Innovative packaging, cutting-edge winemaking and good ole traditional value highlight our selections this week.
Pépin Rouge No. 04
Pépin is a line of natural wines imported by Terres Blanches Wine Merchants, a Virginia-based firm specializing in small wineries that farm organically or biodynamically. Made outside the traditional appellation system, they are labeled Vin de France and without a vintage date. The Rouge comes from Languedoc, and is a blend of syrah and carignan, with a touch of the white grape muscat d’Alexandrie to give it some aromatic lift. It’s earthy and spicy, with dark fruit flavors and energy on the palate. The diagram on the label suggests a delicate balance, and the winemakers have succeeded in achieving it. The wine is also made without added sulfur, though this is not mentioned on the label. Certified Demeter biodynamic. ABV: 13 percent. Bottle Weight: 762 grams (Heavy).
Mai Vino Rosé Wine
Navarra, Spain, $27 for 1.5 liters
Mai Vino is a relatively new entrant in the field of alternate packaging for wine. It is the brainchild of Mai Vu, who wanted a wine to fit her lifestyle as “a young, single person with roommates.” She found it “difficult to justify buying a decent bottle of wine I wasn’t going to get back to.” Boxed wines stay fresh longer, but she felt the equivalent of four bottles was too much for an inquisitive drinker who wants to try different wines. So she adopted the box format into a convenient pouch that holds 1.5 liters, or two bottles. The format is eminently portable, takes less space on your counter or fridge shelf than a box. Her other innovation was to simplify the information on the package. This rosé from Navarra in Spain is light and dry. It’s a melange of untraditional red grapes for rosé, but it fits the bill with crisp, juicy flavors of strawberry and rhubarb for a slightly bitter finish. Organic and vegan. ABV: 13.6 percent.
Available online from Mai Vino and at retail in New York, New Jersey, Colorado, Pennsylvania, Kansas, Oklahoma and Minnesota.