Friday, May 11, 2007

Reviews of Wines of France

The following is a compilation of old reviews I have done on the wines of France.

2001 La Cuvee Mythique, Red Blend: An intriguing blend of about six or seven different grapes. A very different but appealing taste. It is well worth trying. About $15.

2001 J. Vidal Fleurys Cote du Rhone: At the Eleven restaurant, my final glass of the evening was this one. This was a decent wine, with lots of spice, though it was not a stand out wine. It lacked the complexity of the other two wines, and was more just an easy drinking wine. It was $9 a glass and later researched showed it sells for about $12 a bottle. It would be a Drink for me but probably not a Buy. It just did not give enough value for the money.

2003 Chateau Coupe Roses Minervois Cuvee Vignals, Languedoc: At the Eleven restaurant, I also had a glass of this wine. This Rhone style wine was more austere than the cabernet. It was also more tannic though it lingered longer on the finish as well. There was also more spice and less berry than the cabernet. It was definitely a more traditional French wine. It sold for $9 a glass and later research showed a bottle sells for about $15. Wine Spectator also rates this a 91. I definitely enjoyed the wine, and for the bottle prize, it is a good value, especially if you are seeking a more subtle Old World wine.

2003 Domaine Tempier Bandol: Last evening I had a bottle of this with my dinner of tenderloin tails, stuffed with prosciutto and fontina cheese, and lamb chops. The Bandol is a red blend, though primarily using Mourvedre. It was a fine wine, smooth, complex, exotic and with a long finish. It paired well with the meats. It runs about $35. The Bandol region of France is a tiny area known for Mourvedre. Domaine Tempier is one of the premier wineries in that region. I first had a bottle of this at No.9 Park, a superb restaurant in Boston.

2003 Guigal Gigondas: This French Rhone wine ($50 at a restaurant) is equal parts Mourvedre, Syrah and Grenache. It is an excellent wine, smooth and with a long finish. It accompanies most foods well.

2003 Pont d'Avignon Cotes du Rhone: With dinner this evening, we had a bottle of this wine which is about two-thirds Syrah and one-third Grenache and retails for about $15. This was a drinkable wine but nothing special. It also seemed less Old World style and more New World, meaning it had far more fruit up front, and was far less subtle and alluring. It is a friendly wine, that should appeal to many, yet it lacks true substance and complexity. A Drink but not Buy.

2004 Le Jaja: A Grenache/Syrah blend. Very easy drinking and delicious inexpensive wine, around $9. A touch of spice but also very smooth.

2004 Josephine Dubois, Chablis 1er Cru: A big white that fills your mouth like heavy cream, with oak and vanilla. For those who enjoy a big chardonnay, you might enjoy this but I did not. And I believe this wine was closer to the $20 range. Not a drink or buy for me.

2005 Domaine de la Chanade "Les Rials": This was an inexpensive white, about $9, but was surprisingly good. It was light, crisp and fruity but not too sweet. It would definitely be an enjoyable summer wine, properly chilled. For the money, it is a definite Drink & Buy.

Ribit White, Arrogant Frog, Languedoc: This white wine is a blend of Chardonnay and Viognier and is crisp without being overly oaked. It has some nice citrus flavors and would be a very good summer wine. Drink and Buy.

2004 Bourgeois, Petit Bourgeois, Loire Valley: At only 12% alcohol, this was the lightest of the group but had more acidity on the tongue. It was a more subtle wine, and would benefit from some light fare. But, at only $9, it is a good value wine for the summer. Drink/Buy.

2004 Brintet Bourgogne: This was a light and flavorful pinot, a typical Burgundian style. It would make a nice summer drink, even if it were a bit chilled. It is $14 and is a good value. Drink & Buy.

2003 Le Syrah Villerambert Julian, Coteux du Languedoc: This was a typical Old World Syrah ($12), so a bit drier than many, with smoky undertones and smoothness bolstered by light tannins. At the price, this is a good value and a Drink and Buy for me.

NV Jean-Louis Blanc de Blanc Brut: A sparkling wine that for $10 was a great value. It was neither too dry or too sweet, and lacked any bitterness. A very satisfying taste, even for those who generally dislike most Champagnes.

2003 J.L. Chave Saint Jospeh 'Offerus', Rhone Valley: A 100% Syrah ($30) which is smooth, spicy and subtle. Excellent Old World style wine.

2004 Domaine de Planterieu: This white wine ($11) is a blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard, both varietals you don't see too often. The blend is an interesting taste, crisp, fruity and well balanced. It certainly has a very different flavor than many other whites and is certainly worth a try. Drink and Buy.

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