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A wide variety of French wines.


This post features a number of French wines which we have recently drunk.  My favorite pair are the 2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon and the 2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages.  The Raffault is a finely scented, fresh, satisfying herbaceous wine from Chinon.  I kept finding myself returning to my glass.  The Cheveau has benefited from a few years of age but still retains lovely cool, dense flavors.   The 2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone is also good with its minerally, black flavors but it will greatly benefit from short-term aging. Of the wines for drinking now the 2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois offers a tart, red grapefruit profile whereas the 2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres offers forward drinking flavors of raspberry candy.  These wines were purchased at MacArthur Beverages.

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2014 Chateau Coupe Roses, La Bastide, Minervois – $13
Imported by Vintage 59.  This wine is a blend of old-vine Carignan and Grenache.  Alcohol 13%.  The nose was of raspberry candy.  In the mouth the tart red and black fruit had a slight hint of red grapefruit.  In general there was a beam of tart and ripe fruit, minimal structure which was integrated, and spices in the end.  The tart aspects matched with the developing bitters flavor.  ** Now – 2017.

2014 Damien Coquelet, Cote du Py, Morgon – $22
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Gamay.  Alcohol.  Tasted over a few days the lovely nose eventually took on graphite notes.  This light, bright wine was pure in nature with a lively start, building dry weight, and an ethereal aftertaste.  It had slightly watering acidity and a dry, structured middle.  The dry flavors existed over a layer of stone and mineral.  I suspect this might open up in a year.  It is best to cellar it instead of giving it extended decant time because it developed a Pilsner beer note.  **(*) 2017-2019.

2013 Alleno & Chapoutier, Cotes du Rhone – $15
Imported by Classic Wines.  This wine is mostly Syrah that was fermented and aged on concrete tanks.  Alcohol 14.5%.  The minerally, black fruit flavors left some texture on the gums and juicy acidity on the tongue.  With controlled flavors the gentle ripe spices took on some wood notes and persisted through the aftertaste.  This needs short-term aging.  *** 2017-2020.

2013 Ermitage du Pic Saint Loup, Tour de Pierres, Pic St Loup – $17
Imported by Kermit Lynch.  This wine is a blend of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre.   Alcohol 13.5%.  The nose is attractive with delicate floral and graphite aromas. In the mouth the wine has very high-toned, citric red fruit.  With extended air it seemed to deepen up a bit and not fall into Pilsner yeast land.  ** Now – 2017.

2013 Ola Raffault, Les Barnabes, Chinon – $17
Imported by Louis/Dressner.  This wine is 100% Cabernet Franc.  Alcohol 12.5%.  This fresh, scented wine is attractively herbaceous.  The flavors continue with herbaceous red and black fruit flavors which are dry.  This flavorful wine is mouthfilling yet medium-bodied with an almost gentle finish.  With air sweet dried herbs come out along with very, very fine tannins.  The acidity is indistinguishably integrated.  *** Now – 2018.

2011 Abbaye Sylva Plana, Les Novices, Faugeres – $18
A Franck’s Signature Wines imported by Promex Wines.  This wine is a blend of 55% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, 10% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre.  Alcohol 14%.  The forward flavors of raspberry candy are rounded with mouthfilling weight.  With air it takes on some darker notes.  Very much a wine to drink right now. ** Now – 2017.

2011 Domaine Cheveau, Or Rouge, Beaujolais Villages – $18
Imported by Rosenthal.  This wine is 100% Gamay sourced from vines averaging 50 years of age.   Alcohol 13%.  The nose remained subtle but in the mouth were cool, dense fruit with watery acidity, a fresh middle, and tannins noticeable in the aftertaste.  With air the firm red fruits took on additional flavors of ripe black fruit.  The wine remained a little puckering on the sides of the tongue.  *** Now – 2020.

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