This Saturday we’re pouring some wonderful everyday wines from Bordeaux, Burgundy and the Côtes du Rhône. The wines are diverse and delicious, fit a wide variety of occasions. It’s a great reminder that French wine need not be about big names and high prices. Take a break from your Saturday and give them a try.
2010 Chateau Haut-Mongeat, Graves de Vayres Blanc $11
65% Semillon / 30% Muscadelle / 5% Sauvignon Blanc
Haut-Mongeat is made by Isabelle Bouchon who runs her third generation family farm in this small appellation of Entre deux Mers. The wine is fresh and lively with a palate-cleansing racy acidity and bright, ripe fruit. The bouquet is highly aromatic with abundant notes of apple, pear, pineapple, and flowers.
2011 Domaine Garnier & Fils, Petit Chablis $14
The work of two brothers, Garnier’s Petit Chablis is made from grapes harvested from a small single vineyard with soil of sandy clay and limestone. After a five month fermentation, the wine is aged for six months in large steel tanks, which maintains its citrus freshness. There is nothing petit about this unoaked Chardonnay except the price. Its crisp, aromas of flowers and cut grass blend with undertones of chalk and white stones. The generous, rich texture on the palate reveals a slight burst of candied lemon and tastes of citrus and subtle herbs with lots of good fruit and good minerality.
2010 Chateau Brethous, Bordeaux Clairet $10
50% Cabernet Sauvignon / 50% Cabernet Franc
Brethous is a small bio-dynamically farmed vineyard. Their Clairet is could be called a dark rose or a light Bordeaux. Either way the wine is loaded with fruit and shows a broad pallet of flavors: Strawberry, raspberry, plus hints of apple, pear, mango and passion fruit. It can be served at room temperature or slightly chilled.
2010 Nicolas Croze Notre Dame de Mélinas, Côtes du Rhône $15
40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 10% Carignan, 10% Cinsault
Nicolas Croze comes from an estate in the Ardeche, between the north and the south Rhône. The wine comes from a single vineyard and is aged 18 months in large tanks. It is full and rich and shows aromas of cherry and plum with a hint of pepper with depth and power and has a smooth long finish.
2010 Les Hauts de Plaisance, Haut Medoc $14
50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 45% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petit Verdot
A second wine of Château Pontoise Cabarrus, the Hauts de Plaisance is a great deal on a full Cabernet dominate Bordeaux that has more stuffing than most at its price. The wine has a complex aromatic nose of red fruit, berries, coffee, and spice with a delicious balance of fruit, tannins, and acidity this wine tastes of cherry and blackberry, and a hint of coffee and chocolate.
Picking Petit Chablis