Vignobles Bulliat 2014 “Cuvee du Colombier” Morgon

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews

The Beaujolais wine region is located at the bottom of Burgundy; and Morgon is smack in the middle of the best winemaking villages in Beaujolais. It’s should come as no surprise that the adjective most used with these wines is “Burgundian”. This bottle offers up plenty of Burgundian qualities. Notes of  burnt sage and earth open into flavors of fresh berry, exotic white fruit, and  crushed wild flowers. The acid and tannic structure make this an...

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Domaine les Verrieres 2008 “Les Pierres Plantees” Coteaux du Languedoc

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews

A straight line connects Bordeaux to Languedoc: Just follow the Pyrenees Mountains from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. It is the narrowest point in France, a mere four hour drive between two points, ocean to sea. That may be why Bordeaux winemakers on holiday tend to stay. After all, it is not a world away, so they stay for a harvest or two. A few years out of cold damp winters cellars of the Medoc, a few years of sunshine and olives. What could be the harm? In my soul,...

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Maison Henry Fessy 2014 “Sous La Roche” Pouilly Fuisse

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews

Pouilly-Fuissé lies at the southernmost border of Burgundy, just above Beaujolais.  The town is famous for its Roche de Solutré: the limestone ridge that is the basis for the town’s famous calcareous soils. The Sous La Roche  vineyard means “under the rock”  which can be taken literally:  the vineyard is located downhill from Roche de Solutré. The Henry Fessy is a  pure expression of white Burgundy. The slightest hint of butter is quickly overpowered by elegant pear...

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Chateau Gramond 2011 Haut Medoc

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews

There are famous towns in the Haut Medoc: Margaux, Saint-Julien, and Pauillac. And then there is Listrac. This town isn’t famous, but it is producing high quality wine. The last few vintages from Chateau Gramond have been exceptional, and one of the last good values in left bank Bordeaux. The Cabernet Sauvignon is dominant in this wine, with a tannic backbone that opens into a tightly structured wine that will greatly improve over the next decade. Dark plum and red...

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Antonin Rodet 2010 Clos de Thorey 1er Cru

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

Thorey is a Rodet monopole in  Nuits Saint Georges, and one of their best bottlings. For the serious lover of Pinot Noir, this is a dramatic bottle of Premier Cru Burgundy that should be in your wine cellar. Its fragrance offers hibiscus and lapsang souchong. Its power and force is apparent in an opening of  dark fruit and impressive structure.  And it’s depth centers around crushed berry and broken earth.  Beautiful.

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Balma Venitia ‘Dom Venitia’ 2012 Beaume de Venise Rouge

Posted in French Wine Reviews

A pretty bottle of village-level Rhone wine. A touch reductive on the nose at first, but quickly tosses out a potpourri of scent.  Unoaked, as Grenache-dominated wines often are, this is pure fruit on the palate. Rich and silky, flavors of cherry compote and black currant dominate. Fresh lavender rises into the finish with a touch of roasted apple. From Balma Venitia, AKA Cave de Vignerons de Beaumes-de-Venise, which is the local cooperative. This region is best known for...

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Shatter 2012 Grenache, Côtes Catalanes

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

Côtes Catalanes is an obscure wine region tucked into the mountains that separate France from Spain. Eight years ago, when I was on the editorial review team for the second edition of Barron’s Wine Lovers Companion the region wasn’t mentioned. Not even once. I am now on the team for the third edition, and my first order of business is to give this wine region it’s own entry. Why the change? It’s because of bottles like the Shatter. I didn’t...

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Chateau L’Ermitage 2012 Costieres de Nimes Reserve du Selection Vieilles Vignes

Posted in Featured, French Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

Talk about a winery with history, Château l’Ermitage has been kicking around since the 12th century. Most of that was terrible plonk made by hermits. It’s modern history (and when the wine became great) starts in the late 20th century when Michel and Jerome Castillon purchased the property. Just west of the Rhone River, Nimes is a kissing cousin of Cote du Rhone villages like Sablet and Vacqueyras, and can produce wines of comparable quality. Chateau L’Ermitage...

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Pierre Legras Brut Blanc de Blancs Champagne

Posted in French Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

One of the great developments in sparkling wines in the last few years has been the emergence of small grower-producer Champagne houses.  They offer a level of quality and individuality that cannot be rivalled by the famous Champagne producers.. and at a lower price point.  Pierre Legras is a small family-run Champagne house that rarely shows up in the United States.   The Legras Family is also one of the oldest Champagne families, with a history of winemaking that...

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