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by Tom Hill

A self-admitted wine geek, Tom lives in Northern New Mexico and works as a computational physicist at Los Alamos National Laboratory doing numerical neutron transport & large scale code development. He has been tasting wines since 1971, participates locally with a couple of large tasting groups in his area, and is practically a fixture at most California wine festivals, such as the Hospice du Rhône, Rhône Rangers, and ZAP. Other interests: Tom is heavily into competitive sport fencing (foil & epee), biking, cooking, basketball, skiing, backpacking, mountain climbing.

Some New French Wines - May 16, 2007


We tasted tonight (5/16/07) some (mostly) New French Wines :

  1. Apremont VieillesVignes AC: Vin de Savoie (11.5%; 100% Jacquere) Rene et Beatrice
    Bernard 2005
    : Pale yellow color; very attractive floral/apple some minerally/waxy rather Vermintino-like quite attractive nose; very tart/acid apples/floral minerally/metallic/steely very austere flavor; med.long lean/tart/austere floral/apple minerally some steely/metallic finish; lovely nose but quite austere on the palate. Good price.$15.00
  2. Chignin Bergeron LesDamoiselles AC: Vin de Savoie (100% Roussanne; MeBaD)
    Jean-Pierre et Jean-Francois Quenard/LeVillard/Chignan 2005
    : Med.gold color; beautiful
    floral/honeysuckle/Roussanne some creme brulee/butterscotchy perfumed nose; tart big/lush very floral/honeysuckle/Roussanne some butterscotchy/creme caramel ripe flavor;very long tart/lush ripe/floral/honeysuckle/Roussanne finish; a terrific Calif-style Roussanne much like a Jaffurs. Terrific value at $18.00
  3. Betts&Scholl HermitageBlanc (13.5%; www.BettsAndScholl.com) Chave/Hermitage 2001: Med.dark gold color; slight oxidized/nutty/toasted hazelnuts waxy/resiny slight herbal rather strange/interesting earthy/stoney/Marsanne nose; soft somewhat earthy/stoney appley bit hazelnutty austere/hard flavor; med.long earthy/hazelnutty/stoney finish;good example of HermitageBlanc; speaks mostly of Marsanne; not as stupidly priced as their Rouge & not a great Chave but still overpriced by about $30. $70.00
  4. AlainGraillot AC: Crozes-Hermitage Blanc (13%) 2005: Med.gold color; lovely strong green olive/waxy/old Semillon/minerally bit hazelnutty slight smokey/roasted complex nose; lovely hazelnutty/olive/minerally slight stoney/creme brulee/waxy flavor; very long/lingering waxy/ minerally/hazelnutty/olive finish; a lovely Roussanne/minerally Rhone Blanc at a very good price. $33.00
    4a. MadisonVnyd Villard-SeyvalBlanc NewMexico TW 2005: Pale yellow color; slight pineapply/ floral stoney/metallic/austere low-key nose; off-dry light pineapply/stoney/metallic clean austere flavor; med.short stoney/pineapply austere finish; no plastic/hybridy character at all; bit dilute but a pleasant blanc. $10.00
  5. JLChaveSlctns AC: St.Joseph Offerus (13.5%) 2003: Dark color; quite bretty/unclean/merde some roasted/smokey pungent/graphite/ozone/carbon arc little fruit nose; tart/lean/thin/screechy no fruit slight roasted/graphite flavor; short lean/thin/acid no fruit quite bretty/barnyardy/unclean finish; hard to believe this is a 2003;way too unclean for my taste; avoid. $27.00
  6. Alain Graillot AC: Crozes-Hermitage LaGuiraude (13%) 2004: Med.dark color; attractive
    green olive/roasted/espresso/classic NR complex slight Syrah/blackberry nose; very acid quite green olive/roasted/espresso/classic NR hard/tannic/lean flavor; long roasted/espresso/green olive tart/hard/lean bit toasty/pungent finish; classic NR character but rather hurtey on the palate; liked the regular better at hlf the price. $45.00
  7. Ch. Mourgues du Gres Capitelles Sone/Sole/Mihil AC: Costieres de Nimes (14.5%)
    Francois Collard/Beaucaire/Gard 2004
    : Unredeemingly corked; as bad as I've ever seen; TCA poster child. $20.00
  8. Ch. Mourgues du Gres Terre d'Argence AC: Costieres de Nimes (MeBaC; 14.5%;
    www.MourguesDuGres.com) Francois Collard 2005
    : Very dark color; strong plummy/blackberry/
    Syrah slight smokey/pungent some floral/lilacs/Calif Syrah-like nose; bit hard/tannic/rough/rustic peppery/spicy/blackberry/Syrah/plummy slight dusty/earthy flavor; med.long tannic/rough strong blackberry/Syrah finish; rather Calif in style w/ some rusticity;terrific red for the price. $20.00
  9. LosPlanos Syrah Vin de Pays des Cotes Catalanes (14%; eee.EuropeanCellars.com)
    SCEA Domaine LaFage/MasDurand/Canet en Rousillon/France 2004
    : Very dark color; very
    strong blackberry/black cherry/Syrah big fruit bit earthy some toasty/oak dusty/old vines rather Priorat-like nose; soft/rich huge fruit/blackberry/black cherry/Syrah some earthy/dusty/old vines slight rough/rustic flavor; med.long lush toasty/oak strong blackberry/black cherry finish w/ some tannins; big/extracted fruit w/ slight rough/rustic character; needs several yrs yet; very/very good value. $12.50
  10. Roc D'Anglade Vin de Pays du Gard (13%; MeBalP) Remy Pedreno/Vigneron/Langlade
    : Very dark color; slight bretty/unclean rather mousey/mouse turds/hantavirus/merde some dusty/old vines slight black cherry nose; soft/smooth rather unclean/bretty/horse shit some blackberry flavor; med.long smooth very unclean/horse shit slight blackberry/fruit finish w/ some tannins; some rather interesting things in this wine but too unclean and horse shit (as distinguished from barnyardy/brett) for my taste. Overppriced at $38.00
  11. Livon Riul Vnyd Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso DOC: ColliOrientali del Friuli (13%)
    Livon Dolegnano 2003
    : Black color; strong plummy/boysenberry/juicy some earthy/dusty bit rustic some high-toned/framboise bit pencilly/oak very attractive nose; tart bit pencilly/Fr.oak rather tannic/hard somewhat boysenberry/plummy flavor; med. rather hard/tannic somewhat licorice/ plummy/boysenberry pencilly/Fr.oak finish; needs several yrs yet; very attractive/interesting nose but hard on the palate. $27.00
  12. Ermacora Refosco del PeduncoloRosso DOC: Colli Orientali del Friuli (13%) 2005: Very dark color; quite juicy/grapey/plummy/berry very floral/fragrant/lilacs slight earthy quite aromatic nose; off-dry (?) very juicy/plummy/berry/boysenberry floral/lilacs rather hard/tannic flavor; lots of grapey/plummy/licorice/boysenberry bright/juicy finish w/ hard tannins; needs several yrs perhaps; attractive price at $16.00
  13. Arbin Mondeuse AC: Vin de Savoie (12.5%) LesFils de Charles Trosset 2005: Very dark/black color; very intense licorice/framboise/floral/violets/plummy big fruit bit earthy/dusty nose; hard/ tannic strong licorice/framboise/floral bit earthy/rustic/minerally very interesting flavor; med. hard/ tannic plummy/licorice/floral some earthy/dusty finish; a rather rough/rustic wine w/ loads of fragrant fruit; very attractively priced at $17.00
  14. Carlisle RussianRvrVlly Mondeuse (15.5%; 100 vines planted in 1910; 25 cs) 2000:
    Very dark/black color; slightly corked/wet cardboard some plummy/licorice/black cherry some toasty/menthol/oak nose; rather menthol/plummy/blackcherry/boysenberry slight cardboardy/musty/ corked/TCA rather hard/tannic flavor; med.long very hard/tannicrather cardboardy/musty black cherry/licorice finish; still some interesting but seems eviscerated by the TCA; so sad, damn corks, thank you Portugal. $27.00
  15. Ramsey NapaVlly Refosco/Mondeuse (13%) 1993: Very dark color; somewhat earthy/dusty
    interesting licorice/floral/violets some smokey/pungent/oak/cedary/pencilly slight piney/rosemary complex nose; some dried out/tannic/hard strong licorice/smokey/pungent slight floral/violets complex flavor; med.long hard/tannic/bit dried out some licorice/violets/floral rather cedary/ pencilly/oak taosty/pungent finish; lots of interesting things therein but seems to be drying out somewhat and has seen better days.
  16. Domaine de Fauterie St.Joseph (13%) Sylvain Bernard/Viticulteur/St.Peray 1990: Med.
    dark color; beautiful complex/roasted/toasty/espresso/green olive spectacular/complex classic NR/C-R nose; tart/smooth beautiful roasted/espresso/green olive/smokey very complex flavor; very long/lingering smooth slight astringent classic NR/coffee/espresso/meaty/smokey/gamey finish w/ light tannins; may go another 5 yrs but ready to drink up; terrific example of fully mature Cote-Rotie. Larry's mystery wine.

More Pompous Pronouncements from The BloodyPulpit:

1. Chignin: I've often found the Savoie Roussannes to be a rather austere/stoney/earthy terroir-driven rendition of Roussanne. This Quenard is a whole nuther breed of cat. It has a richness & texture that speaks more of Calif Roussanne than France (the ultimate accolade for any French wine), yet a good acid & structure & minerality underneath that is so velly/velly French. Terrific Roussanne.
2. SouthernFrance: Several rather interesting wines from lesser regions in Southern France. They can be some real values here but they can also be a bit spotty. The (uncorked) Collard was quite impressive. Replacement btls & new vintage on the way.
3. Refosco: I was most interested in trying this Mondeuse, as this is a variety I find quite interesting. It is stated that Mondeuse and Refosco (dal Peduncle Rosso) are the same variety, but both the French and the Italians vehemently deny this and claim the variety as their very own. As you would expect from them. So that's the reason of Italian wines in a French wine tasting. A year ago, I held a tasting of 14 Refoscos, including two New Mexico versions. These two Italian versions were pretty much like those we tasted then; some great fragrant nose w/ a hard/tannic character underneath the fruit on the palate.
4. Carlisle Mondeuse: To my judgement, MikeOfficer make probably the best Mondeuse in the world. He has a passel of Mondeuse in his TwoAcres vnyd that he sometimes keeps and bottles separate. On release, this was a classic Carlisle wine, but pretty tough and tannic and clearly in need of age. I had high hopes for the btl. Alas, there was a slight corkiness/TCA to it that pretty much robbed it of fruit. Arrrggghhhh. Even so, there were still some very good
things that poked thru the TCA veil. Alas, last btl of this rare wine.
5. Arbin Mondeuse: Easily this is the best Savoie Mondeuse I've yet had. Very big/fragrant
fruit w/ that classic underlying Mondeuse tannic bite. Never had a Trosset before, but I was impressed.
6. MissionWines: Seems like everytime I go into this SouthPasadena wine shop, I find some
things I can't live without. My rep-HdR stop was just another such one. Dave McDonald
and Chris Mishke (sp?) pack a lot of interesting wine in a small shop.
7. Ramsey Refosco: When I first had KentRasmussen's Refosco back in '95, I was pretty
impressed. Very classic Refosco w/ juicy/plummy/black cherry fruit and a rather toasty/oak character that is common in Kent's reds. I presume the grapes came from the AtlasPeak planting of Antinori/Peterson. I had taken this out to Calif afore Rhone Rangers to share w/ MikeOfficer, but plans fell thru. So this btl has been to Calif & back, but doubt it suffered for that. Alas, I think those Refosco grapes have been pulled and Kent never made another one.
8. Domaine de Fauterie: This was a wine we bought, cheap, about $14, back in the early '90's. It was a spectacular value then, still is. I didn't expect it would go this long and had already drunk up mine. But Larry pulled a TomHill and dragged this decrepit relic out of his archives. It was in great shape, like most of us relics are. Ohhhhh, the classic EdStJohn lament...shoulda bought more!! Haven't seen this wine around for many a year & don't know if it's brought into the USofA or not anymore.


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