An Enjoyably Offbeat French Red

Mouressipe Cuvée Galapia NV
Dana Nigro
Posted: February 24, 2010

During New York’s Restaurant Week, my husband and I ate at DBGB Kitchen and Bar, Daniel Boulud's casual spot on the Bowery, not far from the site of the famed former music club CBGB. Among the restaurant’s specialties are homemade sausages that span a range of cuisines from around the globe; I opted for the boudin blanc, studded with apples and foie gras, on the special prix fixe menu.

DBGB is also known for its great selection of craft beers, and Carlos went that route with his Yankee burger (my ideal of what a classic burger and fries should be). But I was curious to try something off the short list of wines by the glass, many of them unfamiliar to me. For the boudin, the waitress recommended the Mouressipe Cuvée Galapia NV ($12), one of the lighter reds on the list, a blend of Alicante and Cinsault simply listed as from France.

Soft and plummy up front, with alluring smoke and spice aromas, the wine then popped with unmistakable cardamom and cinnamon (just as the brief tasting note on the wine list promised), with a candied touch almost like a Red Hot. Finishing with refreshing acidity, it was a nice foil for the soft, juicily luxuriant boudin. 88 points, non-blind.

A little digging turned up that this wine is made by Allen Allier, a producer with a tiny estate in southern France’s Languedoc region, whose wines are new to the United States. He's a proponent of "vin naturel," farming his old vines without chemicals and practicing "non-interventionist" winemaking, using wild yeasts and bottling the wines without added sulfur. The Galapia is exactly the sort of esoteric bottling you often find these days at trendy restaurants and retailers that focus on small, artisanal producers. Not all of those wines deliver the goods, but this one was a worthwhile discovery.

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