One of the things I like most about working with wine is that there is always more to learn. There is something kind of exciting about tasting a wine I’ve never tried before, especially when it is made from a grape that I’ve never even heard of. So, I was thrilled when our sommelier, Rod, brought in this interesting bot
tle, Le Plan-Vermeersch Aramon.
Aramon is a grape I had never heard of so I immediately pulled out a couple of the bulky reference books I keep at work just for these situations. Here is what I learned; Aramon was popular in the late 1800’s in the south of France, particularly the region of Languedoc. It has the ability to produce generous crops and was valued for that. However, when grown in this manner it tended to produce wines that were light in color and lacking in character. In wine, as with most things in life, quantity and quality seldom coexist.
Aramon grows best in hot regions. It buds early and ripens late, so an early winter or late spring frost can destroy a vintage. It definitely wouldn’t survive in BC’s unpredictable climate!
The next step was a Google search of the winery that chose to work with this obscure varietal. Le Plan-Vermeersch is a fairly new winery located in the Rhone Valley. They produce primarily classic Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape varietals such as Syrah, Grenache and Carignan. They grow organically and do most things by hand or even by foot (in the case of pressing grapes). In the vineyards, the vines are pruned and trained to keep yields low in order to produce wines with more concentration and depth of character.
The final (and best) step was to taste! At first glance, the wine had a nice color concentration, hinting that it may be a bit bolder than the classically thin examples I had been reading about. A quick sniff revealed pronounced aromas of ripe cherry fruit and savory smoky notes on the nose. The palate was pleasing, medium bodied with just a touch of tannin and plenty of ripe fruit character. There is a great savory note running through this wine, reminiscent of herbs and smoked meats. Smoke and black pepper balance quite nicely with cherry and plum flavors.
This style of wine pairs very well with many menu items at Provence. It’s light enough to handle bolder seafood dishes, like our delicious Seafood Linguine. The savory tones would be a great pairing with Rack of Lamb and it’s got just enough oomph to balance the rich yet delicate flavors in our addictive Mushroom Ravioli. It’s the perfect bottle to share when everyone at the table has ordered something different.