Thursday, February 03, 2005

Red Bicyclette Wine

During the holidays, my sister introduced me to a new French wine that she found at her local Sentry supermarket in southern Wisconsin. The brand name was Red Bicyclette and we savored every drop of the delicious Chardonnay (2003). It had a full, chewy character but was still bright and refreshing. We quickly placed it near the top of our favorite Chardonnays list.

On the first day that the temperature rose to a respectable level -- it was 9 degrees Fahrenheit with a windchill of only 5 degrees below zero -- we hurried back to the market to replenish our Red Bicyclette supply. We already knew that we liked the Chardonnay, so that was an easy selection. Temptingly, the Merlot shimmered at us as we placed the white wine into the shopping cart. "Why not," said my sister and soon, the red wine was in the shopping cart as well.

The Merlot was rich and quite dry, with strong berry flavors. It was also very good, but not quite as outstanding as the Chardonnay. I would happily select both of them again, though, and the pricing (under $10) was good for such excellent wines.

As I do, from time to time, I read the French newspaper Le Monde online the other day. (I'm trying to keep my French-language skills fresh and enjoy reading its in-depth accounts of European events.) Imagine my delight to find an article about Red Bicyclette wine!

Concerned with falling export numbers for their wines, French vintners have entered into an agreement with Gallo to market several varieties in the U.S. Introduced in 2004, Red Bicyclette has experienced good sales and is benefitting from Gallo's already-existing distribution channels in major supermarkets throughout the country. Significant growth in U.S. sales has been projected for 2005.

A quick check of my local Ralph's supermarket confirmed that Red Bicyclette is available there -- Eureka! After my initial disappointment at not finding it at my local BevMo store, I am now content to know that I can depend on my good, old, neighborhood supermarket to keep me well-stocked with reasonably-priced wine from the heart of French wine country. Global commerce -- you gotta love it!


Anonymous said...

Just tried the chardonay -- it's super! Thx for the great tip.

Anonymous said...

P. S. from the Ingredient Sleuth

I have now also tried the 2003 Red Bicyclette Syrah. It has a very "comfortable" feel in the mouth with smooth finish. I like it better than the Merlot.

Marilyn, The Ingredient Sleuth said...

Update, January 2006

Another P.S. from the Ingredient Sleuth

BevMo stores now carry Red Bicyclette -- as do some of the larger WalMart stores in this area (southern California).