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Autism was studied by fate after my son was diagnosed with an Autism Spectrum Disorder just before his fourth birthday and wines were studied by choice.
I made that choice eighteen years ago while I was living in France, my native country.
Eighteen years ago, I was happily living in the South of France trying to launch my career as a translator after having been enrolled to the prestigious translation and interpretation program of the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California. Unfortunately, internet was non-existent in this beautiful part of the country and so was the need to communicate in English beyond the basic skills taught in high school (this has since changed dramatically). This is also the most largely planted vineyard area in France.
Following the end of the Algiers war in 1962, the area around Beziers was only producing cheap « vinasse », a pejorative word for beyond mediocre wines.
Since my translator’s career did not quite take off I decided to study a little bit of oenology, a little bit of winemaking and a little bit of wine marketing in the famous Centre de Formation Professionnelle Agricole de Beziers. It was a lot of fun. I was hooked on wines immediately. I had arrived at exactly the right time for a wine revolution in the South of France.
By the early 90s, southern French single-grape wines had gained great popularity compared to some of their local Appellations d’Origine Contrôlée wines set by the stringent and aging French INAO (Institut National de l'Origine et de la Qualité).
Robert Skalli, originally from Algiers had begun to develop a new generation of wines which expressed both the nature of their terroirs and the complexity of taste of the different varieties. He was soon to be followed by more wine rangers from the outside.
Pierre Degroote from Holland, was one of them. I worked with him after graduating from the Centre de Formation Professionnelle Agricole de Beziers. Pierre, an agricultural and oenological engineer had partnered with Bernard Montariol, a wine producer to create Domaine Virginie (named after Pierre’s daughter) outside of Beziers.
They both used used cutting-edge cropping methods and vinification techniques that all of the locals considered crazy but they became at the forefront of the fantastic development potential that now exists in Languedoc. Pierre was very proud of his “Ferrari” pneumatic press and his micro-oxygenation system when he first launched his varietal wine line. He would always have to show them to everybody visiting the Domaine. He is passionate about his wines.
Although he was followed by more people from the outside who came to make more great wines at great prices from the South of France he was one of the early pioneers and he is still at it.
Some of my favorite wines from this beautiful part of France come from the lesser known varietals such as Viognier, Roussanne, and Marsanne all of which are aromatic and floral whites which are well adapted to the hot summers of the region. For the reds Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan are particularly well adapted producing spicy concentrated wines full of character.
2009 Maison 2545 Roussanne, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France (91 Points) $14.99 / Bottle and $179.88 / Case of 12
It hails from Pierre Degroote, the single most important vintner in the history of southern France’s wine industry. Because it’s one of our custom blends, we used the number 2545 on the label to signify the address of our Napa headquarters.
2009 Maison Elise Richard Roussanne, Vin de Pays d'Oc, France $14.99 / Bottle $179.88 / Case of 12
So lovely on the nose you could smell it forever. Soft, lush, honeyed pear flavors with the nose's tangy herbs and a mineral note. Enough acidity to last - a nice unoaked Chardonnay or Alsatian white alternative.
2008 Maison Elise Richard Red Blend, Corbieres, France $14.99 / Bottle
$179.88 / Case of 12
The obscure AOC wine for some but oh so yummy! This is a red blend (all of the AOC wines from Languedoc have to be a blend of varietals) of 40% Carignan, 30% Grenache Noir, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre which is derived from vines from 20-80 years old. Lots of character behind plenty of accessible fruit. Worth every penny.
And to celebrate the end of this year in style, here is a killer deal... Hard to say no thank you…
Case of 2009 Maison Elise Richard Roussanne
Standard Shipping Included!*
$195.83 $75.00 / 12 Bottles