Tag Archives: Gascony

Domaine d’Arton YSL Rosé

Cost: Average price $11.00

Where buy now: Solo Vino, Zipp’s Liquors, Byerly’s Ridgedale, Pairings Wine & Food Market

Grapes: Syrah

Region: Gascony, France

Vintage: N/V

Domaine d’Arton YSL Patrick de Montal YSÉ

If you leave The Savvy Lush with anything this week, remember this name: Arton.

This week’s red and white wines are both from the same winery: Domaine d’Arton. You may have heard some buzz about Solo Vino’s 4th Annual Rosé Tent Tasting held last Sunday. http://www.decant-this.com/2012/05/21/he-belongs-to-that-wine-rose/ If you haven’t, let me enlighten you so you attend next year’s soirée.

Chuck, Rob & Co., from Solo Vino put together a collection of 144 different wines, mostly Rosé, but also a smattering of whites, Pinot Noirs, and Lambruscos to mix it up a bit. A mere $30 allowed you to sample ALL the wine you’d like, but it didn’t stop there. Wonderfully complimentary hor’s d’oeuvres were also liberally served. I was told 60 lbs of Kramarczuk’s sausage was involved. Two words, kids: lamb sausage (no pun intended?).

But I digress. With wine drinking buddies I’ve gotten to know on Twitter in tow, we had ourselves a real good time! The particular table that had us a-twitter (pun intended) was the table that brought us the Arton. What makes this “the Arton” so special?

Following the Rosé Tent Tasting, it should be no surprise that this week’s red is a Rosé hailing from Gascony: Domaine d’Arton Rosé. The Arton (ar-TONE) Rosé is made with Syrah and embodies smells and tastes of peach and mild raspberry with tinges of citrus rind. Nay, it’s like a peach raspberry tart that’s sat in the window of a cottage in Gascony as the soft winds drizzle it’s floral and herbal whispers on top. (Wow – that came right out of my ass. Sounded good though, huh?) Truly, it’s soft, fruity, light, flavorful with a hint of tartness, just to round it off. Perfect for those who both love Rosé and those who are unsure and are just about to start experimenting. Oh, how I envy you people! It is an incredible wine for the usual price of $11.99, right now you can buy it at Solo Vino for only $8.79- a small investment for a remarkable wine.

Now, let’s back this train up.

The more and more I write, the more and more I learn about wine. Not the drinking part- I have that down. I’m talking about where it comes from, who supplies it, how it’s purchased, yadda yadda. Here in lovely, scenic Minnesota, we don’t have the luxury of being out in the vineyard learning from the farmers themselves. Most often we are relegated to shelf-talkers, the interwebs or your local wine shop’s windbag. Now, there is nothing better than exploring and finding a wine all on your own, believe me (ahh, the Russian River Valley-*sigh*). I’d assert that the next best thing is to consider other ways to discover wine, or, in other words, help your wine find you. Rather than suffering the classic “wine elitist vs. poor plebian” dichotomy, it’s time we close the gap. I know that many of you care about where your food comes from, how it was made, and who was involved. Doesn’t it only make sense to know where your wine comes from?

This week, I introduce you to Ulf. Until about 10 years ago, Ulf was an engineer. Quite simply, passion and wine steered him on a new course, and now he’s a one-man show. Travelling to Europe a couple times of year, he frequents small vineyards and imports amazing wine. He seeks the stuff not many folks, and I mean folks anywhere, get exposed to. Since he’s doing the importing and distributing himself, these wines don’t suffer a crazy mark-up. We can thank Ulf for introducing us to “the Arton” and allowing it to be readily affordable. Righteous, Ulf. Score one for the vulgar proletariat.

Domaine d’Arton Les Hauts d’Arton Blanc

Cost: Average price $11.99

Where buy now: Solo Vino, Byerly’s Ridgedale, Zipp’s Liquors, Pairings Food & Wine Market

Grapes: 70% Colombard, 20% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Gros Manseng

Region: Gascony, France

Vintage: 2011

Domaine d’Arton Patrick de Montal Les Hauts d’Arton Blanc

One Arton deserves another [see the Red of the Week Review]. This week’s white is Arton Rosé’s cousin, Les Hauts d’Arton. Don’t get tripped up on the French language. Just channel your inner Steve Martin (“jeh swee, day du du pah”- see his classic “Wild and Crazy Guy” record for more guidance).

This is a dry white wine that tickled my fancy parts right prompt. This light yellow vino has a tinge of green to it’s hue. It is light, clean, crisp with balanced acidity. The tastes are of citrus-think soft lemon and grapefruit. It’s not so citric that your mouth puckers, but rather it has a fresh and floral taste that rounds out beautifully, can be sipped alone or alongside your favorite appetizer. Man, I just love when I open a bottle of wine and sweet aromas come pouring out; I am instantly transported elsewhere. Yet another reason why I so fell in love with this wine.

On a recent day off, I sipped it alongside a baguette stuffed with prosciutto, mozzarella and sweet tomato marmalade. Voulez-vous coucher avec moi ce soir? My moaning and groaning aside, I will state for the record that you must rush out to try this wine. I saved enough to have later alongside a salad where I threw in tuna fish, olives, capers, tomatoes, vidalia onion along with oregano, basil, garlic, balsamic vinegar and olive oil. A gluten-free, meat-free, dairy-free, delicious meal that could please 95% of the population.

This is patio wine at it’s best. Hell, it’s under $9 during Solo Vino’s wine sale right now. As you stock up on white wines for Summer, I see this as a staple. I enjoyed it on my patio, now go and enjoy it on yours!

Domaine d’Arton Patrick de Montal Les Hauts d’Arton Blanc-Patio Living

Domaine l’Enclos

Cost: Average price $10

Where buy now: Haskell’s – $7.99

Grapes: Blend – Colombard & Ugni Blanc

Region: Gascogne [Gascony], France

Vintage: 2009


Domaine l'Enclos Colombard & Ugni Blanc
Domaine l’Enclos Colombard & Ugni Blanc

While doing some online homework, I noticed Haskell’s had a bitchin’ sale cooking, so I shimmied down to the Downtown MPLS location over lunch hour. New to the store, and staring down a serious list of wines, I felt overwhelmed. Thankfully, my, nay, OUR new BFF Andy approached me. He appeared calm, educated, and ready to lead me into battle.

Then, I shamefully dropped the “B” bomb. Yep, B-L-O-G. I came clean to Andy about The Savvy Lush.com – he was the first liquor store person I’d ever told. As it turns out, when you tell one of “them” you write a wine blog, the floodgates open. He explained how Haskell’s is especially known for French wine. I was there seeking a budget Cali Zin, but “This is good”, I thought- I could learn some about French wine.

He pointed me to a Bordeaux for under $10. I bought it. I inquired about Tempranillos, and he led me to his go-to. I bought it. The white wine I saw online for super awesome sale was out of stock, so I asked him to recommend one. Guess what?

This week’s white hails from Gascogne (or “Gascony” to us Americans), in Southwestern France near Northern Spain. They’re known for “Armagnac”, a brandy named for the region. It is distilled from a wine blend, using Colombard and Ugni Blanc grapes. Andy didn’t have to say more- they make a mild cognac from this! Into the basket it went.

I begrudgingly returned to work, chomping at the bit to get outta there. At 4:58 PM, I raced home. Upon arrival, I tossed the dog out, flung off my shoes and methodically unsheathed each wine from the silky, green Haskell’s tote. I snatched some brie from the fridge (I know, brie should be eaten at room temperature- sue me) and unscrewed the cap, the first poured drops sending tingles where the sun don’t shine. After a quick swirl, it (the wine) started to open up, begging to be sniffed. It popped but in a light, crisp way with an aroma reminding me of lemon, faint lime and grassy scents. I took a measured sip- my nose had not led me astray. This is a dry white wine but is alive with hints of refreshing citrus. I took a bite of brie and then another sip. Wow.


My only regret is that I was home alone. No one to share these remarkable tastes with, nor to stop me from becoming pregnant full of wine and cheese. Words cannot express how much I recommend this wine, and it‘s right cheap right now at Haskell’s ($7.99?!?!?).