Wine Group Lesson 7 – Bordeaux & Loire Valley

Posted by on March 7, 2011
The first of three regional wine tastings in France.

The Everyday Guide to Wine says:

French wines are the benchmark for quality worldwide. All of the noble grape varieties are grown there; some may have originated in France. The concept of terroir originated here, among those French wine-making monks who kept such excellent records. Much of the world’s wine-making technique and terminology began here.

One of the main points of learning we take away from this lesson is how to read a French Wine label. We’ll cover this concept in greater depth in a later post.

Bordeaux map of wine regions

Map of the Bordeaux regions with most of its appellations shown. The rivers Garonne and Dordogne, and the Gironde estuary are important in defining the various parts of the region.

This lesson required tasting six wines: a Sauvignon Blanc based Loire wine, a Chenin Blanc based Loire wine, a Cabernet Franc based Loire wine, a white Bordeaux AC, a red Left-Bank Bordeaux and a red Right-Bank Bordeaux.

This was some seriously tricky buying. Not all labels tell where a wine is from and even if the label does tell, good luck understanding all the terminology and geography. We muddled our way through, only buying a few wrong bottles. We couldn’t find everything we needed here in Duluth so Dave eventually had to drive down to Minneapolis to finish the buying at France 44.

While he was there he went a little bit crazy and bought some highly expensive (and delicious) cheese from the France 44 Cheese shop. He bought Roquefort (I never knew I liked mold so much) and another French cheese called Petit Basque (45% fat content – no wonder it is so good).

In general I found the wines for this lesson fairly dry. I didn’t take good notes so I can’t comment much except to say that the cheese went quite well with the wine.

Here are the wines we tried: 2009 Regis Minet Pouilly-Fume ($14.99, yeast and pineapple aroma, high acid, quick finish), 2008 Chateau de Montfort – Vouvray ($16.49, wet wool and quince aromas, semi dry, medium body, medium finish), 2007 Les Pensees de Pallus – Chinon ($23.99, strong tannins, dry, light body, quick finish), 2009 Mouton Cadet ($12.49, pineapple, semi dry, improved with airation, quick finish), 2009 Charton la Fleur ($10.99, sweet grass, fruit, medium body, drying finish), 2008 Mouton Cadet Bordeaux ($10.99, red fruits, high tannins, smoother body when tasted after cheese) and 2007 Chateau Saint Sulpice Bordeaux ($13.74, butter aroma, dry, smooth body).

Until next time, cheers!


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