Dear Francophile Feastlings,
I know it seems like we’re en train de battre un cheval mort, after all the Bastille Day food and drink and what with three of last week’s four wines being French, but what can I say? There’s a certain je ne sais quoi about the wines of France, and while Burgunday and Bordeaux usually get top billing, this Sunday, Katie Woodcock heads down from exotic Phoenix with six delicious French wines in tow, from the parts of France where you don’t always think to look. Sure, there’s Champagne, but there’s also going to be Bandol and Coteaux de Languedoc, Tautavel and Cornas. The tasting will cost $35 plus tax and tip, but that will include our customary food pairings, and you’ll get to taste wines a step above what you taste at the average grocery store tasting. The tasting is at 3:30 this Sunday, July 30th, and you’ll want to make a reservation by calling 326-9363, since web and email reservations won’t hold you a place. We look quite forward to seeing you.
Tour de France
NV Champagne Drappier Brut Rosé (375 ml) $33.00
When Georges Collot, the maternal grandfather of Michel Drappier, planted his first Pinot vines in the 1930s, the neighboring winegrowers laughed at him, calling him “Father Pinot”. André and Micheline carried forward the style established by “Father Pinot” and created the prestige cuvée Carte d’Or in 1952. Very well structured, with exemplary purity of red fruits. A striking Champagne on the nose offering similar sensations on the palate. Warm and satiny, lightly spiced with balanced hints of stone fruits thanks to a lovely freshness in the finish.
2016 Gerard Bertrand Picpoul de Pinet, Coteaux du Languedoc $17.00
The vineyard is situated on the banks of the Thau lake, between the scrubland and the sea. The Mediterranean climate limits the daily swings of temperature with the sea breeze cooling the heat of the day and the mass of water of the lake acting as a thermal reservoir to offset the drop in temperature at night. To reduce the risks of oxidation, the grapes are picked at a time when the temperatures are coolest, either during the night or very early in the morning, and are brought into the cellars as quickly as possible where they are immediately pressed in a pneumatic press. The intense, complex nose of the wine reveals notes of white fruit, citrus fruit, honey and white flowers. Full-bodied and lively on the palate, it offers a remarkable crisp freshness.
2016 Villa des Anges Rosé, IGP Pays d’Oc $13.00
100% Cinsault. A light-bodied wine, intensely crisp and vividly fresh, it offers complex aromas of strawberries and red currants, with a hint of quince. Vinified in stainless steel with two months on the lees.
2013 Jean-Luc Colombo “Terres Brulée” Cornas $57.00
From 30-year-old+ vines from 20 different plots on the steep granite slopes (15-30°) of the Rhône Valley’s right bank. The altitudes are between 820 – 1,100 ft. All work in the vineyards is done manually and without the use of pesticides or irrigation, respecting the local environment. A nose of blackcurrant, dark cherries and blackberries, with spices, licorice and cocoa. Are followed by a very rich mouthfeel with flavors of black fruit, jam, vanilla, spice and mineral notes. The wine has firm tannins and a long-lasting finish.
2014 Domaine du Gros ‘Noré Bandol $42.00
Like his father, Honoré, for whom the domaine is named, Alain Pascal is a strong, husky man with hands the size of bear claws. Of the many stories recorded in Kermit Lynch’s Inspiring Thirst, those of Alain are among the most entertaining. For years he sold his prized fruit from Bandol to Domaine Ott and Château de Pibarnon. Though he and his father would bottle their own wine for family consumption, they never labeled it under their own domaine name.
In 1997 after his father’s death, Alain officially started Domaine du Gros ‘Noré, a real shift that has brought him more than just casual notice. Alain is already a leading contender in Bandol, the appellation regarded as the grand cru of Provence. This microclimate near the Mediterranean brings warm weather and full sun, tempered by the persistent Mistral. Alain leaves his grapes to mature fully on the vine, lending great intensity to the fruit. Where appellation law demands that each blend includes at least 50 percent Mourvèdre, Alain uses 80 percent—a choice that gives more power and concentration to the final assemblage. Do not be fooled by the strength and boldness of the Gros ‘Noré Bandol, though; underneath a big exterior is a wine of character, depth, complexity, soul, and finesse.
2011 Gerard Bertrand Tautavel $19.00
Tautavel is a village in the Roussillon region, ideally located between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean. Tautavel is steeped in history, recognized as one of the cradles of human civilization. The vineyards are planted on pebbly soils, on limestone-rich terraces and south-east facing hillsides. Intensely fruity on the nose, with red fruit and raspberry aromas underpinned by complex, spicy notes. This belnd of Syrah, Grenache and Carignan offers a wonderful combination of supple tannins and delicate notes of scrubland and spices on the palate.