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  • By Jon Rimmerman
    2/8/2010, (See more on Garagiste...)

    (Le Vilain P tit Rouge RICARD) Cot

    Dear Friends,

    Speaking of Domaine Ricard, why not a triple play?

    If the last two offers are any indication (the 2009 Sauvignon and Gamay), Niki better get a good night's sleep this evening.

    This is Ricard's top red wine. It is deeply-fruited and full-flavored without any heaviness or high alcohol (12.50-13.0%). It is slathered with minerality and bright red fruit and the tariff forces the taster to pause with one of two looks on their face - dumb-founded or overjoyed (or both). The impetus for such a reaction? Its low price.

    It's also made from Malbec.

    Malbec is one of the hottest varietals in the world but most think of Argentina when the grape is uttered. What about the birthplace of Malbec - France? While Cahors is justifiably proud of its status as the epicenter of Malbec, there's another region that also claims the grape as its rightful son: the Loire.

    Those of you familiar with Loire Malbec (known as "Cot") are grinning a with a purple tongue and blackened teeth to match. Blends produced from Cot are usually the most popular of all Loire reds (even more popular than the far more widely planted Cabernet Franc) as they satisfy a caveman-like desire for tooth-staining, four-square "meat on the bones" wine not often found in the northern environs of France. Even Loire snobs require a dose of Shiraz now and again and Cot often delivers that deep-pitched presence (with a cold-toned, low-alcohol persona to satisfy the coolio circuit). In other words, Loire Cot can be the ultimate wine geek picnic beverage of choice - it stays in shape with barbequed ribs but also dances an eloquent waltz with finer cuisine.

    While not as black and extracted as something like Clos Roche Blanche Cot, Domaine Ricard's version is very fine indeed and it's steal of a deal. It has more in common with something like Morgon than Yacochuya but it still has laugh out loud appeal with an exuberance that is infectious. While more accessible than many green-tinged cuvees dominated by Cabernet Franc, the Le Vilain does not sacrifice the signature of Touraine: red fruit and layered rock. Not only is this authentic wine a fine match for hearty fare, it is inexpensive enough to drink several nights per week with a jovial palate presence that keeps the taster coming back for a second and third sip.

    Sometimes wine is meant to be drunk (or glugged) and not intellectually dissected and the 2007 Le Vilain P'tit Rouge fits that description with a raucous "Hear, hear!"

    HIGHLY RECOMMENDED as a terrific value for everyday and beyond.

    ONE SHIPMENT ONLY at this price directly from the winery cellar:

    2007 Domaine Ricard "Le Vilain P'tit Rouge" (Cot)

    Thank you,

    Jon Rimmerman
    Seattle, WA


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