FRENCH FAVORITES FOR SEASONAL CELEBRATIONS
Patrick Piuze "Val de Mer" Non Dosé NV - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BURGUNDY / Appellation: VIN DE FRANCE / Varietal(s): CHARDONNAY --- Patrick Piuze burst onto the US wine scene with his fabulous 2008 vintage wines. A Montreal native, he has since become somewhat of a rock star in Chablis since he arrived about a decade ago, working for Jean-Marc Brocard and Jean-Marie Guffens before starting his own label. Piuze works with purchased fruit, and his relationships with the growers of Chablis have allowed him access to choice parcels in all of the great sites, and he harvests by hand, yet another contributing factor to his spectacular wines. Val de Mer is Patrick Piuze’s second winery, co-owned with Moutard-Diligent. The winemaking is very similar to his own, eponymous line: hand-harvested grapes, spontaneous fermentations, identical élèvage (used barrels for 1er Cru and Grand Cru and tanks on entry-level). His sparkling wines are made from the estate vineyards located around the winery near the village of Tonnerre and aged entirely in stainless steel. There is no dosage added and they rest for a minimum of 15 months before being disgorged. Crafted in Chablis, this wine has the energy and complexity of a fine Blanc de Blancs Champagne. 100% Chardonnay from 25-year-old vines in Tonnerre, this wine is aged on its lees for about nine months, and that biscuity, bready, yeasty quality lends a nice creamy texture to the wine. Great weight and persistence, and a firm, chalky minerality courtesy of Chablis' famed Kimmeridgian limestone (soil that closely resembles that of Champagne, which is only 200 km north!), mingle with bright, abundant apple fruit and an elegant, lingering finish. A special-occasion-worthy sipper at Tuesday-pizza-night prices, this offers almost unparalleled bang for the buck! Delightful as an aperitif, this also screams to be paired with food. Serve alongside cheeses, Serrano ham, and olives or go full-on Julia Child and sip with some gravlax!
Chais Saint-Laurent "Verre en Vignon" Chinon AOC 2017
Country: FRANCE / Region: LOIRE VALLEY / Appellation: CHINON AOC / Varietal(s): CABERNET FRANC --- This wine is from the famed Chinon area, but made by a “petit négociant”. Chais Saint-Laurent is the second label of Foucher-Lebrun, the petit négociant specializing in the wines of the Loire Valley. Founded in the 1920s, the firm has been family-run the entire time, but has more recently added a partner to help expand their business internationally. This Chinon comes from the villages of Rivière, Beaumont-en-Véron and Savigny-en-Véron. 100% cabernet franc, this ruby red gem balances lively acidity, lovely red berry fruit, and soft tannins. Oak treatment is subtle, with the majority of the wine is aged in used barriques and the balance in tank. Clean and refreshing with good length on the finish, this bursts with flavors of raspberry and delicate green pepper. A perennial value, this works wonderfully with dishes like grilled Arctic char, roast pork, or bison burgers with goat cheese.
Château Lamothe de Haux Côtes de Bordeaux AOC 2016 - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BORDEAUX / Appellation: CÔTES DE BORDEAUX AOC / Varietal(s): MERLOT+CABERNET SAUVIGNON+CABERNET FRANC --- Located southwest of Bordeaux in the commune of Haux, Château Lamothe has produced estate-bottled wine since the 16th century. The estate was passed down matrilineally for four generations and has been run by the Néel-Chombart family since 1956. Over the past 60 years they have amassed prime vineyard land which now spans 80 hectares of clay and limestone slopes on the Right Bank. In addition, they have restored the historic château (featured on all Lamothe labels) and renovated the 17th century limestone quarries into underground cellars ideal for ageing. Vigneron Damien Chombart believes that sustainable farming extends beyond stewardship of the land into a way that enhances the life of farmers and communities as well. In that spirit, the Néel-Chombart family works to achieve optimal soil health and also encourages biodiversity in the vineyards by implementing a variety of methods to protect flora, birds, beetles and earthworms. (The presence of “bee hotels” on the property provides a safe haven for wild bees and other pollinators to nest and seek protection from bad weather.) In conjunction with these efforts, the family has adopted a biological treatment system for wastewater management. This delightful red is a traditional blend of merlot, cabernet sauvignon, and cabernet franc, featuring juicy black fruits (blackberry, currant, and plum), ripe tannins, and a touch of spice and forest floor. Great with creamy mushroom meatloaf or roast beef.
Cidrerie Manoir du Kinkiz Cornouaille AOP NV - SUSTAINABLY GROWN
Country: FRANCE / Region: BRITTANY / Appellation: CORNOUAILLE AOP / Varietal(s): N/A --- Brittany, in northwestern France, has long been renowned for its cider. The name Brittany (Bretagne) was used by Celts who came from Great Britain and resettled in the area. The dramatic coastline of Brittany's peninsula is lined with jagged granite cliffs, while further inland, the landscape softens to gentle rolling hills and fertile soil. This topography, the cool maritime climate, plus abundant rain, combine to make Brittany an ideal place to cultivate apples, with the earliest traces of cider production dating back to the Romans. However, cider as we know it now didn’t become a staple until the Middle Ages. Hervé Seznec has devoted his life to producing great ciders from an early age. At 19, he replanted his 30 hectares (74 acres) of orchards with nearly 25 varieties of apples, driven by an intense desire to make naturally sparkling, high quality cider from his own orchards. All the work at Manoir du Kinkiz is done with the utmost respect for nature. They use no herbicides in their orchards, and they allow indigenous plants and grass to grow between the trees. From the ladybugs that rid their orchards of insects, to the almost mystical darkness of the cellars where their AOP Cornouaille cider is aged in huge oak casks, Kinkiz is devoted to honoring the hands-on, artisan production methods of their ancestors. Situated on the southern fork of Brittany’s peninsula, Cornouaille is named for the Celtic tribe, Cornovii, which translates to “the peninsula people”. AOP rules include restrictions on the varieties of apples allowed to be used, and strict controls over the method of production. The resulting cider has a deep golden color, and is intensely aromatic. It is rich, mildly bitter-sweet, with a refreshing finish on the palate. Rustic and a touch funky, this pairs nicely with smoky split pea and ham soup, or sharp Vermont cheddar!