Tagged with 'frenchwine'

Get to know the region: Sancerre

What is a Sancerre? My curiosity was aroused by a character in Ian McEwan’s wonderful novel Nutshell, who loves this French white. I was curious. What kind of wine was a Sancerre? And was the name that of a grape varietal or of a region? A little research on my favourite online wine source quickly set me on the right path:

“Sauvignon Blanc is a white wine grape, while Sancerre is the name of a wine region in France's Loire Valley where the white wines from are made exclusively from Sauvignon Blanc.”

https://www.winespectator.com/articles/sancerre-vs-sauvignon-blanc-wine-54733

Sauvignon Blanc is a wine varietal that many are familiar with. No country has done more to popularize this fresh and aromatic white than New Zealand. Almost everyone knows the names Kim Crawford and Oyster Bay; these Sauvignon Blancs are on restaurant wine lists and are extremely popular.  

I love the refreshing acidity of a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlborough region. The Marlborough has many valleys that have gravelly soils and a windy, cool climate, which results in a wine that many call herbaceous or grassy, with green pepper or even tomato notes. These wines are particularly refreshing.

In warmer climates, still in the southern hemisphere, the wine can take on very tropical notes with lots of pineapple. Everything Wine has a lovely example of this, Sunshine Bay, capturing both the tropical and the herbal notes. It’s got lime, kiwi and grapefruit flavours along with some herbs.

So why sample a Sauvignon Blanc from France? Especially one that can be significantly more expensive? (Hubert Brochard Sancerre at Everything Wine comes in at $38.98 compared to Oyster Bay at $19.99) Because the northern hemisphere’s soil and growing conditions create an amazing wine, subtle and mineral-y with less of the bold aromatics you find in the Marlborough region’s wine.

Sancerre is a region. It is located in the eastern part of the Loire Valley and is far from the ocean. The climate in Sancerre is continental, very cold winters and very hot summers. The soil is very different too: it is chalky and full of stones and little marine fossils. These differences make for a restrained, mineral-y wine not so intense and herbaceous.  Another online source I consulted says,

The classic style of Sancerre is more subtle than that of Marlborough - the wine isn't as overtly herbaceous and fruity. To achieve this, the wine is fermented at slightly warmer temperatures so that there is less retention of the intense Sauvignon Blanc characteristics.

http://www.thesommomlier.com/blog/2015/7/30/sauvignon-blanc

Do a taste test on your own. Seek out a French Sauvignon Blanc (or even a Sancerre) and, along with your favourite from NZ, sip and see if you can detect and enjoy all these differences in the taste of these refreshing white wines.

 

 

Get to know the grape: Pinot Noir

Pinot Noir is loved by many wine enthusiasts for its light to medium body, red fruit flavours and hints of spice and often makes an appearance around festive holiday dinners as it’s known for being turkeys’ wine pairing of choice. Beyond its ability to play nice with rich and flavourful meals, the French native is one of the most romanticized red wines in the world with festivals thrown every year in the grape’s honour and even an Oscar winning film dedicated to it, check out “Sideways”, set in California wine country.

Originating in France’s Burgundy region, Pinot Noir is now produced in many wine regions around the world; however, many wine buffs still view Burgundy as the mecca for Pinot Noir. Burgundian style Pinot Noir is acclaimed for its ripe red berries, sweet dark cherries and hints of mushroom with forest floor while other popular varieties from Sonoma, California and Willamette Valley, Oregon varieties typically show raspberry, allspice and Darjeeling tea.

Despite its expressive characteristics and worldwide fandom, Pinot Noir is notoriously difficult to grow and is susceptible to rot and uneven ripening to do its thin skin and tightly packed grape clusters. To avoid sunburn, delicate Pinot Noir grapes enjoy long, cool growing seasons in protected valleys and near large bodies of water—Willamette Valley lies on the same latitude as Burgundy and experiences a similar climate while Sonoma is cooler and more foggy than other wine regions in its state.

Pinot Noir is also one of the few red wine grapes that’s commonly made into red, rosé, white and sparkling wine! In Champagne, it’s one of the regions’ seven permitted varieties and adds structure to brut blends, it is the only red grape permitted in Alsace and is also becoming increasingly popular as rosé with its delicate character and crisp flavours.

Thanks to its light body, complex structure, and elegant tannins, Pinot Noir is an ideal pairing for a variety of dishes—even disproving the claim that red wine cannot be paired with fish. Fruit forward styles actually make for an excellent partner to fatty fish and seafood including scallops and lobster. More earthy renditions pair beautifully with heirloom vegetables, hearty beef Bourguignon or traditional coq au vin. So whether you’re preparing a special anniversary dinner or an easy mid-week meal, Pinot Noir is always a great choice.

If you’re new to Pinot Noir or are looking to discover your new favourite, you can shop by grape here or visit us in store to talk to one of our passionate consultants.

Not sure where to start? Check out a few of our favourite picks below:

Decoded Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Penner-Ash Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

The Path Pinot Noir

Meiomi Pinot Noir

Mission Hill Family Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

Le Jardin Pinot Noir

 

Famille Perrin, an easy choice for the gift giving season

Of all the gifts that end up returned, exchanged or even worse, re-gifted, wine is not one of them.  Wine is always a welcome choice for gifting but finding that perfect bottle is not always an easy task… How much should you spend? What style of wine does Uncle Bill drink? What region is the best? While all those questions are of course subjective, one name does come to mind when hunting for a suitable bottle of wine that even the pickiest of wine enthusiasts will appreciate: Famille Perrin.

You may recognize the renowned Perrin name from one of their many triumphant ventures including Châteauneuf-du-Pape Château de Beaucastel, Miraval, and La Vieille Ferme among others. With roots dating back to 1909 when the Perrin family purchased Château de Beaucastel, they have since gone on to acquire vineyards in the most prestigious terroirs of France’s Southern Rhône Valley, Gigondas, Vinsobres, Cairanne and more. Celebrated for their commitment to traditional methods and deep belief in organic viticulture, the Perrin name has earned a worldwide reputation of excellence, making their wines an easy choice for gift giving.

With products ranging in price from $12.99 to $24.99 and all the way up to $89.99 and beyond, you know you can find an exceptional wine for any occasion. From well-known favourites like La Vieille Ferme and Miraval (famously co-owned by Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie, who since 2012 have been producing acclaimed Provence rosé) to Everything Wine exclusives like L’Oustalet and Famille Perrin Vinsobres and Cairanne, you can’t go wrong.

Three Everything Wine exclusives to keep your eyes on are the L’Oustalet Rouge, Blanche or Rosé.

The Red Blend is quite fruity with flavours of raspberry and notes of pepper while the White is dry with hints of delicate flowers. The crisp Rosé reveals subtle notes of lemon and strawberry—the perfect trio of elegant French wines for the holiday season. Find them here.  

Other Famille Perrin favourites:

Coudoulet de Beaucastel offers outstanding value as it’s literally right across the street from Château de Beaucastel which means the wine is extremely similar but is sold at a lower price because technically it is not produced in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation. Here’s a great explanation on the region from our Vintages Room consultant, Jordan.

Another fabulous option for gifting or for treating yourself is either Famille Perrin Vinsobres "Les Cornuds" Red Blend or Cairanne Peyre Blanche Red Blend.