Le Cracheur d’Or

Paris Wine ExpoOenophiles unite! Last weekend was the biannual Salon des Vins des Vignerons Indépendants in Paris (aka The Independent Wine Producers Expo) and Francesco and I marked the occasion by shirking (shouldering?) our Sunday morning paternal duties to hit the bottles. We made some decent discoveries, which included the bizarrely named “3rd annual Golden Spitter Contest” (as in: How classy can you make spitting out wine look?). Francesco was tempted to show off his finely honed cracheur skills, but ultimately we decided that it would not be a good idea to show up the French at their own game.

So, what about the wine? The great thing about this particular expo is that you get the chance to try out some fairly unusual wines from around France, many of which come in at under €10 a bottle (of course, you can try out a range of €40 Châteauneuf-du-Pape vintages if you’re so inclined). You also meet the vineyard owners, some of whom are pretty interesting characters. This year I followed Francesco’s lead and tried out a Côtes d’Auvergne (I had no idea this appellation even existed, though the stand was packed) and a Fitou, which is the oldest appellation in Languedoc region. More prosaically, I also found a curranty Vacqueyras and a crisp pinot gris from Alsace.

Top Picks

Domaine Rougeyron – Côtes d’Auvergne, Châteaugay – cuvée bousset d’or 2007 – €4.80 – almost rosé in color, but peppery and full bodied
Château Les Fenals – Fitou – €5.50 – La Garrigue in a bottle (think Mediterranean hillsides – lavender, thyme, rosemary, shrub oak). Their dessert wine, La Promenade, is exceptional.
Domaine La Garrigue
– Vacqueyras Traditionnel – 2007 – €9.50 – smoother than the Gigondas but plenty complex
Domaine Mittnacht-Klack
– Pinot Gris – 2007 – €9 – the Muscat Emma was also excellent

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