Bargain Wine Friday: Two Under Twenty

By Ray Isle Posted October 05, 2007

A pair of very appealing southern French whites landed in the high-tech foam-lined Tasting Room bottle repository recently, and as we're headed away from Summer, at least in NYC, I figured I-d better squeeze them in before it becomes roast-moose-and-Amarone weather again.

2005 Guy Bossard Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie ($13) Normally I feel Muscadet should be drunk as fresh as possible. But sur lie fermentation seems to have given this bottling exceptional depth and staying power-it's got a lovely scent of lemon and seashells, and tastes roughly the same (yes, I know, the idea of chewing up a bunch of seashells isn't that appealing; if you'd prefer the term "chalky minerality," feel free to substitute.) Also, it's organic, biodynamically certified, and all that jazz, so you won't wake up dead the morning after you drink it.

2006 Laurent Miquel Viognier Vin de Pays d'Oc ($16) Finding good affordable Viognier is just about as difficult as finding good, affordable Pinot Noir. Most of the under-$20 Viogniers I run into basically need to be put on the Atkins Diet for wine. This one doesn't: lean and crisp, but still possessed of that classic peachy Viognier scent and flavor, it's a nicely made all-purpose white for a reasonable price. Plus, for 500 years this particular vineyard was tended by monks, until Robespierre and his gang summarily tossed them out. Et voilà! A history lesson in a bottle.

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