Archive for the France Category

2008 Chateau Poitevin Medoc, Cru Bourgeois

Posted in France with tags , , on April 15, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Second to None

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit the Medoc and secure an exclusive allocation of a Cru Bourgeois for our operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Chateau Poitevin

Wine Subject: 2008 Medoc, Cru Bourgeois

Winemaker: Guillaume Poitevin

Backgrounder: The Médoc, on the tip of the Rive Gauche gets its name from the Latin medio aquaebecause it lies between the estuary of the the Girondeand the Atlantic Ocean. The region is best know as the home of some of Bordeaux best, and most expensive, wines. Many of the top wineries however, produce second and third label wines that while are not totally comparable to their top-shelf brethren, are extremely enjoyable. The wines of this region tend to be Cabernet Sauvignon dominated blended with any number of the other fine grapes in the region.

Today’s selection is 55% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Petit Verdot and is designated Cru Bourgeois.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark garnet with ruby red streaks and reflections that shine through its deeply hued but clear hear. Along the edges, the color only slightly pales. When swirled, evenly spaced medium thick legs race down the side of the glass to the wine below.

Smell – Bold and redolent with its green herbal, fennel and forest earth undertones frame the dark red and black fruit including black cherry, plum and ripe blackberry. Complex notes of cigar box, bittersweet chocolate and even some savory notes lead you in.

Feel – This dry wine is medium bodied with finely grained tannins and dusty minerality that balances its lively acidity providing well structured and mildly chewy mouthfeel.

Taste – Black cherry, plum and other dark fruit blend with the herbal, forest earth and savory notes found on the nose. A touch of bittersweet chocolate, tar and dark minerals are both felt and tasted. Slightly restrained on the palate, something that wouldn’t be evident from the bold nose gives this wine an elegant flavor profile..

Finish – Long and clean with the fresh sweetness of the fruit fading first leaving behind just hints of those flavors that linger with the other flavors while the mouth drying tannins and minerality that lasts and lasts.

Conclusion – The 2008 Chateau Poitevin Medoc, Cru Bourgeois is a lovely wine that surprises you with its rich and bold nose and its more restrained old-world palate. Clean and fresh with approachable complexity. A pleasant wine that can be easily enjoyed, especially considering its medium-bodied palate, with a variety of foods, dried or grilled meats. Enjoy this wine now, after decanting or cellar for the next three to five years.

Mission Report:


WINEMAKER INTEL BRIEFING DOSSIER

SUBJECT: Guillaume Poitevin

WINE EDUCATION: Advanced certification in viticulture

WINEMAKING PHILOSOPHY: Making the most of the grapes by adapting the method of vinification each vintage


WINEMAKER INTERVIEW

AGENT RED: Greetings, Guillaume Poitevin. We are thrilled to be showing your 2008 Chateau Poitevin Medoc, Cru Bourgeois today. Thanks so much for taking some time to answer questions for our Operatives today.

GUILLAUME: Thank you for featuring our wine today.

WHITE: Was there a specific experience in your life that inspired your love of wine?

GUILLAUME: The recovery of property from the working with the cooperative to going out on our own.

WHITE: What wine or winemaker has most influenced your winemaking style?

GUILLAUME: Consulting oenolgist Anoine Médeville, And I was raised on wine and in the vineyards!

WHITE: How would you recommend that people approach the wines of Chateau Poitebin, or wine in general?

GUILLAUME: In all cases, we need people to enjoy themselves with a wine that matches their tastes.

WHITE: What is occupying your time at the winery these days?

GUILLAUME: It’s April so we are doing work in the vineyards.

WHITE: What is your favorite wine to drink every day?

GUILLAUME: The white wine we produce with fish and our reds for the rest of the meats

WHITE: Thank you so much for your time. We learned a lot about you – and your wine. Keep up the great work, we are big fans!

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Chateau Poitevin can be seen in this satellite photo.

2009 Domaine La Combe Blanche ‘La Chandeliere’ Minervois La Liviniere

Posted in France, Red Blend with tags , , , on April 1, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: The Chandelière

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit the Languedoc-Roussillon and acquire a delicious Syrah-Grenache blend.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine La Combe Blanche

Wine Subject: 2009 ‘La Chandelière’ Minervois La Livinière

Backgrounder:

The Minervois AOC, located in the Languedoc-Roussillon is situated inland from the coast just north of the Corbieres and west of the Coteaux du Languedoc. The vineyards in the area are dominated by its rocky clay and limestone soil, dry arid climate.

Today’s selection is from the Cru La Livinière which was officially designated in 1999. The red wines form the region are a blend of local grapes and must be at least 40% of one or more of the following grapes: Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre or Lladoner Pelut with the remainder being other local grapes. Known for its generally rustic style, good years can produce exceptional wines ranging from full designation to VDP. Today’s selection is 75% Syrah from 20 year old vines and 25% Grenache from vines that average 70 years old.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Dark garnet with its dense color that extends from its dense heart to the edge of the glass. Brighter garnet streaks shine through when held to the light and when swirled, this wine leaves widely and randomly spaced thin legs that descend at varying speeds to the wine below.

Smell – Rustic and earthy black cherry and blackberry lead the way with notes of spicy black pepper, black licorice and notes of cigar box and toasted oak that adds complexity.

Feel – Rich, full-bodied and dry, this wine has firm tannins that reach the far corners of the palate and dry the tongue, a touch of spice and lively acid blend with finely texture minerality that provide a smooth but rustic feel.

Taste – Lots of black cherry, blackberry, plum and cassis blend with earthy and spicy undertones. Classic Syrah black pepper and other spices blend with a touch of bittersweet chocolate, soft notes of licorice and graphite as well as a very subtle floral notes.

Finish – Long with the lingering fruit fading first with the spiced pepper oak and lastly minerality lasting and inviting another sip.

Conclusion – The 2009 Domaine La Combe Blanche ‘La Chandelière’ Minervois La Livinière is both a rich and classic Minervois old-world mouthfeel and minerality but plenty of rich and ripe fruit on the nose and palate to invite big sips. An array of classic Syrah aromas invites you in, well structured with rich rustic fruit are layered over other complex flavors. Give this wine some time to breathe to fully expose its full aromas and flavors. Drink now or cellar for three to five years and pair with anything from grilled burgers to herb crusted roast chicken.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Domaine La Combe Blanche in La Livinière, France can be seen in thissatellite photo.

2010 Chateau Clarettes Grand Cuvee Cotes de Provence

Posted in Cinsault, France with tags , , , on March 18, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Leap Into Spring

Operative: Agent Blush

Objective: Visit the south of France and return with a classic Côtes de Provence Rose just in time to celebrate spring!

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Château Clarettes

Wine Subject: 2010 Grand Cuvee Côtes de Provence

Winemaker: Philippe Crocé-Spinelli

Backgrounder: The wines of the Côtes de Provence are synonymous with springtime where the Mediterranean sun kisses the vines of the south of France and are enjoyed with classic fresh coastal foods. The wines of this region must be at least 70% of Cinsault, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah and/or Tibouren with no two varietals accounting for more than 90% of the blend. Today’s selection is predominantly Cinsault.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Brilliantly clear with pale pink with subtle salmon tints that become pale clear along the edges. when swirled, tightly spaced chubby legs cling to the upper rim and slowly descend to the wine below.

Smell – Bright and fresh aromas of both citrus and white tree fruit including tart white peach and grapefruit and even hints of red fruit also. A lovely floral component blends with limestone minerality and subtle wild and herbes de Provence that invites as sip.

Feel – Fresh and crisp, this medium-bodied dry rose has racy acidity and a touch of spice that blends with a mouth drying minerality that lingers into the finish.

Taste – Deliciously bright flavors of lively citrus, white tree and tart red fruit and even hits of tart tropical fruit blend with a touch of spice, wild herbs and textured limestone minerality.

Finish – Long, clean and crisp with lingering textured minerality that dries the palate as the lively and tart fruit and herbal notes linger on the palate.

Conclusion – The 2010 Château Clarettes Grand Cuvee Côtes de Provence is a classic rose that inspires thoughts of a lingering afternoon at a seaside cafe. Bright and racy with classic fruit wrapped in a dry and elegant structure. Pair this snappy with seafood grilled with generous amounts of olive oil and local herbs. Drink this wine young so enjoy now and through the spring and summer.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Château Clarettes can be seen in this satellite photo.

2009 Vignobles Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon

Posted in France with tags , , , on March 4, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Great White Gascon

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure an exclusive allocation of famed winemaker Alain Brumont’s Merlot-Tannat

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Vignobles Brumont

Wine Subject: 2009 Gros Manseng-Sauvignon

Winemaker: Alain Brumont

Backgrounder:

The southwest of France, is home to one of France’s most famous winemakers, Alain Brumont. It is his genius that has tamed the expressive and often overpowering Tannat into a wine that rivals its northern neighbors from Bordeaux. The Gascony region, made famous by Alexandre Dumas and theKing’s Musketeers has tremendous diversity of varietals and its climate is primarily influenced by the Atlantic ocean. Today’s unique and exclusive selection is 50% Gros Manseng and 50% Sauvignon Blanc.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Pale and brilliantly clear golden straw yellow, subtle green tints that shine through its core, and fading to nearly clear at the edges. When swirled, evenly spaced fat legs slowly descend to the wine below.

Smell – Fresh aromas of apricot, citrus and quince lead you in and are followed by classic Sauvignon Blanc notes of stone and soft smoke. Very subtle green herbs and spice also make an appearance on the nose.

Feel – Racy acidity hits right away on this dry and medium bodied white wine and is followed by a touch of spice and creaminess. Soft limestone and chalky minerality adds texture and grasps the fresh fruit.

Taste – Fresh citrus and quince leads the way and is followed by a unique balance of hot spice, subtle toasted nuts and creaminess that is both tasted and felt. Soft white floral, herbal and chalky stone also emerge as you explore this wine.

Finish – Clean, lingering and fresh with with spice and citrus lingering with a touch of creaminess as well.

Conclusion – The 2009 Brumont Gros Manseng-Sauvignon is a delicious and unique wine that will appeal to any lover of Sauvignon Blanc but also those looking for a wine of a little more depth and character, as you’d expect from Alain Brumont. Enjoy this wine with soft and ripe cheeses or Thai food.

Mission Report:

bq Below is a transcript of our original mission when we visited the region in search of Alain Brumont’s famed Madiran AOC, also made with the indomitable Tannat grape.

It was a couple years back that I originally tasted the wines from legendary winemaker Alain Brumont.Agent Terroir was escorting me through some of France’s best vineyards as we also enjoyed the Tour de France. If you are a fan of the race, it is perhaps one of the most magnificent displays of athletic ability through the largest and most beautiful of ‘stadiums’, the entirety of the country.

As someone who has followed the race for nearly two decades my personal favorite are the mountain stages of in the Pyrenees and the Alps. But its the Pyrenees that brings out the true excitement. Tens of thousands of mostly Basque cycling fans line the narrow one lane mountain roads cheering on their countrymen to the prestigious stage wins in the most difficult of mountain climbs.

It was one of those stages that started in the village of Pau . We arrived in the evening before the start start and Agent Terroir wanted to take me on a very special vineyard trip. We would head north for a short drive to the appellation most famous of its bold, tannic and expressive Tannat and once there we would taste the wines of famed winemaker Alain Brumont. The vineyards, steep hillsides clay and ancient Pyrenees stone and gravel soil. This coupled with an aspect and southern exposure ensure maximum sunshine. Add to that a grape that many consider an indomitable force with another indomitable force in winemaking and you’re starting to get the idea about today’s unique selection.

The 2005 Chateau Montus Madiran AOC is one of those very special wines. Certainly not a wine for everyone, but if you are a fan of big bold expressive reds that have a ton of character then this is a wine for you.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the heart of the Gascony region lies the historic town of Armagnac which can be seen in thissatellite photo.

2009 Château de Messey Mâcon Cruzille ‘Clos Les Avoueries’

Posted in Chardonnay, France with tags , , , on February 12, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: The Tiny Hamlet

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Secure a very limited and exclusive allocation of a delicious white Burgundy for our operatives.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Château de Messey

Wine Subject: 2009 Mâcon Cruzille ‘Clos Les Avoueries’

Backgrounder: Located in the broader Burgundy region of the Mâconnais (about half way between Lyon and Beaune, the tiny hamlet of Mâcon-Cruzille is known for making some of the rarest wines in the region and is located at the far north side of the villages appellation. The region’s wine-making history dates back about 1600 years. It is often grouped with Beaujolais (just south of the region) since its red grape is predominantly Gamay. The whites which make up most of the production (88%) in the region, like the rest of Burgundy, are Chardonnay. Of the wines in theMâcon-CruzilleChâteau de Messey is one of the highest esteemed.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Bright straw yellow with pale golden streaks that shine through its clear heart. Along the edges the color remains constant and when swirled this wine settles quickly and leaves randomly spaced medium legs of varying speeds on the side of the glass.

Smell – Fresh and bright aromas of both tropical and citrus fruit lead you in and are followed by soft toasted and buttery oak, biscuit, a touch of sweet baking spice and floral notes.

Feel – Smooth and rich on the initial attack but is followed by racy acidity and mineral notes. This medium-to-full bodied white is both smooth and persistent, in balance with fresh zesty acidity that lingers long into the finish.

Taste – The tropical and citrus fruit found on the nose greets the palate in balance with the creamy and toasted oak, notes of biscuit, white flowers and baking spice all held together by this wine’s tangy acidity and soft limestone minerality.

Finish – Extremely long and clean with tangy citrus fruit flavors and its bright acidity lingering on, keeping the palate fresh all the while inviting another sip.

Conclusion – The 2009 Château de Messey Mâcon Cruzille ‘Clos Les Avoueries’ is simply delicious; a bright, fresh and complete wine that has great balance between its acidity and smoothness, its fruit and other complex aromas and flavors and a finish that lingers for several minutes. A wonderful wine to pair with avocado salad, creamy fresh or hard aged cheeses or raw seafood. Enjoy this wine right now or cellar for a few years to have its aromas and flavors develop further.

Mission Report:

Agent White has once again been reported as A.W.O.L. as he explores the vineyards of Burgundy and last seen just outside Beaune sipping wines at a cafe and enjoying local food and culture.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of Château de Messeysouthwest of Toumus can be seen in this satellite photo.

2009 Domaine Christian Belleville ‘Les Chauchoux’ Rully AOC

Posted in France, Pinot Noir with tags , , , on January 29, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Certainly NOT Un-Rully

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Visit the Côte Chalonnaise commune of Rullyand retrieve a delicious Red Burgundy.

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine Christian Belleville

Wine Subject: 2009 ‘Les Chauchoux’ Rully AOC Red Burgundy

Backgrounder: The village commune of Rully, the northernmost appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise. It is one of the best regions for delicious Chardonnay and is also well regarded for Pinot Noir in the area and has an excellent reputation for flavorful and serious wines. The AOC was formally designated in 1939 and there are 23 Premier Crus but not one Grand Cru in the appellation.

The region is well known for its unique soil composition of white limey marl and calcic limestone, Jurassic gravel and rock and red clay. Also the vines grown in Rully are grown at an elevation of from 750 to 1100 feet above mean sea level.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Bright and glistening ruby red with sparkling ruby streaks in its crystal clear core. The bright ruby color extends to the very rim lass and when swirled, widely spaced fat legs are randomly spaced around the edge of the glass.

Smell – Fresh and ripe red fruit including red cherry and strawberry leading the way with redolent floral, spice and soft toasted oak aromas that include notes of cola, vanilla and both exotic and brown spice.

Feel – Velvet smooth and fresh on the palate with racy acidity and medium firm but supple tannins generously expanding over the palate with a soft touch of mineral texture.

Taste – Ripe, sweet and tangy red cherry, strawberry, raspberry followed by slightly more tart versions of the same fruit are followed by the layers of other complex flavors including spring flowers, brown spices, cola and toasted oak.

Finish – Clean, fresh and medium long in length with the tangy red fruit lasting as the other complex flavors linger. The supple tannins and racy acidity linger on the tongue and invite another sip.

Conclusion – The 2009 Domaine Christian Belleville ‘Les Chauchoux’ Rully AOC is a delicious and fresh Pinot that bridges the gap between French styles and the newer American fruit forward style without sacrifice. Fresh and ripe fruit on the nose and a well structured palate blend with a slightly fruit forward flavor profile making this wine great for food. Enjoy this wine tonight or cellar for the next five years to see how it evolves. A nice wine to pair with pork whether roasted, grilled or barbecued.

Mission Report:

Agent White has been reported as A.W.O.L. and last seen just outside Beaune sipping wines at a cafe and enjoying local food and culture.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The location of the the Rully commune south of Beaune and northwest of Chalon-sur-Saone can be seen in thissatellite photo.

2010 Domaine Corinne & Thierry Drouin “La Roche” Macon-Vergisson AOC

Posted in Chardonnay, France with tags , , , , on January 15, 2012 by thewinespies

Mission Codename: Return of the Poet

Operative: Agent White

Objective: Acquire a delicious and value oriented white Burgundy for our operatives

Mission Status: Accomplished!

Current Winery: Domaine Corinne & Thierry Drouin

Wine Subject: 2010 “La Roche” Mâcon-VergissonAOC

Backgrounder:

Located in the broader Burgundy region of the Mâconnais (about half way between Lyon and Beaune, Mâcon-Vergisson is one of the five communes located in and making up the Pouilly-Fuissé. The region’s wine-making history dates back about 1600 years. It is often grouped with Beaujolais (just south of the region) since its red grape is predominantly Gamay. The whites which make up most of the production (88%) in the region, like the rest of Burgundy, are Chardonnay. The wines of the Mâcon-Vergisson are known to be richer than its neighboring vineyard’s wines and have more aging potential.

Wine Spies Tasting Profile:

Look – Clear and bright golden with deep straw yellow tints that pales only slightly at the edges. When swirled, this slightly more springy wine leaves slow clusters of medium thick legs hang before deliberately descending to the wine below.

Smell – Aromatic in intensity, this wine initially greats you with an ripe and fragrant blend of sweet white peach and golden apple along with a touch of citrus fruit that blend with creamy vanilla and white floral notes. Layered underneath are balanced notes of spice, toasted oak, minerality, creamy vanilla, butter and a hint of nuttiness.

Feel – Smooth and dry with good weight, this medium to full-bodied white wine balances its vibrant acidity with its creamy and soft buttery texture and leaves a touch of spice on the back and sides of the tongue.

Taste – Rich, ripe and sweet stone, tree and citrus fruit that is integrated with tasted vanilla creme and a touch of butter, creamy vanilla and toasted oak. The white floral, nuttiness, spice and minerality form the nose find there way onto the palate in a balanced way.

Finish – Clean with its lingering flavors supported by both a touch of bright acidity and its creamy texture that lingers on the palate and invites another sip.

Conclusion – The 2010 Corinne & Thierry Drouin ‘La Roche’ Mâcon-Vergisson AOC is perhaps a little bit more ripe than the 2007 vintage that we featured last year. A delicious and expressive French Chardonnay that delivers great aromas, flavors and mouth-feel. This wine is perfect to pair with raw seafood, creamy avocado salad or lighter fare.

Wine Spies Vineyard Check:

The approximate location of the Domaine Corinne & Thierry Drouin can be seen in this satellite photo.

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