French Influence

By Ray Isle Posted February 06, 2007

A short stint in the Tasting Room today, as we're still trying to get our vast April wine issue out the door. But in that short stint, a couple of appealing wines, both American, both taking a cue from France.

First up, Clos Mimi's 2005 Petite Rousse. One hundred percent Paso Robles Syrah, as the label says. The aroma is all flowers and red berries, then it's a medium-bodied lush red with meaty/sweet red fruit flavor, a touch of green peppercorn, and a survivable 14.5% alcohol. Reminds me more of, well, Paso Robles Syrah than France, but there's a nifty little Renoir mademoiselle burnt into the cork, in case you miss its intended stylistic antecedents. $19.

The other was the 2003 Le Cigare Volant from ponytailed wine philosopher Randall Grahm. Outside of the insufficiently perforated screwtop, which required pliers to get open, this was the best bottling of Cigare Volant I've had in a while—bright, buoyant raspberry/cranberry fruit, saturated but lively flavor, a hint of Mourvèdre earth, another hint of Syrah pepper. 35% Mourvèdre, 32% Syrah, 26% Grenache, and 7% Cinsault. $30.

Can't argue with either of these, as far as I'm concerned.

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