Yeasts come in all shapes and sizes, as it were, though most are employed for the relatively straightforward process of converting sugar into alcohol. “Flor yeasts,” on the other hand, are highly specialized yeasts that develop in a thick layer across the surface of a wine in partially filled casks. Over time these yeasts impart a characteristic flavor and aroma to wines made in this manner – a style seen most often in France’s Jura and Jerez in southern Spain. While there is a wide assortment of styles in flor-aged wines, they all tend toward a signature nuttiness, ranging from a subtle almond element to more pronounced hazelnut flavors, and make for excellent pairings with more “autumnal” foods.
Cotes de Provence 2010
This is not your typical Provencale Rose. Aged for one year in large, old oak barrels called “foudre,” and made principally from the rare grape variety Tibouren, the Clos Cibonne proves without doubt that some rose most certainly have something to offer year round – not just between Memorial and Labor Days. Buy for $25.99
Arbois Savagnin 2008
Called the “Pope of the Arbois,” Jacques Puffeney is one of the most highly regarded producers in the Jura. This wine, with a laser-like focus, is made from the local grape variety Savagnin (not to be confused with Sauvignon Blanc), and fermented in both stainless steel and large foudre before being transferred to barrels for several years aging. Buy for $31.99
Made solely in the seaside town of Sanlucar de Barrameda, Manzanilla is regarded as the most elegant and delicate style of Sherry. This “En Rama” is bottled only twice a year when the layer of flor is at its thickest. Forget the common and mistaken notion that Sherry is sweet – this is as dry as it gets and a perfect aperitif to pair with a wide range of foods.