This was a two-part wine tasting spread out over two weeks. Great Wines & Spirits likes to do an Affordable French tasting, and this season they had two dozen. I'm just going to keep the whites together and the reds together rather than separate them by date. As usual with French wines, there's not always a website for the producer. So I try to link to a distributor, retailer, or blog, something that has any useful information. Sometimes the only information isn't available in English.
I should note yet again for the record that I do not speak French beyond basic conversation/pleasantries, nor do I have any formal training in that language, but I've picked up a lot over the years. Malheureusement, je parle le français comme une vache espagnole. I try hard to use the proper spellings for all of these different châteaux et vins. (If any other bloggers want help with displaying custom European characters, drop a note in the comments and I'll do a tutorial post later. Those are easy; the Greek and Eastern European/Russian characters generally require the person on the viewing end to have their browser configured properly.) Since most of my French vocabulary revolves around food and wine, I can usually muddle through websites or recipes without too much trouble, though browsing for 24 French wines in a row wore me out. In Italian, the longer I go the more comfortable I get, but with German and French I start getting a headache after a while. C'est la vie.
By the way, if you're looking for something pricier, Slate has a good story on a writer's quest for a certain $700 White Burgundy.
Wine 1: 2005 La Vieille Ferme Blanc. Côtes du Luberon, France. An organic wine made of Grenache Blanc, Roussanne and Ugni Blanc. The name means "The Old Farm". Fruity nose of nectarines. Bright and crisp flavor yet pleasantly dry. Great bargain at $9, also available in a magnum for around $15.
Wine 2: 2005 Château Trocard Sauvignon Blanc. Bordeaux, France. 80% Sauvignon Blanc and 20% Semillon. Fairly closed on the nose. A fruity flavor, yet slightly bitter. I had mixed reactions to this wine, would prefer to have it with food. $12.
Wine 3: 2004 Kuentz-Bas Pinot Blanc. Alsace, France. Very light nose, almost bubbly crispness. Tart and acidic. $16.
Wine 4: 2001 Lycée Viticole Blanc. Beaune, Burgundy, France. A fun white Burgundy with popcorn and cotton candy nose, very smooth and easy drinking. A short finish. This wine and the Lycée Viticole Rouge below are both produced at a French wine school there in Burgundy. The site linked is in French; there's not much English language information about these wines. $30.
Wine 5: 2002 Jean Thevenet Domaine de la Bongran. Mâconnais, Burgundy, France. Solid flavors, with some green apple present. Medium tartness with good balance. Might benefit from a little time to open up, but I enjoyed it as is. $35.
Wine 6: 2004 Félines Jourdan Picpoul de Pinet. Coteaux du Languedoc, France. Made of 100% Picpoul de Pinet. Lemon and peach aroma, more peach flavor. Smooth, not tart with a short finish. Very pleasant. $14.
Wine 7: 2005 Château Graville-Lacoste. Graves, Bordeaux, France. 80% Semillon, 15% Sauvignon Blanc, and 5% Muscadelle. Harsh aroma, but with a creamy mouth feel and mild flavors. Unusual wine. $18.
Wine 8: 2005 Earl Delaille Domaine Salvard Cheverny. Loire, France. Citric, grapefruit aroma with matching flavors. Medium tartness, a little thin. $15.
Wine 9: 2005 2005 "Les Charmes" Macon-Lugny. Mâconnais, Burgundy, France. A lovely unoaked Chardonnay, a little creamy a little ash, well balanced. Excellent bargain White Burgundy. $13.
Wine 10: 2004 Red Bicyclette Chardonnay. Limoux, France. Round and creamy with decent oak notes, some pear flavors on the finish. Good everyday white. $11.
Wine 11: 2004 Domaine Canto Perdrix Tavel Rosé. Provence, France. I am a lover of dry rosés but I wasn't impressed with this one. There are some very mild berry flavors, but it's ultimately watery and thin. Needs a lot more body, and I'm not talking about a fruit bomb. $20.
Wine 12: NV Verget "Au Fil du Temps" Vin de Table Francais. Burgundy, France. Jammy, Port-style nose. Overripe strawberry flavors dominate. Surprisingly smooth, though. $11.
Wine 13: 2000 Cote de Beaune Domaine du Lycée Viticole. Beaune, Burgundy, France. Another entry from the French winemaking school. Mild cherry aromas with a hint of meat. Light and delicate, through a few tannins remain. Melts in your mouth. I picked up a bottle of this, more detailed notes will follow in a future post. $23.
Wine 14: 2004 Clos La Coutale. Cahors, France. 70% Malbec, 15% Merlot, and 15% Tannat. The third Cahors wine that I've had, that oddball region of France that's the last bastion of majority Malbec production. This one has a mild nose, with medium tannins and no big surprises on the palate. I'd be willing to give it a chance with another year or two of aging. $15.
Wine 15: 2003 Château Trocard Bordeaux Superieur. Bordeaux, France. Roast beef aroma, melting tannins. Mild and easy drinking. Good claret-style bargain. $12.
Wine 16: 2004 Château Filet Rouge. Fronsac, Bordeaux, France. Right bank Merlot with a mild nose, medium tannins. Long finish where the plum skin flavors come through. $20.
Wine 17: 2003 Château Moulin de Lavaud. Lalande de Pomerol, Bordeaux, France. Slightly hot on the nose, but with a wonderful black pepper aroma and black cherry flavors. $33.
Wine 18: NV Roncier Rouge. Burgundy, France. Meat and strawberries on the nose, very peppery, a little tangy. I try a bottle or two of this every year, and it's always a little different. $10.
Wine 19: 2005 La Vieille Ferme Rouge. Côtes du Ventoux, France. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Cinsault. Really enjoyable--black cherry aromas, flavors continue on the palate but are not jammy. Delicate and incredible for the price. $9.
Wine 20: 2003 Domaine de Gournier Merlot. Vin de Pays Cevennes, France. Not much on the nose, slightly hot aroma with some plum flavors. $13.
Wine 21: 2004 Maison Rivière Menuts. Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux. 75% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc. Some notes of leather and cherry on the nose, with a firm structure, medium tannins, and a short finish. I picked up a bottle, so more details will follow in a later post. $15.
Wine 22: 2000 Château de Francs. Côtes de Francs, Bordeaux, France. Very earthy aroma, tangy flavor. Difficult to pin down characteristics. Needs breathing time. $25.
Wine 23: NV Vin de Pays de la Petite Crau. Bouches-du-Rhone, France. A French table wine with mild cherry flavor, firm tannins, and a bright fruit mouthfeel. $13.
Wine 24: 2005 Cuvée Richette. Côtes du Rhône, France. Couldn't find any information on this wine. It's a decent CDR with a mild fruit flavor, medium tannins, and a good overall balance. $15.