Archive for the ‘France’ Category

Spitting: Optionalcorbieres

Abbotts & Delaunay Corbières Reserve Syrah/Grenache/Mourvedre 2011

Style: Full bodied red

Country: France

Region: Languedoc-Roussillon  

 Overview: There is no question that it can be daunting for a person who has not been schooled in French wine to know what they are buying just by looking at the label. Take Burgundy labels for instance, first you need to understand the acronym A.O.C, Appellation d’origine controlee, which essentially mean controlled designation of origin. So for Burgundy to have A.O.C on the label the grapes need to be Chardonnay or Pinot Noir. You then have terms such Bourgogne, Village, Premier Cru & Grand Cru and Sub-Regions such as Hautes-Côtes de Beaune, Hautes-Côtes de Nuits and Mâcon-Villages.  For most wine drinkers outside of France a wine labelled as ‘Beaune Premier Cru Appellation Beaune Premier Cru controlee’ could well mean that the grapes were grown by a one legged goat next door to a one-hundred year-old snail and made by a wizard. Which brings me to this wine and the Languedoc-Roussillon region. This region seems to be shadowed by other French Regions such as Burgundy, Champagne, Bordeaux and Rhone and because of this they have been forced to implement clever ‘marketing’, a term that French wine producers do not believe in. This has seen more stylish and simplistic labelling put forward by the Languedoc-Roussillon region, the biggest wine producing region in the world.
This wine comes from the Corbières region within Languedoc-Roussillon which is renowned for their red wines. The labelling is simple, readable and elegant. Combined with the premium, shoulder style bottle this wine presents as a wine that should sell for much more than the asking price.

Tasting note: A sexy, spicy blend of Syrah (Shiraz), Grenache and Mourvedre. Very aromatic with notes of strawberry and white pepper with underlying hints of smokey ham bone. Silky, soft palate with robust characters of plum and cedar complimenting the elegant strawberry and spice. Finishes velvety, thanks to the Grenache goodness.

Final Say: I cannot confirm or deny whether this wine was made from grapes grown by a one legged goat (it wasn’t on the label) but I can say that it is bloody good value. $23-$25 a bottle

Score: 16.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on

Château Vieux Manor Bordeaux 2009Manor

Style: Mid-full bodied red

Region: Bordeaux, France

Tasting note: A nose that is typically earthy with spicy aged notes mingling with truffle. Fruit characters of blackcurrant and delicate strawberry with notes of cinnamon on the palate, granted length by a mouth-coating texture.

Final Say: A good, current drinking Bordeaux; forget cellaring. $14.99 a bottle.

Score: 15.5 out of 20

TWSSociety Premium Selection Barton & Guestier Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Style: Dry white

Region: Côtes de Gascogne, France

Tasting note: A pungent nose of cut grass and dare I say, cat’s piss (trust me, somehow it’s a good thing). The palate is truly a cut above the Savvy Blancs that have now flooded our retail shelves. No cloying, tropical sweetness this with is clean, crisp lemon with mouth-watering herbaceous notes and savoury spice.

Final Say: A slurpable wine that will also match with simple seafood dishes. $16.99 a bottle.

Score: 17 out of 20

Domaine Pinchinat Côtes de Provence Blanc 2011DomPin

Style: Dry white

Region: Provence, France

Tasting note: The nose is a delicate combination of straw, candied pineapple and crushed herbs. The palate is surprisingly robust compared to the nose, with flavours of apricot and sandalwood, and a lemon pith mouthfeel. A touch of oiliness on the finish completes this wine.

Final Say: A fantastic white blend that makes me wish I was at a quiet beach, just me and this bottle. $27.99 a bottle.

Score: 17 out of 20

Spitting: OptionalAL SE

André Lurton Château Tour De Ségur Lussac-Saint-Émilion 2010

Vintage: 2010

Style: Full-bodied red

Country: France

Region: Bordeaux


Overview Bordeaux reds are among the some of the most sort after wines in the world. Steeped in history and mystique deciphering the label is half the battle with drinkers unfamiliar with the region. I still struggle to remember what’s grown on the left-bank and right-bank, which cities sit on the left and right banks, which vintage was a good vintage and how the classification system works. It’s enough to drive a man to drink. With all the hype surrounding first growth producers such as Château Lafite-Rothschild, Château Margaux and Château Mouton Rothschild it’s easy to believe that to drink good Bordeaux you need to sell a child and half your organs to do so but there are some great value Bordeaux’s floating around. This wine falls into this category and comes from Saint-Émilion on the right bank which uses predominantly Merlot with just a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon.


Tasting note: Typical nose of cassis, raspberry, blackcurrant and coffee. The palate is youthful and approachable but underneath the primary fruit; plum and blackberry, there is more complex earthy, truffle characters as well as the hallmark leafy tones and great length.


Final Say: The major wine critics won’t score this wine 1000 out of 100 like the wines from the above mentioned first growth producers but it is supremely enjoyable nonetheless. $30 a bottle


Score: 17 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on

Spitting: OptionalLRC

Louis Roederer Cristal Champagne 2005

Vintage: 2005

Style: Champagne

Country: France

Region: Champagne


Overview: The Champagne house Louis Roederer first started making Cristal when Tsar Alexander II decided in 1876 that he wanted his champagne to be bottled in crystal, as you do. Countless times I’ve wished for all my beverages to be packaged in crystal. Sadly it is not 1876 and I’m not a Tsar (I realize this may come as a bit of a shock). Louis Roederer granted the Tsar his wish by creating Louis Roederer Cristal which was bottled in a clear, crystal bottle. The Cristal concept lives one however these days it’s bottled in glass, not crystal, cheapskates. I’ve heard that the Tsar requested the bottle to be clear so that bombs couldn’t be hidden in his champagne but I can’t state that this as fact, I think it’s probably one of those Wikipedia facts that someone has taken too seriously. Lead poisoning was obviously off the Tsar’s radar. Anyway, this is a proper ‘special occasion wine’. Buy a bottle, pop it in the fridge and you’ll find that everything becomes an event worthy of a sip of Cristal.


Tasting note: A yeasty nose with aromas of brioche and underlying, elegant grapefruit. A fine, mouth-tingling bead that delivers bready characters along with stone fruit and citrus. The palate is perfect balance between rich and sophisticated. It’s remarkably fresh, showing no signs of age despite being almost 9 years old.


Final Say: Forget about crystal, I’ll just have mine delivered via I.V. Sells for between $285 and $300 a bottle.


Score: 19.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on


Spitting: Optional

M. Chapoutier La Ciboise Blanc 2011

Vintage: 2011

Style: Un-oaked White

Country: France

Region: Luberon, Rhone Valley


Overview: This white from Luberon in the Rhone Valley is a ménage à trois of Grenache Blanc, Vermentino and Ugni Blanc (also known as Trebbiano). Sounds sexy, huh? Well it is, especially for the price. As with many European wines this wine displays great texture. This texture is often obtained by ‘lees’ contact. Lees is the dead yeast and other particles that drop out of solution from the wine after fermentation. There are two types of lees, Gross Lees (yucky, as the name suggests and is sometimes known and Heavy Lees) and Clean or Fine Lees. Clean or Fine Lees can be used to stir through white wine to give the wine texture and a complex nuttiness. This process is known as Lees Stirring (der) or Sur lie which means ‘on lees’.

So there you have it, not only does yeast excrete in your wine to create alcohol (its far more complex than that but I’ll leave you with that image) but after its dead its corpse can be stirred through it by a sadistic winemaker. Poor yeast.


Tasting note: Elegant aromas of talc, white flowers and almonds. A refined, classy palate including characters of white nectarine, talc and jasmine. Finishes with clean acidity. The texture added via lees stirring makes this a great food wine.


Final Say: $13 bucks a bottle! Need I say more?

Score: 17.5 out of 20

For any questions or feedback feel free to email me on