April 01, 2007

GOOD FRENCH WINES UNDER 12 DOLLARS.First part: REDS

Good French wines under 12 dollars? Mais oui... c'est trouvable.  

Yes, Stéphane, I found a few in Chicago. But it is a time-consuming and challenging task to locate wines, especially from lesser-known areas of production, that are really satisfying. 

And when you find one that you like, do not be surprised if the simple and immediate pleasure you get from its consumption derives more from “terroir” qualities, balanced blend of grapes, and honesty in vinification, than from classic complexity and long finish. These wines are for immediate drinking enjoyment, not too keep in your cellar. Also, do not expect to find any exciting Bourgogne or Bordeaux, or a big name on the label, in this price range. About 10 or 15 years ago, the interest for lesser-known, and relatively low-priced, French wines from other production areas than the classic Bordeaux, Burgundy, Alsace, Champagne, Côtes du Rhône and Beaujolais, expanded tremendously in Chicago. So every importer, distributor, and retailer (the 3 pillars of the reigning ‘’three tier’’ system in wine selling) of our region would sell dozens of wines from various ‘’zones de production’’ bearing an AOC (Appellation d’origine Contrôlée) label. But most people did not know anything about these wines and, in my opinion, an adequate campaign of information on these newcomers should have been launched at the time by the various private or semi-public organizations and importers that were supposed to promote and sell them. But it did not happen, and as a result many of these French regional wines were progressively removed from the listings of Midwest-based importers and distributors. Even earlier, until the mid eighties I was sometimes very happy to find and enjoy a few decent VDQS (Vin Délimité de Qualité Supérieure) especially from the Languedoc, that sold under 4 dollars. And until the early nineties I had no problem buying very flavorful, correctly vinified and aged regional wines for less than 10 dollars a bottle. They would come from areas such as : - Corbières, Minervois, Fitou, Saint-Chinian, Costières de Nimes, Côtes de Thongue, Pic Saint-Loup, Faugères, Côtes du Roussillon, from Languedoc-Roussillon. - Côteaux du Tricastin, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Lubéron, Côtes du Rhône Villages, Vaqueiras, Valréas, Lirac, Beaumes-de-Venise, from the Rhône Valley. - Côteaux Varois, Côteaux des Baux, Côteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, and even some decent Côtes de Provence rosés, Vins gris des Sables, from Provence-Côte d’Azur. - Saint-Nicolas de Bourgueil, Chinon, Saumur, Quincy, Vouvray, Muscadet, from the Loire Valley, Anjou, Saumurois, Touraine, and the region of Nantes. - Côtes de Bergerac, Cahors, Côtes de Duras, Buzet, Pécharmant, Gaillac, Côtes du Marmandais, Côtes de Saint-Mont, and sometimes Côtes du Frontonnais, so dear to the people from Toulouse, Madiran and Irouléguy, from the Southwest - Some decent ‘’Premiers Crus du Beaujolais’’, like a Côtes de Brouilly, a Chiroubles, or a Morgon, from a few small wine growers could also be found in that price range. - And, if I was in a lucky day, I could secure a good bottle of Bordeaux for under 10 bucks. I am not talking about a Pauillac, a Saint-Estèphe, a Graves, or a Margaux, but a very enjoyable Côtes de Castillon, Côtes de Francs, Côtes de Bourg, Côtes de Blaye, or even a very drinkable Bordeaux Supérieur or Premières Côtes de Bordeaux. - Same situation with a small Pinot Gris or Pinot Blanc from a reputable grower from Alsace, or a Côte de Nuits-Villages from Bourgogne. In 2007, if you browse through the aisles of large good retailers like BINNY’S or SAM’S, that have very large selections of French wines, you will still be able to locate a few interesting Minervois, Corbières, Fitou, Côtes du Ventoux, Côtes du Lubéron, Costières de Nimes, Vins de Pays du Languedoc, Côtes du Rhône, Vins de pays de Gascogne, some Muscadet, Anjou and Vouvray, or even some good rosés from Languedoc, and 8 to 12 small Bordeaux , for less than 12 dollars. But, alas, you will have a hard time to find a decent Chinon, Bourgueil, Saumur, Quincy, Pouilly-fumé, Reuilly, Sancerre, Côteaux du Layon, or Valençay, for less than 18 to 22 dollars, just to mention, as an example, a few wines from the Loire Valley, Touraine, and Anjou areas. And if you try to locate some good red wines from the Southwest, that generally offer a very good price-quality ratio for less than 12 dollars... tough luck. Most of those I like, except for a few isolated bottles of Côtes de Saint-Mont (blanc), Cahors, Bergerac, Gaillac, Madiran, and Irouléguy, found in a couple of stores, SAM’S and Binny’s among them, are less and less often seen on the shelves of most wine stores. I am refering to wines like the Côtes de Bergerac, Côtes de Duras (after a long search I finally found one at Armanetti’s on Lincoln), Côtes de Saint-Mont (red), Côtes du Marmandais, Buzet, Pécharmant, Côtes du Frontonnais, Jurançon, etc. I mentioned these interesting wines in the case where you would be lucky enough to find some at one of your wine merchants in Silicon Valley. Let me know. And so far after 37 years of wine-drinking in Chicago, I still have to locate a single bottle of my favorite little-known wine that is produced in the very tiny vineyards of the Palette AOC, the unique Château-Simone, whose nose is subtly redolent of pine and thyme, from Meyreuil, near Aix en Provence. It is expensive, but if one of your future business trips to France brings you to the Aix-en-Provence area, go visit this vineyard, and drink a bottle of that very charming wine in a good provençal restaurant nearby like the ‘’Le Relais Sainte Victoire’’. You will never forget it. The small Bordeaux that you will find under 12 dollars will be very young and vinified to be drunk early. Most of them however will be perfectly drinkable. But quite often they will probably be lacking any density, real bouquet, or specific character. Do not expect complex structure, melted tannins, or any substantial finish in these. Just enjoy them the way they are, and keep in mind their face value before judging them too severely. I also tried very hard (I visited 22 wine stores, shops, and wine departments of fancy food and department stores in the Chicago area over the last three weeks in the process of researching this piece) to locate wines from Auvergne, like the the delicious Saint-Pourçain, that is so good with a good Cantal cheese, or from the Center of France, like a Menetou-Salon (that I love), a Reuilly or a Quincy that are perfect companions to a good chèvre. I was able to spot only one Mennetou-Salon, white, in the same very small but great wine shop in Geneva, 40 miles West of Chicago, (see below for address) and one Reuilly at Binny’s or Sam’s. But no Saint-Pourçain. Note dated June 9, 2007: Since I wrote these lines, I spotted several unusual and very good regional French wines, like a Reuilly rouge, and a great Menetou-Salon white at a great shop, The Bottle Shop, in Wilmette, that has one of the most interesting selection of such wines in the Chicago area. Many were offered at attractive prices, but few of them of course were under 12 dollars. Address farther down. The deliciously white wines of the Savoie and Bugey areas (Bugey, Seyssel, Crépy, Roussette, Ripaille, Apremont, Les Abymes), or from the Jura (Arbois or Côtes du Jura) are very difficult to find, although I located a few Apremont at the stores mentioned later, and in 2007 most of them are well a bit above our price limit. It is very disapointing to find out that only these wines that most retailers and their customers can easily recognize will sell and therefore be retained by importers and distributors in the Midwest. I can think of four reasons for this progressive disappearance of these wines from lesser-known producing areas of France from the Chicago landscape (in the New York City area you still find plenty of them for the time being and yourself might find some of them too in the Bay area): 1. The major importers might not want to take risks anymore in bringing wines from small unknown producers because they require a larger effort and investment in time and money to search, market, promote and advertise. Quite often these wines do not sell fast, and most retailers are very reluctant to buy them because they do not know much about them and they are convincing themselves that their customer base will not buy them. These kind of wines cannot be the subject of long term contracts with their producers and importers. Besides, the production of some of these small wine growers is too small and the point of export and expedition could be too far away, making the logistics of exporting small numbers of cases to the U.S. too cumbersome and expensive. Also the labels of these producers bear the name of the area of production of the wine (village, region, or ‘’departement’’), or of the AOC of the wine, that are often unknown to the American drinker, rather than the name of the grape(s) used to make it, which is what many consumers in the U.S. prefer to find on a label nowadays. 2. The new wine consumers, especially the younger generation, prefer wines that are easy to drink, ‘’fruit-forward”, non-tannic, and based on one or two varietals that they can easily identify. Therefore they prefer a sauvignon blanc, a chardonnay, a merlot, a cabernet, a shiraz or a pinot noir, etc. from countries like Spain, Chile, Argentina, Italy, New-Zealand and Australia and of course the U.S., to an unknown wine named after an area of France that they completely ignored could exist. Besides a large percentage of these “contemporary” new wine drinkers is not even interested in getting a minimum of education in wine. The word ”terroir”, that is so important to understand and appreciate these smaller regional AOC’s does not concern them at all. 3. The euro-dollar exchange rate is not helping French exporters of low-priced wines. But, to be fair, this handicap has the same negative impact on wine exporters from Spain and Italy. And these 2 countries have, nevertheless, expanded significantly their own shares of the U.S. marketplace over the last three years. 4. Until very recently, the French regional producers did not make a sufficient effort to promote their wines in the U.S. and lost large shares of this increasingly competitive market in the under 15 dollars ‘’ table wine’’ category. The growers from Spain, for example, improved their productivity and that allowed them to produce good wines that they sell at cheaper prices that their French neighbors from the North. And the Italians seem to have found the adequate budgets to launch promotion campaigns in key cities of the United States.
 
In your search for lesser known French regional wines, your best chance might be with smaller wine shops that are still interested in locating unusual wines from small producers in some of the regions I mentioned above. They work closely with limporters such as Wine Adventures in Iowa (http://www.wineadventures.com/), Louis Dressner Selections (http://www.louisdressner.com/), Monsieur Touton in New York, Robert Kacher Selections (http://www.robertkacherselections.com/) in Washington, DC., Hand Picked Selections in Warrenton, VA; Kermit Lynch in Berkeley, CA, http://www.kermitlynch.com/ ), or Julienne Importing Co, H2vino, Fine Wines and Chicago Wine Merchants in the Chicago area, just to name a few. These importers are still ready to take the risk of bringing in exciting little wines from lesser-known production areas, especially from Languedoc, the Southern Côtes du Rône area, Bordeaux and the Southwest. Often these importers offer attractive prices to small shops and restaurants to promote a new lesser–known French wine, eventhough some of them, especiallly the newcomers, are perfectly aware that they will not sell them in large quantities and that some of these wines will generate limited profit margins. But they are willing to attract the attention of knowledgeable connoisseurs or in creating ‘’new vocations’’, that later might materialize in decent shares of local markets. Some of these interesting wine shops and retail stores in the Chicago area that offer unusual but well-made regional French wines, and sometimes let you try some of them on their premises, are: RANDOLPH WINE CELLARS 1415 W. Randolph, Chicago, IL Tel: 312-942-1212. They have also a very attractive bar-degustation room. HOWARD’S WINE CELLAR 1244 W. Belmont Avenue, Chicago, IL 60657 Tel: 773-248-3766 FINE WINE BROKERS 4621 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago, IL Tel: 773-989-8166 WINE DISCOUNT CENTER 1826 N. Elton Avenue, Chicago, IL 60622 Tel: 773-489-3454 (but they have two other locations) THE WINE SELLER, 227 South Third Street in Geneva, IL tel: 630-232-2130 KENSINGTON’S 465 East Illinois Street, Chicago IL Tel: 312-836-7850 (specialized in Internet sales and auctions) They will move to a new addres on Michigan Avenue at the end of June 07. ARMANETTI'S 3530 N. Lincoln Avenue, Chicago Tel: 773-529-0288 THE BOTTLE SHOP 1138 Central Avenue Wilmette, IL Tel: 847-256-7777 CELLAR RAT 1811 W. North Avenue, Chicago, IL Tel: 773-489-2728 It should also be noted that the chain of good quality and organic food WHOLE FOODS has recently started to expand its selection of regional French wines. And as I said earlier, TRADER JOE'S , which benefits from its own importing branch, Plum Ridge, but also sells French wine from other importers and distributors, has a small but adequate selection of French wines. But very few out of the ordinary for the time being. - I also would like to mention that when you are looking for a specific wine, you can locate it, compare prices and find retail stores all over in the U.S. where it is sold at: http://www.wineaccess.com/ or at http://www.winezap.com/ 
 
Now, here are a few suggestions of French wines sold under 12.00 dollars a bottle in the Chicago area that I think are worth a try.  

This first part deals with red wines exclusively. In a second part, later on, I will provide you with a shorter list of suggested white and rosé wines.  

FIRST PART: RED WINES  

From Languedoc-Roussillon: 

Château d’Or et de Gueules, CuvéeTradition. Costières de Nîmes. 2003. It is a very intense, aromatic, lightly spicy red wine that is unfiltered. This winery is only 9 years old and is owned by a woman who was able to establish an international reputation for this blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre very rapidly. Perfect with a roasted leg of lamb. Found in several stores in the U.S. for around 11 dollars (at Sam’s). Imported by Robert Kacher Selections. Mas Carlot, Cuvée ‘’Les Enfants Terribles’’. Costières de Nîmes. 2005. Another Costières de Nîmes that offer a very seductive blend of mourvèdre and syrah (50-50). Strong black currant overtones. Very soft tannins. Great at around 10 dollars at Howard’s Cellar and Wine Discount Center. This wine grower also offers two very attractive Vin de Pays d’OC under the Mas Carlot Label: One with 80% cabernet and 20% syrah. The other is a Cuvée Tradition with a blend of syrah and grenache: Very round and supple with good fruit. I enjoyed these 2 wines a lot. At Binny’s and other stores for around 7.00 dollars. Imported by Robert Kacher selections. Domaine de Gournier, Merlot. Vin de pays des Cévennes. 2004. A real discovery. This very dense, deep-colored, and with a strong blackberry aroma, 100 % merlot wine comes from stock that are clones from the famous Chateau-Petrus in Saint-Emilion. The grapes are hand-harvested. This wine offers a tremendous value for the money. I loved it with a ratatouille and lamb brochettes. 7.99 dollars at Sam’s. Imported by Robert Kacher. Château d’Oupia. Minervois. 2004. The vineyards of the Minervois AOC are located in the départements of Aude and Hérault. The charming little town of Minerve, between Béziers and Carcassonne, is an historical site of a fierce battle in the early part of the 13th century, between the ‘’Cathares’’ heretics that defended their fortress besieged by 7,000 soldiers of the king of France which were trying to eradicate them. This high quality, powerful but smooth blend of 60% carignan, 30% syrah, and 10% grenache, redolent of ripe dark berries, is produced by a respected ‘’vigneron’’, Monsieur André Iché, in a beautiful 13th century castle. (8.99 dollars at Binny’s) He also makes a very complex and aromatic vin de pays de l’Hérault, ‘’Les Hérétiques’’ that is a well-balanced blend of carignan grapes. It sells for 7.99 dollars at Sam’s. Imported by Louis Dressner. Domaine de la Tour Boisée. Minervois. 2005 Another pleasant, easy to drink with a grilled piece of meat or some spicy food, blend of grenache, carignan, and some cinsault. Nice fruit with a touch of licorice. Good quality-price ratio. 7.99 dollars at Wine Discount Center. Imported by Wine Adventures
Domaine de Nizas. Carignan Vieilles Vignes. Vin de pays de Caux (Hérault). 2004. This relatively recent winery is owned since 1998 by John Goelet, an American who was the co-founder of Clos du Val in California. It is made of 100% carignan grapes. Good balance of fruit (small red berries and black currant tones), aromatic herbs (thyme), and acidity. To be drunk now with a lamb or beef stew. This estate also produces a good Côteaux du Languedoc. 9.99 dollars at Randolph wine Cellars. Château Mattes-Sabran, Clos Redon. Corbières. 2004. This vineyard is located at the extreme Eastern end of the Corbières, in the sub-region of Sigean, near the Mediterranean Sea, in the Aude department. This 100% sirah wine, could easily pass for a Côtes du Rhône. It ha a very good nose, and develops a raspberry- blackberry secondary taste. Very fine balance of tannins and acidity. Great with grilled meat on the barbecue. 11.99 dollars at Binny’s. Imported by Julienne, H2Vino and others. Domaine Gautier. Fitou, 2004 Fitou is the oldest of all the red AOC from Languedoc- Roussillon. Part of the small growing area is close to the Mediterranean Sea. Carignan is the main grape here, blended with grenache and mouvèdre. The wine is aged in oak barrels. A bit earthy with a good balance of fruit and acidity. Good with grilled meat. 10.99 dollars at Randolph Wine Cellars and 9.99 at Sam’s. Imported by H2Vino. Notre-Dame de la Gardie. Côtes de Cabardès, 2004 This appellation is located just North of Carcassonne and West of the Minervois area. They are slightly different from the other Languedoc-Roussillon wines because they are subjected to the influence of the Atlantic Ocean. So the merlot and cabernet-sauvignon grapes are grown there as well as the more Mediterranean classics like syrah and grenache. This wine is precisely an aromatic blend of merlot and cabernet franc. It has a lot of strength and character but is mellow with some pleasant black currant notes. 9.99 dollars at Randolph wine Cellars. Imported by Wine adventures. 

  From the Southern part of the Côtes du Rhône: 

Domaine Paul Autard . Côtes du Rhône 2005. 
This vineyard is interesting because it is very close to the Chateauneuf-du Pape’s. And this wine offers for much less money some of the complexity, body, and spicy long finish of its celebrated neighbor. 60% grenache. 20% syrah. 10% muscardin. 10% Counor. The vineyard never receive any chemical treatment and the grapes are hand-harvested. Great price too: 9.99 dollars at Wine Discount Center. 11.99 at Randolph Wine Cellars. Domaine de Coudoulet 2004. Syrah. From one of the most famous wine grower of the Côtes du Rhône comes this powerful and very seductive 100% syrah that is one of the best bargains around at 7.99 dollars at Randolph Wine Cellars. Valréas ‘’Cuvée Prestige’’ 2004, from the Vignerons de l’Enclave des Papes in Valréas, in the département of Vaucluse. This is a very balanced Côtes du Rhône Villages made from an harmonious blend of grenache and syrah. Very warm and supple with a touch of pepper. Great with lamb. A bargain at 5,99 dollars at Trader Joe's. La Vieille Ferme, Côtes du Ventoux 2005 This very fragrant wine, offering a lightly peppery finish, is very consistent in quality, year after year. It’s almost always a safe bet . Its is a blend of grenache, syrah, carignan and a bit of cinsault. It is made by the very professional Côtes du Rhône producer PERRIN, that also sells a very good PERRIN Côtes du Rhône Reserve for about 8,80 dollars at Trader Joe's You will find la Vieille Ferme in many wine stores and supermarkets for various prices between 7.00 and 9.00 dollars La Vieille Ferme also sells a very pleasant, dry but with good fruit level, Côtes du Ventoux Rosé. Perfect for summer picnics and barbecues. They also produce a good Côtes du Lubéron blanc 2005. But here is a tip: I strongly suspect that La Ferme Julien 2005, a Côtes du Ventoux also offered in red, white and rosé, that sells at Trader Joe's for 5.99 dollars is probably the same wine under a ’’private label’’ arrangement. And it is very good. Domaine de la Citadelle, Côtes du Lubéron 2005 A very pleasant wine, round and with a nice balance of fruit and acidity, that you can drink with practically everything. 9.99 dollars at Wine Discount Center. Imported by Wine Adventures. 

From the Bordeaux area:

Château Fage. Graves de Vayres 2004. This modest and little-known appellation has nothing to do with the great Graves that we all love, south of Bordeaux. It is a small producing area on the left bank of the Dordogne river, right across Libourne. Dark colored with rich tannins that still need to soften a bit, this interesting wine needs to breathe a bit to reveal subtle aromas. Good with a steak-frites. 9.99 dollars at Randolph Wine Cellars. Imported by Monsieur Touton. La Grange-Clinet . Premières Côtes de Bordeaux 2004. 60% merlot, 28% cabernet sauvignon, 12% cabernet franc. To me, it is a perfect profile for an easy to drink, supple and quite pleasant Bordeaux, ideal for Sunday’s lunch. A bargain at 10.99 dollars at Whole foods. Imported by Nicolas. Château Peyredoulle. Premières Côtes de Blaye, 2004. 80% merlot 20% cabernet. Unpretentious but very pleasant. Good terroir character, though. 10.99 dollars at Whole Foods. Imported by Julienne Importing Co. Château du Buisson. Bordeaux 2005. A very nice unpretentious Bordeaux (a blend of 82% merlot, 11% cabernet franc and 7% cabernet sauvignon) assembled by a well-known Bordeaux ‘’négociant’’ (wine merchant) GINESTET. Very soft tannins, nice blackberry notes, and a bit of oak. But it lacks, of course for that price, complexity. Good with roasted chicken. 5.99 dollars at Trader Joe's. This Bordeaux is in fact better than their other, normally nice, cheap Bordeaux, Chateau Nénine 2004, (6.99 dollars). This wine comes from a well-established estate but its 2004 vintage lacks structure and character. Wait for the 2005 to be available. It should be a better vintage. Château de Balan, Bordeaux 2004. Another fine little ‘’Bordeaux ordinaire’’. It obtained a gold medal at the Grand Concours des Vins à Mâcon in 2005. It is a well vinified red with supple tannins and a good balance of cab and merlot. But once again like many other 2004 that I tested, it is a little thin with a short finish. Fine with a cheese platter. 6.99 dollars at Binny’s (3 or 4 months ago) Imported by Union Beverage in Chicago, Château Prignac, Medoc 2004, This light-body wine had a nice nose, is gently structured, and a pleasant, though very subdued, bouquet . It was correctly vinified and bottled, and I enjoyed it even though it was a bit thin. But, when I decided at dinner-time to finish the bottle that I had started to drink over lunch, most of it’s original bouquet and strength had all but faded away. Found for 9.00 dollars at the Wine Seller, in Geneva, Illinois But I spotted a bottle of the 2005 at Armanetti’s on Lincoln Avenue for 11.99 dollars It should be better than the 2004 that I tasted. And on April 12 I found the same Prignac 2005 for 7.99 dollars at Sam's Wine. Imported by Monsieur Touton  

From the Southwest:

Château Bois de Lamothe. Côtes de Duras. 2005 I love the Côtes de Duras wines and this was a nice and enjoyable surprise. This wine is not as spectacular as a Domaine des Allegrets, or a Grand Mayne, for example, but it offered many of the expected characteristics of the vineyards of this area located East of Bordeaux, half way between Bergerac and Marmande. This zone of production is in fact better known for its exciting whites based on sauvignon. The reds, nicely tannic and often aged in oak barrels, are most of the time based on cabernet-sauvignon, cabernet franc, and merlot. This wine, dark-cherry colored, with probably a good percentage of cabernet-sauvignon in it, had a subtle spicy bouquet, some fruit, and a nice finish. I tried it with a ‘’veau Marengo’’ and it was a perfect companion to this dish but it should be good with a confit duck breast. 9.99 dollars at Armanetti’s on Lincoln Avenue. Imported by Monsieur Touton. Château Haut Monplaisir. Cahors. 2004. This great dark and powerful wine (The Britts call it ‘’Black wine’’) of the Lot Valley has being doing a strong come-back the
last 5 years after a long period of ups and downs and misfortunes. The worst was a terrible frost in 1956 that destroyed practically 99% of the vineyards of the Cahors appellation. Several bad years had also a negative impact of this AOC. Three main grapes here: The Auxerrois usually up to 70%, also known as Cot, or Malbec. The Tannat, typical of the Southwest, and the Merlot. This wine needs to be either young, when it still benefits from fruit and strong aromas, or after several years in the cellar when at full maturity it develops very seductive spicy bouquets. Its a perfect elegant companion for hearty venison dishes, mushrooms, rustic dishes with truffles. 12.99 dollars at Sam’s. (I know it's a dollar more that my price limit....) Clos La Coutale 2004 (1.00 dollar more) is also very drinkable.

From Anjou:  

Château de la Roulerie. Anjou. 2005. A very nice and easy to drink 100% cabernet franc, with a good fruit concentration. To be served cool with a picnic, a or some charcuterie and light cheese. 10.99 dollars at Whole Foods. Imported by Julienne Importing. 


From Provence:

Domaine de Régusse. Vin de pays des Alpes de Haute- Provence. 2005. A real delightful curiosity. This light and fruity, but dry, pinot noir comes from an area of production, on the right bank of the Durance river, country of the writer Jean Giono near Manosque, that is better known for a small AOC called Côteaux de Pierrevert. It would accompany a provençal chicken very well. 8.99 dollars at Binny’s. Imported by J&D Selections, at Winchester, VA.
http://thepour.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/23/french-you-can-afford-and-enjoy/?scp=1&sq=french%20wine&st=cse

That’s it for now, Stéphane. I will let you know, in a few weeks, when my list of whites and rosés is ready. A ta santé.

3 comments:

  1. Anonymous2:23 PM

    Salut Alain,
    J'ai finalement pris le temps de lire cet article et c'est vraiment tres complet!!! Vous devriez ecrire un livre...
    Merci et a bientot
    Pascal

    ReplyDelete
  2. fenouille10:32 PM

    Sans aucun doute, je suis d'accord avec Pascal.

    I haven't had the time to digest this yet, but many of the names look familiar, based on my own (completely haphazard) discoveries. I tend to focus on the south of France, excluding Bordeaux which I consider beyond the pale of mere mortals.

    Before I moved to the relative (wine) wilderness of Madison, I fairly lived with a beautiful red from Domaine de la Sauveuse (Côtes de Provence). At $8 dollars, it was a joy. Perhaps a little more in the "fruit forward" style that pleases Americans, but it certainly didn't lack structure. Thanks particularly for piquing my memory regarding Château Simone. It was recommended to me by a wineseller whose shop I found by accident, in the outskirts of Aix-en-P. Beautiful.

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