Pierre Ravaille and his brothers Jean-Marc and Xavier (represented by the cool three-fish logo on the label) are the men behind this storied Languedoc domaine on the slopes of the Pic Saint Loup. Their family has owned this property for more than a thousand years. Tour de Pierres is a bottle that captures all of the soil types represented in their landholdings—a “tour of their stones,” if you will. Thanks to biodynamic viticulture combined with high-altitude vineyards (cool evening temperatures and winds even in summer), the Ravaille brothers’ wine is refreshing and vibrant despite its southerly roots. This bottling represents one of the best values, pound for pound, in our entire book.
Mostly Syrah grown organically in pure schist, vinified whole-cluster in cement tanks and punched down with wooden jousts, then aged for two years in ancient wood, Jadis is Syrah done Didier Barral’s way. You can’t simply call it natural or non-interventionist, because Didier intervenes in the vines more than most people do—constantly thinking and experimenting with techniques that harness nature’s inherent ecosystem and attempting to grow the most perfect grapes possible to support his hands-off regimen in the cellar. Didier doesn’t add anything to his fermented juice—you can smell and taste that this wine was produced on a living, breathing farm, deep in the French countryside. It has not been inoculated or pasteurized to protect it from the vagaries of the outside world. Store and serve cool.
The oxidative, fortified winemaking tradition of the northwestern Mediterranean is quickly becoming a lost art. The Roussillon, a large part of which is French Catalonia, was historically a very important production area for this style of wine. These wines were for seafaring men, as the wine doesn’t spoil under even the most extreme conditions. The tradition is alive and well at La Tour Vieille, in the ancient port town of Collioure near the Spanish border. Vincent Cantié produces this Banyuls, named after another nearby port, from ripe Grenache whose fermentation is arrested by distilled spirits; the resulting wine is sweet and fruity with about 16 percent alcohol. It is best consumed as a digestif, with chocolate desserts, or in the midst of a mighty gale many miles offshore.
Drinking distilled spirits, beer, coolers, wine and other alcoholic beverages may increase cancer risk, and, during pregnancy, can cause birth defects. For more information go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/alcohol
Many food and beverage cans have linings containing bisphenol A (BPA), a chemical known to cause harm to the female reproductive system. Jar lids and bottle caps may also contain BPA. You can be exposed to BPA when you consume foods or beverages packaged in these containers. For more information, go to www.P65Warnings.ca.gov/bpa