Grenache and Syrah: Violets and Plums.

“Natural wine” is a popular buzzword these days, one with varied definitions and no lack of controversy. Whatever you take it to mean — biodynamic, no sulfites, organic, unfiltered — the goal is the same: to create wine with little intervention between grape and glass.

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Weekend Reads: 7.31.15

Some of the articles on food and drink we enjoyed this week, including pieces on Sandor Katz, Steak Sauce, and vine disease.

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11-Year-Old Pomerol.

Wine classification can be confusing -- categorization and branding changes dramatically from one region to another. For example, the Old World tends to identify wines by place, while the New World tends to use grape varietal. It seems a minor shift, but it has enormous implications for the way people perceive wines.

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New Rosé: Earthy Wild Strawberries. $12.95

After 13 years running Burgundy’s prestigious Domaine de l’Arlot, Olivier Leriche moved south to the rugged and remote region of Ardèche. More than just a change in landscape, the shift presented Olivier with an entirely new range of grape varietals: carignan, grenache, syrah, cabernet, and others.

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The Perfect Summer Grilling Red. $12.5

For the careful shopper, the Languedoc can be an abundant resource. Long a source for inexpensive wine, the region has only recently become a source for value. There’s still plenty of bad wine made in the vast region, but if you make good choices $13 will take you farther here than just about anywhere else.

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A Surprise from Alsace.

We like finding wines that defy expectations. Lightweight Syrah, refreshing Chardonnay, floral Pinot Noir -- we enjoy sharing wines that tasters have wrongly pigeonholed. Most grapes can present their flavors in a wide range of styles.

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By-the-Glass Côtes-du-Rhône. $15

Some wines hit a sweet spot between balance, versatility, and price. These are wines to reach for after a long day at work, or to drink while curled up with a book. They’re wines you don’t need to think hard about – uncomplicated, refreshing, and inexpensive.

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Crisp, No-Oak Chardonnay. $16.95

“Oaked” or “unoaked” sounds like a yes-no question, but it really is a range. Most of the wines we import spend some time in oak, but the strength of its influence depends on the age and size of the barrel, the chauffe (how heavily the inside is charred), and time in the barrel.

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Weekend Reads: 7.17.15

Some of the articles on food and drink we enjoyed this week, including pieces on Bourbon, Burgundy, and Mark Bittman.

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Wild Lavender and Blackberry Jam.

France is in the midst of an intense heat wave these days. Though the south of France is no stranger to summer heat, the country’s continental climate is important in helping its wines achieve balance. Grapes that are overripe contain too much sugar, which boosts alcohol levels and flattens the palate.

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New Alsatian Pinot Noir Rosé

Francis Muré lives in a charming Alsatian hill town. His small farmhouse nestles on vine-covered slopes near stone streets lined with colorful flower boxes. It’s quaint and picturesque, like something from a children’s storybook.

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Weekend Reads: 7.10.15

Some of the articles on food and drink we enjoyed this week, including pieces on Beaujolais, cheesemongering, and whiskey labels.

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Crisp, Refreshing Breton Cider. $11.95

Cider has seen an explosion in popularity recently. Everyone from large beer companies to small scale New England farms has jumped into the game, and “craft cider” is no longer hard to find.

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Chillable, Summery Alsace Pinot Noir.

Francis Muré’s wines were made for the summer. Muré and his wife Josiane run a tiny winemaking operation in the beautiful rolling hills of Alsace. Their wines are uncomplicated and refreshing, the perfect antidote for a warm muggy evening.

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New Provencal Rosé. $15

Rosé just keeps getting better. With demand on the rise, vignerons are experimenting with new cuvées and interesting blends. The Domaine les Goubert, long our favorite source for Gigondas, joined the game last year with the excellent dry “Rosé de Flo,” a project of the family’s daughter Florence.

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