What I’ve Been Drinking of Late, Part 13
Le Grand Verre
First came single-serve wine and Champagne bottles. Then, mini wine cans.
Now, get ready for tube wine.
Just launched in the United State, Le Grand Verre packages offerings from boutique French wineries in single-serve, screw-top, slender, plastic tube-like containers.
The shatter-proof, recyclable container, which holds 6.3 ounces, was designed by research funded by the state of Burgundy. It’s so compact that you could easily slip one into your pocket, too.
The company was founded by CEO Nicolas Deffrennes, who got the idea for it after joining Harvard University’s wine club; Regis Fanget, who has worked in advertising for French luxury goods; and Valerian Dejours, a computer science engineer.
The wines come in 4-packs, either featuring one wine or a variety, for $19.99 to $29.99. Most are also crafted by female winemakers or female-owned estates who adhere to organic or sustainable farming practices.
I had a chance to try a sampler pack with two different reds and two different rosés. Each tube holds one generous glass.
The 2020 Domaine Caylus is quite tangy and bright. Made with organic Syrah and Grenache grapes, it’s a pale blush pink rosé with notes of both ripe and green strawberries. In contrast, the 2020 Chateau Val D’Arenc Bandol rosé was rounder with toast and vanilla. A blend of Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault, it tastes of baked strawberries, cherries and grapefruit with a nice undercurrent of minerality.
The 2019 Chateau Peyredon is an inky Bordeaux full of earth, graphite, black currants and black plums. Made from organic grapes, the 2019 Domaine Nadal Hainaut Cabernet Sauvignon is full-bodied with substantial tannins that give it meaningful structure. It’s full of deep, dark fruit, black licorice, a hint of sage, and eucalyptus.
Cheers: Wine that’s packaged so cleverly deserves a fun setting. So, don’t just sip these tube wines at home. Tote them along with you on a picnic, a camping excursion, a beach day or a meet-up with a friend in their backyard.
2019 RAEN Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
RAEN wines come with an unmistakable pedigree and commitment.
After all, the Sonoma Coast winery was founded by brothers Carlo and Dante Mondavi, whose father is Tim Mondavi and grandfather is Robert Mondavi.
Its name, RAEN, stands for “research in agriculture and enology naturally,” alluding to the exacting farming practices employed, including permaculture, biodynamic, and organic ones. Carlo also has been a staunch activist in rallying efforts to help restore the Monarch butterfly population.
Moreover, this 2019 vintage marks the 100th consecutive harvest for the Mondavi family in California.
All told, the 2019 RAEN Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($64.99) is simply stunning.
I was lucky enough to get my hands on a sample, as this is everything I love in Pinot Noir. It’s not a light-weight Pinot, but one that announces itself fully from the first sip with a velvety mouthfeel. It’s juicy tasting with plenty of blackberry, raspberry, and black tea mingled with the fragrance of a forest after a rainfall. The tannins give it beautiful presence and a long finish without being overly intrusive.
Enjoy it with a thick pork chop, roast duck or a slab of porchetta.
Cheers: The 2019 is sold out on the winery’s web site. But you can still find it at Wine.com, Bounty Hunter, and J.J. Buckley Fine Wines, for $64.99. It’s a bit of a splurge, but you will not be disappointed at all if you go for it.
2017 Smith-Madrone Riesling
Warm weather was made for the 2017 Smith-Madrone Riseling ($34) with its sunny yellow peach, candied apricot, and honeysuckle notes, and wet slate minerality.
This medium-weight wine that boasts a hint of petrol on the nose, a hallmark of Rieslings, was produced by Smith-Madrone Vineyards in St. Helena. Operated by brothers Stuart and Charles Smith, it’s a winery that specialize in dry farming that not only conserves water, but concentrates the flavor of the grapes.
This lovely aromatic wine, of which I received a sample, is ideal with any Asian dishes that have a touch of sweetness or spiciness, from green papaya salad and sweet & sour pork to fish tikka and fresh rice paper spring rolls.
Cheers: The hyphenated name of the winery is first and foremost based on the brothers’ surname. But the second part comes from the variety of evergreen tree that grows predominantly on the ranch. How fun is that?