The Rebellious French Village Making Wine Banned by the E.U

ON A SLOW SUNDAY NIGHT at Virginia’s La Table Provencale restaurant, sommelier Christian Borel unveils a prized bottle of Cuvée des Vignes d’Antan. In a hushed, conspiratorial tone, he calls it a “borderline mythical, quasi black-market wine.” It’s made from outlawed jacquez and herbemont grapes, he explains, and is produced by a coop of rebellious vignerons in the Ardéche region of southern France.

Filled with dark garnet-red liquid, the bottle is sealed with shrink wrap. Its label is stamped with vintage information and a line-drawing of a sultry wine goddess. All in all, it looks indistinguishable from something you’d buy at the supermarket.“This cuvée hails from the tiny, remote village of Beaumont, where it’s been perfected by five generations of local winemakers,” whispers Borel. For the past 84 years, the French government and, most recently, the European Union, has sought to eradicate Beaumont’s grapevines due to their American “blood.” Although the vines are French-American hybrids, they are more than 140 years old. Beaumont’s Association Mémoire de la Vigne makes just 7,000 bottles a year.

Swirled in a glass, the wine offers a floral, fruity aroma of blackberries and what Borel describes as “hues of violet and peony.” Letting it breathe, hints of “vanilla, mild spice, and licorice” emerge. A sip brings thick, pleasantly rounded flavors “backed by firm structure, a finish of supple, smoothed-out tannins …” and a taste that is uncannily “like its bouquet.”

In a word, it’s good

“This wine should be celebrated as others are,” says Hervé Garnier, the 66-year-old Association Mémoire de la Vigne president and founder. Garnier loves Beaumont, which is Continue reading “The Rebellious French Village Making Wine Banned by the E.U”

Try French Crémant As A Budget-Friendly Alternative To Champagne

Linda sipping
Linda sipping at wine tasting

Crémant has been around for ages, but now it appears to be having a moment. Sparkling wine’s popularity continues unabated and consumers are finding Crémant to be a terrific budget-friendly option that offers complexity and finesse [ . . . ]

Continue at FORBES: Try French Crémant As A Budget-Friendly Alternative To Champagne

Below are top selections of Cremant that won’t disappoint:

Robitaille’s Recommendations:

André et Mirielle Tissot, Crémant du Jura Rosé Extra Brut: This is a delicious wine from the Jura made by a very conscientious family of farmers. The blend of Pinot Noir, Trousseau, and Poulsard is a pure expression of the people and the place. Fresh, crisp, balanced with an almost ethereal texture, this wine is just heavenly.

Domaine Belluard, Les Perles du Mont Blanc: From the town of Ayse in the Savoie, this is a beautiful wine that absolutely shows the potential for Crémant wines in the French Alps. Dominique Belluard has been running the domaine since 1988, and nearly single-handedly rescued the Gringet grape from extinction. Gringet, an old indigenous varietal of the Alps, has very high natural acidity, making it perfect for crisp, bright sparkling wine. I always find a deep mineral core in this, and something beautifully aromatic, like preserved Meyer lemon.

Victoria James’ Recommendations:

Domaine François Mikulski and Jean-Noël Gagnard, Brut Grand Lys (2014) Both of these Crémant de Bourgogne selections are cult favorites and make great bubblies.

Domaine Mittnacht Freres Crémant d’Alsace

André & Michel Quenard, Vin de Savoie Crémant Extra Brut (NV)

Château de Brézé, (NV) and Château de Brézé, Rosé (NV) Crémant de Loire: Both the rosé and white Crémant that are search-worthy.

Other Excellent Selections:

Gratien & Meyer Brut and Rose: Founded by Champagne producer Alfred Gratien (of Champagne Alfred Gratien) in 1864. Winemaker Florence Hayes strives to craft sparkling wines with freshness and finesse.

Jaillance Cremant de Bordeaux, Cuvee de l’Abbaye: Bright and crisp. Made from merlot; it is wonderfully juicy and fresh with raspberry and cherry notes. Just delightful.

Pierre Sparr, Brut Reserve Cremant d’Alsace: Winemaker Alexandra Boudrot is careful to note that all fruit is handpicked, then gently pressed and left on the lees for a year minimum. Crisp and lemony with ripe apple notes.

9 Big Bottles of Impressively Good Rosé 

9 Big Bottles of Impressively Good Rosé

Has rosé had its day? Well, in short, no. Sales continued to skyrocket last summer, Instagram is awash in selfies of rosé-wielding partyers, and, what the heck, a chilled glass of dry pink wine is incredibly refreshing. But when I heard that the latest de rigueur accessory for superyacht buyers along the Mediterranean coast of France is a supersized wine refrigerator to accommodate supersized bottles of rosé, I did wonder whether we’d reached a rosé point of no return. (Hey, is that a shark? Should we … jump it?)

But, also, I get it. Rosé is a party wine; it’s fun in a bottle. The bigger the bottle, the more the fun. Plus, it’s one of the most aesthetically appealing wines, with its multifarious shades of pink, and a magnum (or bigger) only serves to show off its light-catching pizzazz. Statistics bear this out: In France, sales of magnums of rosé from Provence alone more than quintupled from 2005 to 2016, according to data from the Wines of Provence Council and IRI. (A related trend is the seaside Côte d’Azur penchant for serving a piscine de rosé. The term basically means “a swimming pool of rosé,” and that’s what it is: rosé poured into a goblet full of ice.)

A magnum, by the way, is the equivalent of two regular bottles. Not every winery contributing to the ocean of rosé now in the market has caught onto this trend, but more and more have. And even larger bottles are sometimes 
available: three-liter (usually called a Jeroboam), six-liter (Methuselah), or even 15-liter (Nebuchadnezzar—the equivalent of 20 regular bottles). You won’t have much luck finding them at the supermarket, but if you go to a good wine shop, ask; often they can be ordered.

Here are nine rosés that are both impressively good and nationally available in magnums. Seek them out. Throw a party. Why not? Summer is here.

NV Naveran Cava Brut Rosé ($35) 

The family behind this lively Spanish sparkler has been growing grapes for over a century. It’s made from Pinot Noir plus the local variety Parellada, grown in organically farmed vineyards high up in Spain’s Penedès region. [ . . . ]

Continue to read at FOOD & WINE: 9 Big Bottles of Impressively Good Rosé | Food & Wine

Wine quiz will pair you with a wine you’ll love

You probably remember a while back my post about the Boston based subscription company called Bright Cellars, a wine subscription company, my favorite of all of the monthly subscription boxes I receive. They sent me a complimentary box to review for the blog which I loved & we decided to partner up again (no brainer, I know)!  I will be the first to admit, I LOVE (red) wine but know very little about it – besides red/white and a little about the stereotypes of each kind (from my bar-tending career).This is where Bright Cellars comes in, it’s a company launched by two MIT graduates whose goal was to introduce “hidden gems” (non mainstream wines) to you each month, they know you will love them because they created a “quiz” which matches your taste preferences using a bright points algorithm GENIUS I know… I tell you these MIT kids think of everything! | Take the Quiz |