Liquid Assets

Buy France!

Somehow, despite the devalued dollar, the inflated Euro, and the ever-increasing cost of shipping, France has recently started sending us some amazing wines at strikingly low prices. Perhaps their fear of an American backlash over the actions of M. Jacques Chirac, president of the Republic of France, has caused them to artificially lower the prices. In any case, no matter where you stand on the politics, don't blame the farmers for the actions of the politicians. But do take advantage of the bargains.

The most exciting French wine discovery I've made recently is Max Aubert's collection of wines. These have only recently become available in Austin, brought in by a family operation called Vin Independent. Aubert's wines are quietly intense -- they don't bang you over the head with fruit, yet they have plenty of richness. The nicest part is the price. My favorite of his wines, Cote du Rhone La Baume, is a dark red wine with a creamy texture, plush aromas, and luscious flavors, all for the price of $9.99. He also makes two premium wines called Domaine de la Presidente Galifay. The red version ($19.99) is made from a peppery Grenache with a bit of Syrah. It has an earthy flavor that goes great with braised meats and root vegetables. The white version ($19.99) is mostly Viognier with a touch of White Grenache. If you've ever been around an orange grove when it's blossoming, you'll recognize the mysterious, sensual aroma. Delicious stuff.

Kermit Lynch is one of the great French wine importers. His name on a bottle almost always bodes well for the wine inside. One of Lynch's most successful wines is Chateau Graville-Lacoste White Bordeaux ($14.99). Lush without ever getting in the way of food, it is a wonderful match with toast and a small slather of Roquefort. For folks looking for intensely acidic wines to pair with shellfish, you can hardly beat Domaine de Pierres Plates Reuilly ($14.99), a grapefruity wine with a lot of complexity for the price. If you want to see how the French drink their Chardonnay, taste Lynch's Burgundian discovery: Francine and Olivier Savary's Chablis ($16.99). Unlike the buttery and oaky Chardonnays of California, this one tastes like tart apples. Try it with an onion-and-goat-cheese tart.

Finally, a wine that startled me in terms of its price/quality ratio is Chateau le Thou, A Georges et Clem ($17.99). This wine is from the Languedoc region of France, an area long considered to make poor wines. Not anymore. Le Thou is full of dark berry aromas along with an intense complicated and long lasting flavor. Think of dried figs, blackberries, and the kind of pleasant smells that emanate from a Hill Country field on a hot Texas day. This is wine to love now, but I bet it will last a good 10 years. For the price, it is a steal. I'll be having some tonight with a New York strip steak. I can already feel the glow.

A note to readers: Bold and uncensored, The Austin Chronicle has been Austin’s independent news source for almost 40 years, expressing the community’s political and environmental concerns and supporting its active cultural scene. Now more than ever, we need your support to continue supplying Austin with independent, free press. If real news is important to you, please consider making a donation of $5, $10 or whatever you can afford, to help keep our journalism on stands.

Support the Chronicle  

READ MORE
More Liquid Assets
Liquid Assets
Liquid Assets: Cheap Tequila Jousts With the Big Boys!
Cuervo Silver does a credible job of nipping at the heels of the big boys

Wes Marshall, May 29, 2009

Liquid Assets
Liquid Assets
The economic downturn has created an unexpected windfall for local wine lovers

Wes Marshall, April 24, 2009

KEYWORDS FOR THIS STORY

Max Aubert, Cote du Rhone La Baume, Kermit Lynch, Chateau le Thou a Georges et Clem

MORE IN THE ARCHIVES
NEWSLETTERS
One click gets you all the newsletters listed below

Breaking news, arts coverage, and daily events

Can't keep up with happenings around town? We can help.

Austin's queerest news and events

Eric Goodman's Austin FC column, other soccer news

Information is power. Support the free press, so we can support Austin.   Support the Chronicle