Here at the Asheville School of Wine we love pouring educational tastings and this past Saturday we held a great one. Let's just say no one had to twist my arm when I was told our group of students wanted a greatest hits of French wine regions!! Man do I love Frech wine. It's well executed, seductive, and honestly its much more approachable than many people believe.
So where did we go and what did we pour? We made stops in Burgundy, Rhône, Bordeaux, and Languedoc!
With our quick stop in Burgundy we enjoyed a little Pinot Noir from Domaine Maurice Charleux & Fils. Their estate is located in the village of Maranges in the greater area of Côte Chalonnaise. Wow is all I can say. The wine was a stunning representaion of what Pinot Noir is capable of. It displayed earthyness, had wonderfully bright acid structure, and great notes of dried rose and cranberry.
For our next stop, we traveled south to the Rhône river valley to Domaine de la Janasse. They are known for being a classic Chateauneuf de Pape house and producing amazing wine. We enjoyed their Côtes du Rhône Reserve, which is a wonderfully rich and powerful blend of Grenache, Syrah, Caignan, Cinsault, and Mourvedre. The vinyard plot for this wine is directly adjacent to their Chateaunuf property and is an amazing value.
Staying in southern France, we next moved on to the Languedoc. This wine region, located on the Mediterranean coast, existed for centuries without much acclaim. They were the home of bulk wine production for France. All of that has since changed and the Languedoc is now producing incredible, rich reds and stunning whites. Everyone really enjoyed the Le Prestige offering from Château Puech-Haut. It's a rich, oaky blend of Syrah and Grenach and everyone agreed it would be the perfect pairing for smoky BBQ this summer. It would also be a great wine for someone who typically drinks big California Zinfindels and wants to try similarly styled wines from other areas in the world.
Our last stop on the grand wine tour of France was Bordeaux. I mean come on, how can you taste across France and not stop in Bordeaux. We made a quick stop on the Right Bank at Château Tour Bayard and man was it good. It's your classic Merlot driven Bordeaux with amazing notes of green pepper, leather, and plump dark fruit. This wine showed really well and would be a perfect accompaniment for juicy steaks off the grill.