Ashley Ragovin

Hi I'm great. 

Winter Wine Wednesdays

Good thing I finally got my heat turned on a few weeks ago. After suffering through 40-degree nights, buried under at least seven blankets, and shamelessly begging Hudson to lay on my feet, I finally got the pilot light lit in my new place and was ready for some major lounging action.  By “action” I mean me, Hudson, and Better Call Saul with a glass of something comfortable and cozy. Cut to 90 degrees and sunny, and not that I’m complaining about a little summer heat wave in the middle of winter, but kind of, I am.

It’s been so hot and I can tell Hudson is super confused by this random shift in weather. Where is El Niño?! He hasn’t even been able to wear the raincoat my mom got him. Actually that’s more so because I lost the raincoat when we moved. And by that, I mean I accidentally threw it away (and by accidentally, I mean on purpose – I was lightening my load in the packing process). Sorry, Mom. But I digress.

The point is this: we’re confused about what to wear - I just put all the summer clothes in the spare bedroom but these wool-blend knits are not working. Hudson has a fur coat on and he can’t do anything about it.

Luckily, I am zero percent confused about what to drink. Because I found the very definition of refreshing, and it’s a smiling, sunny glassful perfect for mid-winter heat waves. It honestly tastes like you’re drinking one of those still-life paintings, where a wildflower bouquet sits on a farmhouse table, Herbes de Provence scattered around a small dish, on which sits an apricot kissing a lemon, as a ray of perfect afternoon light pours through the window. Who paints these?! Oh. AND: Only one barrel was made of this stuff! But I’ll get to that.

This is a California wine made from Picpoul de Pinet, an ancient grape (the grape itself is piquepoul, pronounced the same) native to the Languedoc, France. The coolest thing about this wine (besides the fact that it is truly like jumping into a swimming pool on a hot summer day) is that the name translates to “lip stinger.”  I love that little fact. And it delivers on its moniker! It tickles your lips from the very first sip, a taste so immediately quenching that you can almost hear the sound effect of a Coca-Cola being opened and poured over ice nearby. Now, I’m not suggesting you pour it over ice, but has there ever been a more thirst-inducing sound effect in the history of time?

Anyway, lip-stinger refers to Picpoul’s super crisp acidity, which is the very maker of zest and refreshment when it comes to wine. And when combined with these bursting yellow citrus flavors, a pinch of salt, and all those blossomy things, you are just swept away to bliss, floating on a raft somewhere in the middle of the Mediterranean with a glass in hand.

But don’t forget we’re talking about California wine here. And this wine has a very honest sense of place – pure, laid-back Cali sunshine and sand. Things to note? This is the very first vintage made, organically, grapes stomped by foot in our very own Sonoma Valley. And in case you missed it, ONLY ONE BARREL WAS MADE! Need I say more?

THE CHEAT SHEET

THE WINE: The i.e. Wine Company, Picpoul Blanc, Snow Vineyard, Sonoma Valley CA 2014, first vintage

THE GRAPE: Picpoul de Pinet (Pick-pool-de-Penay)

HOMETOWN: Born in the Languedoc but moved to Northern Cali to pursue its dreams of organic West Coast life

TASTES LIKE: I once secretly left work midday during a very busy lunch service and took a 10-minute jump in the ocean, then went back to work with the ocean and sand in my hair and warm sun on my skin. This wine tastes just like that. 

GOES DOWN EASY WITH: Especially well good with seafood – whole roasted fish, oysters, crab, clams, anchovies and mussels are total no-brainers. But it’s also great with cured meats and some greens, a grain salad or a tuna sandwich. Drink Cold, in any weather. Stellar on its own, but it really comes alive with food.

IF YOU LIKE: Umm, delicious small-production white wine? This tastes like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio had a baby - it grew up to be the cool kid.

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