Today is the fourth day of Around the Wine World in Eight Days, so today is France!
- Turkey – Tuesday
- Chile – Wednesday
- Argentina – Thursday
- France – Friday
- And we’re taking off the weekend, sightseeing in France
- Spain – Monday
- Germany – Tuesday
- Australia – Wednesday
- New Zealand – Thursday
Top 10 Things about France That Intrigue Me
- I have traced myself back to Charlemagne. And, yes, so can many other people of Europe, because he had 17 children with eight of his 10 known wives (or concubines). So, where does that put me? In line also with Pippin the Short, Charles Martel, and the Kings of Scot. I have history and would love to return to that hallowed ground, from whence he came, that Charlemagne…
- Red wines accounts for 60 percent of French supermarket wine sales, and that’s compared with 25 percent for rose, and 15 percent for white wines.
- Even French people find it difficult to understand French wine labels.
- Northern France’s wines are usually made from a single variety (like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay); but, wines from further south are typically blends of varieties (like, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec, and Petite Verdot).
- This one is from Food & Wine’s site: Seven Top French Wine Regions by Acres of Vines (I had no idea)
- Languedoc-Roussillon 528,000 Acres
- Bordeaux 306,000 Acres
- Rhône Valley 188,700 Acres
- Loire Valley 158,000 Acres
- Burgundy 125,000 Acres
- Champagne 75,000 Acres
- Alsace 34,000 Acres
- French wine is much less expensive than American wine because it’s not heavily taxed.
- From Ashley Abroad: “If a French person asks you if you’d like a glass of wine, say “volontiers”, not “bien sûr.” In this context bien sûr means, “obviously”, as in, “Obviously I want some wine, don’t you know I drink allll the time?” P.S. I learned this the hard way.” [Nuances of language…]
- Terms to know, if you’re headed to Alsace:
- Bas-Rhin The northern portion of Alsace.
- Haut-Rhin: the southern portion of Alsace.
- Chablis: the northernmost region of Burgundy known for its steely whites.
- Because of the US’s Hearty Burgundy and calling whites “Chablis,” it’s earned a negative connotation.
- Reality: Chablis, the northernmost region of Burgundy, is known for its steely whites. So, today anyone who refers to a white Chardonnay that’s “un-oaked,” this is what is meant by Chablis-style.
- From French Together site: First of all, and quite logically, French people do not say “cheers” when toasting. Instead you can use “santé” (health). This is the most used words but some great alternatives include :
- A la tienne (to yours => to your health).
- A la vôtre (to yours but in a formal way this time)
- A votre santé (to your health formal)
- A ta santé (to your health) informal
Around the Wine World in Eight Days – France
Les Vignes Bila-Haut ~ (HB Wine Merchants)
The words that best describe Maison M. Chapoutier:
- An Estate that nurtures its vineyards with the greatest respect for natural balance and terroir since 1808.
- The family motto “Fac et Spera” – do and hope – says it all.
- Two words that sum up all the patience and daring that this art demands: patience in relation to nature which presides; daring for the winemaker, who observes, chooses and assists.
- The wine will be the faithful expression of this alchemy.
Let’s translate: Vignes in French = Vines in English.
All Beautiful Wines ~ and very much recommended
2014 Les Vignes Bila-Haut Pays d’Oc
This is a very delicate rosé, the kind that makes me yearn for more days with my adorable grandmother (Abbie Bernier) by the lake… It’s so soft and kind, easy on what I wanted and needed at the time. Truly refreshing, like the first sweet strawberries of a season and it did taste like strawberries. It’s that delicious and natural of a wine. I just don’t know how anyone couldn’t love this wine. ($15)
2013 Les Vignes Bila-Haut Occultum Lapidem
Cinnamon spice and everything nice, dark chocolate (who’s in?) and jammy fruit with toasted almonds. The tannins were soft and supple, and the wine has a velvety finish, with hints of cocoa powder. This is a wonderful wine for the outdoor grilling season. Classic and well structured, what we want France to continue to be… Pair it with canard (duck). ($15)
2014 Les Vignes Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon
Only four percent of grape production of this area is allocated to white wine growing, so this is a really rare wine, and an honor to taste something this exceptional. It’s also a delectable wine… crisp, refreshing aromas and flavors of lemon, with honeysuckle wafting on my palate, singing praises of my French Bernier ancestors. We French love our wines. Les Vignes delivers… A Grenache Blanc and a Grenache Gris add roundness in the mid-palate, and Vermentino (Rolle) gives it a tanginess, while Macabeo brings in crisp flavors.
Okay, get out the Wine Century Club spread sheet. I just added #151 as Macabeo and #152 Grenache Gris. I’m headed to 20o different varieties. I will make it, I know I will.
Around the Wine World in Eight Days – France
Master Family & Winesellers Ltd. ~ Le Charmel
Le Charmel is a new line of exceptional wine finds from different parts of France. This includes a Red Rhone, a Muscadet sur lie, a Pinot Noir, and a Cote de Provence rosé, pictured here.
“Le Charmel” refers to Charlie and Mel Master, a father and son partnership, who source these wines. The are négociant merchants, doing a lovely job with their selections.
Wines from France
2013 Le Charmel Muscadet, Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie A.O.C.
This wine is quite refined, like gorgeous french lace. From 40 year old vines, this Loir Valley wine contains the only grape allowed in the bottle… Melon de Bourgogne. Here before me is a delicately delicious white wine from the Loire, a 2013 Le Charmel Muscadet. This wine’s main varietal lineage is Melon de Bourgogne. I’ve added Melon de Bourgogne to my list. I’m now at 150 varieties that I’ve tasted.
I poured the wine into a Burgundian glass. I like a big, bold opening on a glass. I wanted to bathe in this one. Citrus, like Meyer lemons and tart green apples. This wine is made for soft gooey cheese… I tasted it at room temperature, to get the most from the flavors. It’s a powerfully decadent and refined wine in tasting characters, due to having rested on its lees for several months. I’ve spent the last minute thinking about it, and it still continued to linger. I pulled out my “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs” to see what would work with this wine… Bingo: Troffie di Farina di Castagne Chestnut Pasta Sauced with Pesto, served with a Potato and Green Bean Garnish. This wine is so refreshing that I can just simply enjoy it as a sipping wine. A day in my garden, making everything perfect for those summer months…
2014 Le Charmel Rosé
Don’t let the roses fool you, I tasted away from the roses, and then realized I could bring in some of my roses to enhance this story… But, it was inspired on the wine, not based on it. It has more of a raspberry flavor to the wine, with notes of seed fruits, like apples and pears. Produced near the Mediterranean Coast, cultivated on a Provencal hillside. It’s as romantic as it all sounds, in terms of flavor, having this beautiful terroir. The Varieties: 30% Syrah, 30% Cinsault, 20% Mourvedre, 10% Grenache, 10% Rolle. I dream of the days with Provence. This is one area I need to put on the agenda. Looking for something really refreshing? This is the one, and it’s so elegant.
Monday… Spanish wines. Until then, have a safe 4th of July!