So I am in the process of studying for my certification for a French Wine Scholar. Last week we had an awesome 2 days in the classroom with teacher Lisa Airey.
It was so very informative. Even though I am a Certified Sommelier, this course is really getting into depth with the wine regions and the wines of France. And the best part of the course, naturally, is the homework… we had some amazing wines. I’m going to try and touch on a few that could suit any palate.
One of my favorite white wines of the entire weekend was this Arthur Metz Riesling from the Alsace region of France. Alsace borders Germany and over the past 1000 years, ownership has gone back and forth between France and Germany. It has belonged to France since just after the Second World War but they still have many customs from Germany, starting with the labeling of their wine bottles. It always says the grape varietal, while the majority of France labels by region. This 2016 Riesling had wonderful crisp acidity and the gorgeous flavors of pears and honey complimented with a slight twinge of sweetness. Excellent wine for spicy food, Thai cuisine and at just $20 a bottle, it’s a great value.
There’s nothing like Champagne in the morning and especially when it’s this Pol Roger Rose Champagne made 60% from Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay and then 15% still wine of Pinot Noir is added before the second fermentation. This Champagne is also aged 7 years before release and we enjoyed the 2002 vintage. It was spectacular. Delicate and flavorful with hints of strawberry and vanilla. It’s a treat wine, at $102 a bottle, but nothing says special occasion quite like Champagne.
I absolutely adore French red wine, especially when it comes from Bourgogne, or what’s more widely known as the Burgundy region of France. So Burgundian red wines are Pinot Noir, and I love Pinot Noir. The wine I am going to tell you about is the one on the right i. The above picture, which is the Bouchard Nuits Saint Georges, located in the acclaimed Cotes de Nuits area of Burgundy.
The vinification takes place in wooden vats, which is the wine-making process. Then it’s aged for another 16 months in oak barrels. But 80% of the barrels are older, with only 20% being aged in new oak. What does that mean to you? Wood does not over-power the wine and the flavors of the grape shine through. You can cellar this wine for up to 10 years but it is delicious to drink now. This Pinot has those yummy cherry flavors and Pinot Noir goes with just about anything you serve. I also like it all on its own, but it’s a great wine for comfort foods as well, like roast beef, wild game meats and stews.
And now for my wine of the week…
Chateauneuf du Pape is the quintessential French wine. Translated, it means “Castle of the Pope” and Popes have been loving this wine since the 1300’s! This wine is 62% Grenache, 16% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre with rhe remainder Cinsault. It’s a heavenly blend, we had the 2012 vintage and this wine ages very well so it can be cellared. A bit high on alcohol side, at 15%, so letting it breathe for 30 to 45 minutes before serving is a great idea. It’s also very well priced at $60, which is very reasonable for Châteauneuf du Pape.
The thing I love most about wine, is that the learning never stops.
Till next wee, Cheers