Home > Tasting Notes and Wine Reviews > French Wines at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting

French Wines at the Winebow Portfolio Tasting


Winebow Tasting at URBANA Restaurant, Hotel Palomar

This post covers the French wines I tasted at the Winebow Portfolio tasting last Thursday. In my experience it is hard to go wrong with a wine imported by Kermit Lynch. This tasting reinforced that opinion. I thought this tasting a success with plenty of interesting wines. The spittons were constantly emptied, the water pitchers always filled, and there was a table of enjoyable charcuterie for reinforcement. I am still a slow taster and equally slow note writer but I felt relaxed by everyone’s friendly nature and inquries as to what my notes were for. Though tired I rode the Metro home excited by all of the wines I tasted and craving a glass to actually drink. Please find my notes below.

Champalou

Catherine Champalou, Champalou

Catherine and Didier Champalou started their domaine in 1983. They farm 21 hectares of vineyards using sustainable farming and organic methods. I thought all three wines showed well with the La Grand Fondeaux particularly beautiful.

NV Champalou, Petillant Brut, Vouvray
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 20-year-old vines. The color is a very light straw. The light nose is yeasty and articulate. The flavors are of apple fruit delivered by a burst of bubbles followed by fine, lively acidity on the tongue. There is texture, dried spice, and ripe fruit, not to mention a yeast note.

2010 Champalou, Sec, Vouvray
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 35-year-old vines The fruit was fermented in stainless steel then aged on the fine lees for 11 months. The light nose has aromas of low-lying ripe white fruit. The white fruit flavors are mineraly with a little “sweet” lemon juice. The acidity is balanced. There are some tannins to the citrus flavored finish.

2010 Champalou, La Grand Fondreaux, Vouvray
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 45-year-old vines. The fruit is fermented in 450 liter wooden cuves where it is aged on the lees for 11 months. The light nose is more Pilsner-like. In the mouth there clearly is a fine wine with beautiful fruit and good gentle weight. The flavors become white and floral with a certain ripeness and long aftertaste. Nice.

Domaine de Fontsainte

Marie-Christine Polak, Domaine de Fontsainte

There have been vineyards on the site of Domaine de Fontsainte since the Romans. Today Bruno Laboucarie farms the land sustainably. I have already enjoyed several bottles of the Reserve la Demoiselle so was pleased that the Tradition Rouge is a strong offering as well.

2010 Domaine de Fontsainte, Tradition Rouge, Corbieres
This wine is a blend of 70% Carignan, 15% Grenache Noir, and 15% Syrah. The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration. The wine is aged for six months in French oak barrels. The nose is light with grapey blue fruit and perfume. In the mouth the fine, blue fruit show ripeness and is mouthfilling. The wine is balance, quite nice with a good racy note, moderate depth, and easy to drink.

2009 Domaine de Fontsainte, Reserve la Demoiselle, Corbieres
This wine is a blend of 70% Carignan, 20% Grenache Noir, and 10% Mourvedre with the Carignan vines over 100 years old. The Carignan undergoes carbonic maceration. The wine is aged for 12 months in French oak barrels. The nose is light+ with dark red fruit and smells concentrated. In the mouth there is lovely ripe red and blue fruit, depth, balance, and an earthy note. There is some red fruit and a little spice to the long aftertaste. This will age a bit but is great fun now.

Charles Joguet

Anne-Charlotte Genet, Charles Joguet

Charles Joguet took control of the family domaine in 1957. Today Kevin Fontaine overseas the domaine and produces wine from some 36 hectares of vines. The land is sustainably farmed. There are several good choices here with the Cuvee Terroir a good introduction. I would drink the Clos de la Plante Martin and Les Petites Roches while the Cuve de la Cure ages.

2010 Charles Joguet, Clos de la Plante Martin, Touraine
This wine is 100% Chenin Blanc sourced from 13-18 year old vines. The nose is yeasty and delicate with fruit. In the mouth the yeasty, earthy flavors follow the nose. The flavors turn towards weighty white fruit with some citrus, balanced acidity, nice texture, and a sappy, long aftertaste.

2009 Charles Joguet, Cuvee Terroir, Chinon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 30-year-old vines. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation then ages in cuve. The light nose is fresh and grapey. In the mouth there are weighty, light blue flavors which mix with tart red notes. There is a little citrus hint and nice, tannins with a ripe texture.

2009 Charles Joguet, Les Petites Roches, Chinon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 35-year-old vines which yield complexity. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation then ages in cuve. There is tart red fruit, minerals, with low-lying flavors which turn blacker in the finish. There are very fine tannins. Exhibits the gravelly soils well.

2009 Charles Joguet, Cuvee de la Cure, Chinon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 35-year-old vines. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in used oak barrels where it is aged for 12 months. The light nose is more pungent with piercing red and blue fruit. In the mouth there is finely textured, weighty, red fruit and light, spicy tannins. The wine is slow to open but has good flavors and all around balance. Young, need some age.

2009 Charles Joguet, Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Chinon
This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc sourced from 36-50 year old vines. The wine undergoes malolactic fermentation in used barrels then is aged for 15-16 months in oak futes then after assembly in cuve it is aged a further two months. The light nose is interesting but still tight. The flavors are soft in a sense, coiled tight with notes of graphite and tart red fruit. The are fine tannins in the structure which is balanced. Wait 3-5 years before trying again.

Chateau de Lascaux

Meredith Hyslop, Chateau de Lascaux

Though the vineyards of Lascaux have been in the Cavalier family for generations Chateau de Lascaux did not exist until 1990. At this point Jean-Benoit consolidated the vineyards and renovated the cellars. The Rose was quite refreshing while the Rouge has opened up nicely since I lasted tasted it. I would drink these two while the Carra ages.

2010 Chateau de Lascaux, Blanc, Coteaux du Languedoc
This wine is a blend of 50% Vermentino, 20% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne, and 10% Viognier sourced from 15-20 year old vines. The light nose is floral with fruity-tooth aromas. In the mouth there is fresh Lychee, grapefruit, and yeast notes with a smooth feel. There are some fine tannins and texture. Decent.

2011 Chateau de Lascaux, Rose, Coteaux du Languedoc
This wine is a blend of 40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Cinsault, and 10% Mourvedre sourced from 5-10 year old vines. It was aged in cuves for 7 months. The flavors are very crisp and lively on the tongue, a step up from the Blanc. There are minerals, dry flavors, and dried floral notes.

2009 Chateau de Lascaux, Rouge, Cotes du Languedoc
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah, 35% Grenache, and 5% Mourvedre sourced from 10-20 year old vines. It was aged in cuves for 14 months. The light nose is pungent. In the mouth there is a surprising amount of flavor. One finds ripe, earthy fruit, structure, minerals, and drying tannins. This has opened up nicely since I last tasted it one year ago.

2010 Chateau de Lascaux, Carra, Pic Saint Loup
This wine is a blend of 60% Syrah and 40% Grenache sourced from 10-20 year old vines. It was aged in cuves for 14 months. There is brambly, concentrated fruit which is red and blue. The drying structured tannins frame fresh herbs in the finish. Nice, but needs several years of age.

Domaine La Tour Vieille

Christine Campadieu, Domaine La Tour Vieille

Domaine la Tour Vieille began when Vincent Cantie and Christine Campadieu joined their two small family domaines in Collioure and Banyuls. The estate is composed of 32 acres of vineyards located on steep terraced hills with stone walls for erosion control. The land and grapes are worked by hand. All wines are fermented with indigenous yeasts. I do not come across too many wines from Collioure so I made sure to taste Christine Campadieu’s wines. The nose of La Pinede is evocative of the sea with the flavors in the mouth of black fruit. This was my first time tasting Banyuls and I particularly liked the Blanc Doux and the Rimage.

2009 Domaine La Tour Vieille, La Pinede, Collioure
This wine is a blend of 75% Grenache and 25% Carignan sourced from 35-70 year old vines. The light+ nose is briney with a fine scent. In the mouth the lovely racy fruit has a cool aspect and is racy. The wine is quite approachable with a perfume throughout, sweet, ripe black fruit, and a fine structure.

2009 Domaine La Tour Vieille,Blanc Doux, Banyuls
This wine is a blend of 50% Grenache Blanc and 50% Grenache Gris sourced from 35-70 year old vines. This wine has a light nose of ripe apples and yeast. In the mouth the fine racy flavors are beautiful with the residual sugar and acidity in balance. The flavors of white floral fruit is lifted, with good fruit overall, showing a fruity, pastille note in the finish. Well done.

2009 Domaine La Tour Vieille, Rimage, Banyuls
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Carignan sourced from 45+ year old vines. The light+ nose is bright with tart, red fruit. In the mouth the red bramble fruit mixes with herbs and spices. It caresses the mouth with a soft, supple, sweet blanket of flavors. The wine is complex and possesses adroit balance. There are grainy, dried fruit flavors in the finish. Well done.

NV Domaine La Tour Vieille,Reserve, Banyuls
This wine is a blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Grenache Gris, and 30% Carignan sourced from 45+ year old vines. This wine is a late bottling seeing 3-6 years of age in oak barrels. The nose is fine with a wood note. In the mouth the flavors are slightly earthy with some pruned fruit. The more delicate dried fruit is floral with a sweetness. There is more residual sugar but still has good balanced before the dried fruit and dried herbs of the finish.

Kermit Extras

Kermit Extras

There was wine table with a selection of Kermit Lynch “Extras” pourd by Lyle Railsback. Lots of goodies here!

2011 Gros ‘Nore, Rose, Bandol
This wine is a blend of 40% Mourvedre, 40% Cinsault, and 20% Grenache sourced from 30 year old vines. This wine had a light pungent nose. In the mouth the ripe fruit is nutty with a smooth mouthfeel. There were herbs followed by a yeast note in the finish and sweet spice in the aftertaste. This was balanced all around.

2010 Yves Leccia, Blanc
This wine is 100% Biancu Gentile sourced from 5-year-old vines located on schist soils. The fruit is fermented in stainless steel then aged for six months. This wine had a very light, yeast nose of citrus and melons. In the mouth there was gentle citrus, florals, and herbs delivered with a good mouth feel. There is a Pilsner note as yeast and white fruit come out in the finish. Again, good mouth feel.

2009 Yves Leccia, Croce, Patrimonio
This wine is a blend of 90% Niellucciu and 10% Grenache sourced from 20-40 year old vines. The fruit is fermented in stainless steel then aged for 12 months. The nose is floral with blue and purple fruit. In the mouth there is light to medium structure with blue and black fruit. The flavors move on to ripe, earthy, ethereal quality with drying tannins meant for age. There is a certain lightness to the wine. Nice.

2009 Les Pallieres, Terrasse du Diable, Gigondas
This wine is a blend of 90% Grenache, 5% Mourvedre, and 5% Clairette sourced from 45-year-old vines. The fruit is fermented in cement cuves and wooden vats then aged for 10 months in cuves followed by 12 months in foudre. This wine has a light nose of pure fruit with underlying bramble. In the mouth there are dried herbs, sage, and tart red fruit delivered by fine acidity. The power is lurking below as is very fine, drying tannins. There is a long aftertaste. Will age for some time.

2009 Domaine du Vieux Telegraphe, Chateauneuf du Pape
This wine is a blend of 65% Grenache, 15% Mourvedre, 15% Syrah, and 5% Cinsault, Clairette, and others sourced from 20-60 year old vines. The fruit is fermented in cement cuves and wooden vats then aged for 10 months in cuves followed by 12 months in foudre. This wine has a tight nose. In the mouth it is complex and beautiful. The red and blue fruit has gentle bramble, long, fine flavors, and shows strong refinement. There is a little dried fruit and fine powerful tannins.

2008 Domaine de Durban, Muscat de Beaumes de Venise
This wine is 100% Muscat a Petits Grains Blanc sourced from 35-year-old vines. Neutral spirit is used to arrest fermentation with aging in cement and stainless steel. The medium strength nose reveals depth to the fresh and dried apricots. In the mouth there are earthy apricots and perfume which is quite haunting. The flavors are a touch savory. There is a fresh herb note, caramelized residual sugar, and weight in the finish. Nice.

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