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Initially, the 1999 Sarda Malet Blanc appeared muted and stoic in the glass, numbed by an hour too long in an ice-cold refrigerator. Like most of the better whites from the south of France, this Cotes de Roussillon needs a less frigid ambient temperature and a few minutes in the glass to reveal its seductive charms, but by then you'll be wondering why you didn't think to open a second bottle. The scent of spring orchards in bloom, lemon oil and just a hint of "exotica" rise from the glass. Medium-bodied but full-flavored in the mouth, the Sarda Malet reveals an additional layer and nuance of flavor with each sip. The finish is a delightful combination of mineral and citrus fruits. Serve only moderately chilled, about 55 degrees.
Caesar Salad, Salade Nicoise, and just about any Mediterranean style salad are wonderful accompaniments to the 1999 Sarda Malet Blanc. Deviled eggs and spicy fish soups and casseroles are delightful, too. Shrimp and vegetable stir-fry's are also winning combinations with this lovely Cotes du Roussillon. Many complex, moderately spiced dishes that are difficult to pair with more traditional varietals provide perfect foils to the Sarda Malet Blanc. Enjoy!
If Roussillon had a classification for the top domains there is no doubt that Domaine Sarda Malet would be a Grand Cru. The 48 hecta-acres of vineyards are situated on rolling slopes just to the south of the city of Perpignan. Planted with 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Carignan for the reds and with Roussanne, Marsanne, Malvasia and Viognier for the whites on south, southwest orientated slopes, conditions are ideal for the production of a range of outstanding table wines and the famous Rivesaltes dessert wines. In 1982, the estate was replanted by Max and Suzy Malet. Today, the management of the domaine is in the capable hands of their son Jerome. Much has been done to achieve optimum quality. Harvesting continues by hand and after careful vinification, ageing takes place in new or reconditioned oak casks from the Troncais and Allier forests of France. Sarda Malet produces a variety of excellent red and white wines, which demonstrate the enormous potential for the Roussillon to produce world class wines. The estate's table wines include small quantities of Reserve and single vineyard offerings, as well as the excellent Cotes du Roussillon white and red for which this property is best known. Outstanding, exotic dessert wines are also made at the estate. Sarda Malet wines repeatedly receive awards of excellence and merit.
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