Tag 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


Saumur: Cave de Impulse

Cave de Saumur “Les Pouches” Blanc and Rouge

Fellow wine lovers, sometimes you just find bottles which are outstanding values and make for good everyday drinking wines. Searching the lesser known regions of France can, no doubt, yield such results. For example, many are familiar with villages within the Loire Valley of France called Vouvray and Chinon, where they focus on Chenin Blanc and Cabernet Franc, respectively. Lesser known, however, is the village of Saumur, which is just 30 minutes east of Chinon. Here they turn out some rather nice Cabernet Franc and Chenin Blanc of their own, and at great values.

Cave de Saumur 2013 “Les Pouches” Chenin Blanc $9.99

(Regularly $12) The Cave de Saumur was established in 1957 as a cooperative, where the vignerons of Saumur created a joint project in the face of difficult economics; their aim being to pool resources as well and knowledge and wisdom, thereby making a better wine at a lower cost.

This distinct Chenin Blanc is different from the often rich and slightly sweet ones for which Vouvray is well known, and even different than the drier and more rustic styles of Chenin coming from the nearby village of Savennieres. This one is is dry, clean, austere, and bright. The grapes are harvested from 45 year old vines, and fermented completely in stainless steel, with no oak utilized.

In the glass, we get lots of very bright meyer lemon peel, white grapefruit oil, and hints of knotweed honey. There is just a touch of sweetness, but it’s immediately washed away by the very high acidity of thewine, making for a very crisp finish. We get hints of grass, a slight note of saffron and peanut shells, with stoney minerally earth. It profiles almost like Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio combined in some way. Definitely best drank with food, given its high levels of acidity- it’s actually really versatile with food, I’m even pairing it with a homemade beef stew, and it works surprisingly well.

Click here to order the Les Pouches Chenin Blanc

Region: Saumur AOC, Loire Valley, France
Grape: 100% Chenin Blanc
Aging: 100% Stainless Steel, no Oak
Drinkability: Now through 2017
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 11.5% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Vouvray Sec, Savennieres
Food Pairings: Various Stews, Oysters

Cave de Saumur 2012 “Les Pouches” Cabernet Franc $9.99

(Regularly $12) In the Loire Valley, the Cabernet Franc they turn out is generally much different from the fuller bodied and fairly fruity ones coming from Washington and California. Their version is often very light, and delicate, with lots of earth. In many blind tastings, I’ve seen my Sommelier friends mistake it for a Pinot Noir.

The Les Pouches Cabernet Franc is definitely light bodied, fairly transparent, and ruby red in color- not unlike a Pinot Noir. It shows hints of dried strawberry, cherry, and raspberry, with notes of dried leaves, black potting soil, a bit of cedar, and a very faint touch of ground coffee. The fruit comes from old vines, as old as 45 years, and is vinified without the use of oak. A red wine more for drinking now, rather than cellaring, also great for cooking.

Click here to order the Les Pouches Cabernet Franc

Region: Saumur AOC, Loire Valley, France
Grape: 100% Cabernet Franc
Aging: Unoaked
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Light
Alcohol: 12% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Chinon, Bourgueil
Food Pairings: Beef Stew, Roast Beef



Burgundy Impulse

Gandines 2012 Mâcon, White Burgundy

Domaine des Gandines 2012 Mâcon-Péronne

Domaine des Gandines 2012 Mâcon-Péronne

Fellow wine lovers, when I first got into wine while I was a student at the UW, I would go to the local wine steward and ask for the best values he could offer. One day, a friend told me of a wine worth trying, called “White Burgundy”, so I made certain to inquire about it the next time I was at the store. When I asked my wine steward, he pointed me toward Macon, knowing that I was looking for good value. Back then I had no idea what any of it meant, White Burgundy, Macon, etc… I was just a junior in college.

Today I still love a good bottle of Macon, which comes from the Mâconnais district, in the southern half of France’s Burgundy region. Unlike their high priced cousins of Montrachet, these wines present exceptional value while still maintaining the essence of what can make a bottle of White Burgundy so wonderful.

Domaine des Gandines 2012 Mâcon-Péronne $14.99 (Regularly $17)

The Domaine des Gandines comes specifically from Péronne, a small village of roughly 500 people within the greater Mâconnais district; this is one of very few Péronne designated wines I’ve seen available. Here they source Chardonnay grapes (the standard grape of White Burgundy), which are organically grown and hand-harvested from vines as old as 90 years. The fruit is then fermented in large format 3000 liter neutral oak vats which serve to mellow out the wine without making for a particularly oaky Chardonnay. Additionally, the wine is aged for 6 months on fine lees to inspire additional complexities.

The nose is driven by classic Mâconnais minerality, slight flinty notes, and fresh citrus- subtle and refined. The palate is light-medium bodied with brisk acidity, and notes of yellow apple, a squeeze of lemon, and white grapefruit skins, accompanied by hints of hazelnuts and a nuance of caramel on the finish.

A very compelling bottle of White Burgundy, and an especially impressive value. Something I personally keep around as an everyday drinking wine, or for bringing to parties.

Click here to order the Domaine des Gandines Macon.

Region: Mâcon-Péronne Protegee AOC, Burgundy, France
Grape: 100% Chardonnay
Aging: Large Format, 3000 Liter Oak Barrels for 10 Months, 6 months on lees
Drinkability: Now through 2016
Body: Light-Medium
Drink This if you LIke: White Burgundy, Oregon Chardonnay
Press: 90 points Wine Advocate
Food Pairings: Shellfish, Chevre, Turkey



Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau 2010 Bordeaux Rouge

Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau Impulse

Fellow wine lovers, since 1850, Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau has been owned by the same family, with Jacques and Marie-Laure Perromat. representing the sixth generation of winemakers today. The Chateau is situated in the Graves sub-region of Bordeaux, named so for its distinctly gravelly soil. Graves is also home to one of the most admired first growth Bordeaux, Chateau Haut-Brion. It’s the wines of Graves which brought about the term Claret, as Eleanor of Aquitaine (France) married King Henry II (England), and export of their local red wine to England began. Wine production in this area predates that of the Medoc area, another well known sub-region of Bordeaux.

Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau 2010 Bordeaux Red $12.99

Comprised of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, the Chateau Beauregard is a classic left-bank Bordeaux Rouge. Hand harvested fruit, from 25 year old vines, is fermented in large stainless steel vats, then aged in 25% renewed French Oak. Renewed oak is a traditional old technique, where old oak barrels and vats are manually scraped out to remove the residue of previous vintages, then re-charred by an open flame to add a hint of toast qualities. Renewed oak has a significantly more nuanced impact on wine, compared to brand new oak, since much of the heavier flavors have been extracted by previous use.

Tasting the Beauregard, I’m pleasantly surprised by how deep and complex it is. It’s easy to forget that good Bordeaux exists at this level, since all we ever hear about is how prices are rocketing to astronomical heights. It’s medium bodied, with lingering tannins which can use an hour in the decanter. Up front, there is a brandishing of leather and docile hints of barn-yard which don’t overpower the wines other characteristics. You get a hint of toasty oak qualities, parallelled by a shade of black pepper and roasted chestnuts. The mid-palate really opens up with dark notes of cassis, framboise, and wild berry vines. It comes home with signature gravelly earth, a touch of rosemary, and a polished finish. Densley structured, and still fairly tight, it should open up nicely over the next year or two.

Chateau Beauregard Lagupeau BordeauxClick here to order the Chateau Beauregard Bordeaux Rouge

Region: Graves AOC, Bordeaux, France
Grapes: 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc
Aging: 25% renewed French Oak
Drinkability: Now through 2018
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Haut Brion, Classic Bordeaux Red
Food Pairings: Boeuf Bordelaise