I came back from a wine tasting on Monday, to tell my husband that this was the first evening I felt a semblance of “normal” since I returned from my trip to the Caribbean with my daughter. The retail store I work at part-time to help hone my wine skills, often has tastings put on by reps, winery owners and various other individuals representing certain wines and portfolios. Monday night we sampled French wines; reds and whites represented by various regions in France. We tried six, but three stood out specifically:
Chablis, which is part of Burgundy, but to the far north of Burgundy, is known for their clean, unoaked, mineral-full Chardonnays. Thanks to the Kimmeridgian clay in the area, these Chardonnays are left alone, ageing in stainless steel to keep the true flavour of the grape coming through. Not much oak used here, but often aged on the lees, there’s still a slight creaminess and subtle vanilla flavour. This 2011 $30 Chablis is bursting with green apple, pears, and wet stone minerality. Fantastically high acidity with a long finish. At 12.5% abv, this would be a great patio wine, or with a light salad….bon!
In a recent post, I featured Cabernet Franc, the lesser known father to Cabernet Sauvignon. We all know and love and are extremely familiar with Cabernet Sauvignon, yet Dad is a little lesser known. If made well and picked at the optimum time, this grape can lead to a solid, balanced, tasty single varietal wine! From the Loire Valley (in Anjou, in the AOC of Chinon) comes this tasty 2009 100% Cabernet Franc from Charles Joguet. Spicy, with undertones of tar, licorice and prunes, this is well-balanced with the acidity, alcohol and tannins marrying perfectly into medium body and a medium plus finish. And at $35, I think it’s a great little wine to celebrate a fine meal with friends! Try with anything grilled, and you’d have a great match!
Let’s move onto the Rhone Valley to the AOC of Saint-Joseph in the Northern part of the Rhone. The Rhone is well-known for some long-lived wines, and although not quite at the level of Hermitage or Crozes-Hermitage, there’s definitely potential for some ageing here! In Saint-Joseph, wines are made from 100% Syrah, and this 2011 was already drinking fairly decent, even in its youth. Nice aromas of roses, bacon and pink pepper. Again, like the Chinon, well-balanced with the acidity, tannins and alcohol rounding each other out, and lots more bacon, salami and black plums on the palate. Nice rounded body and a medium finish made this wine really enjoyable. Try it with some beef or even pork tenderloin, but make sure you share this one! At $43.50 on the shelf, you don’t want to open this for just one person!
This was a great way for me to really get back into the swing of tastings and the wine world again, and with some great company by my side, it was fun to have some “wine-speak” along with a few chuckles along the way! Cheers!