- 2019 Ile de Conas Rouge Soupplesse, Pays d’Oc, France ($7.99 @ Trader Joe’s, California)
You could go down a rabbit hole learning about “dried grape wines” which have literally been around since antiquity, but we hope to spare you from needing to do so. That is, unless you are itching to!
The short version is that dried grape wines in the broadest sense refers to wine made from partially raisined grapes. This production technique involves either leaving the grape bunches to raisin on the vine, or picking them and leaving them to shrivel on mats of straw, reed, bamboo or literally hung from the rafters. You can’t make this sh*t up. This method of using dried grapes (also known as appassimento) is common in Italy where it used to make wines like Amarone, the most famous of Italy’s dried grape wines.
But why are we talking about Italian wines when our featured wine this week is sourced from France?
I have spent enough time in both Italy and France (and most of Europe for that matter) to understand that the winemakers in each country of origin are fiercely provincial. Each country, and even its regions, tends to follow its own traditional course. No where is this more true than in Italy and France.
So it was no small surprise to discover a French wine that looked to Italy for its “vin-spiration”! This is a French wine, that was birthed through a process that seems very Italian. Ooh, la, la!
This is a direct lift from the bottle:
“Ile de Conas Rouge Souplesse is a unique wine as it went through a special process called “appassimento” or “passerillage”. This process allows the grapes to dry for a period of time after harvest to obtain natural sweetness. As a result, this exceptional wine has pronounced aromas of berry, cherry and spices followed by smooth and refined tannins.”
The wine is a blend of 70% Marselan, (a Cabernet Sauvignon and Grenache hybrid – what’s not to like?), 12% Grenache Noir, 10% Cinsault and 8% Carignan vinified after passerillage (drying on the vine).
Presents with aromas full of dark fruit, a little bit of a prune and raisin notes (no surprise here) and nice touches of baking spices and vanilla. The wine tastes sweet-ish and rather Italian-like in the mouth with flavors of oak, chocolate and some red berry notes as well. Smooth, easy to drink and with a long finish. Soft, fleshy and round, it would pair well with lean red meats, traditional Italian red sauce dishes, hard cheeses and heavier vegetarian fare.
Need More Wine Picks from Trader Joe’s – or Costco?
If your search for this wine lands you in Trader Joe’s, take along our handy Lucky 13 list of TJ’s wine here.
And if your wine shopping excursions land you in Costco, prepare by grazing our most recent reviews of Costco wines here in our Lucky 13 list.