Supposedly fashion law dictates that white is only to be worn after Memorial Day, and while I prefer more of a rule-free style of sipping, it only seems fitting to choose a white wine to accompany the holiday weekend. But Memorial Day festivities can take many forms — barbeques, picnics, or maybe even a trip to the beach if weather cooperates — and often involve many varying tastes, so which bottle will fit regardless of the occasion?
That’s where the 2012 Domaine Philémon Perlé Blanc ($15) comes in. It comes from Gaillac, a region in southwestern France, which produces wines of all colors, from dry to sweet and still to sparkling. The Vieules family of Domaine Philémon has been producing wines within the region since 1804, where they now organically grow not only grapes, but wheat and sunflowers as well. The Perlé has been made for over 60 years now, primarily from a grape called loin de l’oeil, a white grape that is virtually extinct outside of Gaillac. It’s also blended with sauvignon blanc, for acidity, and muscadelle, for aromatic intensity.
At just fifteen bucks, the Perlé so much more than one would expect from a bargain wine, in the best way possible. At first sniff, it’s both intensely fruity and minerally at the same time, an addictive amalgamation of red and yellow apples, orange blossom, limestone, and riverbed that will keep your nose in the glass for far longer than anticipated. Dry and crisp, the wine is refreshingly acidic without having that overly mouth-pucker-inducing tart quality. All of the lemon, apple, and tangerine fruit rounds together, and the finish is especially salty and savory.
Drink the Domaine Philémon Perlé Blanc with seafood, with cheese and charcuterie, or with nothing at all - it goes with everything! If I had to guess, after one sip, you’ll be wearing this white long after Memorial Day.