Drink: Cochonnet wines, au naturel from France, with a hip Philly twist
This new trio of liter-bottle wines imported from France — a white, red and rosé — is very much a Philly collaboration.
Is there anything Joe Beddia can’t do? Pizza prince. Hoagie hero. Tomato Pie’d Piper. Natural wine impresario and now ... label designer, too? Technically speaking, Joe’s talented artist sister, Maria Beddia, did the colorful label art for the new Cochonnet wines. Joe did the whimsical bubble letters floating across the picture’s blue sky. But this new trio of relatively affordable liter-bottle wines imported from France — a white, red, and rosé made from organic or biodynamic grapes — is very much a Philly collaboration. Locally based importer M.F.W. Wine Co. sourced the wines from growers it had long relationships with. And Chloe Grigri of Good King Tavern (614 S. Seventh St.) came up with the name, which has a double meaning — little piggy, and also the tiny ball used as the target in pétanque, the French bowling game that’s a cousin to bocce.
I can practically hear the clink of those crashing metal boules when I unscrew these charming wines, which are approachable in both quaffability and value, considering the sometimes pricey natural wine genre. Grigri is serving all three for $10 a glass as the house pour at the restaurant’s new second floor wine bar, Le Caveau.
I enjoyed both the green apple crispness of the white Cochonnet Melon sourced from Stéphane Orieux at Domaine de la Bregeonnette in Muscadet, and the grenache-based Luberon rosé sourced from Château Fontvert, which delivers classic Provencal balance.
But it was the Cochonnet Gamay made by Romaine Paire of Domaine des Pothiers in the Côte Roannaise that I kept coming back to. This Loire red is dry and peppery in the style of the crus from nearby Beaujolais, with a light shade of funk from its indigenous yeast. It also had a youthful fruity core of deep red fruits that made it appealing to all at my holiday table, a perfect crossover wine capable of matching a variety of foods. Cochonnet might just be the perfect little piggy to include with this year’s Thanksgiving feast.
— Craig LaBan
Cochonnet wines, $10 a glass at Le Caveau (second floor of Good King Tavern, 614 S. Seventh St.), also frequently poured at Pizzeria Beddia, Hungry Pigeon, Serpico, and ITV. One-liter bottles are available in South Jersey for $19.99 at Super Buy Rite in West Deptford (1075 Mantua Pike), and $30-$35 by the bottle in Pennsylvania at Di Bruno Bros., 320 Market Café in Swarthmore, Bloomsday, and Bottle Bar East.