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Categories: Floral/Herbal/Amaro Liqueurs, Rancio Sec/Vi Ranci, Red Wine, Maury, Vermouth, Quinquina/Chinato, Banyuls

La belle France. Just as its diverse geographies laid the foundations of three great culinary traditions—the troika of butter, lard and oil, according to Waverly Root—so too has its varied landscapes and terroirs produced a vast array of libations: the ciders and fruit brandies of the north; the bitter liqueurs of the forests and high Alpine meadows; and, of course, some of the world’s most compelling and compellingly diverse wines: aromatized, sparkling, still and fortified.

    Vermouth
    Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry

    Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry

    FranceSavoie

    17.5% Alc/Vol

    Dolin Dry is distinguished by its light, fresh and clean profile, which comes from a delicate wine base and more than thirty Alpine herbs. From its start in 1821, Dolin Vermouth de Chambéry has been the benchmark for fine French Vermouth. Its fresh and elegant nose, subtle and complex palate is the profile that made the 1:1 gin/dry vermouth Martini famous, and so often imitated by others. In the 1930s Chambéry earned France’s only protected designation of origin for Vermouth. Beyond mixed drinks, it is an ideal aperitif or accompaniment to raw shellfish, goat cheese or pesto. In cooking, Dolin Dry adds depth and an herbal character that normal white wine cannot. Full details

    Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry
    Dolin Dry Vermouth de Chambéry
    Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry

    Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry

    FranceSavoie

    16.0% Alc/Vol

    The sweet, pale ‘Blanc’ variety of vermouth was first created and made famous by Dolin in Chambéry long before Italian producers replicated the style as ‘Bianco’. The Blanc is traditionally served with a sliced strawberry, a splash of soda and a twist. Dolin blanc’s elegance and slight vanilla edge marry beautifully in the ‘new classic’ Blond Negroni. In other cocktails, Dolin Blanc pairs well with blanco tequila or other flavorful clear spirits. It is ideal for infusions of melon or other fruit, and an appetizing accompaniment to a wide variety of cheeses. Full details

    Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
    Dolin Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
    Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry

    Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry

    FranceSavoie

    16.0% Alc/Vol

    Dolin Rouge imparts lovely spicy notes amid its light and fresh profile, with a clean finish to complement and not overwhelm a drink’s other components. More than fifty herbs flavor Dolin Rouge; its profile is firm and balanced, without the excessive sweet or lingering aftertastes found in large commercial products. It makes for an exceptional Manhattan that does not bury the tastes of rye or bourbon, even at classic 1:1 proportions. Refreshes a Negroni, too. Dolin Rouge and a twist pairs well with charcuterie or black olives and works perfectly in tomato or meat cookery. Full details

    Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry
    Dolin Rouge Vermouth de Chambéry
    Comoz Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry

    Comoz Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry

    FranceSavoie

    16% Alc/Vol

    Established in 1856, Comoz was the second-oldest of Chambéry vermouth producers after Dolin, and was the first to produce in a crystal-clear style. (Dolin preceded with a sweet pale, rather than crystal clear, blanc vermouth.) Introduced in 1881, Comoz Vermouth Blanc expressed Claudius Comoz’s selection of wines, plants and fruits, many of which come from the hills above Chambéry. Comoz came to fame as the essential vermouth in the El Presidente cocktail in Cuba. Comoz is less sweet than other vermouth blanc, with notes of stone fruits, alpine flowers and a deep, resonant undercurrent of wormwood. This deeper profile marries with whiskey better than any other pale vermouth. Full details

    Comoz Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
    Comoz Blanc Vermouth de Chambéry
    Quinquina/Chinato
    Byrrh Grand Quinquina

    Byrrh Grand Quinquina

    FranceRoussillon

    18.0% Alc/Vol

    Byrrh Grand Quinquina is made to the original late-19th century recipe that earned worldwide fame and inspired fifty years of evocative poster art. Byrrh combines a generous, port-like wine and mistelle base with a firm backbone of natural quinine to produce a fruity, refreshing aperitif by itself, with tonic and a twist, or paired with blue cheese. In cocktails, Byrrh mixes well with vodka, gin, cognac, tequila, Irish whiskey, and grapefruit. Byrrh is produced in Thuir, in the heart of French Catalan territory, near the coast and border with Spain. Full details

    Byrrh Grand Quinquina
    Byrrh Grand Quinquina
    Bonal Gentiane-Quina

    Bonal Gentiane-Quina

    FranceSavoie

    16.0% Alc/Vol

    Since 1865, this spicy, earthy aperitif has been known as “ouvre l’appétit” - the key to the appetite. Serious in its role as an aperitif, and then popular with sportsmen, Bonal became an early sponsor of the Tour de France. It is made by an infusion of gentian, cinchona (quinine) and renowned herbs of the Grande Chartreuse mountains in a mistelle base. While tradition is to drink neat with a twist, Bonal also mixes well with fresh or hard cider, sparkling wine, and Scotch or American whiskies. Excellent with hard, salty cheeses, salted nuts, or earthy, spicy foods. Full details

    Bonal Gentiane-Quina
    Bonal Gentiane-Quina
    Mattei Cap Corse Blanc

    Mattei Cap Corse Blanc

    FranceCorsica

    17% Alc/Vol

    A true Quinquina Blanc, and unique among aperitif wines. The profile of the Cap Corse Mattei BLANC aperitif wine is defined by its distinctly Corsican components. Its all-mistelle base is of Vermentinu and Muscat Petit Grains, lending a terrific minerality, acidity and floral tones. The local Cedrat (aka citron) adds unique citrus aroma and a silky texture. Since its creation in 1872 by Louis-Napoléon Mattei, Cap Corse Mattei is the oldest and best known aperitif of Corsica. Still today family owned, and all macerations, aging and bottling are done in house. Full details

    Mattei Cap Corse Blanc
    Mattei Cap Corse Blanc
    Mattei Cap Corse Rouge

    Mattei Cap Corse Rouge

    FranceCorsica

    17% Alc/Vol

    Among the most famous of French Quinquina, enjoyed for generations by visitors and residents of the Island of Corsica. It is composed of a variety of local and exotic spices, walnuts and cinchona bark (quinine) on a base of Corsican Muscat and Vermentinu mistelles. The result is an aperitif of tremendous depth with a wonderfully dry finish. Since its creation in 1872 by Louis-Napoléon Mattei, Cap Corse Mattei is the oldest and best known aperitif of Corsica. Full details

    Mattei Cap Corse Rouge
    Mattei Cap Corse Rouge
    Red Wine
    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Clos du Moulin”

    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Clos du Moulin”

    FranceRoussillonCollioure AOP

    13.5% Alc/Vol

    One of three single-vineyard Collioure “crus” produced by Domaine du Mas Blanc, “Clos du Moulin” comes from a 1.8-hectare plot, southeast-facing, on the banks of the river Baillaury. The soil is schist mixed with gravel and sand. Vinification is traditional: Mourvèdre and Counoise (10%) are hand-harvested from goblet vines, trodden by foot, and fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts. Matured in old Bordeaux barrels for at least one year, “Clos du Moulin” is simultaneously dark and brooding, carnal and oceanic. Notes of blackberry, dried blood, cured tobacco, tapenade, violet and bay leaf speak to the grandeur and savagery of this unique terroir. Enjoy with spit-fired lamb, smoked duck and truffles. Capable of continued improvement over the next 12-15 years. Full details

    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Clos du Moulin”
    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Clos du Moulin”
    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Les Junquets”

    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Les Junquets”

    FranceRoussillonCollioure AOP

    13.5% Alc/Vol

    One of three single-vineyard Collioure “crus” produced by Domaine du Mas Blanc, “Les Junquets” comes from a steeply-terraced, west-facing parcel of the region’s celebrated schist soils. Vinification is traditional: Old-vine Syrah and a small section of Marsanne and Roussanne (which together comprise 10% of the blend) are hand-harvested from miniscule yields, trodden by foot and fermented in stainless steel with native yeasts. Matured in old Bordeaux barrels for at least one year, this wine boasts great dimension and savory mineral depths, with notes of cassis, smoked venison and garrigue herbs underscored by a telltale iodine signature. Enjoy with all manner of roasted game, porcini mushroom or risotto. Capable of continued improvement over the next 10-12 years. Full details

    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Les Junquets”
    Domaine du Mas Blanc Collioure “Les Junquets”
    Rancio Sec/Vi Ranci
    Abbe Rous “Matifoc” Rancio Sec

    Abbe Rous “Matifoc” Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôte Vermeille IGP

    16.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    A wine of ancient tradition, Abbé Rous "Matifoc" Rancio sec is produced from old-vine Grenache noir and is aged outdoors in old 600-liter Banyuls demi-muids for up to four years before returning to the cellars for continued oxidative aging. The resulting wine is a blend, with an average age of 10-12 years in partially-filled barrels, resulting in its inimitable rancio character. Full details

    Abbe Rous “Matifoc” Rancio Sec
    Abbe Rous “Matifoc” Rancio Sec
    Terres des Templiers Rancio Sec

    Terres des Templiers Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôte Vermeille IGP

    16.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    Terres des Templiers Rancio Sec descends from an ancient tradition preserved by Catalan winemakers of the Côte Vermeille. From old-vine Grenache noir found on its schist-dominated, terraced vineyards overlooking the sea, the wine is first aged out-of-doors in old demi-muids before returning to the cellars of the producer for extended oxidative aging in old Banyuls casks. The wine is a blend with an average age of 10-12 years spent in partially-filled barrels, resulting in its pronounced rancio character. Full details

    Terres des Templiers Rancio Sec
    Terres des Templiers Rancio Sec
    Tresmontaine ‘Puits aux Souhaits’ Rancio Sec

    Tresmontaine ‘Puits aux Souhaits’ Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôte Vermeille IGP

    15.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    Tresmontaine "Puits aux Souhaits" Rancio sec is the last produced under the auspice of the late winemaker, Bernard Sapéras, who kept it mainly for family and friends. Made from Grenache noir vines with an average age of 70 years and a yield of just 20 hl/ha, it was fermented in old casks over the course of several years before coming to rest in barrels first used for the domaine’s Banyuls blanc. The average age of the blend is 10 years. Full details

    Tresmontaine ‘Puits aux Souhaits’ Rancio Sec
    Tresmontaine ‘Puits aux Souhaits’ Rancio Sec
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2010

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2010

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    16.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    The lightest and perhaps most "feminine" of the Rombeau Rancio secs, the 2010 is distinguished by its cepage and its shorter elevage, with an increased percentage of Macabeu and, atypically, a small amount of Muscat à Petits Grains (roughly 10%) added to the foundational Grenache blanc and Grenache gris. Vinified in tank with native yeasts, then transferred to an assortment of old barrels, foudres and glass demijohns for 12-18 months aging outdoors. A portion is then returned to the cellars, which rest above ground and lack temperature control, while another portion remains in the "barrel forest" outdoors until the time of blending and bottling. Full details

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2010
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2010
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2009

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2009

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    16.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    The 2009 Rombeau Rancio sec is the most complete and balanced of the Rombeau Rancio secs, displaying the pronounced umami funk of 2008 with the lighter touch of 2010. It was vinified in tank with native yeasts, then transferred to an assortment of old barrels, foudres and glass demijohns for 12-18 months' aging outdoors. A portion is then returned to the cellars, which rest above ground and lack temperature control, while another portion remained in the "barrel forest" until the time of blending and bottling in mid-2016. Full details

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2009
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2009
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2008

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2008

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    16.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    The most evolved of the Rombeau Rancio secs, the 2008 exhibits a pronounced "rancio funk" while nevertheless retaining its complexity and rough good manners. It was vinified in tank with native yeasts, then transferred to an assortment of old barrels, foudres and glass demijohns for 24 months' aging outdoors. A portion was then returned to the cellars, which rest above ground and lack temperature control, while another portion remained in the "barrel forest" until the time of blending and bottling in mid-2016. Full details

    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2008
    Dom de Rombeau Rancio Sec 2008
    Dom Jorel “La Garrigue” Rancio Sec

    Dom Jorel “La Garrigue” Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    16.0% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    Manuel Jorel’s first Rancio sec was the result of the scorching 2003 vintage and amongst the most unique in the Sotolon Selections portfolio. His small parcel of Macabeu grapes began to shrivel on the vine; he picked the grapes and set about making an "orange wine" with them, leaving the emerging wine on the skins for 28 days. It began to oxidize and he feared the wine lost, but with the advice of an old-timer, he racked the wine into old Rivesaltes casks in the corner of his second cellar (which then doubled as a garage, or garrique). Full details

    Dom Jorel “La Garrigue” Rancio Sec
    Dom Jorel “La Garrigue” Rancio Sec
    Domaine de Sau Rancio Sec

    Domaine de Sau Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    18.5% Alc/Vol

    A blend of the 2006 and 2007 vintages, the Domaine de Saü Rancio sec is 100% Grenache gris, harvested by hand from a 1.9-hectare plot of 70-year old bush vines. Fermented with native yeasts in epoxy-line steel tanks and left for a week on its skins, its subsequent elevage takes place in one of the most magical places for oxidative wines in all of Roussillon—a former horse barn on the Château de Saü estate. Here, temperatures range from 55–80F and the Tramontana wind blows outside its wooden doors throughout the year, concentrating the wine left to rest in old 225-liter Bordelais fûts. Full details

    Domaine de Sau Rancio Sec
    Domaine de Sau Rancio Sec
    Mas Peyre “Le Démon de Midi” Rancio Sec

    Mas Peyre “Le Démon de Midi” Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    17.0% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    The Bourrel family inaugurated this solera of overripe, old-vine Macabeu grapes in 2005. Grapes are harvested by hand at 254 g/l residual sugar and, placed into the first of three barrels, are allowed to slowly ferment to dryness. Subsequent elevage in the partially-filled barrels creates an oxidative environment; bottled at an average of six years of age, the "Demon di Midi" (noonday demon) takes on notes of almond, garrigue honey and leather, with a touch of salt emerging at the finish. Full details

    Mas Peyre “Le Démon de Midi” Rancio Sec
    Mas Peyre “Le Démon de Midi” Rancio Sec
    Puig-Parahÿ “Pyror” Rancio Sec

    Puig-Parahÿ “Pyror” Rancio Sec

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    18.5% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    The barrels that winemaker Georges Puig blends to produce "Pyror" were first set down in the early 1960s by his father and grandfather, and have been maintained as "perpetual barrels" ever since, with small amounts withdrawn every few years. The wine—equal parts Grenache blanc, Grenache gris and Macabeu—slowly concentrates in the ancient oak and chestnut barrels, gaining a particular combination of polish and rusticity. Full details

    Puig-Parahÿ “Pyror” Rancio Sec
    Puig-Parahÿ “Pyror” Rancio Sec
    Tresmontaine “Tabacal” Rancio

    Tresmontaine “Tabacal” Rancio

    FranceRoussillonCôtes Catalanes IGP

    17.0% Alc/Vol • Fully Oxidized, Oxidative

    Tresmontaine "Tabacal" Rancio is the last Rancio produced by legendary Roussillon winemaker Fernand Baixas at Arnaud de Villeneuve, prior to his "retirement." (He can now be found with other raconteurs at nearby Domaine de Rombeau.) The blend is 100% Grenache blanc from the 2002 and 2003 vintages, exposed to the elements in glass demijohns for 18 months, then returned to the cellars to rest in old foudres and barrique for an additional 10 years. Full details

    Tresmontaine “Tabacal” Rancio
    Tresmontaine “Tabacal” Rancio
    Maury
    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2008

    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2008

    FranceRoussillonMaury AOP

    16% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative

    Produced only in exceptional vintages, the Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio is pure Grenache noir, selected from the estate’s oldest vines. Fermented in a 200-year-old concrete tank, the wine was aged in a 1,000-liter tonneau for eight years, then placed on the rooftop under glass and exposed to the elements for a final year prior to bottling. The resulting wine exhibits warming complexity and reverberative depth, its mellow rancio character embroidered on flavors of spiced cherry, caramelized orange, fruit cake, fig, walnut, coffee and cocoa. Enjoy with creamy blue-veined cow’s milk cheeses, with nuts and dark chocolates. Serve slightly chilled or at cellar temperature. Full details

    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2008
    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2008
    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2007

    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2007

    FranceRoussillonMaury AOP

    16% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative

    Produced only in exceptional vintages, the Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio is pure Grenache noir, selected from the estate’s oldest vines. Fermented in a 200-year-old concrete tank, the wine was aged in a 1,000-liter tonneau for nine years, then placed on the rooftop under glass and exposed to the elements for a final year prior to bottling. The resulting wine exhibits warming complexity and reverberative depth, its mellow rancio character embroidered on flavors of spiced cherry, caramelized orange, fruit cake, fig, walnut, coffee and cocoa. Enjoy with creamy blue-veined cow’s milk cheeses, with nuts and dark chocolates. Serve slightly chilled or at cellar temperature. Full details

    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2007
    Domaine du Dernier Bastion Maury Rancio 2007
    Mas Peyre Maury Hors d’Age “La Rage du Soleil” NV

    Mas Peyre Maury Hors d’Age “La Rage du Soleil” NV

    FranceRoussillonMaury AOP

    17% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative

    First established in 2003, this singular Maury solera was augmented with small lots each year until 2008, then rested quietly in barrel until bottling in late 2016. 100% Grenache noir, the name “Rage du Soleil” alludes to the heat of Roussillon and the enduring nature of its old vines. Oxidative, yet still primary, this deft wine boasts notes of cherry compote, spice cake and cocoa powder; tobacco leaf, bitter orange and rose pepper. With lightly drying tannins balancing the wine’s inherent richness, expect a continued graceful evolution in the bottle. Enjoy with creamy blue-veined cow’s milk cheeses, with nuts and dark chocolates. Serve slightly chilled or at cellar temperature. Full details

    Mas Peyre Maury Hors d’Age “La Rage du Soleil” NV
    Mas Peyre Maury Hors d’Age “La Rage du Soleil” NV
    Banyuls

    Domaine du Mas Blanc

    Vintage Traditionnelle

    FranceRoussillonBanyuls AOP

    17.5-18.5% Alc/Vol • Fortified, Oxidative


    Floral/Herbal/Amaro Liqueurs
    Salers Gentian Apéritif

    Salers Gentian Apéritif

    FranceAuvergne

    16.0% Alc/Vol

    One of the most classic French aperitifs is a pour of gentiane liqueur on the rocks with a squeeze of lemon. Salers is the oldest gentian liqueur of the Massif Central, birthplace to this style of product. It distinguishes itself with a pure, firm, rustic earthy profile. Unlike its larger rivals, Salers is less sweet and does not add artificial yellow color, revealing a beautiful natural straw color. Enjoy with ice and lemon, lemonade, in the Blond Negroni with gin and Dolin blanc, or as an earthy base note in a variety of cocktails. With the addition of a pinch of salt, Salers takes on herbal, tequila-like flavors. Full details

    Salers Gentian Apéritif
    Salers Gentian Apéritif
    Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur

    Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur

    FranceSavoie

    45.0% Alc/Vol

    Génépy (sometimes spelled Génépi) is a legendary alpine herbal liqueur that dates back many hundreds of years. While comprised of a multitude of alpine herbs, the most prominent is Génépy, a petite variety of artemesia (often translated into English as “mountain sage”) found principally in the high mountains of the Savoy. Its bright herbal and fresh flavors have long been associated with the mountain air and adventure. Today it is still the darling of French ski resorts and fine dining, served on the rocks or with tonic water, and very welcome after a fondue. Using its own alembic still, Dolin has made this Génépy from local farmers’ herbs since 1821. Full details

    Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur
    Dolin Génépy le Chamois Liqueur