What: Lillet Blanc
Where: Podensac, France
Why: Summertime, and the livin’ is easy. The sun comes out, the patios are buzzing and my tastes turn to cocktails. Lillet is an aromatized wine, from a blend of wine, liqueurs, fruits and herbs. The ‘aromatized’ moniker comes from the infusion of the flavouring agents, which are a carefully guarded secret. Subtle apricots, candied orange and honey aromas lead to an off-dry, subtly bitter palate with perfumed citrus, earthiness and orange oils. A long, lingering, balanced finish just begs for a second glass.
How (much): $19.99 BCLDB
When: Classically Lillet is served as an aperitif, over ice, with an orange twist. It’s also a fine complement to many cocktails, and celebrated un petit revival with the Bond movie Casino Royale. In it, 007’s bevvy of choice was the Vesper — shaken, not stirred: 1 part Vodka, 3 parts Gin, 1 part Lillet Blanc. Garnish with a lemon twist and pass the roasted almonds.
Winespeak of the Week: Since 1887, Lillet (lee-lay) has been made in the village of Podensac, 32 kilometres south of Bordeaux. The highly guarded, secret aromatizing agents are blended together and aged in oak vats for 12 months before bottling.