Drink This! Frenching All Day

I can’t stop drinking French wine.

Six months ago I made the decision to “brush up” on my Frenchy wine facts.  Been a while since I needed to put a buyer in a comfort mode, and get them ready to accept European wines.  That is the switch you need to turn on in your brain.  YOU CAN UNDERSTAND THIS AND ENJOY IT AT THE SAME TIME.  I have seen the shift in my friends that read this blog; they are risky now with wine, open to a different palette experience, and wanting information.  I don’t buy a car without a review or knowing and liking the maker, so why is this different.  By the way, I know nothing about cars.

This blog is not sponsored by my own wines; I went and purchased this lovely with my own dollars.  I wanted chardonnay; I love the stuff.  I was going to eat sushi, relax, and celebrate a friend’s birthday.  I wanted light citrus flavors, roundness at the end, and structural acidity.

This Saint Veran, Domaine Delaye Alain,  “Les Pierres Grises” got to me, and even more than that.  A little review…

  • Saint Veran is the area that this wine is from in Burgundy.  Burgundy is a wine viticultural area in France.  Saint Veran ONLY makes chardonnay – so what does that tell you.  Focus!  Focus on making the best damn chardonnay you can get.
  • Who is this guy Alain?Domaine Delaye Alain is the producer.  Remember; the producer is the guy you are going to get hooked on.  European wines are about the place, and the people who make them.  This is a tiny little family estate going back to the 18th century.  They are known in this area as authentic, traditional, with an eye on modernization.  I’m looking for a man like this…
  • “Les Pierres Grises” – the vineyard name.  A little cooler of an area – Pouilly Fuisse is right around the corner and much warmer.  This vineyard will give you richness, but retains a pretty minerality.  This wine does not see oak, yet rounds itself out in the end.  Brightness will give you some tingles, but the grape itself will supply weight to the palette and balance to the entire wine.

Where do you get this stuff – I picked up this bottle at Angelbeck’s in Upper Montclair.  I grabbed it right out of the cold box; I love that.  Ask for Ann; she bought this store a few years back and has some nice, out of the way selections.  Her whole family is there including the sons – love that too.

  • Angel beck’s Fine Wines Spirits, and Beer– 621 Valley Road, Upper Montclair, NJ
    • Side note; if you are a beer freak GO HERE!  Ann’s son is a wiz…

What should you have in your purse – Around $15 to $17 dollars.  I think I paid $17.  Saint Veran is always a bargain.  Can’t go wrong; this viticultural area will always over deliver.

What do I do with it – Drink it on it’s own.  A friend is looking for her “Get me out of my Sauvignon Blanc” rut.  Here you go Mama G!  I paired it with sashimi – but not to fatty.  This wine is just enough to sing the solo.

All About the French – Part 1

Let’s get something out of the way – wine is about what YOU like.  It is what warms your cheeks, makes you sexy, tells you stories, creates the mystery.  I WILL NEVER TELL YOU WHAT TO DO OR DRINK; in wine or in life.  Unless, of course, you want me to…

But yeah, the French got it going on.  When we discuss wines from European countries, or “Old World” wines (France, Spain, Italy, Portugal, Austria, Greece, Germany) we see a shift in wine perception.  Put down your bottle of Barefoot because we are going in a different direction.  I think of my friend Anton, and the fact that at 35, he still goes to his mother’s house every Sunday for dinner; tradition people! (and I LOVE Anton)   There is something to be said for the way things are made year after year after year.  And sorry for the crack about Barefoot; continue to enjoy and ignore my humor.  It was the best example I could think of to show you that you will not see an opulent style of fruit in Old World wines.  There is an elegance, refinement, a earthiness (yes)…..and, well, it’s just more interesting quite frankly.

There are areas, producers, winemaking styles, wars of the winemaking families; where shall I begin?  Instead of living in confusion, I thought I would give you my impressions of a wine I tried at Legal Seafoods.  I was wondering if anyone ordered this wine by the grape or just for the fact it is a French white.  It IS the chardonnay grape.  Easy right?  You have had this, and I’m sure, you have liked this.  However, here is the curve ball.  If you like that butterscotchy, sugared pear and red apple flavor in chardonnay, you are out of luck.  The first thing that hit my palate was the minerality.  I best describe minerality in this way; ever walk through a stream?  You wouldn’t necessarily drink the water, but there is something left in your mouth after you leave the stream.  Yes, kind of like licking a stone, but in a prettier form.  It is cleansing, it is fresh.  It makes you want to drink more.

That is acidity you are experiencing.  The tingles, yes.  It sets up your mouth for the rest of the party.  (stay with me, we are talking about wine)  What follows is the fruit; fresh green apple, lemon/lime spritz.  Natural, inviting.  “Bourgogne” means this is a wine from Burgundy, France; a place where chardonnay and the grape pinot noir shine.  This SHOULD be good, and it is, well…just ok.  I would like a little more fruit on the back end, but I am overall happy with the experience.

Think about where I am; a seafood house.  Shellfish, lemon beure blanc sauce,  tuna tartar…winner with this wine.  Wine should be the pedestal for the food to sit on; it shouldn’t mask the flavors.  The wine shouldn’t win in the food and wine war.  We want to taste it ALL.

There will be a “All About the French” part 2, part 3, part 4…so much to discuss.  If you are looking for more in-depth conversation, that can happen; let me know.  This blog is about being friendly, and most of all, about making sense.  Wine jargon can be just crap if not presented correctly.  And I’m not about the crap.  Challenge for you – start to get over the scary label, and dive into the unknown – the Frenchies!