Saturday, September 15, 2018

WHITE WINE, RED WINE, BLACK WINE, CAHORS!

The title is a riff on the old nursery rhyme Round and Round the Garden which ends with "One step, two step, three step, bear!". Definitely unrelated to Cahors or any other wine, really. But it was on my mind and so here we are.

"France vs. Argentina" is what this blog post *should* be titled because that's the gist of malbec.

As usual, we can thank the Romans for planting grape vines literally everywhere in the Middle Ages including present day southwest France. Malbec, the intense grape that yields wine so opaque that it has earned the nickname of Black Wine, was prolific in the area around the river Lot, that is now Cahors. But because of shipping regulations that favoured Bordeaux wines, malbec never enjoyed the fame and glory that Bordeaux did even back then. The phylloxera blight in the late 19th century that wiped out nearly all of the Cahors malbec vines certainly did not help things.

While Cahors - and much of France - was dealing with that, malbec vines brought to Argentina in the mid-1800s, were thriving. And have continued to thrive to the extent that for wine, Argentina has become synonymous  with malbec, and French malbec isn't at the forefront of most malbec enthusiasts. But that is changing as more and more vintners are making wine in Cahors and making excellent cool climate malbec from grapes grown in limestone soil, quite different from the fruity ripe malbecs from Argentina.

It can take years to find limestone soil in Argentina, but it takes a few minutes in Cahors. Especially around the terraces above the river Lot, which have a thin gravel and topsoil layer with solid limestone underneath. This soil combined with the cooler climate of Cahors results in tannic wine with a delicious savoury streak. Wine that's distinctly different from the Argentine malbecs which are more supple, fruit-forward, and overall less nuanced than Cahors malbecs. 

This month with the French #winophiles we were tasting Cahors wines, and we had...

2015 CHATEAU LAGRÉZETTE SEIGNEUR DE GRÉZETTE
87% malbec, 13% merlot

Soil: limestone base, gravel topsoil, second terrace above the river Lot

Colour: Deep purple, almost opaque
Nose: Savoury, peppery, some violet, earth

Taste: Smoky, blackerries, pepper, graphite, and leather. Balanced tannins, very delicious everyday wine!

Pairing: We had this with fromage fort and figs. The fromage fort had a mix of several cheeses including blue cheese and quark. It made an excellent match for the savoury wine!

Price: $13




85% malbec, balance merlot and tannat

Soil: limestone base, gravel topsoil, second and third terraces above the river Lot

Colour: Deep purple, almost opaque
Nose: Blackberries, some violet, earth

Taste: Blackberries, pepper, and dusty tannins. Overall more fruit forward and jammy than the Lagrézette, which we preferred over this wine.

Pairing: We had this with broiled bread, fromage fort and green olive tapenade. Terrific match for this wine!

Price: $12




See what the rest of the #winophiles are saying about Cahors..

Friday, July 20, 2018

ROSÉ: THE ORIGINAL RED WINE

IN THE BEGINNING... 
...there was rosé. The first wine of France, the original French wine, made in the classic method of the Greeks, well before extended maceration and deep red wines. 

It's quite well known that the Romans, when they arrived in the 5th century BC, planted vines in present-day Provence, in fact, the name of the place itself is one given by the Romans. But the Greeks, having established themselves around Marseille in the 7th century BC, were there before, and they planted vines and brought wine making to the region, making wine their way, really the only way of the time, which was not too different from current rosé wine where the juice does not see prolonged contact with skins. The method of macerating red grapes and allowing extended contact of the juice with skins, the process which gives red wine its colour, was virtually unknown, certainly not common. So all wine from red grapes was rosé wine.

Rosé prevailed even after the Romans arrived and brought deep red wine and their wine making methods with them... back then, you did not want to be seen drinking a deep red wine which was considered brutish, the drink of drunkards and ignobles. So the typical way to drink wine was to mix it with water or, drink rosé.

Therefore, not only is Provence the oldest and first wine region in France, rosé is the first French wine and the original red wine!

Image result for six colors of provence rose
Unlike other regions where rosé is an afterthought or a why-not to the main act of white or red wines, in Provence it is the main act, with red wine being somewhat in the background. And since the Center for Rosé Research (Centre de Recherche et d'Expérimentation sur le Vin Rosé; https://www.centredurose.fr/) was established in Provence in 1999 - the world's only research institute dedicated to rosé wine - we can rest assured that Provencal rosé will continue to rule the roost there. They have even published the official colours of Provencal rosé, very useful for describing Provence AOP wines.

Today, nearly 90% of Provencal vines yield grapes intended for rosé. It's the traditional and preferred wine, enjoyed year-round and paired with many types of local foods... snails, rabbits, birds, lamb, fresh cheeses, herbs, fish, and more. The mouth-puckering acidity of Provencal rosés, pairs splendidly with cheeses like chèvre or Banon.

SOIL
Fast forwarding from the beginning of time to the Paleolithic era (Stone Age)... Provence went through significant climatic changes in the ~3.5 million year long Paleolithic era. Two ice ages and dramatic changes in sea level, for example. At the beginning of the Paleolithic era the sea level was nearly 500 ft (~150 m) higher than now, and by the end of the Paleolithic era it had dropped to nearly 500 ft (150 m) below the present sea level!

3.5 million years of the high sea level was a long time for much of present-day Provence  to remain submerged under water, but it allowed the formation of layered sedimentary rock like limestone, sandstone, and shale (which is primarily crushed clay and quartz), that happens to be favourable for grape vines. In the forensics world we often joke that sandstone wants to be a beach. I.e. where there is sandstone, there will be sand, and vice versa. So, in Provence, there are sandstone beds and sandy soils, and vines grow in both.

Limestone layers are formed by the deposits of marine mollusc skeletons which over time get compressed into rock. Incidentally, limestone is a soft rock and since it is layered, if in building construction, if limestone blocks are not oriented with the planar surfaces horizontal, layers can cleave off over time, leaving walls with a jagged surface. But in winemaking, it's the layered character of limestone that proves to be desirable because water collects between the planes and is available to the roots of grape vines without making them water-logged. Calcareous soils are basic (high pH) and facilitate cation exchange which is critical to nutrient uptake in grape vines (hence, the addition of lime as a soil conditioner for gardens!) and helps maintain acidity in the grapes late into the growing season. This ultimately results in wines with a higher acidity (lower pH), such as the delicious Chateau de Berne wines some of us #frenchwinophiles had this month!

Shale (aka mudstone) and sandstone are about the same but shale has unbound crushed particles and sandstone is rock. They are both mainly clay, silica, and quartz, and excellent media for grapevine growing. There are also areas with schist and granite in Provence.

WINES
Some of us #frenchwinophiles received three beautiful bottles of Provence rosé for our July event on French Rosés. The wines were from the Chateau de Berne group.

Fun Fact: As evidenced in the Chateau de Berne wines we've reviewed, Provençal rosé is often sold in creatively designed bottles of varying shapes. This - somewhat of a tradition now - is a strategy dating to the 1930s when wineries started bottling their own wines and needed a unique selling proposition (USP) to stand out amongst others.

2017 Ch. de Berne Emotion (https://provencerose.com/emotion-rose-wine)
50% grenache, 25% syrah, 25% cinsault
12.5% abv
SRP: $16 (sample)

Soil: limestone and clay soil, elevation 2,600 - 3,300 ft (800 - 1,000 m)

Colour: Light pink with gold edges, clear. Provence colour: pêche-melon.

Nose: A gorgeous, fragrant wine that we wanted to smell all day! Tart - citrus, and strawberries.

Taste: Delicious racy acidity with a long finish overall. Slight minerality with red summer berries and white flowers on the front. This is a lovely nuanced wine, would be perfect on its own too.

Pairing: We had this with classic tomato bruschetta and Délice du Poitou (Loire, France), a citrusy herbaceous two-month old goats milk cheese covered in vegetable ash. The rich velvety cheese was amazing with the acidity and aromatics of the wine.


2017 Ch. de Berne Inspiration (https://provencerose.com/inspiration-rose-wine
70% grenache, 20% cinsault, 10% syrah 

12.5% abv
SRP: $19.99  (sample)

Soil: limestone and clay soil, elevation 2,600 - 3,300 ft (800 - 1,000 m)

Colour: Light pink with gold edges, clear. Provence colour: light pêche.

Nose: Stony, stone fruit, strawberries

Taste: Juicy with a delicious racy acidity and a creamy mouthfeel. Cherries, strawberries, and white flowers on the front, with a medium finish. This is a lovely warm weather wine, not too complex.

Pairing: We had it with watermelon in pesto, a lavender chèvre with pistachios and crostini. Uh-mazing!

45% grenache, 35% cinsault, 15% syrah, 5% rolle (vermentino)
12.5% abv
SRP: $22  (sample)


Soil: The countryside vineyard is near an oak forest not too far from St. Tropez. The vines are grown in shale - a shallow bed of soil over a sandstone slab base.

Colour: Gorgeous rose gold and pink, clear. Provence colour: pêche-melon.

Nose: Fresh and floral, with strawberry, raspberry, and a slight peppery note

Taste: Juicy, well-structured, and delicious with crisp acidity but overall a warm, rounded flavour. Tart cherries, red berries, red currants, with a welcome minerality on the front and a bit of spice on the finish. This is an elegant wine and our favourite of the three!

Pairing: We had it with anchoïade and crudités, and the salty anchovies with the peppery radishes complemented the acidity of the wine very nicely.

___________________

Join the #frenchwinophiles on Twitter on Sat, 21 July 2018, 8 -10 AM PST to talk about  French Rosés and hear everyone's thoughts on it! And you can read more from the #frenchwinophiles here:
  • Michelle from Rockin’ Red Blog will be Celebrating the Provençal Lifestyle with Three Rosés.
  • Gwendolyn from Wine Predator prepares # RoséAllDay with Grilled Cheese Gourmet for #Winophiles.
  • Nicole from Somm’s Table adds Cooking to the Wine: Ultimate Provence Urban Rosé with Herbed Sous-Vide Chicken Breasts and Roasted Eggplant Sheet Pan.
  • David from Cooking Chat says it’s Always a Good Time to Sip Provence Rosé.
  • Jill from L’Occasion explains Why Rosé Matters, According to French Culture.
  • Martin from Enofylz Wine Blog discusses The Pleasures of Provençal Rosé #Winophiles.
  • Payal from Keep the Peas will share Rosé: The Original Red Wine.
  • Julia from JuliaConey.com talks about Rosé: Not from Provence but Just as Delicious!
  • Lauren at The Swirling Dervish, we’re Celebrating Our New Home with an Old Friend: Rosé from Provence.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

ALSACE: A GEOLOGIST'S DREAM

This month at the #frenchwinophiles we've been all about Alsace! Another cool weather wine region in France, this time in the NE. Alsace, as we know, is in the rain shadow of the ancient Vosges mountains in NE France at the border of Germany. So on the border in fact, that it's been back and forth between Germany and France numerous times although these days Alsace is in France. I received four splendid samples of Alsace wines from the generous folks at Alsace Rocks and I've reviewed three here, the last one to come shortly.


When thinking of Alsatian wine few, if any, of us might immediately think of the paleozoic evolution of the Vosges mountains or the fact that the Rhine Valley, home to a majority of Alsace wines, was the site of Central Europe's most significant seismological event, the Basel earthquake in 1356. In fact, the Rhine Valley, so favourable to grapevine growing, is a rift valley, a zone where the the lithosphere is being pulled apart, much like pull apart bread where if you pull one section off, an adjacent piece might start to cleave off as well.  In other words, it's on a geological fault. Needless to say, the earth in Alsace has been very active for not just centuries, but millennia, and continues to be so. The granitic Vosges mountains are over 570 million years old but after their formation and well before the Rhine Valley formed, the Vosges were below sea level, and subjected to layers of sedimentitious deposits... sandstone - which is essentially pressed sand - at the bottom, limestone - which is essentially decomposed seashells next, and marl - calcium carbonate-rich clay, also sometimes called mudstone at the top.

It's safe to say that the soil in the majority of the Rhine Valley is a marble cake of calcium carbonate-based soils from various geologic eras, along with granite on the hillsides of the Vosges and volcanic soil on the other side, a remnant from the now extinct Kaiserstuhl which is no longer useful as a volcano but is home to the largest wine cellars in Western Europe.

What does all this mean vis-à-vis Alsace wine? In a nutshell, this:
  • Sandstone: elegant restrained aromatic wines, pale color
  • Limestone: sprightly fresh acidity and citrus-y juiciness to the wine
  • Marl: complex wines with well defined structure
  • Granite: lower acidity, balanced wine
  • Volcanic: aromatic wine with discernible minerality on the nose and palate

Beyond vine growing and other agriculture, geology matters in daily life. The next time you look at an old building think about what the stone is, and whether it came from a place that was below sea level at some point long ago, or from rock formed from the folding of layers of the earth, or from rock formed from soil being trapped and heated to intensely high temperatures. In forensics, we use all these clues and more to piece together the puzzle when solving problems. Geology is everywhere, and Alsace offers an entire course on it in one area!

2013 GEWÜRZTRAMINER TRADITION
DOMAINE PFISTER, http://www.domaine-pfister.com/

Domaine Pfister is a family owned and operated winemaker, seven generations strong, growing a select variety of grapes on their primarily argilo-calcareous (clay/sand-limestone) soils. The resulting wines, no matter the grape, have the bright acidity imparted by limestone (calcareous) soils and the richness and depth from the clay. And since Alsace is already a cool climate, and clayey limestone soils are cooler soils, the wine also has a delightful astringency without being overbearing.

The grapes are grown in limestone soil, and the wine has 13.5% ABV. The bouquet is fairly straightforward, not too complex, with overripe stone fruit and an undeniable whiff of petrol, but not in a bad way. On the palate it is elegant, off-dry with a medium finish, minerality, and notes of dried roses, stone fruit, and citrus.





This gewürztraminer is discernibly different from German gewürztraminers since it's drier and less sweet. We wouldn't mind a bit higher acidity, but it's excellent nevertheless with the classic pairing of muenster and petit muenster cheeses. + grapes, and dried apricots and cranberries.

We also had it with spiced elk, lemony hummus, pickled onions, peppers and cucumbers, and olives... outstanding with the wine! We also enjoyed it on its own, and at $30 it won't break the bank if you want to give it a go. You won't regret it!












2015 RIESLING "CUVÉE CHARLES"
CHARLES BAUR, http://www.vinscharlesbaur.fr/en/

The Baur family has owned the Charles Baur estate in the heart of Alsace since the early 18th century. The Riesling we sampled is fermented with indigenous yeasts and aged on the lees for several months. It is a 13% ABV wine, grown in sandy gravel soil. The wine is a beautiful pale yellow, clear with a bouquet and tasting notes mainly of citrus, citrus zest, and white flowers. It's sprightly and balanced with a medium-long finish. Not too complex a wine but still superb.


We had it with coq au riesling (chicken in riesling sauce, made with this same wine) and buttered spätzle. Perfect for a leisurely weekend dinner! At $23, this bottle is a must-buy for warm days!








2015 PINOT BLANC
CAVE DE RIBEAUVILLÉ, http://www.vins-ribeauville.com/en/

Cave de Ribeauvillé has been around since 1885, making it the oldest wine co-op (cave, kaav, is co-op in French) in France. 38 members only, and the co-op buys the entire harvest from each member, so everyone has a vested interest in the wine that comes from the co-op. This particular wine is from grapes grown on a 22.5 acre vineyard near Ribeauvillé. Jean Baltenweck, the vineyard owner, cultivates the grapes on limestone soil using organic agriculture methods with no chemical treatments, and low yields. At 12.5% ABV, this organic 2015 Pinot Blanc is a refreshing but intense wine, perfect for a warm day and a light lunch. A clear wine with a greenish-gold hue, and a gorgeous, primarily grapefruit-citrus zest bouquet with some dried stone fruit. On the palate, it's dry, not very complex or lingering, but has a mouthwatering acidity, is crisp, fresh, and pleasantly lemony. We relished it with galettes de sarrasin complète (Brittany-style buckwheat crepes, eggs, comté cheese, sautéed mushrooms) and butter lettuce with a lemon vinaigrette. Good now or within the next 3 years. Priced at <$20 a bottle this is even more 
of a winner!

All the wines we received were terrific, and we'd most certainly buy more bottles of each for the summer. Perfect to bring to a party as well!

See how the other #winophiles are enjoying Alsace and what they're saying about it:

Friday, June 15, 2018

MUSHROOM + GRUYERE QUICHE



Mushroom + Gruyere Quiche
Makes: 6 servings

- 1 recipe shortcrust pastry 
- 6 eggs 
- 2/3 cup crème fraîche (or heavy cream) 
- 1 cup whole milk
- 8 ounces gruyère cheese, grated 
- 8 oz mushrooms, sliced (white, crimini, baby portabellas, or shiitake are excellent)
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg 
- 1 tsp freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp butter
  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F / 220 C. 
  2. Roll out the pastry to fit a 10-1/2 inch pie plate or a cake pan with removable bottom. Press the edges against the pie plate or cake pan, poke the bottom with a fork, and place the pastry in the freezer for 30 minutes. 
  3. In the meantime, heat the butter in a pan and sauté the mushrooms until they're cooked and somewhat crisped at the edges. Turn the heat off and set aside. 
  4. Remove the pastry from the freezer and line with parchment paper. Add pie weights (I use dried beans that are solely for use as pie weights) and bake in the middle rack of the oven until the pastry is just browned at the edges, about 15 minutes. 
  5. Remove from the oven, remove the parchment paper and pie weights. Return the pastry to the oven to bake until the bottom is lighty browned, an additional 5-7 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside. 
  6. In a blender, process together the eggs, cream, milk, and all the spices and seasonings. 
  7. In the par baked pastry, spread the grated cheese in a layer, then add the egg mixture and the mushrooms. 
  8. Bake in the center of the oven until the filling is golden and puffed, and is completely baked through, about 30 - 40 minutes. The quiche is done if it's not shaking in the center, or if a sharp knife inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  9. Remove the quiche from the oven and serve immediately.

Saturday, April 21, 2018

A LIP-SMACKING LIP-STINGER: PICPOUL DE PINET


This month the French #winophiles are in the Languedoc-Roussillon in southern France, bordering Spain, Andorra, and the Mediterranean Sea. If the geography hasn't given it away: this region is home to a variety of warm weather wines including those made from Picpoul, aka Folle Blanche. The soil - often the soul - of wine, here is primarily limestone and sand.

Limestone soil is an abundant source of plant-accessible CaCO3, calcium carbonate, and because limestone is basic, it allows greater nutrient uptake by the vines. It also has excellent water retention and drainage capacity, which allow less irrigation and less chance of water-logged soils that grapevines dislike. Calcareous (calcium carbonate-based) soil is also cooler in temperature, allowing delayed ripening of grapes. Delayed ripening in naturally acidic grapes further increases the acidity of the wine pressed from these grapes, and results in wines with a mouthwatering, delicious, acidity such as in Picpoul de Pinet or even Muscadet (melon de bourgogne) wines from the Loire Valley. A majority of these wines are best enjoyed within 3 years or so, although a rare few can be cellared for a few decades. I cant imagine why anyone would want to cellar such delicious wines that are perfect for summer and seafood!

Picpoul is not a grape commonly seen in the US, and neither is wine made from it. The one I was able to easily find was the 2016 Hugues Beaulieu (HB) Picpoul de Pinet. HB is a  cave cooperative in the Pomérols region of Languedoc. This wine has no oak, is a pale yellow colour with a green tinge. It is a "steely" bone-dry, crisp wine with juicy acidity and aromas and flavour notes of grapefruit, lemon, green apple, and salinity. The finish is medium and clean - overall a delicious wine!

As with Muscadet, the Picpoul would pair splendidly with seafood - oysters especially, or fatty river fish such as trout or eels. But it also holds well with rich dishes - ones with bechamel sauce, chèvre, or cream. Wild mushrooms are a delicacy of Languedoc and a favourite around our house, so we paired the Picpoul with croûtes aux champignons: creamy mushrooms on toast, and a green salad.


See what the other #winophiles are saying here:
  • Michelle of Rockin Red Blog says, "Picpoul...Take Me Away."
  • Wendy of A Day in the Life on the Farm encourages us to Pick a Picpoul to Enjoy al Fresco This Summer.
  • Susannah of Avvinare features Picpoul de Pinet - A Refreshing White from the Languedoc.
  • Jill of L'Occasion shares Mediterranean Bliss: Picpoul de Pinet.
  • Jeff of FoodWineClick! pairs Picpoul de Pinet and Steak Tartare Redemption. 
  • Nicole of Somm's Table writes Cooking to the Wines: Font-Mars Picpoul de Pinet with Crab Cakes and Fennel-Apple Salad.
  • Payal of Keep the Peas posts A Lip-Smacking Lip-Stinger: Picpoul de Pinet.
  • David of Cooking Chat makes a case for Picpoul Wine with Pesto and Other Pairings.
  • Lauren of The Swirling Dervish says Picpoul de Pinet: Your Go-To Wine for Spring.
  • Lynn of Savor the Harvest asserts The Single Variety Wine For Summer- Picpoul de Pinet.
  • Gwendolyn of Wine Predator has Picpoul Goes Southern with Shrimp and Grits.
  • Rupal of Syrah Queen will also have a title soon.
  • Jane of Always Ravenous pairs Halibut with Spring Vegetables and Picpoul Wine.
  • Robin of Crushed Grape Chronicles shares Picpouls from Pinet and California and a Seaside Pairing
  • At Culinary Adventures with Camilla, we're Pairing Bourride à la Sétoise with Picpoul From France to California's Central Coast.

CROÛTES AUX CHAMPIGNONS: CREAMY MUSHROOMS ON TOAST



CROÛTES AUX CHAMPIGNONS: CREAMY MUSHROOMS ON TOAST
- 1⁄4 cup onion, chopped
- 1 tbsp. butter
- 8 oz. wild mushrooms, sliced (chanterelles, cepes, morels - or crimini if it's easier)
- 4 oz. dry white wine, such as Picpoul or Muscadet
- 3 oz. cream (or you can use a fresh cheese like cream cheese or farmers cheese)
- 2 slices of a whole grain country-style bread
- shavings of goat's milk gouda or a hard salty cheese like parmesan cheese
chives, for garnish (optional)
  1. Melt the butter in a skillet, add the onion and cook until softened. Add the mushrooms, season with salt and pepper to taste. Cover and cook over medium heat until the juices start to run. Uncover, and cook until almost all the liquid evaporates, making sure the mushrooms don't stick to the pan.
  2. Add the wine, reduce by half, then stir in the cream or cream cheese. Let it all simmer for a few minutes, until thickened.
  3. Lightly toast the bread and place on a baking sheet. Top with the mushroom mixture and grated cheese.
  4. Broil just until the top starts to brown. Garnish with chives if using, and serve immediately, preferably with a glass of a bone-dry wine like Picpoul de Pinet or Muscadet!

Saturday, March 17, 2018

THE RHÔNE: A TASTE OF TERROIR WITH THE #WINOPHILES

While Bordeaux may be a prolific and perhaps most famous wine region of France, the Rhône offers the edgy and raw side of French wine with overt expressions of terroir. Whether it's a cool weather northern rhone Crozes-Hermitage grown in granitic soils mixed with clay and sand, or a warmer weather Châteauneuf-du-Pape grown in galet (pebble) laden vineyards that often hide any hint of underlying soil. These pebbles, mostly quartzite, absorb heat during the day and emanate it at night, creating a warm microclimate around the vines, and allowing the grapes to fully ripen. Incidentally, quartzite is the same material often used in road construction! And then there is juicy and refreshing wine from the Luberon, a warm and very sunny region that allows white grapes to fully ripen and regain composure at night when temperatures drop significantly.

Maison Chapoutier, one of the Rhône's oldest wine producers and the first to print their labels in Braille as a matter of course. In fact, the Braille print is the very first thing I noticed on the labels when I received sample wines for the #winophiles March wine event. Why Braille? Why not Braille, because wine is one of life's sensory pleasures that can be enjoyed sign unseen!

On to the wine... thanks to Liz Barrett, I received a Luberon Ciboise (white), a Ch.-du-Pape (red), and a Crozes-Hermitage (red) to try. And...


The 2016 Luberon La Ciboise is a blend of grenache blanc, vermentino, roussanne and clairette, and is unoaked. With notes of citrus blossoms, herbs and light flowers, this youthful wine is balanced, fresh, clean, and juicy. We had it on its own before dinner (no food pairing) because it's delightful and we did not want to burden it with any competing flavours since it's almost delicate in aromas and flavours. And then...



We enjoyed the reds with a terrific cheese and charcuterie board with garlic sausage, a dry cured sausage, Pont-l'eveque, Epoisses, and tomette vendeenne cheeses, olives, and mustard amongst other things. The 2015 La Bernardine Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a young, delicious wine with a beautiful clear ruby colour and notes of freshly turned earth, white pepper, dried roses, fresh ripe red fruit. A medium bodied wine, soft tannins, generally straightforward and not too complex, with a medium finish. We had the 2015 vintage in 2018, but this wine is still developing and would do well with a few years in the bottle.


The 2015 Les Meysonniers Crozes Hermitage is 100% syrah and it's a bold, forthcoming wine with a gorgeous purple-ruby-violet colour. The nose shows earth, mushroom, black fruit, dried flowers, and undeniable spice. On the palate: earth, black fruit, leather, black pepper, and slight herbal notes. This full-bodied wine is a cool climate wine and doesn't have the juiciness of warm weather wines. But it's delicious after an hour or so of decanter time, and will do very well with at least another 4-5 years in the bottle.


Also see the food pairings and Rhône wine reviews by my fellow French #Winophiles:
  • Gwendolyn Alley at Wine Predator tells us about “Duck à l’Orange with M. Chapoutier’s Biodynamic, Organic Rhone Wines”
  • Jill Barth from L’Occasion writes about “Braille on the Label and Other Pioneering Moments of Chapoutier”
  • J.R. Boynton from Great Big Reds writes about “The Dark Side of Syrah, with Domaine Fondreche Persia 2012  (Ventoux)”
  • Jeff Burrows from Food Wine Click shares “Northern Rhone Wines and My Steak Tartare Disaster”
  • David Crowley at Cooking Chat at tells us about “London Broil Steak with Châteauneuf-du-Pape”
  • Rob Frisch at Odd Bacchus writes about “Return to the Rhône”
  • Susannah Gold at Avvinare writes about “Rhône Gems from Chapoutier in Chateauneuf, du Pape, Crozes-Hermitage, and Luberon”
  • Nicole Ruiz Hudson at Somm’s Table tells her story of “Cooking to the Wine: Les Vins de Vienne Gigondas with Gratinéed Shepherd’s Pie”
  • Camilla Mann from Culinary Adventures with Camilla shares a post on “Sober Clams + a French Syrah”
  • Jane Niemeyer at Always Ravenous shares “Bison Burger Paired with Northern Rhône Syrah”
  • Martin Redmond Enofylz at shares “A Taste of The House of Chapoutier”
  • Rupal Desai Shankar at Syrah Queen writes about “Chapoutier: King of the Rhône”
  • Lauren Walsh at The Swirling Dervish writes about “France’s Rhône Valley: Mountains, Sea, Wind, and Wine”
  • Michelle Williams at Rockin Red Blog writes about “Maison M. Chapoutier: Expressing Terroir Through Biodynamics”