The Austin Chronicle

Wine of the Week

Marius by Michel Chapoutier

Reviewed by Wes Marshall, July 20, 2012, Food

Michel Chapoutier is widely known as one of the great winemakers of the Rhône Valley. His greatest wines are so prized by collectors that their prices can skyrocket into the thousands of dollars. Still, Chapoutier seems fascinated by the concept of an everyday wine that can be easily enjoyed while conversing with friends, yet serious enough to stand up to a good, hearty meal. That has been the reason for his wonderful collection of red, white, and Rosé wines from the Côtes du Rhône known as Belleruche. Now Chapou­tier turns his sights to the Langue­doc for a new wine that he named after his grandfather. Chapoutier says his grandfather, Marius, is the one who ignited his passion for winemaking in the first place, and I use the term passion advisedly. Go to Chapouti­er's website and you'll find some lascivious short stories supposedly ripped from the pages of Marius' diary. Ah, but we're here to talk about the wine.

Marius ($13) comes in both white and red varieties, though our focus this week is on the white version. Chapoutier uses two of the most common white grapes of the Languedoc, the Terret and the Vermentino. The Terret has the kind of wet stone aromas that combine well with the Vermentino's citrusy and floral scents to give you a delightful sipping wine. Both grapes also have good acidity, so they match up nicely with food. Marius makes an ideal pairing with seafood kebabs, crab cakes, or iced shellfish with a remoulade sauce. A great way to while away an afternoon would be a seafood tower, a bottle of Marius, and a few caresses with someone you care about. That would probably please Michel's bon-papa as well.

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