Posted by: tomciocco | July 9, 2012

MAKING ROSE` “LEMONADE” FROM PALE RED “LEMONS” – THE MALIGNED ARAMON’S ROAD TO RESPECT

This wide world is home to Lord knows how many wine grape varieties. There are the ones that you know, which, for the most part, deserve their fame. Then there are all the ones you don’t. For reasons too numerous to go into in this post, lots of these grapes deserve recognition, but remain local specialties, and in the end, maybe for the better…

Then there are those grapes that like tooth powder with lye and whale bone collars, are considered to be rustic-to-the point-of-useless relics of the past. Aramon is one of those grapes. Or at least it was…

Once upon a time, Aramon was ubiquitous in France’s Languedoc. It yields high, has no major susceptibilities to disease, and produces a very light red that goes down easy with just a little bite, and little more. It was a grape used to make jug wine to be drunk like people drink lemonade today, and with about the same regard. At times it was also used to pad blends of more interesting and more deeply pigmented grapes, and almost always without any sort of “credit” on the label, also just like today’s jug wine.

To be fair, there are more than a few grapes that had once been pronounced to be “inferior”, that after some serious study and breeding, produced wine of real quality, and we may one day see a world-class red Aramon, but it seems to me that one day some clever fellow or gal in the Herault said: “We’re in dead center of the pink wine world, why not make a wan red into a spunky rose`?”  And so (I imagine) a wine like this was born. It is honestly the first time that I have ever seen Aramon given any sort of billing on any label, anywhere, much less as a pinkie…

With this unconventional wine, I make a very traditional appetizer of a puree of tuna, hard-boiled egg, mayo, olive oil, garlic, basil, and rosemary smeared on toasts, and then my own improvised complement to the hooch (or so I imagined gazing through the clear glass bottle): a stew of beef, andouille sausage, yellow peppers, fennel, onions, green beans, tomatoes, dried herbes de Provence, etc. with plain white rice.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elizabeth and Francois Jourdan “L’Argentier” Languedoc Rose` d’ Aramon 

Pale “smoked salmon” color. Rustic but very clean nose of cherry skin, wild berries, sawn wood, clove and mace, toasted marshmallow, and raw meat. The palate is fresh, broad, and salty, with a surprisingly rich texture and flavors of herbs, dilute blood orange juice, subtle fig, and tart quince. “Spicy” quinine finish. 

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