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“La Garrigue
Wine Specs
grape-honey wine
Solano County
Vineyard Designation
Residual Sugar
Label Artist
Lindsey Sonu
Alcohol %

“La Garrigue" (NV)

September 2016 DEWN Release

The wine will absolutely fool you; every molecule of your being believes that it will be sweet when you smell it, and of course, it isn’t.

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/ 750 ml

$24.00 per bottle / $259.20 per case
$20.40 per bottle / $230.40 per case (Members)

I’m not sure exactly how I came to the febrile notion of chaptalizing (French) Colombard must with a different varieties (twenty-four, if memory serves) of honey, many (more than twenty, maybe closer to thirty) years ago.

Back in the day, we were still producing Chardonnay (!!!), and had numerous white barrels in the cellar, which we used for the first “La Garrigue.”  I remember that one had to be incredibly careful in pouring honey into the bungholes of the barrel; it was an incredibly messy process, and the honey, of course, like Original Sin, stuck to just about everything.  Now, this is fairly typical of me – to do my research after the deed is doon – but I actually looked up Dr. Chaptal’s original article on his practice the day after the honey went in.  In his article he suggested that cane sugar was the preferred source of glucose + fructose, beet sugar as also acceptable (not quite as well regarded), but under no circumstances, should one use honey.  (Now he tells me.)  I ultimately worked out the nature of his objection: the use of honey can form glucans in the wine, stringy strands that are less than aesthetically appealing (and the French are nothing if not committed to limpidity in all things), but the use of glucosidase enzymes (presumably unknown in Chaptal’s time) obviates the issue.

The word “garrigue” had just entered my vocabulary via Kermit Lynch and his vivid newsletters, and the notion that ambient vegetation could somehow play a role in a wine’s fragrance rather captivated me.  Now, introducing floral elements into wine through an exogenous source, i.e. honey, is another kettle of romorantin. (I had also read at the same time that honey had certain interesting anti-oxidative properties, and I was, even then, quite keen on making wines with lower levels of SO2), but I (at least at the time) was always looking for complexity and the side-benefit of épater-ing the Crew bourgeois

So, we’ve doon it again.  

Wine Profile
Vineyard Notes
Old-vine Colombard, in this instance from the Suisun Valley, is pretty neutral in flavor, but has a wonderful natural acidity and fairly elegant texture at a relatively low potential alcohol.
Production Notes
So, we chaptalized not so much as a corrective of the wine’s potential alcohol, but rather as a mechanism for transmitting a discreet floral quality to the wine. We found a fabulous honey from a local producer, Alayne Meeks, and the whole idea seemed (and continues to seem) just unspeakably cool.
Winemaker Notes
There is a whole range of floral notes in the wine, but the dominant one, oddly enough, seems to be blueberry and other small red fruit esters. The wine will absolutely fool you; every molecule of your being believes that it will be sweet when you smell it, and of course, it isn’t.
Food Pairing Notes
An excellent apéritif or wine to accompany lighter dishes, such as smoked trout with creme fraiche and pickled red onion, baked brie with Popelouchum apricot jam, pork rillettes, and trout almondine.
278 cases
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