CHAMPAGNE TO RING IN THE NEW YEAR! (AND OTHER DELIGHTFUL FRENCH WINES!)
Taste four fantastic French wines, including two wonderful Champagnes... to get you ready to toast the New Year. And don't feel shy about having sparkling wine throughout your New Year celebration meal, they will make your food (and you) sing!
Baron Dauvergne Champagne AOC Grand Cru Oeil de Perdrix NV
Country: FRANCE / Region: CHAMPAGNE / Appellation: CHAMPAGNE AOC / Varietal(s): PINOT NOIR+CHARDONNAY --- Looking for Champagne to welcome in the New Year? This one’s a beauty, grower-produced from the village of Bouzy in Montagne de Reims. In this region only 17 of the 300 “communes” carry the appellation of Grand Cru, and Baron Dauvergne has been among this prestigious number since 1895. The vineyards are entirely south-facing, with a base of pure limestone, a hallmark of the unique terroir of great Champagnes. Hand-harvested pinot noir with a touch of chardonnay, the oeil de perdrix nomenclature, meaning "eye of the partridge", indicates that this wine has a touch of rosé color. This is allegedly the color of a partridge's eye and historically denoted a bit of sweetness in the wine as well, but has since come to include Brut (dry) wines. This Champagne is dry and superbly elegant, shimmering with the faintest hint of salmon color, and light on its feet with clarity and precision. Perfect as an aperitif, to ring in the New Year, or serve it alongside smoked meats and hard cheeses!
Chapuy Champagne AOC Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Réserve Brut NV
Country: FRANCE / Region: CHAMPAGNE / Appellation: CHAMPAGNE AOC / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY--- From the renowned Côte des Blancs sub-region, known for wines of great delicacy, Chapuy is located in the Grand Cru village of Oger in the department of Marne, an area that covers 8,000 acres with east-facing slopes that are planted almost exclusively with chardonnay. The Chapuy family has been growing wine in the Champagne region for more than 100 years. In 1952, the mayor of Oger, Serge Chapuy, started bottling under his own name, and Chapuy was founded. Still a family affair, Serge's granddaughters Elodie and Aurore now run the estate with Aurore looking after the vineyards and winemaking and Elodie taking care of the export markets. 100% chardonnay, this is a light gold in color, with delicate aromas of brioche and pastry that yield to subtle floral notes. Sleek, with bright acidity and refined flavors of poached white peach, candied lemon zest, pastry dough, and spice, it boasts a creamy texture, and loads of lingering minerality on the finish. Another great choice for toasting, or for serving alongside white fish with lemon sauce or Coquilles St. Jacques.
M&S Ogier d'Ampuis Viognier de Rosine Collines Rhodaniennes IGP 2012
Country: FRANCE / Region: RHÔNE VALLEY / Appellation: COLLINES RHODANIENNES IGP / Varietal(s): VIOGNIER --- Over the last ten years, Stéphane Ogier has earned a name for himself as one of the most respected winemakers in the Northern Rhone. His passion for the vineyards and winemaking combined with his youthful energy have resulted in the estate's rise to cult status, with both his syrah and viognier standing among the best offerings of the region. The La Rosine vineyard is situated between Côte-Rôtie and Condrieu. This barrel-fermented viognier is a beautiful, elegantly restrained rendition of this iconic grape variety. High-toned, with delicate floral elements, it boasts wonderful complexity and length on the palate. Dramatic aromas of apricot, citrus, and pineapple are supported by racy acidity and notes of white peach and honeysuckle on the palate. Opulent in texture, while still being refreshing, it's great by itself, or with creamy baked leeks with garlic, thyme, and Parmigiano.
Château Cantemerle "Les Allées de Cantemerle" Haut-Médoc AOC 2008
Country: FRANCE / Region: BORDEAUX / Appellation: HAUT-MÉDOC AOC/ Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+CABERNET FRANC --- The first evidence of winemaking on this estate dates back to 1354, with many periods of upheaval, reconstruction, modernization and rejuvenation since. Les Allées is the winery's second label, offering a more affordable opportunity to enjoy classic Bordeaux. This 2008 is classic yet approachable, with mellow tannins courtesy of mature oak, and cedar and earthy notes. Softer, more abundant fruit of black cherry and cassis from the merlot are accentuated by virtue of the vintage. Give this an hour to breathe a bit, then enjoy alongside an herb-rubbed lamb roast or black beans stewed with onions, peppers and thyme.