jamie goode's wine blog: In Paris, with French wines

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

In Paris, with French wines

I’m currently in Paris, doing some tasting with Sopexa looking at the Cabernet Franc project wines. It’s an exciting initiative that has been going for a couple of years, with a view to helping growers make red Loire wines that appeal to the UK market while still possessing a sense of place.

The tasters? Sam Harrop MW, who is providing technical/winemaking help with this project, Sam Caporn, Jim Budd and myself. Today we looked at around 160 wines between us, trying to identify those that could be used as ‘ambassadors’ of Cabernet Franc. There were some really attractive wines, typically showing focused bright dark fruit and just a bit of grippy tannin.

We finished tasting just after 4 pm, and there was time for some wandering. I walked down to Caves Auge on Boulevard Haussmann, which is a remarkable wine shop specializing in natural wines. It’s cluttered and old fashioned, but has a mouthwatering array of things that are hard to find in the UK. I controlled myself and just bought three bottles: Thierry Puzelat’s In Côt We Trust 2005 Touraine, Domaine Richaud Cairanne 2006 and Alain & Julien Guillot’s Mâcon Cruzille Clos des Vignes du Maynes 2006.

This evening we dined at a lovely restaurant, Maison de Campagne (rue Pierre Demours). Decor was a bit chintzy, but the food was fantastic, and best of all they had a lovely, well priced wine list, that reinforced the fact that France makes the world’s most interesting wines, in a diverse array of styles. Here are my notes (all these wines were well under 30 Euros):

Domaine Vincent Carênne Vouvray ‘Le Peu Morier’ 2005 Loire, France
A fantastic Vouvray that is just off-dry. Lovely mineralic nose with some fruit richness. The palate is richly textured with lovely herb and citrus fruit notes, and just a bit of Chenin funk. Finishes really mineralic. 92/100

Stéphane Tissot ‘Les Bruyères’ Chardonnay 2004 Arbois, Jura, France
The proprietor asked whether we knew this wine when we selected it – it was a warning that it isn’t the sort of thing to everyone’s taste. But I think it’s fantastic. Remarkable nose with smoky, minerally, flinty notes as well as the toastiness and richness you might expect from ripe Chardonnay. The palate is rich but bone dry, with more of those reductive notes and lovely minerality. Fantastic stuff. 93/100

Domaine Richaud Cairanne 2006 Côtes de Rhône Villages, France
A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvèdre and Carignan. Deep coloured, with a dark, spicy, meaty nose that is intense and quite savoury. The palate is dense with bold sweet fruit countered by spicy, earthy savouriness. A powerful, intense win of real appeal. 92/100

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At 10:30 AM, Anonymous Andrew@surf4wine said...

Interested to read your notes on the Cairanne. I've been a big fan of the wines from Domaine Richaud for a few years now. Are you going to be at the Caves Pyrene tasting next week - might bump into you there.

At 10:39 PM, Anonymous Alex Lake said...

Interesting to hear your comments on Jura Chardonnay - we had a bottle of this in Tignes last week and were extremely impressed. Must try and get some here. I know that The Sampler have some.

Is the Caves Pyrene tasting open to riff-raff like me?

At 12:19 AM, Anonymous Doug said...

Hi Alex - you're not riff-raff - do pop along to our tasting if you can make it!

Andrew, look forward to seeing you there.

I think the Bruyere Chardonnay is at the Sampler (Genesis are the agents by the way - as far as I know). Lovely wine, quite modern and perhaps atypical of Jura, but fine all the same.

Really like the Richaud range - very garrigue-y.

Tried a bottle of the Macon-Cruzille in Paris also. Weirdly wonderful - like oatmeal shot with electric lemon juice. It smells of white truffle if you let it warm up in the glass.

Went to Wines of Portugal tasting today. Luis Pato wines were just delicious.

At 7:57 AM, Blogger gare aux goûts said...

Why 'mineralic' and not simply 'mineral'?


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