Tag Archives: French wine

Gimme some fleurs 

11 Jun


Real quick: this week we had actress Melanie Lynskey (Heavenly Creatures, anyone?) on the podcast. And get into how to talk about cat pee notes in New Zealand wine so…listen to it here!

And now.

Fleuries! Oh yes my dahhhhhlings having gotten through Saint-Amour, Juliénas, Chénas, AND those devilish windmills aka Moulin-A-Vent we are  moving on to our darling flowers: Fleurie.

2014 Chateau de Grand Pre Fleurie

The gorgeous thing about French wines is they SOUND like they taste.

Moulins tilt. Saint-Amour is complex as true love. Brouilly brews up trouble and Chénas? Well it chains you to Beaujolais😁. 

Fleurie stays true to its name in that it tends to be more aromatic of flowers like violets. And it can be light and delicate like a lovely rose blossom. Makes you wonder what influences what more–the name or the wine?

I am doing this series probably more for my own education than anyone else’s. 

Ugh okay for all the following add “plus flowers and a whiff bubble gum” to the description and you’ll get the more typical Fleurie I like. Not as flowery and jammy as Beaujolais noveau but Fleurie does have some of those delightful things from time to time. Because carbonic maceration.

This Fleurie appeals to hipsters who like raw and natural. Let’s get WSET-y:

Look: medium and muddy grape-purple colored and the tears are slow but medium.

Nose: Oh funk a hit of oils! But otherwise raw green pepper and cherries and mulberries. Hint of allspice.

On yer tongue: Dry as f and acid as almost f and alcohol also medium (oh let me check label says 13% abv yup medium) tannins medium minus, body medium minus (for red), intensity of flavor is perhaps medium maybe even medium plus.

I’d like some more Fleuries and I’d take some flowers too. But if forced to decide between I’d likely take the wine first. Just sayin’.

Cheers darlings. Pick a flower for me. 

LET US TILT at MOULIN-A-VENT

4 Jun


We are soldiering through the crus like the Beaujolais crusaders we are.

It is funny. I am…well…I do ballet. People tend to think I am delicate but I am not. I am not a flower. I like to think I am a goddamn shrub. Ready to conquer. So…

Is this “I am invincible” concept of myself delusional, like tilting at windmills thinking they are the enemy? 

Nah. 

I don’t tilt at enemies. I tilt at problems and ambitions. And wines. Like this one from an area named for windmills. Except it is named in the French language. I tilt in French. 

AT:

2015 Domaine Laurent Perrachon Moulin-a-Vent “Terres Roses”

Found via Garagiste

SO if this wine were a fight: You see purple. Normally people see red if angered but when moved to tilt, you see the delightful ruby-ish purple of this vin.

Sniff the wind for your target. Clean, medium plus intensity REDOLENT I tell you of purple and red and black plums. All the plums except like maybe the green ones. Earth, spices, a hint of mint and lilac. 

Young as my goddamned soul. That’s a lie I have been seventy since I was 10. But this wine is young as my social life. 

On the palate the vino is dry as sin, acidic as fuck, tannic as all get out which is perhaps why the Perrachon website says to age at least three years. And I waited two. 

Because I also tilt at tannins.

The wine could tilt at the Juliénas. Because as I established a couple of weeks ago Juliénas is heavy. But if this tilted at the Chénas or St-Amour I tasted this wine would knock it the f out.

Alcohol is medium (13% abv) and is full of red cherries, blackberries, purple and black plums, a hint of allspice and more dirt but like tasty dirt. The dirt you eat when, whilst tilting, you take a tumble and eat dirt but you are glad to eat it because it will energize you to get up and keep fighting. There is a knock of pepper in said dirt. The intensity and body of this wine galvanize you.

Get up from that dirt! GO HARD for the finish! The medium plus finish! This fight did not last terribly long, but it was interesting and ever changing. Which if you are not comprehending my stupid metaphors means this wine’s finish could be longer but it is elegantand moves through a few tastes and feelings. Or like the bruises you endured that go from black to red to purple to yellow-green brown before disappearing, this wine has a few faces before leaving you.

GO! Nurse your wounds. Perhaps with wine.

Chénas? CheNOT. Harharhar

22 May


Oh hey this is the wine that held me up from being ready to write my whole Beaujolais series. I could not friggin’ find a Chénas. Until finally Garagiste came through. With:

2015 Pascal Aufranc “En Remont Vignes de 1939”


Please excuse the hasty nature of that pic. Been busy making this podcast n such.

Honestly maybe there is a reason this cru is not around much, because this is possibly my least favorite Beaujolais cru thus far–I’ve  tasted St-Amour, Julienas, Moulin-vent, Fleurie, Morgon, Regnié and Brouilly so far, so I have a tad bit of experience.

Okay. So this Chènas is good but a bit green for me. Okay? So Garagiste says to drink 2018-2024. Okay okay! So maybe I drank it 6 months early and if I’d waited the green would have…evolved…so okay…just okay. 

On the good side! This wine is:

A delicious smell that you can’t quite place. Maybe it smells like blueberry pie. But not in a way that makes you hungry. It smells like lavender and pine trees too but jussssst enough to relax you. And then that is not actually quite the wine’s smell just the essence. 

It is a wine you suck down to chill out on a night in. A quiet time before the next day when you fly off the next job, wine, book, audition, destination whichever…

Or so I surmise. Until I can fly to 2018 and beyond and sip this wine I cannot say where it will go.

I love Gamay enough I’ll give Chénas more tries. Until the I am going to be continuing my trek (virtually) through the crus. Onward!

Et tu, Beaujolais? Yup this Juliénas will kill

21 May


Firstly pretty please check out The Whine Situation, my new comedy n wine podcast on iTunes and  we just got added to Stitcher too yeaaaaaaaa. If you like it n wanna give us an iTunes subscribe or rating all the better. 

One more distraction before the next cru! I was a guest on The Delightful Table, a fantastic blog by my friend Scheherezade features sustainable cooking and seasonal veggies. We experimented pairing “difficult to pair” veggies with wines. Check out the artichoke madness here


And now. We are moving on down through the Beaujolais crus! From flippant Saint-Amour to rather stern Juliénas! A jerk face who is sinister and will beat your mouth up. In a good way, of course!

Named for Caesar. Shall we salad with this wine? Would a Caesar salad pair well? Huh, I feel like maybe not but it’s worth investigating. The wine in question:

2015 David-Beaupere Juliénas “Vayolette”

I got it for about 20 bucks from Garagiste, my favorite source for interesting wines at jolly prices.
Juliénas has a variety of terroirs but the unifying factor tends to be that they are bigger and rougher wines.

This wicked wine was grown in yards of volcanic blue stone, and was made organically. It is a unique devil.

Holy moly it’s high alcohol! 15 % abv. Holy heck it bashes your tongue with little blue pebbles and bramble cranberries! I don’t care if bramble cranberries are not a thing in case you were concerned. I taste violets are blooming in the pebbles to boot. What is this specimen? How is it conquering me with so many different sensations that don’t match yet go together?

And holy holy hell is this wine dark.

Purple as sin. Presuming sin’s true color when showing true colors is purple. The darkness is in flavor too: black pepper, a bit of…I dunno. This is a total snobby “I imagine” tasting note but I bet if those dark purple irises–ya know the flower I’m speaking of?–had a flavor it would be in this wine.

The biggest difference between this and our friend St. Love is the power and the depth. The similarity? The lack of tannins! Many times I taste a tannic wine and describe it as beating my mouth up but this tongue-beater does so without tannins.

Tricky tricky sly sly Caesar.

Now to make that salad (but sans anchovies in the dressing seeing as I’m a vegetarian).

Cheers and tongue-lashings! 

I Feel Amour. The Cycle begins!

15 May


I’ve been saying it for some time. That I was going to do a cycle going through all the lovely Beaujolais crus. Those are: Saint-Amour, Julienas, Chenas, Moulin-à-Vènt, Fleurie, Chiroubles, Morgon, Régnié,  Côte de Brouilly, and Brouilly. I came up with a device to remember this: Saint Julian Called Many French Cheapo Madams Really Comely Broads.

And I’ve been feeling the…oh…feeling of spring so what better time to jump into Saint-Amour? The most northerly. We begin at zee beginning.

2015 Pascal Berthier “Esprit de Séduction” Saint-Amour

Beyond waiting for spring fever it took me fucking forever to find a Chenas and I wanted to have located all the crus before starting the dang cycle. But we are here now.

I am feeling love for this Saint-Amour, the most northern of the Beaujolais crus. Ah yes, the granite/clay/schist/limestone soils are on hillier regions than much of the Beaujolais area. Hills can be lovely for wine that wants warmth and sun. And Gamay, the Beaujolais grape, needs a whiff of both.

So far I love this wine and it is loving me back.

Blueberries, y’all. And more blueberries plus blackberries and friggin’ slate blackboard. Picture your childhood art teacher grabbing blue chalk and drawing blueberries and you lick the board and it actually tastes both like the board, the chalk, and the berries. Therrrrre you go. This is a classic gamay in its freshness, berry-ness, a hint of some sort of fortified wine so whaaaa—chamomile/herbs/quinine?—and just more love.

Love y’all back. Next week———–Julienas!

We are cycling together my people. Love you too. 

 

WINTER comes Rosé

9 Jan


My main fear is that my multitude of smart, educated, impassioned musings on rosé still cannot get people to give pink wine a fair shot.

That’s not actually my main fear. My main fears are not fare for blogging here. ANYWAY.

Rosé is NOT JUST FOR SUMMER!!!!

HOPEFULLY ALL CAPS CONVINCE YOU!!!!

Rosé is a wine for all seasons. Don’t you give me lip. This is what you want. I promise. It will warm you up, cool your tongue and light up your soul. 

Before we get to today’s pick let us revisit rosés of the past. This Rosé is still my fave American pink. This One is still my SECOND fave french. 

But right now this is truly my latest hardcore Give Me pink vino love:
2015 Chateau de Trinquevedel Rosé

A full deep wine that offers as much on the tongue as it does to the eye.

ME-fucking-OW.

You are thirsty. You want something pretty badass and PRETTY to look at too. You want something that makes the woman in you roar. Or maybe the secure male in you knows that true men drink pink…you want that part to make some noise.

So this. It is full and vibrant pink that verges on salmon but is HOT DAMN deep pink.

45% Grenache, 24% Cinsault, 15% Clairette, 10% Mourvedre, 6% Syrah

It smells of pink grapefruit, limes, cranberries, and holy fuck fabric? Like crisp ironed fabric. Linens.

And some white roses. Picture a bouquet of white roses on Ophelia’s chest floating away from the shore. It is romantic and delicious.

It is those holiday napkins you starch and iron for special occasions. But you folded them into cornucopias holding strawberries and limes and maybe a pretty smooth river stone.

Like the stiffness of a starched napkin it is robust–a plate full of cranberry sauce and bread hearty stuff. But it is elegant. The starched napkin, unfolded into the lap of a woman in silk changes that dynamic.

It is good. Dang.

So that OUGHT to be enough but if you are a wine nerd here are my WSET 3 notes:

EYES: Clear, medium plus, salmon pink 

NOSE: clean, medium intensity grapefruit, wet stones, nectarines and starch. Youthful.

TONGUE: dry, medium plus acid, medium alcohol+ (thank you Grenache for that 13.5%abv), medium plus body for a rosé, flavor intensity medium, then the grapefruits, cranberries, linens, white peach, white flower and honey perhaps? And just fucking delicious. Finish is medium. Not complex but mellow and stony. Picture the feeling you get turning a cool stone over and over in your palm and that is this. Delish.

Quality: GREAT. That’s not WSET just me. I’d think at least twenty but holy duckbills it is like 18. Drink now don’t age. Get next year’s when it is there. Andddddd YES. THIS IS A YES WINE JUST DRINK IT EVEN IN WINTER ESPECIALLY IN WINTER

Because funk noveau

6 Dec


Let’s shut our eyes, close our ears and sew our mouths shut and pretend Beaujolais Noveau were not such a THING because it leads to people overlook the rest of this righteous region. Then unstitch our lips, open eyes, and take the cotton out of our ear holes and take in Régnié.

This is Beaujolais CRU ma sweet babees.

From Regnié. 

I promise I’ll do a ten-part series on the 10 Beaujolais cru vineyards. They exist up north where the soil is granitic and the living is…well it involves a lot of time with the vines but then the living is party. From what I hear.

Let’s get down with this lovely specimen, purchased for a mere 25 from Domaine LA where the living is delicious.

2015 Julien Sunier Régnié Gamay

Lemme see, if I was at a bar and this wine was some cute lady who engaged me in convo because hey, we are two ladeees minding our own business (sorta) at a wine bar…well this is that lady:

Conventionally attractive, and decidedly feminine, wearing some almost arty but mostly Refinery 29-approved wardrobe, this woman drops some pop-culture references that make you want to dismiss her but then a random lesser known Joy Division song comes on and she knows it and still is perky on the surface but she has an open mind. She’s deeper than you gave her credit at first sip. I mean taste. I mean swallow I mean… 

She is green too. Like fresh. Not jaded. Fuck it this girl sorta gets me but like when I’m in a light-hearted mood.

Okay fine, but technically how is she? And her legs? Hahahahhaa. Bad joke I know moving on this WINE is medium ruby purply brew. 

On the nose it is rocks, cherries and dark grape Bubblicious NOT a joke I love that shit. 

On the tongue: dry as can be if grape Bubblicious could be unsweetened. Then comes cherries, raspberry cream soda maybe even…Dr. Pepper? Yes Dr. Pepper. And rocky darkness but barely. Just a hint of the dark side. 

The tannins are medium. They suck at your gums one moment then are like “hey kidding” we are silky fun! Slightly cedar-y fun. Christmas tree delight. 

The alcohol is decidedly not too high (just checked it is 12.5) so you are like hey there is a friendly bite to this! Just a nip of alcohol heat. 

Body I want to say is light from the effervescent nature of what I’m guessing is semi-carbonic maceration. That may be at play but as I did sense some tannins and alcohol it does not keep this from having some body. 

Normally the “medium” nature of many of this wine’s characteristics mighttttt make it far to normal, but like that gal at the bar it is not. It is light enough to banter with but deep enough to carry on with. And if the two of you keep talking well…that friendship may deepen.