In a recent post discussing carbonic maceration, I briefly mentioned a bit about Beaujolais. And in my Wine Regions of Burgundy post I completely ignored Beaujolias, which is, in fact, the southern-most portion of Burgundy. Yet, so different is Beaujolias from its northern neighbor that few associate the two together. And even textbooks—from the WSET to Karen MacNeil’s Wine Bible—break the two areas out into separate chapters. So, let’s dive in and find out what exactly makes Beaujolais so unique.
During service a customer asks you to recommend an Australian alternative for his two favorite French wines. Recommend alternative wines that have a similar style, quality, and price. You must account for the factors in the vineyard and winery which make your choices appropriate. Also explain any important differences in the wine.
Before reading on, make sure to read through Part 1 of this short answer quiz, in which the wine in question was Mersault Premier Cru. The second wine our fancy client is asking about: Margaux. So, let’s move to the southwestern portion of France to…Bordeaux.
It’s not often I review foreign wine, so when I do I always like to insert a little bit about the region. This Gris de Gris hails from France’s Languedoc-Roussilon AOC, which spans along the Mediterranean coastline, from the southern border with Spain up toward France’s region of Provence. In total, the AOC has about 700,000 acres planted to vines and is one of the biggest wine-producing regions in the world.
The terrain and climate characteristics are similar to that of the Southern Rhône region (located to the north and slightly west of Languedoc) and Provence (located to the north, arching toward the east along the Mediterranean Ocean.) Thus, the whole of the Languedoc-Roussillon region produces a wide variety of grapes and wine styles — from your classic “Bordeaux” varietals (Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc) to your typical Rhône varietals (Grenache, Syrah, Viognier).
There are several appellations and sub-appellations within Languedoc that, for the most part, were originally separated based more on politics than wine-related reasons — though this seems to be changing even as we speak. However, a lot of wines from this area will still simply state “Languedoc” without any other regional or varietal information on the bottle.
On the whole, the Languedoc regions seems to be –what? — undiscovered or under-appreciated? There are quality wines coming from the AOC that are a lot more affordable than some of France’s other notable regions. I guess, for now, let’s not question it, let’s just go with it. And let’s go with it with this Gris de Gris.
This past week I featured a series of California Rhone wines in conjunction with my recently published article for Edible Communities entitled Where we Rhone. This article explores the history of Rhone varietals in California and features both iconic and up-and-coming local Rhone-centric winemakers. I’ve also included a brief Rhone wine 101 sidebar, explaining the French origin and breaking down the most common varietals. Have a read, brush up on your Rhone wine 101, and then check out a few individual California Rhone wine reviews featured here on my site.
Crémant de Bourgogne – it’s the the designation for the sparkling wines of Burgundy, which is primarily known for single-varietal, still wines only. Here, in this self-proclaimed bubbly “oasis” winemakers can, shall we say, “break the rules,” and combine various varietals to create sparkling wines. Bonus points: because these sparkles aren’t technically Champagne (though most are, indeed, made in the methode champenoise), these come at a much more affordable price point (typically between $15 and $30). So pop the cork in celebration of — what day of the week is it that you’re reading this? Yes, cheers to a random day of the week!