:

My pals Steve and Deborah De Long, who many of you will remember as publishers of the innovative Wine Grape Varietal Table, have recently launched a series of four shirts that make it possible for wine enthusiasts to wear some of our favorite grapes on our chests.

Specifically, these quality, 100 percent cotton tees are silk-screened with the colorful Wine Grape Varietal Table "cells" for four popular grapes on the front, with the discreet question "What Grape Are You Drinking?" stretched across your shoulders on the back.

The Wine Grape Varietal Table, you'll recall, is a large, artful poster that mirrors the familiar periodic table of the elements, categorizing a world of wine grape varieties by color and weight, from the dark-purple Grenache/Garnacha all the way to watery-pale Savatiano. The T-shirts display the "Varietal Table cell" for your choice of four grapey favorites.

  • Chardonnay
  • Grüner Veltliner
  • Mourvèdre
  • Pinot Noir

The shirts come in any color you like, as long as it's white, and are available in small, medium, large and X-large. The designs vary to approximate the color of the grape: Yellow-gold Chardonnay, sunny yellow GrüVe, reddish-violet Mourvèdre and paler-purple Pinot. (The Pinot Noir T-shirt image is pictured above.)

They're $17.99 plus shipping, and - as with our book selections - we'll earn a small commission to help pay the rent at if you should choose to buy one (or several) through this link:

For more about the Wine Grape Varietal Table, click to:

Now, as long as we're talking about strange and wacky wine grapes, here's a report on an absolutely delightful Loire rosé made from one of the oddest, Pineau d'Aunis. This variety is a personal favorite for its consistently stylish, subtle blend of delicate fruit and remarkable minerality. If only it wasn't so rare and hard to find!

Clos Roche Blanche Clos Roche Blanche 2004 Touraine Pineau d'Aunis Rosé ($11.99)

This is a very pale but pretty blushing-pink wine with a light copper-salmon hue. Subtle, intriguing scents offer fragrant white pepper over delicate strawberries; and there's a floral note, too, rosewater and spicy potpourri, with a minerally note that carries over to the palate with that seductive "rainwater over rocks" character that I love in Pineau d'Aunis. Crisp, dry and fresh, white pepper and rose petals in the finish; this stylish and subtle Loire delight ranks among my favorite pink wines. U.S. importer: LDM Wines Inc. (Louis/Dressner), NYC. (Aug. 11, 2005)

FOOD MATCH: Excellent for sipping on its own, just lightly chilled - ice-cold service would mute its delicious subtlety - or with delicate seafood dishes. A slab of pecan-smoked sea bass went well enough, although I'm still solving the mysteries of my stovetop smoker and would have liked it better with a little less assertive smoke.

VALUE: I would buy a case of this at $12 a bottle. Next question?

WHEN TO DRINK: No matter how complex and intriguing, rosé wine still serves best while it's young and fresh. I'd drink it up this summer, then wait for the '05.

"Pineau d'Aunis" = "Pee-no Doh-nee"

Here's a link to the U.S. importer's Website:

I purchased this wine from Chambers Street Wines in NYC, one of the nation's best wine shops for unusual artisanal wines. You can browse their entire selection here:

Compare prices and find vendors for Clos Roche Blanche at