As you may know, I’ve just returned from an amazing winter trip. Three weeks in Europe—from a balmy wine-tasting on the banks of the Bosporus, to a week of Languedoc vineyarding in the south of France, to luscious Chenin Blanc discoveries in the Loire Valley, to a wild snow-covered jaunt through five German wine regions—ending with a supra-luxe gastro-weekend in Paris. The good life, for sure.
Go to any posh tasting in the U.S. of wines from the south of France, and the first description you’re sure to hear is “ah! the aroma of garrigue!” Everyone is into it because Robert Parker started including it in his southern French notes years ago—and because, let’s face it, it’s a catchy word that makes you sound smart.
But there’s a lot of dumb garrigue usage out there. For starters, it is not a single herb, as some believe. It is a group of Mediterranean herbs—some familiar, like thyme and rosemary, some not so familiar—collectively referred to as “garrigue.”
It was one of the most spectacular wine invitations of my life—and it turned out to be one of the most spectacular wine parties as well. I left New York this Monday for Istanbul, a guest of Dom Pérignon champagne. Why? Because they are launching just now a much-awaited wine—their “dark jewel,” as they call it—the 2002 Dom Pérignon Rosé. Both the wine and the city, the French say, are “rich and vivacious, mineral and sensual, ample and precise, inviting and mysterious…one legend calls for another.”