Lillet Blanc French Aperitif Wine ($21.99)
Poured on its own, Lillet Blanc shows a very clear, light straw color in the glass. Intriguing aromas offer a mix of fresh, dried, and stewed white fruit and orange peel, with a subtle hint of quinine, complex and hard to pick apart. That’s fine, it’s just as well to enjoy them as their scents entwine. Full-bodied flavors follow the nose, with faint sweetness cloaked by firm acidity, and a bitter edge of quinine that’s a little more apparent than in the nose but still far short of what you’ll find in a commercial quinine tonic. It’s brisk and refreshing, perfectly fine in the winter time despite its reputation as a summer drink. The label’s advice, Servir Très Frais (“serve very cold”) is not mandatory, although it definitely becomes more unctuous as it warms, and the bitter quinine edge and 17% alcoholic heat become more apparent then. U.S. importer: Pernod Ricard USA, NYC. (Jan. 14, 2021)
FOOD MATCH: As an aperitif it’s appropriate with snacks. Lillet’s Pinterest page offers a broad range of food companions, including all manner of sushi and salad-style hors d’oeuvres.
WHEN TO DRINK: It’s not really meant for cellaring, although it won’t die on the wine rack or, within a reasonable time, in the refrigerator.
My local price matches Wine-Searcher.com’s $22 average U.S. retail. Given that it keeps well in the fridge and will be available for cocktails and sipping for a while, it’s a reasonal price for this tasty aperitif. Some shops offer it for as low as $17, though, so if a few dollars matter, check Wine-searcher.com and shop around.
“For drink recipes and cocktail ideas, visit us at Lillet.com,” the back label advises.
FIND THIS WINE ONLINE:
Check prices and find vendors for Lillet Blanc on Wine-Searcher.com.
Follow this Wine-Searcher link to find listings for a wide variety of other styles of flavored spiced fruit wines.