Tasting Report: Four Upcoming French Wineries

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

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