Recent Posts

Red for Summer Grilling.

The Languedoc has long been a source for inexpensive wine, but it has only recently become a source for value. There’s still plenty of uninteresting wine made in the vast region, but if you make good choices $12 will take you farther here than just about anywhere else in France. The best bargain we have found here may come from the Clos Bagatelle.

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A Sparkling Blend from Burgundy.

Blending rules.  Each region in France has its own rules for winemaking. The rules dictate, among other things, which varietals may be planted, the ripeness at which they can be harvested, and whether they may be blended. In Burgundy blending is rare, and the vast majority of wines are unblended and made from Pinot Noir, […]

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Cool dry white for hot muggy weather.

It’s often hard to find wine to drink in hot weather – high alcohol levels and muggy weather are a poor match. In July and August we look to low-alcohol wines with good acidity. Our latest favorite is the dry Riesling from Francis Muré.

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Red Burgundy and the French Revolution.

Today the French celebrate Bastille Day to commemorate the storming of the Bastille in Paris and the start of the French Revolution. In Burgundy, the decline of the Monarchy marked a profound change in vineyard ownership. Napoleon’s 1804 Code Civile abolished primogeniture, forcing all sons into inheritance and producing the complicated patchwork of estates found today.

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Nature vs. Nurture in Bordeaux and Sancerre.

We like to think of terroir as an example of nature vs. nurture. If the “nature” of a wine is its grape varietals, the “nurture” is the soil, climate, and vigneron. The most exciting French wines are studies in nurture – take the same grape, raise it differently, and you have vastly different wines.

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Alsace: a Sparkling Blend of Grapes and Cultures.

In honor of last Friday’s France-Germany World Cup match, we’re offering one more wine from Alsace. This remarkably beautiful region is wedged between the two countries, and has changed hands four times since the 1930s. Its inhabitants identify as Alsatian more than either French or German, and today Alsace incorporates the best traditions – cultural, culinary, oenological – of both nations.

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Summer Tomatoes and Sangiovese.

July is here and tomatoes are finally back in season. Whether cooked and tossed with pasta and parmesan, or sliced raw and served with mozzarella, olive oil, and crunchy salt, they’re a staple of summer. But tomatoes (and in particular, tomato sauce) can present a wine-pairing puzzle.

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A Picnic in Alsace.

The French have a long tradition of eating outdoors. From harvest tables in Burgundy to breezy rooftops in Paris, a French meal en plein air is full of delicious smells, clinking glasses, and hearty laughter. We find that wine (and really food in general) tastes better outside, with room to breathe and open. A Spring-Summer favorite of ours is “Les Anémones,” a delightful blend from our friend Francis Muré in Alsace.

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Wine for your Hamburger.

For burger-related thirst quenching, we often turn to a cold beer or a tall summery cocktail. But to satisfy the occasional craving for grape-based refreshment, here’s a solution. The Syrah from Stephan Montez in the Northern Rhône is low in alcohol (12.5%), inexpensive, and full of cool, dark fruit. But it’s the wine’s smokiness that makes it match with burgers so well.

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What is Minerality, anyway?

The wine world loves the word “minerality,” but no one can quite define it. Lettie Teague wrote an extensive and helpful article on the concept last year, where she concluded, “it’s a helpful word to describe wines that aren’t fruity, spicy, or herbal.” Our best suggestion for defining minerality? This wine: Gautheron’s Chablis Vieilles Vignes 2012. However you define it, this wine’s got it.

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