January 26, 2012: Wines of Southern France: Bourgeois Family Selections
Owned and managed by Jean-Philippe Bourgeois, Bourgeois Family Selections is a highly-specialized French importing company that focuses on small, family-owned and operated estates, from both ancestral and newly-emerging wine regions. Their emphasis is on terroir- land that has been toiled by the same family for generations- handpicked grapes, and wine made with knowledge and traditions that have been passed from parent to child for generations.
Philippe is a sixth-generation legacy in the wine, beer, and spirits industry in France. He has spent years of his life and countless hours traveling the French wine regions searching for unique, hand-selected, organic wines. His goal is to present the most exciting “undiscovered gems of the old world; beautifully, passionately hand-made wines, never before available in the US market. As a native of France, Jean-Philippe is personally and professionally committed to empowering the small estate producers by achieving the highest possible level of quality distribution, awareness, and image in the US market and abroad.”
“In Europe we thought of wine as something as healthy and normal as food and also a great giver of happiness and well being and delight. Drinking wine was not a snobbism nor a sign of sophistication nor a cult; it was as natural as eating and to me as necessary.” -Ernest Hemingway
For the tasting we will sample six wines altogether including two whites, three reds and one dessert wine. It should be both educational and approachable, with something for everyone- we hope you will join us!
The specific wines for the tasting are:
Domaine de Ballade Gascogne Blanc 2010– Gascogny (Armagnac), Southwest France. The 90 hectare estate has been owned by the Morel Family since 1927. The father-and-son team tend their sustainably farmed vineyards as well as oversee the vinification process. A blend of 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Colombard. A fresh, dry and lively white with great balance of minerality and acidity. Fragrant aromas of lemon curd and white flowers are followed by flavors of citrus, crisp acidity, and a clean finish. Tasting $10.99
Chateau Capion Fiona Blanc (1C Blanc) 2009– Vin de Pays, Languedoc. The discovery of old manuscripts confirms that Chateau Capion dates back to the 16th century. The current owners, the Buhrer family from Switzerland, acquired the property in 1996. In the following decade the family replanted new vines and vineyards, modernized the winemaking facilities and equipment, renovated the cellars and winery, and restored the Chateau to its former glory. The wines are made organically, naturally, and traditionally. The blanc is a blend of 70% Chardonnay and the remainder Marsanne, Roussanne, and Sauvignon Blanc from 20 to 25 year old vines. The cuvee aged for 8 months, 50% in oak (new and one-year-old) and 50% in tank. It offers a fresh nose of savory herbs, citrus fruit, and flowers. The palate is full and textured with notes of spice, lemon, citrus fruits, and honey followed by a balanced finish. Tasting $13.99
Chateau Capion Fiona Rouge (1C Rouge) 2008– Vin de Pays, Languedoc. More than 80% of the production at Chateau Capion is ultra-premium red wine made from the traditional Languedoc varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault) and some Bordeaux varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc). The vineyards are bordered by the Gassac River and natural forrest known locally as the “garrigue”. The rouge is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Merlot from vines that average 25 years of age. It aged for one year in new, one-year, and two-year-old French oak barrels. A terroir-driven wine with appealing scents of dark briary fruits and dusty earth notes. The palate is savory and mild with dark fruit flavors and a juicy, musty finish. An excellent value. Tasting $13.99
Domaine Saint Antonin Faugeres les Jardin 2009– Faugeres, Languedoc. The sustainably and biodynamically farmed vineyards were acquired by Frederic Albaret in 1994. Today the estate includes 65 acres planted primarily of Syrah, Mourvedre, and old vine Grenache and Carignan. This entry-level red is a blend of old vine Carignan and Grenache as well as Syrah that was foot-trodden, fermented in open vat and aged in tank. It offers a deep, spicy nose of dark and dried fruits, tobacco, and spice box. The palate is surprisingly lean, although nevertheless complex, with juicy and tangy flavors of violet, blueberry, blackberry, and cassis, with very low tannin. A wine that is ready-to-drink, although boasting ripe fruit, structure, and outstanding value. Tasting $12.99
Domaine de la Berthete Cuvee Sensation Cotes du Rhone 2009– Southern Rhone Valley. The Domaine, established in 1950, was purchased by Pascal Maillet in 1993. They practice sustainable farming, harvest by hand, use traditional vinification techniques, and bottle their wines at the estate. The estate vineyards contain traditional varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault for the reds) averaging 32 years of age. This custom cuvee for the Bourgeois family is a blend of mostly Grenache with Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault; 15% of the melange aged in French oak barrels for 12 months. This offering displays the profile of a “baby Chateauneuf du Pape” with deep aromas of spice, tobacco, black tea, and dark fruits within a textured framework. Soft tannins and gentle acidity make this an approachable, “anytime” red. Tasting $11.99
Domaine de Bellegarde Cuvee Thibault 2007– Jurancon, Southwest. Domaine Bellegarde is owned by the fourth generation of the Labasse family, who created the vineyard in 1926 after moving from Louisiana. The vineyard covers 37 acres planted with the two main varietals of the Jurancon AOC; Petit Manseng and Gros Manseng. This dessert wine is made from 100% Petit Manseng, a high-quality white grape variety that is typically used to produce late harvest wines. Its sweet nose offers notes of lemon curd, clover honey, and white flowers. It is a low-alcohol, late harvest wine (not effected by botrytis, or “noble rot”), with delicious flavors of pineapple, orange, and citrus rind, savory herb notes, and a tasty (lip-smacking!), balanced finish. 375ml. Tasting $17.99