Still noting that there was too much emptiness on the drink-right-now side of our wine cellar...really just an afterthought in the crawlspace where the pool pump is located...we decided to go tasting...really drinking as we are not known for spitting after tasting...at the nearby Grès Saint Paul in Lunel.
The Domaine has been in the same family since 1830. The current owner is the seventh generation to work this land. Grès Saint-Paul produces wine with two appellations d'origine contrôlée - AOC Coteaux du Languedoc and AOC Muscat de Lunel. To receive a certification of AOC in a region, the Domaine must send samples each year for an analysis to ensure that the vitner has adhered to the strict production rules of the AOC.
For example in the case of an AOC Coteaux du Languedoc red wine, the grapes must be produced in a strictly defined geographical area giving a taste of that terroir or geologic and mineral region. The cepage or mix of grapes must be - in this case - Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre. The yield is limited to 50 hectoliters per hectare...about 1,320 US gallons to 2.5 acres. In addition to these already very stringent guidelines, there are rules guiding the planting of vines and so on.
So after tasting the strictly produced reds and rosés, we paused ...And there we found Lolita...beautifully pétillant Lolita. A demi-sec muscat that uses the naturally occurring sugar and a cool stabilization at 7°C over 24 hours to slowly ferment into gentle bubbles. Tasting of the grape, but not truly sweet, the Lolita had only 10.5% alcohol. The vintners slow the fermentation by chilling it further which preserves the flavor but keeps it from becoming too high in alcohol or losing the taste of the muscat grape. Perfect for an afternoon apéritif. I look forward to sipping the Lolita on a lazy hot afternoon...come on by for a taste!! There is always an extra glass at hand!!