French wine has many, many, many rules. Many. To put a place name on a label might require using one grape type, one pruning method, a max yield, a min or max potential alcohol, using only sugar or water additions, barrel and bottle aging times. Why do the French do this? Well, ideally, this preserves traditions and wine styles. Otherwise, France might endlessly chase trends: tearing up Merlot for Syrah in Bordeaux, planting Chardonnay in Sancerre, or making Prosecco in Champagne. *Shudder
In Cornas, northern Rhône’s smallest (possibly most adorable) region, you can only make 100% Syrah. Vincent Paris grew up in Cornas. He inherited ancient Syrah vines from his grandfather and rents some from his uncle. Paris farms 17 hectares biodynamically and makes fabulous Syrah.
But one cannot live on red alone.
Paris has a cooler, north-facing vineyard. So he planted Viognier and Roussanne. Instead of Cornas, a vague Vin de Pays de L’Ardèche must grace the label. Hence today’s wine:
Vincent Paris, Granit blanc, Vin de Pays de L’Ardèche, France 2015 $25
Its COLOR looks a brilliant clear medium golden straw with muscular legs.
AROMAS smell heady, liquor-like, akin to a tropical Highland Whisky. Dried apricot and apples, candied lavender, lychee, red peppercorn, and vanilla powder.
The PALATE seems sweet, but the ripeness fools you. This is dry, with medium acidity, the 14% alcohol feels a touch hot, the body feels plump and seamlessly viscous in texture.
FLAVORS ease in casually with a white pear, honey, kiwi, mint, bakers’ vanilla, lemon juice. It lasts a medium, subtle length that drops off.
Paris’ Granit blanc is very good (4 of 5): the aromas smells ripe and complex, the dryness is serious and pleasant. This is a great wine for salty Fall Thanksgiving dishes: turkey, gravy, potatoes you name it!
But I gotta knit pick the alcohol, simple flavors, and the label…that beige church on a harry mound is, well, *cough, suggestive.
The biggest words are “2015” and cursive “Granit blanc”, which is near illegible. Maybe the French get it.
Some time in neutral oak might blow off the alcohol and add a touch of complexity. Any other label might help clue customers that this is special. But at least Paris broke the rules. Feeling rebellious? Try it!