By Terry Sweeney
One of my fondest Fourth of July memories is lying on the deck of my friend’s boat on the Beaufort River looking up at the technicolor fireworks extravaganza exploding in the night sky above me. Now I’m not totally sure whether it was the fireworks themselves or the cardboard box onboard with the little green frog on it, from whose pull-out spigot flowed a most delicious wine that was oh-so-easy to drink and that seemed to last forever, that made it such an unforgettable holiday boating experience.
Of course this frog wine was from the land of frogs — France, which may account for its superior quality over any other white boxed wine I had ever tasted. Extremely well-balanced with outstandingly good acidity, I could just imagine eating clams, crab claws, shrimp, flounder, red fish, or any other fish for that matter with it. I say imagine because my ship mates did not have one morsel of food aboard except a cheap bag of salty snack food. So at the time, the only opinion I could offer with complete authority was that this boxed wine was the perfect match with “Bugles.”
Once back on land, I investigated my boat wine further. Its full name: La Petit Frog Picpoul de Pinet. It’s the same wine you’ll find in the bottles of Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet that are on the shelves of classy wine boutiques everywhere. What’s fantastic about this wine is that, like a real frog, it is comfortable on land, but even more comfortable on water. This wine really is better at sea. Its bracing clean aromas of lime and citrus just make you want to hoist a sale and take in big lungfuls of clean ocean air in between the dirty clouds of diesel from the big nasty richy-rich yachts that muscle past you.
“Ahoy there, bigshots! We’re drinking a $24 box of wine that’s equal to four bottles at $6 dollars a bottle from the South of France! And just as good as any of the high-class bilge water you’re throwing back!” That’s telling ‘em!
Of course, one of the advantages to having a large well-built yacht is that you’re too high up to hear the insults poor people below are hurling at you. Oh well, you’ll feel better for getting it off your chest.
Boxes of wine mean no breakage, less storage problems, and, if you should need to hide them for any reason, can be cleverly concealed. Take a dozen boxes, pile them up neatly in a square and cover them with a white table cloth, candles and flowers and you’ve got an innocent-looking romantic table for two. Line the walls of you cabin below with the cute little frog boxes and say, “It’s the kids’ room!” If anyone with a badge should ask. Or better yet, stay safely and legally tied to the dock and drink till you at least feel like you’re floating out to sea on the Mediterranean off the coast of France.
By the way, since that particular Fourth of July, I have found that this wine also pairs beautifully with pasta and chicken on occasions when I realized I needed to have more than just “Frog” for supper.
Refrigerated, this wine, once opened, can last up to six weeks and will taste just as good as your first sip. Another good reason to pick Picpoul for you summer sailing pleasure. La Petit Frog — don’t leave land without it!
Happy Wino Note: You can order La Petit From Picpoul de Pinet online from www.chainbridgecellars.com — regular price $25.99 but if you order a case of 12 you get 10% off so it’s $23.99 each! A whole summer’s worth!