Sunday, September 9, 2012

A Sin of Omission Fixed

Many older Americans have been conditioned to think of France (when or if they even do) as:  Good food!  Couture fashion!  Perfumes!   I covered food, fashion in that the women can't choose decent shoes or hide their bra straps... Perfume never came up in our travels.

But I forgot one of the biggies -- wine!  Probably because California vintages have been very good and extremely affordable.

This one is for my nephew, a certified, professional sommelier, and our good friend "D" who greatly appreciates wines and is an amateur sommelier.

These are the wines served on Air France, BusinessZ class both ways.  They're listed by region.  I listed them word-for-word because the authorities know more than I ever will about wine -- and I am exceptionally lazy.  In professional circles this is called "laundry list writing." 

CHAMPAGNE - Nicolas Feuilatte Brut Chardonney 2005
This impessive cooperative, founded by Nicolas Feuillatte in 1976 benefits from the high quality and high volume of the appellation.  Today it is the largest producers' union (over 5,000 strong) and is the third-largest producer of champagne. 

This pure chardonney wine, cellar-aged for six years, offers a bouquet of white flowers and citrus.  It makes a refreshing aperitif with a light, creamy bubble.

LANGUEDOC Blanc - Limoux Terroir Oceanique 2008 Caves Sieur d'Arques
To the south of Carcasson, this vineyard, praised by the historian Livy, is the site of the world's oldest sparkling wine (1531.)  Limoux is an unlikely location, tucked between hills that edge the upper Aude Valley; however, it brings us gentle chardonnay wines raised in four distinct zones. 

The "terroir oceanique," located to the west, is swept by Atlantic winds, resulting in a remarkable fatty (fatty) wine with a fine harmony of flavor.   

BOURGOGNE Rouge - Cote-de-Beaume-Villages 2008 Joseph Drouhin
Producer Joseph Drouhin owns vineyards in Chablis (the original home of the company) as well as the Cote d'Or and the Cote Chalonnaise.  Renowned for its Clos des Mouches, (translates as caged flies) this winemaker also does a fine job with village appellations such as this light and elegant pinot noir. 

This wine, the product of grapes selected from among the finest village terroirs of the area, is cask-aged, with very little new wood.  It offers elegant notes of fruit.

BORDEAUX Rouge - Haut-Medoc Chateau de Villambis 2008 Cru Bourgeois
West of the junction between the Pauillac and Saint-Estephe vineyards lies the Cissac-Medoc vineyards, which shares their limestone gravel soils.  The Chateau de Villambis benefits from this favorable location, producing a mellow wine composed mainly of Merlot (55%.) 

This producer is unusual in that it employs about 100 mentally-handicapped workers as part of their program of social integration. 

My own wine tasting?  In Provence, icy-cold rose is the tipple of the season.  And I did my share toward keeping the vineyards in business.

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