I couldn’t get it out of my head, though. As luck would have it, I happened to email Lullaby winemaker Virginie Bourgue mere weeks before her grand opening of the Lullaby tasting room in Port Townsend. A hasty weekend trip was planned and soon we were standing in the sun enjoying her latest vintages. Needless to say, much wine was purchased that day and there is a pretty good chance you’ll see at least one more review in the next month or so. Her name might be familiar to you already, having worked as a winemaker for Bergevin Lane and Cadaretta, but if not – you will know her soon. Her wines have a very refreshing, restrained quality to them and are built around letting the fruit and soil tell the story. Also, they are really damn good.
Enough of the backstory – you want to know how is smells, tastes and sounds. Right from the get-go, you will know that this isn’t your average rosé. The aromas are much more floral and light than your typical bottle of pink. There is fruitiness to it, in the form of apple and strawberry, but they are hints rather than aromas that bowl you over. There is an immediate sense of softness and delicacy that is too uncommon. Letting it open for a bit brings out additional floral notes, specifically wildflowers and honeysuckle, which draw the drinker even closer to his or her glass.
Speaking of which, in the glass it is absolutely beautiful – a shimmering pale peach/salmon color that sparkles in the sunlight. And then you taste it. (Brief pause while your humble reviewer takes another sip). Ahhh. All the usual flavors are there: strawberries, raspberries, honey (it is a blend of 67% mourvèdre and 33% grenache) – but they are all just out of reach. They are more a suggestion than brute force, giving the essence but not overpowering you. Even though there is a roundness to it, it feels totally gauzy and ethereal, almost as though it could collapse under its own weight at any second. But, like any intricate sculpture, there is plenty of substance to hold it together, it is just subtle. Letting it breath for a bit, more savory flavors emerge – hints of rosemary, sage, honey and cedar. Again, these are all light expressions of flavor, as if you are playing catch with them as they dance around your tongue. There is an enticing quality to this wine that comes from its restraint – you want to taste more – you need to taste more.
Initially, I thought this wine sounded‑ a bit like a classical composition but I quickly abandoned that because there is too much structure. This instruments need to have room to stretch and breathe, with a melody that is light enough to allow this and yet strong enough to draw you in and hold it all together. The instrumentation is sparse – with the majority of it being electronic, with swooping and soaring as the backdrop. It has a very hypnotic sound to it, with echoing vocals that seem to float on top of the music and that drift in and out of phase. The synthesized sounds move in and out, painting a digital tapestry, which the organic vocals, piano and simply picked guitar root back to earth. The overall sound is somewhat lulling, but it is far too intricate for the listener to zone out. Instead, you want to pick it apart, to follow it along, and to hear it all. Words don’t do it justice, but I feel like the Air song below captures it particularly well.
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