Category Archives: France

Chateau du Rouet Provence Rosé


Provence Rosé

Chateau du Rouet Provence Rosé

Fellow wine lovers, upon the hillsides of the Esterel Mountains in the South of France, Chateau du Rouet grows grapes for an all time classic Provence rosé. Founded in 1888, for six generations Chateau du Rouet has been here, near an ancient roman city at the edges of a red-rocked volcano.

Chateau du Rouet 2016 Provence Rosé $14.99

On a beautiful warm day, the rosés of Provence are the perhaps the standard for all sun-chasers and backyard grillers, and Chateau Rouet is a favorite among them. Their rosé is a blend of 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault. It displays a delicate salmon color in the glass, with a nose of cherry blossoms, rose petals, and crunchy rocks. The palate is beautifully crisp, with medium body, and offers notes of lemon zest, strawberries, and raspberries. The Route rosé comes in an elegant hourglass shaped bottle- a signature of the Provence region.

Click here to order the Chateau Rouet Rosé

Chateau du Rouet Rosé

Chateau du Rouet Rosé

 Region: Provence, South of France

Grape(s): 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault

Drinkability: Now through the end of the year

Body: Medium

Drink This if you Like: Miraval, Provence Rosé

Food Pairing: Copper River Salmon, Grilled Veggies



Domaine Lombard Grand Chêne Côtes du Rhône

Braised Impulse

Domaine Lombard 2014 “Grand Chêne” Côtes du Rhône Brézème, France

Fellow wine lovers, within the Southern Rhone Valley of France there lies a specific village known as Brézème. It’s name is derived from the French word for “braise”, in reference to the area’s baking warm weather. Brézème bears the soils of the Southern Rhone (where Grenache blends are the standard), but the climate of the Northern Rhone (where single varietal Syrah wines are the norm). This unique confluence of climate and soil makes the village one of few places in the Southern Rhone from which you can grab a 100% Syrah wine, such as those of Domaine Lombard.

Domaine Lombard 2014 “Grand Chêne” Côtes du Rhône Brézème $22.99

Decades ago, the wines of this village were nearly made extinct by phylloxera, a bug that likes to eat the vines and their roots. Sylvette Lombard was a key contributing in helping to restore Brézème, ensuring that it doesn’t disappear from the wine map for good- while also establishing Domaine Lombard’s place in winemaking history.

Domaine Lombard’s “Grand Chêne” Côtes du Rhône is sourced exclusively from the Les Chassis Vineyard, within the village of Brézème, and is 100% Syrah. It’s fairly nimble on its feet, not overly heavy, making a great red wine for warmer weather and backyard entertaining. It sees no oak treatment, rather it’s aged for 12 months in large concrete vessels, to help soften its structure and build depth of character. The nose has hints of violets, hickory, and freshly steeped tea leaves, while the smooth and medium bodied palate offers notes of cured meats and dark cherries, with a bit of blood orange and sandalwood chiming in on the background. A well balanced and classically styled Rhone red- right up my alley!

Domaine Lombard 2014 “Grand Chêne” Côtes du Rhône Brézème

Domaine Lombard 2014 “Grand Chêne” Côtes du Rhône Brézème

Click here to order the Domaine Lombard Côtes du Rhône Brézème

Region: Côtes du Rhône AOC, Southern Rhone Valley, France

Vineyard(s): Les Chassis Vineyard. Elevations as High as 900 ft, Vines as Old as 20 Years

Grape(s): 100% Syrah

Aging: 12 Months in Concrete Tanks

Drinkability: Now through 2020

Body: Medium

Drink This if you Like: Châteauneuf-du-Pape

Food Pairing: Rack of Lamb


Albert Bichot Macon-Village

Macon Impulse:

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village, White Burgundy

Fellow wine lovers, it’s literally been two years since I last offered up a Macon. Sadly, the one I fell in love with back then is no longer imported here, but luckily I’ve found a new love. Albert Bichot is an estate in France’s Burgundy region with family roots in the area going back to the year 1350. They produce wines from almost every corner of the region, including this lovely Macon-Village, coming from the Mâconnais, in the clay and sandstone hills of Southern Burgundy.

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village $16.99

In the 1990’s Albert Bichot’s descendant Alberic Bichot took over the company, after having spent time abroad. He brought with him new perspectives, as well as a vision toward the future of the family winery. He pushed to modernise how the grapes are grown and how the wines are made, expanding the barrel facilities in order to allow for the aging of more complex wines, and introducing organic viticulture into their farms.

In true Macon style, this is a bright and easy style of Chardonnay, aged in just 20% French oak barrels for 8 months. It’s crisp and nimble, showing notes of fresh yellow apple and anjou pear, hints of lemon and white flowers, with just slight suggestions of cinnamon and hazelnut. It’s readily enjoyable, and easy to pair with light foods such as oysters, halibut, crudo plates, and soft cheeses. Also, just a great value.

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village

Albert Bichot 2014 Macon-Village

Click here to order the Albert Bichot Macon-Village
Region: Macon-Village AOC, Mâconnais, Côte-d’Or, Burgundy, France
Grape(s): 100% Chardonnay
Aging: 8 Months in 20% French Oak Barrels and 80% Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Drink This if you Like: Macon, Oregon Chardonnay, Chablis
Food Pairing: Oysters, Clams, Halibut, Soft Cheese



Domaine Pichot “Moriette” Vouvray

Vouvray Impulse

Domaine Pichot 2014 “Moriette” Vouvray, Loire Valley, France

Fellow wine lovers, the Pichot family is one of the oldest in the Vouvray region, with their history going back to 1739. Located in the Loire Valley of France, their vineyards are planted towards the top of the hills, in the premier spots, and all are farmed organically. If you’re not already familiar with the wines of Vouvray, they are made using the Chenin Blanc grape, which tends to be rich, complex, nutty, and crisp. It’s almost like Sauvignon Blanc meets Pinot Gris, with a dash of Riesling. The Vouvray region itself, and the greater Loire Valley, are home to a handful of my favorite wines in the world. Also, here is where we find some of the most beautiful and extravagant Chateaux in the world. Some so massive, such as the Chateau de Chambord, that they’ve been known to lay fallow and uninhabited for decades at a time, simply because the expensive, of keeping the lights and the heat on, can be a tremendous undertaking.

Domaine Pichot 2014 “Moriette” Vouvray $14.99 (Regularly $24)

Past vintages of this wine have been recognized by Wine Spectator Magazine on their Top 100 wines list, as well as their Top Values list; it’s consistently a favorite among sommeliers and wine press alike. The grapes of the Domaine Pichot Vouvray are harvested off vines ranging from 25 to 60 years old. The wine is done in a slightly off-dry style, which is traditional in Vouvray, thus it has just a hint of sweetness. Still, it’s very crisp and fresh, finishing clean, with no cloying after-effects, as all is balanced by Chenin Blanc’s notable acidity. Chenin Blanc tends to be among the most complex of white wine grapes, and this one is a great introduction to the grape variety.

The Pichot “Moriette” Vouvray has a slightly flowery nose, accompanied by hints of honeycrisp apples and toasted hazelnuts. The palate is on the lighter side, with just a hint of tingling spritz. There are notes of bosque pear, lemons, and a touch of pineapple, honey, and saffron. This is a really versatile wine, with the complexity, the acid, the hint of sugar and spritz, all converging to make it extremely food friendly- you can pair it with almost anything. It’s also a wine which fits most any occasion, as the bright crispness will make a sunny day even brighter, while the depth of its rich flavors will keep you warm on days which are overcast.

Domaine Pichot 2014 “Moriette” Vouvray

Domaine Pichot 2014 “Moriette” Vouvray

Click here to order the Domaine Pichot “Moriette Vouvray”

Region: Vouvray AOC, Loire Valley, France
Vineyard(s): Domaine Pichot Estate Vineyards
Grape(s): Chenin Blanc
Aging: 2 Months in 80% Stainless Steel and 20% 400 Liter Wooden Vats
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Medium-Light, with hints of sweetness
Drink This if you Like: Pinot Gris, Alsatian Whites, Chateau Pajzos Dry Furmint
Press: 90 Points from Tasting Panel Magazine
Food Pairings: Really Versatile with Food. Shellfish, Carpaccio, Cheeses



Aubry Champagne Brut

Premier Impulse

L. Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Please note that today’s wine is on discount with the importer for this week only. To get the price offered below, orders must be in by this Thursday, after that, the wine can still be ordered at it’s regular price, if it’s not sold out

Fellow wine lovers, I love Champagne. I tend not to pick favorites, but if pressed to choose just one type of wine to drink, it would likely to Champagne. The tingling of the bubbles, the mouthwatering acidity, the richness of texture, the refreshing crispness of it all; Champagne is the stuff of happiness, pure bliss in a glass. I think it’s important to make the distinction of what Champagne is. Sparkling wines such as Cava from Spain or Prosecco from Italy, those are not Champagne, but rather a bubbly interpretation from those respective countries. The same is for domestic sparkling wines from Washington, Oregon, and California. Champagne, real Champagne, only comes from France, and gets its name from the Champagne region where it is made – about an hour and a half drive northeast of Paris.

Champagne Aubry Brut Premier Cru $39.99 (Regularly $43)

We also have 1.5 Liter Magnums are also available $99.99 (Regularly $110), which you can order using the same link above.

There is a growing number of what is known as “Grower Champagne”, or “Recoltant Manipulant” in French, being imported into the US as demands for artisanal wine continues to increase. As the name implies, a Grower Champagne is one where the Champagne itself is made by the same people who grow the grapes. Where many of the large houses, such as Moet & Chandon and Veuve Clicquot, produce their wines by purchasing grapes from a variety of local farmers, Grower Champagne comes from just one estate.

Run by twin brothers Philippe and Pierre Aubry, whose family has been making wine since the late 1700’s, Champagne Aubry is one of my absolute favorites with their outstanding bottle of Brut. It’s a “Premier Cru”, meaning the grapes are harvested from vineyards which have been designated in the top ten percent of all Champagne, with respect to their quality. Champagne is well known for its impressive prices- it’s not unreasonable to pay $100 for a nice bottles- which is why this bottle of Premier Cru is so amazing at this rate.

This a stunning bottle of bubbly which I buy for myself regularly, and take to parties where I share with other Sommelier friends. A blend of the three traditional Champagne grapes, it’s comprised of 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% of the ancient and obscure varieties Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau. It’s rare to find a Champagne where Pinot Meunier makes up the largest proportion of the blend, and the result is a wine which is rich, creamy, and even fat on the palate. It’s dry, with notes of peaches, candied lemons, and fresh brioche bread on the nose. The palate showcases tight bubbles and full bodied texture with flavors of white raspberries up front, hints of cinnamon and spice in the middle, finishing with yellow apple crisps, clean minerality, and bright acidity in the end.

Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Aubry Premier Cru Champagne Brut

Click Here to Order the Aubry Brut Premier Cru Champagne

Region: Montagne de Reims, Champagne, France
Vineyard: Premier Cru Vineyards
Grapes: 45% Pinot Meunier, 25% Pinot Noir, 25% Chardonnay, and 5% of the ancient varieties Arbanne, Petit Meslier, and Fromenteau.
Aging: 24 months on the lees
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Full Bodied
Alcohol: 12.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Champagne, Veuve Clicquot
Food Pairings: Great Champagne Goes with Everything. Great with Holiday Fare



Cremant de Limoux Brut

Fizzy Impulse

Domaine J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut

Fellow wine lovers, is it time for bubbles? Really, when is it not… For those not already familiar with the term, a “Crémant” is a French sparkling wine, which is made in the traditional method (aka the Champagne Method) but does not hail from the Champagne region of France. In today’s case, Crémant de Limoux comes from the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the South of France, just South West of the Provence area. This region has a claim on being the first to discover the process of making sparkling wine – and be designated for it under French winemaking laws – with a serendipity from a monk of the Benedictine Abbey of Saint Hilaire in 1531. Here is the home of Domaine J. Laurens, which was founded by a man from the Champagne region, who brought with him some expertise of the sparkling winecraft.

Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux Sparkling Brut $16.99

Produced with grapes harvested from vines as old as 22 years, each variety is vinified independently in stainless steel vats, in order maintain its individuality and freshness, then blended together after fermentation. The sparkling wine is aged on the lees for 12 months, giving it the signature notes of toast, brioche, and custard, while adding a rich texture to the body and creamy mouthfeel. The winefeatures bright acidity, citrus notes of fresh lemon zest, and white flower aromatics. The J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux Brut is a traditional blend of 60% Chardonnay, 30% Chenin Blanc, 5% Pinot Noir, and 5% Mauzac. The Chardonnay adds robust flavor and apple elements, the Chenin brings a hint of nuttiness and a touch of toffee, and the Pinot Noir rounds out the mouthfeel, adding body. The 5% Mauzac in the blend, a grape native to the Limoux region, is known for contributing a hint of perfume aromatics and richness to the wine.

The Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux is an outstanding value, and a great wine for any occasion – fantastic with food or by itself. It shows notes of green apple and dried orange peel, with a touch of honey. The palate is bright and crisp, with a beautifully creamy texture. It was included in a New York Times article about budget bubbly some time ago, and was heralded as the best value in the bunch.

Domaine J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut

Domaine J. Laurens Cremant de Limoux Brut

Click here to order the Domaine J. Laurens Crémant de Limoux Brut

Region: Crémant de Limoux AOC, Languedoc-Roussillon, France
Grapes: 60% Chardonnay, 30 % Chenin, 5 % Mauzac, and 5 % Pinot Noir
Aging: 12 Months on Lees in the Bottle
Drinkability: Meant for Drinking Now, No Need to Age it
Body: Medium
Drink This if you Like: Champagne, Crémant de Bourgogne, Crémant d’Aslace
Press: Featured in New Times Budget Bubbly Article
Food Pairings: Cheese, Poultry, Stuffing, Mashed Potatoes



Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph

Collaborative Impulse

Maison Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph

Fellow wine lovers, I don’t think we’ve featured any wines from the Rhone Valley of France yet. No worries, I found a really good one for, just right for today. It’s a new collaborative project, done by two well known wine producers in the Rhone Valley. One partner is the Perrin Family, the people who own Chateau de Beaucastel in the Southern Rhone, perhaps the most famous of all Châteauneuf-du-Pape – also it’s a member of the Perrin Family who is in charge of making the Chateau Miraval Rosé from Provence, the one owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie (aka Brangelina). The Perrin family has teamed up with the likes of Nicolas Jaboulet of the Northern Rhone, a highly respected producer of Syrah from the villages of Hermitage and Crozes-Hermitage.

Maison Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint-Joseph $29.99 (Regularly $37)

Saint-Joseph is a village in the Northern Rhone Valley of France, where Syrah in King, near other village such as Croze-Hermitage, Cote-Rotie, and Hermitage. Here they only do Syrah, and virtually nothing else – just sticking to what they’re good at.

This is a big, chewy, chunky wine that goes on, and on… and on. I shared a bottle of it with a few friends, and we agreed that it was only just starting to open up after several hours. It shows lot’s of concentration, with deep, dark, ruby red color. It’s juicy, with lots of red berries, cherries, and blackberry pepper compote. It hints at a barnyard and leathery quality, with a tannic grip in the finish that helps it pair very well with fatty meats – I had it with Rib Eye Steak. Over time, it opens up with more ripe fruits, more than your average French red wine, but still remains distinctly Rhone, exhibiting a certain sense of place. It’s bright up front, lush and silky in the mid-palate, and has a firm finish which softens up with time. There are notes of wild black raspberry bush, and hints of red currant. After several hours, it becomes meaty and savory, with hints of strawberry jam, tobacco, dried figs, and raisins.

Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint Joseph

Nicolas Perrin 2012 Saint Joseph

We have just 2 cases available, first come first serve.

Click here to order the Nicolas Perrin Saint-Joseph

Region: Saint-Joseph, Northern Rhone Valley, France
Grape: 100% Syrah
Aging: In 1 and 2 year old French Oak Barrels for 10 Months
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Full Bodied
Alcohol: 13.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Rhone, Syrah, Valpolicella, Amarone, Hermitage
Press: 91 Points Wine Spectator, 90 Points Wine Enthusiast Magazine
Food Pairings: Roast Beef, Cigars, Rib Eye
Availability: 2 cases