Pre de Provence sea salt soapA delivery of French soaps from Pre de Provence arrived this week. In addition to the popular Honey Almond, Rose, Lavender, and other fragrances that have been restocked, we’ve added their Sea Salt soap by customer request and love its maritime fresh and salty aroma. Quad-milled in Provence with all-natural ingredients these soaps’ lather is rich and luxurious.

Stop in tomorrow (Friday 9/15)  between 2:00-5:00 p.m. to sample these three natural wines.  
Natural wines are growing in popularity as a healthier alternative to wines that can be over-manipulated and contain additives that may cause headaches or other reactions.  As there are no requirements to label ingredients in any wine, which there should be, it’s up to the consumer to research and buy wines made by trusted producers or purchase from a knowledgeable merchant like Paris-Madrid Grocery.   Natural wines are made with a more “hands-off” approach to winemaking, by limiting additives, filtering minimally, and avoiding pesticide and herbicide use in the vineyards.  However, it can be difficult to know which wines are produced naturally, and also to know which actually taste like wine; some have an off-flavor or funky taste that delivers more cider notes than wine.   There is no regulated definition or certification of natural wines although some producers indicate “natural” on the label.  To help customers, we have tags on our shelves, identifying natural wines. And we decided to offer tastes of three selected natural wines which we’ve vetted for tastiness and naturalness of the wine making ethos.

Rose NatFranck Besson Rosé Nat Gamay 2021, Beaujolais – A lightweight Pet-Nat sparkling wine with zero added sugar.  Dry and crisp with red berry notes, it is fresh and bright with a mineral-laden finish.    Organic farming, fermented with native yeast, Petillant-Naturel traditional style, with fermentation in the bottle.

Mas de Gourgonnier natural wineMas de Gourgonniere, Les Baux de Provence rouge – A wonderfully textured and fresh red blend, crafted with similar grapes that the estate uses for its regular Les Baux de Provence Rouge, but with minimal sulfates added during the winemaking process. Sulfates are an additive that acts as an antioxidant and antibacterial agent, but if grapes are healthy and the winemaker is careful, a winemaker doesn’t need to add sulfates to the wine. The proof is in the bottle! Made from organically grown grapes, certified since 1975  with minimal added sulfur.  Fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged in oak barrels. Grenache, Syrah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Carignan.
The estate makes its own compost (from cow/sheep manure) and plows between vineyard rows; beneficial herbs are planted to control pests and moderate vine growth.

La Bicycleta RiojaLa Bicycleta Volador Rioja 2021 ($18.99) A claret blend of red Tempranillo & white Viura grapes hand-harvested, organically grown. Fermented and aged in concrete, amphorae, and flextank eggs.  Minimally filtered, and contains no additives.   This is a bright and lightly spicy red, with delicate berry notes and a fresh, satisfying finish.  Pairs well with pasta, rice dishes, and charcuterie.

Mark Saturday, October 7 on your calendar for a free in-store tasting of El Coto Rioja wines.  Between 1 to 3 p.m. on October 7 come in and taste the fantastic new vintages of this incredible Spanish producer’s wines.   We’ll be pouring a semi-sweet white wine and their Rioja Crianza, Reserva, and Gran Reserva red wines.  The reds pair wonderfully with fall’s seasonal mushroom and squash dishes, and the semi-sweet white is excellent with cheeses and fruit desserts.  Marc Stotland, Regional Manager of El Coto’s importer will guide us through the tasting.