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VOL. 127 | NO. 49 | Monday, March 12, 2012



French White for All Spring And Summer

FREDRIC KOEPPEL | Special to The Memphis News

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Many years ago, on a beautiful afternoon in March, I ate a very pleasant lunch sitting outside at a little restaurant in Nîmes (“neem”), just across from the Roman coliseum there. The picturesque town, obviously ancient, lies in the South of France, and is surrounded by some of the country’s oldest vineyards.

I think of that balmy occasion every time I try a wine from Costières de Nîmes, the appellation or official wine region of the area; sorry, I’m just that nostalgic kind of guy. I write “official” because the wine industry in France and in Europe generally is highly regulated by the national governments and, increasingly, by the European Union.

For Your Very Own Bottle

Joe’s Wine & Liquors
1681 Poplar Ave., $15
Arthur's Wine & Liquors
5475 Poplar Ave., $15

Anyway, my most recent foray into Costières de Nîmes is the Chateau Vessière 2010, made from 85 percent roussanne grapes and 15 percent white grenache; it is, as you suspect now, a white wine. The eighth-generation estate goes back to 1703.

The wine displays terrific verve and nerve and, in its freshness and crispness, shows wonderful engagement and appeal. At the same time, the wine’s spare nature and sleekness lend it elegance and a touch of the high-toned that elevate it somewhat above its station. White peach, lemon balm, jasmine, limestone and lime peel marry for a seductive bouquet that segues into citrus flavors opening to mild spice and a hint of grassiness. The texture is moderately lush and buoyant, while the finish adds a bit of bracing grapefruit pith and bitterness. At this price, you should buy a case for drinking through the spring and summer.

For more about wine, check out Koeppel’s blog at www.biggerthanyourhead.net.

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