Had the chance to meet and lunch with representatives of four French wine properties this week at San Francisco’s Boulevard restaurant. The properties are from all over France — Alsace, Loire, Bordeaux, and the Rhone Valley (what, no Burgundy?) — which gave us a chance to explore, in case we’d forgotten, how widely variable styles really vary from one region to the next.
Over the course of an epic, three-hour lunch, just nine wines were poured, but I wanted to offer some commentary on everything I had the chance to try. Far and away the favorite: Vidal-Fleury, an ancient property once visited by Thomas Jefferson, which is now owned by Guigal and is ramping up production once again. It’s La Chatillonne Cote-Rotie is an utter knockout, though at $109 a bottle (retail), it’s a splurge wine, to be sure.
Tour de France Event June 4, 2009 Tasting Report
- NV Pierre Sparr Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose / $19.00 / B+
- 2002 Pierre Sparr Riesling Mambourg Grand Cru / $39.00 / B+ / amazing to try old Riesling, dark golden, full of old wood/mushroom notes, unlike any Riesling you’ve ever tried
- 2007 Sauvion Haute Culture Chateau du Cleray Muscadet / $16.00 / B- / minerals, steel
- 2007 Sauvion Sancerre / $29.00 / A- crisp, lemony perfume notes
- 2008 Andre Lurton Ch. Bonnet Blanc, Entre-deux-Mers / $13.00 / B- / thin
- 2005 Andre Lurton Ch. La Louviere Rouge, Pessac-Leognan / $52.00 / A- / opening well, muted earth, tight berries
- 2006 Vidal-Fleury Cotes-du-Rhone Rouge / $13.00 / A- / strong blueberry notes
- 2004 Vidal-Fleury Cote-Rotie La Chatillonne / $109.00 / A+ / the showstopper, incredibly rich, deep body, lush
- 2007 Vidal-Fleury Muscat de Beaumes-de-Venise / $34.00 / B- / phenolic