Tag Archives: French wines

Wine(s) of the Week- Syrah-Grenache & Pinot Noir

Les Hauts de Janeil Syrah-Grenache 2015

This charming Syrah-Grenache from the Languedoc-Roussilon region of France delivers spicy hints of cinnamon and vanilla along with black cherry. The winemaker, Francois Lorton, represents his family’s fifth generation in winemaking since 1897. The Mas Janeil vineyards comprise 59 acres in Maury in the Roussilon region on the Meriterranean coast. The Rhone red blend offers notes of black fruit and  licorice with strong tannins. It’s 80 percent Syrah and 20 percent Grenache, with 13.5 percent ABV. Spicy, peppery and elegant, it’s imported by Cape Classics.

B – Black Bream Pinot Noir, 2015

B Vintners Black Bream Pinot Noir comes from Walker Bay on South Africa’s Cape of Good Hope. The name, bream,  comes from that of the country’s national fish, the galleon, found in inaccessible shallow areas of the coastline.  It’s made by cousins Bruwer Raats and Gavin Bruwer Slabbert and reflects its red and black fruit along with hints, its makers note, of crushed oyster shells which deliver a “distinctive saline character.” The wine celebrates its heritage and terroir – soils rich in limestone – and is aged for 12 to 14 months in old French oak barrels.

Both of these wines offer value to both restaurateurs’ wine lists and diners who select them. We love wine and wine by the glass lists that offer wines that aren’t “the usual suspects”! Exploration makes for an educational and often, delicious outcome.



Wine of the Week – Pouilly-Fuissé Solutré 2014

This lovely Pouilly-Fuissé from Vins Auvigue comes from fifth generation winemakers Jean-Pierre and Michel Auvigue in Maconnais, Burgundy. Their grandfather was one of the first in France to commence domaine bottling in the 1940s.

This wine has good minerality and spice, and you’ll detect scents of fruit (apples and peaches), citrus notes, white flowers and even hazelnuts. The winery uses only organic products. The vines are planted on heights above the village on former pastures with poor soil.

The wine is rich and “round” and will be good through 2020. Wine Spectator gives it 91 points. The suggested retail price is $36.99. Visit http://www.auvigue.fr/our_wines-ct7-cp55.html.


Wine of the Week – Mas Janeil Le Petit Pas 2014

If you hate to abandon red wines in the summer, this fresh and lovely Le Petit Pas from Mas Janeil is fruity and rich but not exceedingly heavy. It’s a wine, the winemaker suggests, to sip with grilled meat or with tapas. We found it to be nicely structured and smooth with “delicate” spices. You’ll detect hints of licorice and a nose with fruit notes. It’s a Cótes Du Roussilon with 58 percent Grenache Noir, 22 percent Syrah, 18 percent Carignan and five percent Mourvédre. Go to www.capeclassics.com

A wine on the wings of a butterfly

From the Loire Valley comes the Saget La Piere Mulonniere L’effet Papillon, a beautiful Chenin Blanc from a family that’s been making wines since 1790 and bought this estate in 2003. The winery is now in its ninth generation. Pasternak Wine Imports introduced it to the U.S. market this past summer

The grapes are picked by hand once they’ve reached optimum ripeness. The wine is fermented and aged on the lees for 13 months and then ages further in French  oak casks.

Hints of white fruits come through as you sip. Think quince, as well as peach, apricots and plums. There’s high acidity and a long finish with notes  of oak, vanilla and licorice. The “butterfly effect”  wine is 13.5% ABV. You’ll want to pair it with fish and shellfish meals. It’s a wine with complexity that also goes well with spicy curries. We enjoyed it as we moved from summer into early fall and suspect it will be a winner year-around!

Baron de Rothschild offers new line of value wines

Légende, a new line of wines designed for everyday consumption and value from the legendary Baron des Rothschild, offers consumers what the winemaker calls “a little elegance every day.”

This group of wines was originally called “The Reserves,” created for family and friends’ everyday drinking. Today, the wines are described as “Légende, a little elegance every day.”

The Pauillac from Médoc comes from a terroir with “gravelly” hillsides on clay subsoil. The natural drainage allows the vines to develop deep roots. The wines are good quality offerings matured for three to nine months, 40 percent with oak.

The nose is expressive, refined and elegant, toasted and spicy and the wines offer good tannins and a fresh finish. They are classic Pauillac, 70 percent Cabernet and 30 percent Medoc.

Excellence, Baron de Rothschild declares, is at the heart of everything the estate produces. Since 1868, the estate’s offerings have been rooted, quite literally, in the soil of Bordeaux and a pioneering spirit that today, is in its fifth generation.

First created for family and friends, the wines, once known as the “Reserves,” are meant for every day consumption – classic offerings with “immediate charm.” They work well as value offerings on a wine by the glass list.