February Wines

This month we constructed a selection of classic French wines from the following regions: Loire Valley and Rhone Valley. These are three of the six main French wine regions; the other three regions are Burgundy, Champagne, and Alsace. There are many appellations within each region with distinctive varietals and wine styles. Below please see an overview of the wines selected and their attributes.



Chateau L’Esperance, Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux (2010)

A 90% Merlot blend from the Cotes de Bordeaux Blaye appellation. The beauty of this wine is its age. This is a 2010 vintage that is drinking very well. It has a silky and velvety mouthfeel and a good balance of acidity and tannins. This is a great introduction to aged wines. If you like this style, then you will enjoy other aged wines as well.

Chateau Les Hautes Tuileries, Lalande-de-Pomerol (2015)

A Merlot and Cabernet Franc blend from Lalande-de-Pomerol. Pomerol is one of the most famous Right Bank appellations; the other is Saint-Emilion. Lalande-de-Pomerol sits just north of Pomerol and has become ever more popular due to its similar soil composition to Pomerol and potential to produce great wines. In general, this is a great example of a Bordeaux red wine due to its earthy / dark chocolate nose and soft tannins that are definitely present, but not super grippy. If you enjoy this wine, then you will enjoy other appellation specific red Bordeaux.

Rhone Valley

Y. Alleno & M. Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone (2017)

Rhone Valley is divided into Northern Rhone and Southern Rhone. Northern Rhone has some of the most famous appellations in Rhone, including Cote Rotie and Hermitage, and is focused on Syrah dominant red wines. Southern Rhone has well known appellations, such as Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Vacqueyras, and is focused on Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre blends (known as GSM Blends). Cotes du Rhone is the largest wine classification region in Rhone Valley, with the grand majority of Cotes du Rhone coming from Southern Rhone. Therefore, Cotes du Rhone wine is usually Grenache dominant. This bottle, however, is a Syrah dominant Cotes du Rhone that is full bodied and robust. Similar to Northern Rhone wines, you will get some smokey and peppery notes on the nose and grippy tannins on the palate. If you enjoy this wine, then you like big, bold wines.

Domaine du Terme, Vacqueyras (2017)

As mentioned above, Vacqueyras is a well-known Southern Rhone appellation making Grenache dominant GSM Blend red wines. GSM Blends are rich, medium to full bodied and leathery, and are characterized by flavors of dark fruit and spice. This bottle has a nice bright acidity to it and is more approachable than the above Alleno & Chapoutier Cotes du Rhone; it is a nice representation of what GSM Blends should taste like. If you enjoy this bottle, then you will also enjoy Spanish reds as they feature a lot of GSM Blends.