French wines from various regions - Printable Version

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- wondersofwine - 10-01-2008

Fayetteville Wine Society meeting last Monday (at Chris's Open Hearth Steak House) featured eight French wines. For refreshments we had individual servings of popcorn made with truffle oil and bread dipped in truffle oil (courtesy of Susan Rice, propietor of a new shop, Truffle Works in Pinehurst, NC) and crabmeat stuffed mushrooms, meatballs in Italian sauce and smoked chicken pieces. A female representative from the small firm Vintage 59 that represents some of the imported wines was there to tell us about them. They represent small artisanal farmer/producers--not big operations and no negociant wines.

#1 Barnaut Reserve Grand Cru Champagne Non-Vintage 10,000 cases
A Brut Champagne from Bouzy? Low dosage of 8-10 grams of sugar. 60% Pinot Noir, 40% Chardonnay. All stainless steel. Some lees contact gives a distinctive brioche component (I wrote in my notes slightly toasty/yeasty smell.) Quite interesting.
Barnaut also makes a drier Brut, a Blanc de Noir (100% Pinot Noir), a Blanc de Blanc with all Chardonnay and a Rose' Champagne that is 100% Pinot Noir made by saignee' method (bleeding off a portion of red wine after only a short period of contact of the juice with the grapeskins (

#2 Alice and Olivier Demoor Chitry Bourgogne Blanc 2006

White wine produced just outside the Chablis appellation. The couple met at Brocard, a leading Chablis house and started a vineyard from scratch in the 90's. From their 20 acres they produce this wine aged in old oak barrels. Their methods are completely organic. Nice minerality in the wine.

#3 Switching to a large producer--
E. Guigal Crozes-Hermitage Blanc 2006
Northern Rhone. 95% Marsanne grape and 5% Rousanne. Floral, aromatic, suggesting also tropical fruits, minerals and earthiness. I'm not crazy about Rhone whites (except Condrieu) so not a good judge of this but I think the couple sitting across from me ordered some.

#4 Domaine J. Voillot Bourgogne Rouge Vielles Vignes (old vines) 2006
A blend of red wine from two Cote d'Or designations--Volnay and Pommard. Deep rosy color, transparent. Cherry fruit. Sees about 30% new wood to help wine age and to show some fullness. 5 acres of vines in both Volnay and Pommard. One of my favorites of the evening but too "delicate" for some at my table who prefer bolder reds.

#5 Ferraton Croze-Hermitage Rouge "Le Grand Courtil" 2005
I kept thinking I had had a glass of this before, perhaps at Hilltop House Restaurant or Enoteca Vin. Leggy. Made from 95% Syrah and 5% Viognier to add a little aromatics. Nice. I enjoyed this one.

#6 E. Guigal Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2003
Big nose--barnyardy or bretty
David, to my right, loved this and spoke of barnyard, leather, hay. I found it too funky for my tastes although it did go a bit better with the meatballs and sauce than did the Crozes-Hermitage. (One that KC would probably adore.)

#7 Chateau Rocher Bellevue Figeac, St. Emilion 2005 (Bordeaux)
This may also have been on the Hilltop House winelist. More Merlot-based rather than Cabernet Sauvignon. Looked darker in th glass than #8 but it may be because I received a larger pour of #7. Leggy, accessible now but has some structure. I went back and forth about whether I liked this or the final wine better but the Vintage 59 speaker noted that this is drinking well now while #8 tastes green and needs perhaps a decade of aging. This was selling to members at about $35 and I may order some during the next month while that price holds if they don't run out sooner.

#8 Chateau Latour Martillac Pessac-Leognan 2005. Another Bordeaux but one that is more Cabernet-Sauvignon-based. Family-owned vineyard/producer. Leggy. Green tannin on the back of the tongue but still reveals promising fruit. I liked this. It cost about $45 at the members' price.

Unfortunately I will not be able to accompany the group to a trade show in Raleigh October 15 because of another trip planned at that time (my birthday is that day too.) They are taking a 47-passenger bus and said it is probably the biggest wine trade show in North Carolina with as many as 100 wines. In late October we meet to try wines from Argentina and Chile and in November Thanksgiving wines. The December meeting features Tuscan wines including some super Tuscans.

[This message has been edited by wondersofwine (edited 10-01-2008).]