Five Gifts of Christmas for Family & Friends: Part 2

     Next up in my quick Week before Christmas gift-giving guide is a new favorite for the oenophile in your life.  I love nothing more than discovering a unique red wine that trancends the ubiquitous merlots and cabs that no longer agree with me.  Small vineyards that make wine the old-fashion way appeal to both my palette and my soul.

     This is particularly true of Domaine Rouge-Bleu.  I have been reading about daily life at this small family-owned and -run vineyard/home for at least the last three years though Kristen Espinasse’s thrice-weekly blog/journal, French Word-A-Day.  When I stumbled upon the blog, I had grand illusions of learning French so that I will not sound so lame when I finally get the chance to return to Paris (maybe with my husband for our 25th, hint, hint).  Kristen, a self-described desert rat from Arizona, writes honest and often funny vignettes about her ex-pat life with her husband, son (who is about my own son’s age), daughter and two dogs, as well as her French faux pas.  She and her husband are both living their dreams in Provence:  hers, to be a published writer; his, to own and run a successful vineyard.

     Kristen’s stories of the harvest and wine-making are fascinating.  In fact, they have enticed many of her loyal readers to make a pilgrimage to their vineyard to help with the labor-intensive harvest and pressing.  Intrigued by her stories, I have searched locally for their wine when I have a lead on a local source.

     This fall I spotted a couple of bottles at J. Emerson on Grove Avenue.  I bought them up and waited for a special occasion to share the wine and their stories.  I finally had the chance over Thanksgiving with my family, and we could not have been more delighted.  The 2009 Mistral is dry like the mistral winds that blow through Provence with a firm, medium body that could work with a variety of main dishes.  The Domaine Rouge-Bleu website lists these accolades for this vintage: 

  • 90 points on the Wine Spectator : “Rich and smoky, with mouthfilling charcoal, roasted fig, tobacco and plum sauce notes all rolling through the broad finish. This has muscle, but stays accessible and balanced. Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Roussanne. Drink now. 1,000 cases made. –JM”
  •  Gold Medal in Concours General Agricole of Paris
  •  Listed in Guide Hachette des Vins with two star


    Fortunately J. Emerson was able to procure for me one of the only 1,000 cases made, and some of my wine-lover family and friends will be the beneficiaries this Christmas.  I am so excited to be able to share such a fabulous find.  Cheers to Christmas almost being here!

P.S.  Kristen has just self-published her second book, Blossoming in Provence, based on a selection of her early blog posts.  She invited her readers to help with the book’s editing, among other things, and she managed to get it put together in a mere 44 days.  It has just become available here, and I am hoping to find a copy in my stocking come Christmas Day.



Please let me know what you think about this post or if you want to share any of your Fabulous Finds.

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