It is no secret that we love French wines. We never tire of them. So it is no surprise when they pop up at our Saturday tastings. This Saturday we’re pulling the corks on five French wines to usher in the Fall season. From Loire to Lirac, they are delicious.
2010 Jean-Francois Merrieau, Touraine “Bulles” $20
80% Chenin Blanc and 20% Chardonnay
Loire sparkling wines are often a great value. This one is organically grown and aged on the lees for 18-20 months. The wines low dosage results in a refreshing, crisp wine, with a bright nose of apple and pears with hints of citrus. The palate is creamy and rich and the finish is juicy and long with lots of depth and a pretty label.
2014 Domaine de la Fruitiere, Chardonnay $12
Not a Burgundy, the Fruitiere is 100% Chardonnay from granite, mica, and clay soils in Muscadet. The wine is aged in stainless steel tanks for 8 months before release. It is rich and crisp at the same time, with an underlying mineral backbone.
2013 Domaine Lafage, Côtes Catalanes Rouge, Cuvée Nicolas $15
Jean-Marc and Eliane Lafage’s estate includes vineyards spread throughout the Roussillon. The Cuvee Nicolas, from higher elevation sites in the Aspres region, is an impressive Grenache. It offers layers of kirsch, underbrush, licorice and serious floral notes in its medium to full-bodied, elegant and seamless profile.
2014 Domaine La Garrique, Côtes du Rhône, Cuvée Romaine $17
65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah
Cuvee Romaine is essentially declassified Vacqueyras from 60- to 90-year-old vines. Aged in concrete, it is a quintessential Provencal fruit bomb offering abundant notes of black cherries, black currants, roasted Provencal herbs, licorice, incense and background earth. It possesses a medium to full body, and a ripe, fleshy, hedonistic personality.
2012 Marcoux Lorentine, Lirac $25
50% Grenache, 25% Syrah and 25% Mourvèdre
Lorentine lies in the heart of the Lirac appellation on the red clay, limestone and galet-rich soils of Saint-Laurent-des-Arbres. This Lirac was fermented using wild yeasts and raised in concrete and old wooden barrels. It’s wildly perfumed and then velvet-smooth on the palate, with layers of compact, red and blue fruits, as well as hints of wild herbs, fresh anise and dark spices. The very fine, nutty tannins give the wine great poise and shape. There is real depth here, and yet it’s subtle and surprisingly elegant too, with not an ounce of excess fat.
Madrona Wine Merchants offers free wine tastings featuring 4-5 selections on a theme every Saturday from 2 until the bottles run out and on Sunday we offer a mini-tasting of two wines all day from 11-5.