30 Second Wine Advisor: Affordable goodie from Catalan 30 Second Wine Advisor: Affordable goodie from Catalan

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In This Issue

 Affordable goodie from Catalan
We continue our search for "recession-busting" wines of value with an affordable red blend from the Côtes Catalanes, the southwestern corner of France's Roussillon.
 The California Wine Club: Why wait? Why wait? Order now and The California Wine Club won't bill or ship your holiday gifts until December!
 Maison Lafage 2006 "Côté Sud" Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ($12.99)
This old-and-new southern French blend makes a wine that's a bit rustic but plenty enjoyable at the table.
 This week on WineLoversPage.com
Writer Neil Duarte introduces himself on WineLoversPage.com with a wine-and-food tour of Piemonte. On the WineLovers Discussion Group, we ponder the pronunciations of a few of the tougher French wine terms.
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Affordable goodie from Catalan

Let's keep on with our small effort to fight the recession by finding wines that offer real flavor interest for as close to 10 bucks as we can get: Today we celebrate an affordable red blend from the Côtes Catalanes, the southwestern corner of France's Roussillon that locals like to call "the other Priorat" because of its viticultural and cultural connections with Catalunya just across the national border in Spain.

You may be thinking that nobody ever heard of Côtes Catalanes, and even Roussillon isn't a hosuehold word among many wine lovers. But this - and Catalanes' s status as a mere Vin de Pays ("Wine of the country") - works to hold down prices because, at this point, these wines aren't in great demand.

Like Priorat, Côtes Catalanes is a dramatically scenic region of steep hillsides; it boasts an ancient wine tradition that goes back to the Romans.

Young wine maker Marc Lafage, who also makes the popular "Las Rocas" Garnacha (Grenache) on the Spanish side of the border, here turns out a rustic but appealing red with real complexity and flavor interest, a blend of the traditional Grenache and Syrah with a splash of more modern Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lafage resists the temptation to leverage the region's hot climate in a high-alcohol, fat-fruit blockbuster, producing instead a wine that's rustic but complex and that speaks of the soil, made at a rational 13.5 percent alcohol. Available in some places for as little as $10, it's an excellent buy, worth picking up by the case. My tasting notes are below.



Maison Lafage 2006 "Côte Sud" Vin de Pays des Côtes Catalanes ($12.99)

Cote Sud

Very dark reddish-purple with a clear garnet edge. Plums, cherries and berries with a whiff of black pepper on the nose. Fresh, not overwhelming cherry-berry fruit on the palate with a touch of red-clay minerality and good acidity for balance; tannins are substantial but smooth, making no interference with a wine that's a bit rustic but plenty enjoyable at the table. An old-and-new blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon in undisclosed proportions, it's made at a rational 13.5% alcohol. U.S. importer: European Cellars LLC, Charlotte, N.C.; An Eric Solomon Selection. (Oct. 1, 2008)

FOOD MATCH: Good with poultry, veal or beef. It was excellent with free-range chicken bites sauteed with onions and garlic, then braised in a little broth with fresh sage, served over short pasta.

VALUE: Good value in this range, but shopping may pay off for those in states where direct shipping is allowed, as U.S. retail prices vary widely from under $10 to $15.

WHEN TO DRINK: With its good balance and soft tannins, it will keep for several years, but I'd consider it a wine to be enjoyed over the next year or two while its fruit is fresh, not cellared away.

WEB LINK:
Although the Cote Sud red is not featured specifically, this PDF file on the U.S. importer's Website offers good information about Maison Lafage and its region.
http://www.europeancellars.com/
France/Lafage%20Property%20Sheet.pdf

FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Find vendors and compare prices for Maison Lafage Cote Sud on Wine-Searcher.com:
http://www.wine-searcher.com/
find/Lafage%2bSud/-/-/USD/A?referring_site=WLP


Talk About Wine Online

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or wine in general, you're always welcome to drop by our online WineLovers Discussion Group. This link will take you to the forum home page, where you can read discussions in all the forum sections:
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PRINT OUT TODAY'S ARTICLE
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http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/2008/11/affordable_goodie_from_catalan-print.html-print.html



This week on WineLoversPage.com

Vino e Cucina d'Italia: Piedmont - A Wine Lover's Paradise
Where do you go for that dream vacation if wine is your favorite beverage and you live to eat, not eat to live? Consider the Langhe Valley in Piedmont, Northwestern Italy, writer Neil Duarte suggests.
http://www.wineloverspage.com/duarte/piemonte.phtml

WineLovers Discussion Group: French Pronunciations
Our WineLovers Discussion Group members have a little fun, and get into serious wine education as well, as we ponder the pronunciations of a few of the tougher French wine terms. Is it "Coss" or "Coh" d'Estournel? Do you sound the first "T" in "Montrachet"?
http://www.wineloverspage.com/forum/village/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=19896


Last Week's Wine Advisor Index

The Wine Advisor's daily edition is usually distributed on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. However, we're skipping some editions at this point, and the Wine Advisor FoodLetter, customarily distributed on Thursdays, has been on break. I hope to resume it before long.

 Another stunning Australian Riesling (Nov. 7, 2008)
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20081107.php

 Wine Focus - Riesling styles (Nov. 3, 2008)
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/tswa20081103.php

 Complete 30 Second Wine Advisor archive:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/archives.php

 Wine Advisor Foodletter archive:
http://www.wineloverspage.com/wineadvisor2/food/archives.php