Tag Archive: French wine


A break from the tedium of re-copying notes from the past. I always aspire to share my wine adventures, but it’s always kind of tedious to re-write things.

Domaine de Couron was by far, the Domaine that made the biggest impression on me as I began my wine journey at 21.

Today’s is a CDR Village, Mis en Bouteille au Domaine. I’m sitting next to onions that I’m processing, so this could be a tad tainted on the nose, but it’s a lovely way to spend a fall afternoon. Processing garden produce, and sipping wine you enjoy.

The nose is black, preserved cherries, almost overripe, overripe blackberries, laced with slight eucalyptus borders, like a beautiful painting in a frame. It’s rich mulch, black forest soil, and hints of granite evolving to almost cherry liquor. Across the palate, the alcohol is nearly unbalanced, prickling like black pepper flakes that weren’t ground finely enough.

I have a hunch that this Cotes du Rhone is at the end of it’s life, and was not meant to necessarily age this many years, but here it stands, proud in it’s 6th year, only fine laugh lines visible, hands softer than they used to be, back straight and proud, feet firmly planted.

I love Domaine de Couron. (Not a great photo, but c’est la vie.)

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“Kosmos” 2014

Kosmos 2014 is an organic red blend made by Gerard Bertrand. This wine is simply classified as “Vin de France,” from the South of France, which allows Bertrand more freedom, than a more stringently regulated classification.

Warm florals, beautiful spice, but big, black plums, fresh plum  juice, and blueberries, evolves into raisins. The body is nice and comfortable, but not not flabby or lean. The finish lasts on the palate, complimenting baklava nicely. This wine is composed of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Cab sauv, merlot, Malbec, and Marselan. I haven’t seen Marselan in years, but I’m thrilled that it’s back- the last time we carried this wine at the Pan Handler, I bought many bottles, both as gifts and for personal consumption. This is one of the wines that we sampled Friday morning, to consider bringing it on board at work.

My nose, while much better than it has been, still isn’t 100%. My palate is back, as though I were smelling with it, but it’s weird…

Hopefully it will just get better from here. Kosmos was my favorite of the three wines.

The wine that I tried from Domaine de la Chanteleuserie was their Bourgueil Cab Franc 2014. This wine is a delicious Kermit Lynch selection, a cab franc! I don’t normally enjoy them as much as other reds because of the herbacious nature of the grape, but this wine surprised me. It has a deliciously rounded herbal character that compliments the star flavor profile of the wine, the bright red fruits. The wine is great velvet drapes in a private library, framing a sunny, ceiling high window, letting in dusty soft sunshine. I really love this little wine, from the appellation Bourgeil Controlee, it’s a wine that is a place that I would love to spend a day, in it’s high backed red velvet chairs, reading in that private library.

French Wine Class

Gosset Champagne: Gosset is the 2nd oldest Champagne house in the Champagne region of France. This wine is yeasty, lemony, with beautiful tiny bubbles, high acid and dry. This wine is refined and delicate, with toasted almonds.

St. Hilare:This French sparkler comes from Limoux. While its’ not a Champagne, it’s the oldest official sparkling wine producer in France. It’s insanely low priced, which is lovely, as far as value goes. St. Hilare is my go-to for French sparkling wine, dry enough to be refreshing, with the barest rounding of fruit to allow for a friendly welcome to the palate. There area  few different methods of adding the famous sparkle. St. Hilare gains it’s secondary fermentation in the bottle, after an addition of liqueur de tirage.

Chateau Jarnioux Beaujolais 2014: This is a fruit bomb. It’s a simple, black fruit bomb made from Gamay Noir in Beaujolais France. This wine is a step up from the juicy, mildly alcoholic Beaujolais Nouveau that is released the second weekend of November. However, wines made with Gamay in Beaujolais can’t be expected to be super complex, with loads of personality. They’re not bad wines, they’re meant to be simple, summer drinks for porches, and picnics, not $100 plate pairings. (Though, the rule of thumb, as it were, is drink what you like…. so who knows?)

Domaine Jouard Santenay 2010: This stunner is a Kermit Lynch import, so it’s no surprise that it’s fabulous. This wine opens with earthy tobacco, beautiful strawberries, and bright red fruit, tempered with bark and forest floor notes. I loved this wine.

Roger Sabon Cotes du Rhone 2013: Thsi wine is a lush strawberry field with meaty flavors of salami, dried herbs, ginger,  lavender, and fresh soil. It’s a great blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. This would pair beautifully with lamb, pot roast, smoked salmon and portabella mushrooms.

Domaine de la Nobile Chinon 2013: This Loire beauty is a tart red smack across the cheek, of red currants, red cherries, and raspberries, with tarragon, basil and tannin structure to boot. It’s more tannic than the Roger Sabon CDR, and would pair nicely with beef stew, and game dishes.

These classes are great, although they never quite give me enough time to get to know the wines that we taste. These moments are kind of like movie trailers, a preview to the grander scheme.

Le Cuvee Du Papet 2000

My Valentine’s gift wine. I just found the review of this wine that I had scribbled down on a waiter’s blank ticket.
La Cuvee Du Papet from Clos du Mont-Oliver CDP is a stunning accompaniment to a Black and Blue Steak dinner with asparagus and Cesar salad. The wine sparkles in dim dining lights a beautiful black raspberry color that smiles at you from the glass in flashes as it catches the light.
The wine itself invites you in, with scents of roses, and black fruits that are black velvet across the palate with whisps of raspberries and chocolate ganache. It’s like baby roses and black silk in a candle lit mansion.
We tried to have this wine decanted, but the restaurant was out of decanters, of all the things. On a Wednesday, no less. Fortunately, it was unnecessary to decant, and retained it’s structure, but opened well in the glass.
A very happy Valentine’s Day celebration indeed.

Penya Vin de Pays

Penya is a deliciously nostalgic red blend from Roussilon, France. It is comprised of 20% Syrah, 65% Grenache, 12% Carignan, adn 3% Mourvedre. For a simple, cheap little wine, it’s like a warm blanket that smells like home, when you’re away at college, or studying abroad.
This wine is dark garnet ruby, with aromas of roses, sparkling red grapes, and on the tip of your tongue, just a hint of residual sugar. I’m not a fan of chaptalization, though over a few days, the minorly jarring effect wore off. This wine is filled with dark fruits, plums, figs, and black melons.
This wine is a delicious little red blend for a relaxing night.

This fascinating wine made from Muscadet grapes, produced for/by Kermit Lynch comes from Domaine De L’Aujardiere in Loire France. This stunning wine appears as pale hay, star bright in the glass, with little bubbles lining the glass. It welcomes the nose with orange blossoms, Mandarin Oranges, fresh wild lemon grass, hints of citron and an ocean breeze.
Then I tasted it.
This wine has no bite, but it’s not super-fruity. It tastes of dry orange, with the barest effervescence across the palate. It tastes of orange rinds, the white innards of an orange peel, with beautiful tree fruit. It masks it’s residual sugar, which is there, but hidden beneath a delightful balance. The wine upon first taste is not bad, but not something I’d purchase again.
I paired it, and it exploded. This wine is a plain woman, understated perfectly, but becomes a Cinderella story when paired with the right food! I had this wine with a maple broiled steak, and honey crisp apple. The apple was a disaster, bringing out it’s moodiness, but the steak, was perfectly cut with this brilliantly hidden acid.
This wine is a delightful masterpiece you’d never expect to be a masterpiece at all. I love it.

My 28th Birthday happened on the 28th of December this year. For this birthday, that I had been looking forward to for 20 years, I was given an amazing gift last year (a year before it’s prime). A once in a life time bottle, (for me) of the 35th Anniversary wine of Chateau Prieure-Lichine, Margaux, Grand Cru Classe from 1986, sold by Dubos Freres & Cie, in Bordeaux, Imported by Seagram Chateau * Estates Wine Company in France. This bottle traveled, was housed in auction houses, and eventually wound up in my parent’s basement, just waiting for yesterday. It was a great joy to drink this with Mother’s lamb stew, and it even went well with the tapioca for dessert. I was pleased that my parents could share this wine with me, that was a big part of my dream. I refuse to drink something this special alone.
This wine reminded me of why I love wine. My job nearly killed my passion for it, but this wine restored my dream, my hope, and love of all of it.
Every sip was different, like moments in a life. Each moment, like each sip, changed, brought something new. At the opening, it was floral, roses, violets, and lavender hints like I’d never really smelled them until now. This wine is extremely feminine with wafts of meatier flavors, hints of a full body that it might have had, but has given way to something much more alluring. From flowers to black fruits, anise seeds and sage, it becomes a love story for the ages, beginning with a large structure young, and becoming more solid but less awkward and angular with age, like a polished stone. It’s a walk through Mother’s garden after the grass is freshly mowed and drizzled on with a spring rain, all the berries and herbs at their finest.
Today, a day later, this wine has evolved, and slowly begun to fade. It is still simply devine, but beginning to smell like dried roses, dried flowers, dark cherries, almost falling apart, they’re so ripe. There are cider spices, dried lavendar, and is mouth watering, beginning to have a tart edge. Today, this wine is like history. It is a great sketch, on a scroll, rolled up in a leather tube, with magnificent flourishes, the edges beginning to crack, the paper beginning to yellow, but a masterpiece, none the less.
Chateau Prieure-Lichine 1986 is a story, a love story, a history, of love, sorrow, joy, pain, and memories. It is my own history as well, to learn from, to move forward, to be restored by, just like a painting.
Birthday wine!
Ch. Margaux

Chateau des Leotins 2010

This wine from Chateau des Leotins, produced by Sauveterre de Guenne from the Gironde France, starts off obnoxiously boring. It begins like a teenager who is intentionally dull, while wearing the wildest of clothing. The nose is ocean waves of cherries on flagstones of granite, roses, accented with breezes of black licorice. I expected something entirely delicious and enticing, but the evolution of this wine takes days. It’s structure reminds me of an underground cave with beautifully fruit-laden depths. The only negative comment, aside from being tight upon opening, is that Chateau des Leotins absolutely needs food. The night I opened it, I happened to be baking cookies, so I had one with a sip of this wine, and sure enough, the wine welcomed the food. Tonight, I enjoyed this wine with a pan seared steak with maple seasoning, and Ch. des Leotins was a delicious pairing.

This is an old, old French vineyard in Cotes-du-Rhone France. The blend of ancient vine’s grapes, Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. It smells immediately of black licorice, anise seeds, and red cherries. This Oraison’s wines bare the Pope’s sigil, on the label. It could have been classified as a Chateaneuf du Pope, but chose not to, in order to maintain creative integrity. This wines opens delightfully to black plum, thyme, cassis, and vanilla extract. This is a delicious wine, though as far as contemplation goes, I think that I had drunk it before I was ready to contemplate it. Perhaps in another week, I will be ready- though a different bottle will be procured.