France, Great wines under $10, White wines

Les Rials 2008

Producer: Domaine de la Chanade
Grape: Len de L’el – Loin de L’oeil
Region: Gaillac region in southwestern France

This is a lovely white alternative to anything you know. When my friend/wine merchant introduced me to it, I didn’t know what to expect. I asked him to show me some new interesting white wine that I may want to review. I have certainly never heard of this local grape that could be translated as “far from the eye”. Why such a weird name for a grape varietal? Maybe because its middle stem is very long?

Anyway, as I researched little farther, I also found out that this is over 1,000 years old white grape varietal. Hot and dry winds in the area of Gaillac help the grapes ripe early which is a great attribute to its freshness. Wine was aged in oak and kept “sur lie” (can translate as “on lees”, lees being the yeasty residue – grape skins and seeds called must, remaining in the cask after fermentation). This method gives the wine extra depth, complexity, flavor and can even improve the color of the wine.

Tasting notes:
Lovely citrus aroma of tropical fruit. On the palate it’s medium bodied wine, rich fruity flavors very well balanced with acidity. It almost reminded me of well made Sauvignon Blanc (but not as pronounced as the New Zealand’s) or Torrontes.

Crisp, fresh, slightly mineral and very, very pleasant. A lot of fruity flavors left for the long finish. Beautiful wine for under $ 10.00!

Dry – Off dry – Medium sweet – Sweet
Light – Medium – Full body
No oak – Aged in oak
Retail price: around $ 9.99

Ideal food pairing:
summer salads, seafood salad, Angel hair pasta with spicy seafood, Grilled trout, Cauliflower fritters, Light quinoa salad, Spanish canoes

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