French Wine- Loire, Rhone, Beaujolais and Bordeaux

This week we will sample a variety of French wine from various regions including the Loire Valley, the Rhone Valley, Beaujolais (technically part of Burgundy), and Bordeaux.

Five of the wines are from a newly available importer called Terrisson Imports, and in addition we will try the 2012 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau (the “celebration of the harvest” wine) that will kick-off for retail sale this Thursday!

Altogether there will be one white and five reds including a Sauvignon Blanc (Loire Valley), Beaujolais Nouveau and cru Beaujolais from Chenas, Vacqueras and Gigondas (Rhone Valley) and a Bordeaux (red). The wines that are imported by Laurent Terrisson are brand-new to the state; and as you will see below, present excellent value. The wines from the tasting range from $9.99 – $19.99. We hope you will join us this week to sample some fantastic French wine and Celebrate the Harvest! Le Beaujolais Nouveau est Arrive!

Terrisson Wines– Laurent Terrisson is a Frenchman who was born into a family of winegrowers (and is son of an oenologist) and started working in the wine business in 1988 at the age of 21. In 2002 he was ready to start his own business, an export company (from France to America) that focuses on the following attributes; the wines have to:

  • Express terroir
  • Reveal fruit flavors/characteristics and not be matured in barrels unless necessary
  • Be made by true winegrowers and produced in controlled quantities
  • Offer immediate pleasure when the bottle is opened and the aromas are released
  • And above all, they must be excellent value for the money

Alliance Loire is a group of winegrowers who decided in 2002 to pool their resources in order to offer a complete range of authentic, well-balanced wines from Muscadet to Vouvray along the Loire River. Loire wines in general are known as reasonably priced refreshing wines.

The Les Roches white is from one of the loveliest chateaux of the Loire: Chambord and Chenonceau, 80 miles west of Sancerre and south-east of Paris between Blois and Tours. The vineyards are between the Loire and Cher rivers and stretch out along the Cher Valley on either side of the river from St. Aignan s/ Cher to Montrichard.

Les Roches Touraine Sauvignon 2011– Touraine, Loire Valley. 100% Sauvignon Blanc from vines that average 15-20 years old. The wine is made by Vincent Mureau; it fermented and aged in stainless steel. Winemaker’s note- “this pale yellow wine streaked with green is dry and refreshing with straightforward but typical aromas; the mouth is full and develops into fleshiness with the characteristic fruitiness of our Côteaux wines.” Pale straw in color with aromas of lime, mineral, sweet floral and wet stone notes. It is lean on the palate with juicy fruit flavors, followed by a tart, friendly finish. Very approachable; great value. Tasting $9.99

“The Perrachon family acquired the domain of la Bottière, in Julienas in 1877. Then came the Domaine des Perelles on the Romanèche-Thorins territory, at the feet of the Moulin-à-Vent hills. The Domaine des Mouilles, now the heart of our operations, was acquired in 1989. It is the heart of the Julienas appellation, benefiting from the best exposure and the best soils. Recently, we added smaller parcels in Chénas, Fleurie, and Saint Amour.”

Chenas- “This small appellation was once covered with oaks (chênes) hence its name. Our parcel, called “En Champagne” is one of the most desirable in Chénas, with a good southern exposure, on sandy soil. It is one of the first we harvest as it matures quickly. Our Chenas is considered one of the best in the appellation. The wines from this area present complex aromas of ripe black fruits, with floral and woody notes.”

Domaine Perrachon Chenas Beaujolais 2010– Chenas, Beaujolais, Burgundy. 100% Gamay from vines that average 50 years old. The grapes were hand-picked and vinified in traditional vats; the wine was estate bottled. “Ruby-red in colour, with tints of garnet. This wine is full bodied with floral, woody notes and a velvety texture. Serve at 14° C, with game, meat in rich sauce, strong cheeses.” 5,800 bottles produced. Tasting $13.99

“After hitchhiking for a year in South America and graduating from the Bordeaux university of oenology, Jean-Louis Despagne took charge of Chateau Tour de Mirambeau in 1969, which stretched over 20 hectares at the time. With his wife Odile, they extended the property, improved the quality of the wines and developed distribution channels throughout the world. In 2003, Jean-Louis left the business in the hands of his children: Thibault, Gabriel & Basaline.

Deeply rooted in the heart of the Entre-deux-Mers, the Despagne Family is making waves in Bordeaux. Famous for their know-how and their dynamism, many of their green initiatives have been awarded.

Terroir- With time the two rivers have left sand, gravel and clay coats on the soil that mingle with more ancient limestone rock and offer an inimitable diversity of soil varieties.”

Chateau Tour de Mirambeau Reserve Bordeaux Rouge 2010– Entre-deux-Mers, Bordeaux. A blend of 80% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc from vines that average 22 years old. The cuvee fermented in stainless steel vats then aged in stainless-steel vats for 80% of the production, the remaining wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in new oak barrels. Winemaker Joel Elissalde’s notes- “intense ruby red color. The fruity bouquet mingles with lovely notes of undergrowth and spice. A silky palate with well balanced tannins and a pleasant freshness. Long and supple finish.” Tasting $10.99

“Founded in 1957, the Cave de Vacqueyras is one of the youngest cooperative wineries in France. It is located on the great Terroir of Vacqueyras, which obtained the “Cru” appellation in 1990. In 1997, the Cave invested in a second winery in order to vinify grapes from individual owners separately under their own estate names. This enables the Cave de Vacqueyras to sell authentic estate wines at reasonable prices.

Liberate your emotions with this excellent cru that was named Fontimple because the famous XIIth century knight Raimbaut came from this part of Vacqueyras.”

Vignerons de Caractere Seigneur de Fontimple Vacqueras 2010– Vacqueras, Rhone Valley. A blend of 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre from vines that average 10-15 years old. Winemaker Stéphane Cardona’s notes- “By using environment-friendly production methods, agrochemical use is reduced as much as possible to produce a pure and natural wine. Two methods of winemaking are used: a traditional method for the Grenache and Mourvèdre and a carbonic maceration for the Syrah, in order to extract the maximum flavor from the fruit. The bouquet is very typical of the appellation with cooked or macerated fruits and notes of Garrigues’ spices. In mouth it is rich, round and powerful with aromas of dried figs, grape-marc and cherry. This wine has got all the elegance of a great Vacqueyras.” Cranberry red in color with an opaque center. Attractive scents of cherry fruit is enhanced with sweet briary fruit and floral suggestions. Bright, ripe fruit flavors are offset with gripping tannins and followed by a layered finish. A very friendly offering that also presents great value. Tasting $15.99

“The Amadieu family settled in Gigondas in 1929. Pierre Amadieu, grandfather of the current winemaker, whose name is also Pierre, started the business with a small estate in Gigondas. In 1954, he had the opportunity to buy 280 acres that was not planted with vines. He gradually turned it into a vineyard, starting at the top of the hill at a place called Domaine Grand Romane. Later he also planted vines halfway down the hill at a place named Domaine La Machotte. With these two domains, Pierre Amadieu is now known as a leading AOC Gigondas producer both in quality and quantity.”

Location of vineyards- “South Rhone Valley near the village of Gigondas. Vines planted on terraces in the foothills of the famous “Dentelles de Montmirail”, at a height of 1200 feet.”

Domaine Pierre Amadieu Gigondas 2010– Gigondas, Rhone Valley. A blend of 15% Syrah, 20% Mourvèdre, and 65% Grenache from vines that average 52 years old; aged in 1/3 in new oak barrels, 1/3 in 1 year old barrels, and 1/3 in oak tuns (barrels containing from 2,500 to 5,000 liters). “The harvest is completely destemmed and macerated for 20 to 25 days with frequent racking during fermentation. The Mourvèdre is vinified by carbonic maceration to enhance the fruit.” Winemaker Pierre Amadieu’s notes- “The wine is full-bodied with silky tannins.” Deep scents of dried fruits such as raisin with blackberry and blueberry fruits, dried flowers and black tea suggestions. On the palate ripe, bright cherry/berry fruit flavors are attractive and approachable with textured tannins, juicy fruit flavors and balanced acidity. (This wine is poured “by the glass” at Frank Stitt’s Highlands Bar and Grill.) Tasting $19.99

Le Beaujolais nouveau est arrivé!

Beaujolais Nouveau is a red wine made from Gamay grapes produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is the most popular vin de primeur(which means that the wine can be sold within the same year in which the grapes were harvested) fermented for just a few weeks then officially released for sale on the third Thursday of November. Duboeuf remains the biggest producer of Beaujolais Nouveau; unlike the “flower” labels of his other wines, his Nouveau features a colourful abstract design that changes every year.

Beaujolais Nouveau is a purple-pink wine that is particularly lightweight, even by the standards of Beaujolais, that is bottled only 6-8 weeks after harvest. The method of production (carbonic masceration or whole-berry fermentation) means that there is very little tannin and the wine can be dominated by fruity flavors.

Les Vins Georges Duboeuf is one of the largest and best-known wine merchants in France. The company is known especially for its popularization and production of Beaujolais wines, and especially the Beaujolais Nouveau, the colorful bottles of red wine launched each year during the third week in November. The company was founded by Georges Duboeuf who was born 1933 in Creches, France. Duboeuf was raised on a small farm, where his family owned a few acres of chardonnay vines. Duboeuf’s business now produces more than 25 million cases of wine annually.

Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais Nouveau 2012– Beaujolais. 100% Gamay. Light-bodied and fruity, the 2012 Beaujolais Nouveau offers aromas and flavors of vibrant youthful fruit expressions reminiscent of bright crushed strawberries and raspberries with hints of floral notes of lilac and violets. This fresh “celebration of the harvest wine” makes a perfect accompaniment to Holiday fare such as the traditional Thanksgiving Dinner of Roasted Turkey, Stuffing and Gravy! Serve slightly chilled. Tasting $9.99

Touraine SauvignonChenas Beaujolais

Mirambeau Vacqueras Gigondas nouveau 2012

Nouveau labels Beaujolais Nouveau labels from years past

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