L'OUSTAL BLANC NAICK, 2004

This wine is a great example of how important it is to find a good wine shop with a knowledgeable staff. I walked into my trusted neighborhood wine store with a mission: to find the perfect wine to go with one of my new favorite albums. I already had a certain type of wine in mind. I'd listened to the album over and over again, I knew what it made me want to drink. It practically screamed out for some full, dark and spicy wine from southern France.

I was thinking Rhone, maybe Gigondas, maybe just a really nice Cotes-du-Rhone, but I figured I'd know it when I saw it. The problem is there are a lot of wines out there in the world and even though I know wine, I certainly couldn't pretend to know all of them. As I scanned the shelves of the store I saw some familiar faces, but not any that I felt would really match up to this fantastic wine I had created in my head. When I was about to give up and go with something I knew would be good--if not exactly what I wanted, the wine buyer for the store approached. An acquaintance of mine, he knows my background and being a regular in his store, he knows what I like. I barely had to speak to him, I just told him vaguely what I was looking for and he pointed. "This one's really gorgeous." That was all I needed to hear. He couldn't have been more right and the wine couldn't have been more perfect.

 

This wine, Naick from L'Oustal Blanc, hails from the region of Minervois, a little known appellation in Southwestern France. It is predominantly made of the grape Cinsault, with also Carignan, Syrah and Grenache. The wine begins sweetly, with floral notes commingling with wild strawberry and rhubarb on the nose. On the palate it becomes more dark and complex, with plum skin and cocoa flavors in the background and an upfront honeyed silkiness. The finish lingers leaving a taste of espresso behind as it passes. The perfect wine for an album that is sweet and lovely at first listen, the darkness and depth only becoming apparent as you revisit it, the melodies lingering on in your head, haunting you for days.