Forty Ounce wine is wor­thy

The Bot­tle Kur­tis Kolt

The Georgia Straight - - Food -

With bot­tles and brand­ing highly (and not ac­ci­den­tally) rem­i­nis­cent of old-school, cheapy prod­ucts like Colt 45 and Olde English malt liquor, the Forty Ounce Wines from French wine­maker Julien Braud seem un­likely to be wor­thy of at­ten­tion. I’m here to clar­ify that they are, re­gard­less of one’s po­ten­tial dis­missal of the pack­ag­ing as be­ing too hip­ster­fo­cused, or an un­nec­es­sary nod to brands favoured by poverty-stricken al­co­holics. For real, re­search on­line un­cov­ered some strong opin­ions on the pack­ag­ing, way beyond “meh” or “LOL”.

I’m not here to pon­tif­i­cate on brand­ing or mar­ket­ing, though; I’m here to speak to the ac­tual wines.

Hey, if mil­len­ni­als are em­brac­ing this brand for the same rea­sons drink­ing qual­ity craft beer out of stub­bies is fun and In­sta­grams well, then they’re en­joy­ing au­then­tic, food-friendly wines from a lauded pro­ducer, and there’s noth­ing wrong with that.

The project, launched by New York City som­me­lier Pa­trick Cap­piello part­ner­ing with Braud, has been quite suc­cess­ful as it’s been re­leased in var­i­ous U.S. mar­kets over the last year or so, and it has only re­cently en­tered our mar­ket here in Van­cou­ver.

Not listed at gov­ern­ment-op­er­ated B.C. Liquor Stores, Forty Ounce Wines can be found in pri­vate stores around the city like Kit­si­lano Wine Cel­lar, Fire­fly Fine Wines & Ales, Lib­erty Wine Mer­chants, and Vil­lage Liquor Store on the North Shore. Oh, and you can ig­nore the “Forty Ounce” thing. While the clas­sic pack­ag­ing em­u­lates that his­tor­i­cal vol­ume, they’re ac­tu­ally one-litre bot­tles (clearly marked on the la­bels), but that translates to 33.82 ounces of wine, which sim­ply doesn’t roll off the tongue as well.

The Forty Ounce Rosé ($29 to $33) is a blend of Ga­may, Mer­lot, Caber­net Franc, Grol­leau, Pineau d’au­nis, and Pinot Gris from the Loire Val­ley in France. Twist off the cap to un­leash aro­mas of pink grape­fruit zest and ap­ple blos­som, then splash into Rainier cher­ries, crab ap­ples, rasp­ber­ries, and even a lit­tle cit­rusy star fruit. All that car­ries through the palate to great length, with a dab of orange mar­malade on the fin­ish. At 12.5 per­cent al­co­hol, it’s light on its feet and em­i­nently crush­able from the first sip. While it’d do well with deca­dent seafood dishes, the ca­su­al­ness and ac­ces­si­bil­ity of the wine turn me more to­ward burg­ers, hot wings, Ca­jun chicken cae­sar salad, or tacos al pas­tor.

Its lo­cal com­pan­ion the Forty Ounce Mus­cadet 2016 ($30 to $34) is a card-car­ry­ing Mus­cadet Sèvre-et-maine sur Lie ap­pel­la­tion white, made en­tirely from Melon de Bour­gogne. Whiffs of gar­de­nia and lemon blos­som lead to waves of fresh lime, lemon, and white peach crash­ing across the palate with juicy salin­ity, acid­ity, and crack­ing min­eral char­ac­ter. This is a no-brainer for the abun­dance of flavour-for­ward Asian cui­sine we en­joy in this city, ev­ery­thing from sushi to hot pot, to cur­ries from Malaysia, Thai­land, In­dia, and beyond.

Per­haps there’s a theme go­ing on, be­cause I re­cently re­ceived sam­ples of an­other cou­ple of large-for­mat wines, these ones in a three-litre bag-in-box for­mat. Both are $36.99, which would be $9.25 per bot­tle if they were in a tra­di­tional 750-millil­itre for­mat. Bag-in-box can go many ways, so I didn’t ex­actly rush to give ’em a whirl. My fears were un­founded.

Pasqua Colori d’italia Pinot Gri­gio Delle Venezie 2017 is my favourite out of the two. The wine is clean and lively, with ap­ples and pears ev­ery­where, awash with fresh-squeezed lime and a few drops of honey. Hey, this wine isn’t gonna nab Best in Show at any com­pe­ti­tion, but it per­fectly suits re­turn trips to the fridge when tucking into ca­sual Tues­day-night pasta, and it’s some­thing to have on hand when friends drop by late Sun­day af­ter­noon.

Pasqua Colori d’italia San­giovese di Puglia 2016 is quite light for a San­giovese, but if you’re look­ing for an easy, go-to light red for sim­i­lar oc­ca­sions as above, then it’s great to have on hand. Cher­ries, straw­ber­ries, and black cur­rants are dusted with the tini­est pinch of white pepper, and par­tic­u­larly shine when it’s served with a bit of a chill.

Fi­nally, a quick men­tion that last week’s The Bot­tle col­umn fea­tured two new bio­dy­namic wines from Bri­tish Columbia’s Sum­mer­hill Pyra­mid Win­ery, but in the print edi­tion we ac­ci­den­tally swapped their image for two com­pletely dif­fer­ent bot­tles. This has been reme­died on­line; apolo­gies to all.

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