During a recent getaway to a remote mountain hideout, I found myself hankering for the sort of inexpensive, uncomplicated wine that you find in villages all over France. These are the wines called vin de pays the French terms that translates as "country wine." It's typically wine that's made nearby, often by the local wine collective. Then I remembered that I'd brought a few bottles of wine to help get me through the long weekend, and one fit the bill perfectly: Lapierre Raisins Gaulois ($13.99).
I love the whimsical label: a fellow squeezing juice onto his tongue from a cluster of grapes in which a corkscrew has been inserted. And, I like that the wine is made by Marcel Lapierre, an advocate of "natural' winemaking and the spearhead of a group of renegade French winemakers dubbed "The Gang of Four" (look it up).
In effect, this wine is Beaujolais Nouveau, from Morgon, although it doesn't say so on the bottle. It's made from Gamay grapes and, like Beaujolais Nouveau, is light in body with an almost effervescent mouthfeel. It's relatively low in alcohol at 12.5%. There are bright, robust fruit flavors that explode on the tongue: strawberry, raspberry and hints of cherry, along with a slight smokiness.
Lapierre Raisins Gaulois is a light, refreshing red wine that would nicely complement any backyard barbecue, cookout or picnic. I like to sip it on my patio and pretend I'm in Provence.