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VOL. 126 | NO. 197 | Monday, October 10, 2011



Seek Out This Pleasant French Sparkling Wine

By FREDRIC KOEPPEL

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Nothing on the front or the back labels tells consumers where the Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé was made or who made it, other than that it’s a product of France. The truth is that this lightly sparkling wine hails from the Loire Valley, and it was produced by Remy Pannier, a very large manufacturer of a variety of wines from France’s “garden basket.”

The grapes in this winsome little blend are cabernet franc, carignan and grenache, and if you’re thinking, “Gosh, F.K., aren’t carignan and grenache associated with the South of France,” you win the gold star. Those grapes, in fact, are not officially “allowed” to be grown in the Loire Valley, per government regulations, hence the absence of a place designation, even of the broadest nature, on the bottle. The same principle applies if the grapes are trucked in from another region.

Now don’t assume that the Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé – wonder if there’s an actual tower with an actual marquis – is a great sparkling wine. It’s not. What it is, though, is an extremely pleasant, effervescent quaff that serves as an attractive aperitif and an accompaniment to savory hors d’oeuvres and appetizers. We stood in the kitchen before cooking dinner one night and drank half a bottle with popcorn and oregano-and-cheese flatbread.

The color is pale salmon tinged with tarnished copper. It’s all about strawberries, red raspberries and red currants and undertows of dried flowers and limestone. “Brut” can mean a sparkling wine that ranges from pretty darned dry to moderately sweet, and the Marquis de la Tour Brut Rosé is more the latter than the former, though the finish edges toward the dry side. I’m surprised that only two stores in Memphis carry this product, though it’s featured on some restaurant wine lists.

FOR YOUR VERY OWN BOTTLE

BUSTER'S LIQUORS & WINES
191 S. HIghland St., $13
LIQUOR & WINE DEPOT
756 Mount Moriah Road, $13

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