We have very special memories of southern France. Many years ago we flew into Barcelona and picked up a rental car. We drove to our favorite hidden beach at Aiguablava and dined on parillada: charcoal grilled monkfish steak, a sardine, squid, langostino & clams all drizzled with a mixture of Spanish purple garlic, broadleaf parsley and arbequina olive oil and served with the simplest fresh salad.

The next day we drove into France, changing money at the border in those days before the Euro. We poked across southern France, stopping first in Aix-en-Provence to drink vermouth under the Plane trees. We moved on to St Paul de Vence to pay our respects at the grave of Marc Chagall. In Menton, we lingered over dinner of mesclun salad followed by steaks cooked in a wood burning oven in a sidewalk café next to the public market. In the morning, we crossed over into Italy on our way to Lucca. All across the Languedoc and Provence, we enjoyed local Vin de Pays wines which connoisseurs even then knew were terrific values. And thanks to advances in wine making, the wines of southern France are now better than ever. Come by and get a six pack from our hand-picked selections!

NEW WINES

2007 Cuvee Francoise Blanquette de Limoux ($12.99) This festive sparkler comes straight from it’s traditional home in Limoux, France. Cuvee Francoise is fresh on the palate with fine soft bubbles, white fruit flavors and zesty acidity. Clean and dry, this is excellent with rich holiday foods.

2008 Domaine de Couron Marselan ($9.99 ) The Marselan grape is a hybrid of Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache, and is grown on only four vineyards in the world. Domaine de Couron is aged in stainless steel, and it has a rich, ripe core of fruit. “Ripe, sweet and smoky, with lots of blackberry and black cherry fruit laced with sweet toast and spice notes.” 88 points Wine Spectator

2007 Domaine Roc de Châteauview Malbec, Touraine ($12.99) Malbec is generally associated with the Cahors appellation, but Domaine Roc de Châteauview from the Loire Valley is stellar. Produced from a 38 hectare estate, it has an elegant, full-bodied style. Notes of mineral with pure and concentrated black fruit are wrapped up by a long, satisfying finish. Served by the glass at Purple Wine Bar.

2007 Les Deux Rives Corbieres Rouge ($9.99) This tasty wine is perfect for pouring on a weeknight or at a big party. A blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Carignan, Les Deux Rives is rich and soft. It’s black cherry and currant fruit flavors have licorice notes, and it is extremely easy to drink. “Clean and quenching, this is bright and savory with pomegranate fruit and juicy purple highlights. A bargain!”

86 points Wine Enthusiast.

2006 Chateau Douley Côtes de Bordeaux ($11.99) Crafted in collaboration with world renowned winemaker Michel Rolland, this harmonious blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc & 10% Cabernet Sauvignon has layered, bright, and rich berry fruit flavors. Aged in oak barrels for one year, Chateau Douley has a vibrant bouquet of strawberries, crushed coffee beans, tar and minerals. Highly recommended with short ribs!

2008 Domaines Barons de Rothschild (Lafite) Val De L’Ours ($9.99) The wine makers of Rothschild (Lafite) have brought their immaculate standards to the Languedoc region to create delicious Val De L’Ours (Valley of the Bear). Since 1999, Rothschild (Lafite) has revitalized the vineyards and renovated the cellars of Château d’Aussières, the producer of Val De L’Ours. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, it has balanced acidity and bright fruit throughout. With a touch of countryside herbs and medium tannins, this is an affordable and uber-quaffable red from a legendary producer. It’s a great match for meals with rich stuffing or savory bread puddings.

Come on in and stock up for the holidays!