Since most people are working during my days off, one of my favorite things to do is simply walk – explore the city, see what’s opening, what’s closing, and discover something new. This week, I didn’t even have to leave my neighborhood before finding a great new store, Back Label Merchants. As soon as I walked in (dropping off my groceries and other finds from the morning at the main desk), the owner and I began chatting about bizarre wines right off the bat. He was so excited about this value-priced gem that I had to pick it up:
Domaine Faillenc, Sainte Marie, Corbieres, 2012 – ~$15
This is Corbières – you should become friends. These are big red wines from the Languedoc region of southern France (check the map), and most wines are composed of Syrah, Grenache Noir, and Cinsault grape varietals. With the Alaric mountains on one side, and the Mediterranean on the other, it creates a pretty ideal environment for grape vines.
Domaine Faillenc is tiny, only about 8 hectares, which converts to about 20 acres, or about 8 city blocks. Originally founded by Dominique Gilbert and his wife Marie-Therese, the domaine is now run by their son, Jean-Baptiste, who has done what was needed to adhere to the standards of an Organic production.
Open this wine, and taste it. Then give it some time to come to life. Leave the bottle open for 30 minutes or more and you’ll be greeted with twigs, deep red fruit, and a briny, oceanic bouquet… like the fall in a beach vacation town. As far as food pairings are concerned, I’d go for almost any roasted meat dishes, especially lamb or pork, but more than anything else with some well-made bread and good olive oil.
Little did I know that the same owners opened up ‘Stinky’, a cheese and beer shop located next door. After much internal debate, I left with this little slice, which packed a big punch! Tangy, bitter, smooth – a little goes a long way (…FYI the flavor is so pungent I could only eat about 1/4 of this before feeling totally satisfied).
I consider it a blessing that I was having this rainy day lunch at home, as after I was done all of my teeth, lips, and tongue were all stained a beautiful deep purple – readers beware, Corbières is a heavily pigmented wine!