Tag Archives: France

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses by Gérard Bertrand 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Another rosé from France, not a from Provence this time but from Languedoc, which had a very bad reputation back in the day and came a long way.

It’s a blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault in the protected appellation Languedoc, 13% vol. The bottle has a glass cap and a fancy shape with a carved rose base. Definitely a bottle to keep once the wine is finished.

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

The photos don’t do it justice but the wine is very pale in the bottle, like a gris, pinkish and slightly orange. It’s super pale, almost yellow, in the glass — it looks like a white wine.

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Nose of grapefruit and little red fruits like strawberries but the citrus notes, mainly grapefruit, are prominent.

In mouth it feels very fresh on the palate, grapefruit again but not bitter and not agressive, rather the refreshing notes of the grapefruit. It is slightly fizzy also. Then come some yellow fruits actually rather than red fruits : apricot, nectarine, even pear, then citrus and grapefruit again in middle mouth. The after taste is mineral. This wine would pair perfectly with shellfish and all sea related food, shrimps and even lobster, like a white wine to which it is rather close by look and taste.

A nice and elegant bitterness after the mineral notes, which makes it very refreshing. On a hot day it would be a very easy drinking wine.

It is very different from the Provence rosés I am used to drink or the California rosés I have started to enjoy, all of which being more on the strawberry / blueberry / red fruit notes : on the opposite this wine has almost a white wine feeling. Maybe because it is not a Provence wine even though it is a southern wine. I didn’t know what to expect from a Languedoc rosé actually but I am not disappointed. This wine was highly recommended by the associate at Stirling Fine Wines where I bought it and where I buy almost all of my wines : it was warmly advised one day I was stoking up on various rosé wines for the warmer days. The associate even told me it was the best of the rosés I could find in that price range, no matter from what part of the world or from what region — from all the rosés in general.

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

In short it’s a very delicate and elegant wine that is even suitable for some more sophisticated seafood meals in lieu of white wine. Above the usual rosé food it can accommodate a fancy dinner. As the bottle itself is fancy too, with its shape, the glass cap, the carved rose at the base, it looks like a carafe thus would pair well with a fancy table set and make quite an impression to your guests.

A little on the pricey side (16 / 17 dollars a bottle) but totally worth it. Simply delicious !

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

Languedoc Rosé Côte des Roses 2017

 

Advertisements

Making shandy in America

Making shandy

Making shandy

A classic for the summer in France, the shandy that we call panaché which literally means « a mix of ». The closest translation I found was shandy, a mix of beer and non alcoholic drink. However you never can get a panaché in a bar nor in any liquor and beer stores. 

Then my son mentioned a « summer shandy » that was sold but it is not a French panaché at all (review to come).

So I went on the hunt of making it at home. Making the perfect panaché or at least the French panaché I enjoy when in France, was really a bit of a hunt — I had to gather the right ingredients which was not as simple a task as it may have seemed. 

The beer, no problem, there are plenty of them, local, cheap or imported, gourmet or expensive from all the countries you can think of. Of course you don’t want to use a gourmet nor an abbey beer for that but rather an ordinary everyday beer. I chose to go with imported beers from Europe figuring I would be closest to the taste. I selected the generic Heineken lager beer and a French lager beer (might as well get even closer to the origins), a 1664 by Kronenbourg (the generic Kronenbourg was nowhere to be found here in New Jersey.)

But the complicated part was the other ingredient, the French limonade, or rather what we consider and call limonade in France. Here it’s nowhere to be found, ever. I have looked for it in the past when the kids were little and now to make the shandy. Not to be confused by what’s called lemonade here, which is a non sparking sweetened lemon juice, what we call a « citronnade » in France.

The closest « limonade » I could think of was a lemon/lime soda such as Sprite and 7-up. Not quite the same as the French limonade but worth a try. It’s lemon and lime, which the French limonade doesn’t have (it’s only a lemon tasting soda).

So I had my ingredients, Heineken and 1664 Kronenbourg for the beers and Sprite and 7-up as makeshift limonades.

Making shandy

Making shandy

I used my son as a guinea pig and for 4 evenings we tried all the combinations : Heineken with Sprite, then Heineken with 7-up then the 1664 with Sprite and lastly the 1664 with 7-up.

The first evening we were quite disappointed by the combination of Heineken and Sprite : too limy. The unwanted lime taste was too be expected but at that level it took away the real panaché taste with this strong lime taste.

The second evening was better, the combination of Heineken and 7-up worked better because the 7-up felt less limy in taste than the Sprite. Better but quite not there yet. 

The third night we tried the 1664 Kronenbourg with the Sprite and again too limy though it felt closer than the combination of Heineken and Sprite. Using a French beer helped, so I ruled out the Heineken for future shandy making. 

So I had high hopes for the last night when we tried the combination of 1664 and 7-up : that was indeed the closest. A tad off, not exactly the panaché taste but close enough and good enough for our expatriates’ enjoyment. 

I keep this combination as my recipe for makeshift panaché when I want to enjoy one on this side of the ocean on a summer day. It reminds me of summers of my youth and my son does also enjoy them as memories of his French summer days. 1664 and 7-up soda, half and half and it works close and good enough. We had this combination tried by a local friend who loved it (he had of course never heard of the real panaché and only knows the « summer shandy » that has nothing to do with a French panaché).

1664 and 7-up, way to go !

Making shandy

Making shandy

Côteaux d’Aix en Provence Rosé The Palm by Whispering Angels 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

Another Provence rosé, this time a Côteaux d’Aix en Provence (protected origin appellation). This one has had some heavy marketing since the end of March, everywhere. All the wine stores around do carry it and have it prominently in display. In spite of that I decided to try it when I saw it was a Côteaux d’Aix en Provence, not far from my home region (At first, with the name I thought it was another California Rosé).

Screw cap, 12.5% vol, around 13 dollars. A blend of syrah, grenache and cinsault made by the Chateau d’Esclans.

Their website : https://esclans.com

The Palm rosé 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

In the bottle, very pale pink leaning towards salmon, almost a « gris ».

Even way more pale in the glass, to the point of being closer to transparent than pink. Definitively a gris type of wine color.

Nose is flowery (fleuri), scents of rose flower and almost carnation, then red fruit like raspberry and mostly blueberry.

In mouth it’s characteristic of the Provence rosé wines, after all it’s a Côteaux d’Aix en Provence. Fruits, slight bitterness, very fresh. Mainly blueberry (like the nose) and a hint of licorice as it is quite frequent in the Provence rosés.

On second and third sips, still extremely fruity mainly blueberry, extremely blueberry actually, a slight acidity is present and noticeable but well balanced.

An explosion of blueberries, balanced with a nice acidity and firm licorice as an after mouth, that makes it fresh and easy drinking.

It is a really enjoyable wine, I am not disappointed and it is in line with all the Provence rosés we drink all summer long with my parents, when I visit them in the South of France, French Riviera (between Cannes and Antibes). If I can find a French version of this, it could as well be one of our go-to rosés.

For the people in France reading my blog, it might be a label and name made only for export in North America but you can contact them and ask for their Côteaux d’Aix en Provence.

Their French website : https://cavesdesclans.fr

I enjoyed it with pasta in sauce made of tuna, capers and light cream.

The Palm rosé 2018

The Palm rosé 2018

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

This is a Côtes de Provence rosé from les Maîtres Vignerons de la Presqu’Île de Saint-Tropez, my home region.

Their website : www.fleurdemerrose.com and also www.vignerons-saint-tropez.com

They had it on display at Stirling Fine Wines the other day and I figured I could try it as it comes from my home region, really a dash by car from Cannes where I was born.

Grenache, Cinsault. 12.5% vol.

The color is very pale, almost the color of white wine. My pictures don’t do justice to that very pale color though. Yellowy leaning to a pale pale pink orange. We could almost call it a gris. Very long and regular legs.

The nose is very scented and strongly perfumed. Strawberry at first, then redcurrant, after swirling the wine in the glass strawberry again, on the green side. Some red fruit mix almost like the Teisseire Grenadine syrup, then green grass, freshly cut grass and a hint of banana.
After smelling again and swirling one more time, the last final nose note is banana and a powder scent too (as a make-up powder).

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

In mouth a bit fizzy at first, very fresh and crisp then tastes of redcurrant and strawberry fruits, a hint of peach and the banana I was smelling. Nothing agressive, all the flavors are quite balanced and subtle, almost subdued and mellowed (fondus).

Definitely the major taste is banana but not in an agressive way, rather in an extremely pleasant way. I wasn’t expecting such a taste from this type of wine but rather some usual licorice taste which is actually absent from this one.

It has a refreshing sweet taste but the wine is sweet per se : the taste feels sweet but the acidity is there too, mixed and mellowed with all the flavors and sugar. An extremely well balanced wine, it is a notch above the usual Côtes de Provence rosés we drink during my summer days in France. Even if there are good ones, this one is above the lot and next level.

The price is a notch above my usual range for rosés, around 15 / 17 dollars but this was totally worth it. Also this is a French wine and import taxes are usually high, specially on French wines which are always twice the price we find in France for the same wine, even with Stirling Fine Wines reasonable prices or special sales.

This is an excellent Côtes de Provence rosé and an excellent wine period. A delicate and elegant wine, Côtes de Provence rosé at its best and above.

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

Côtes de Provence Rosé Fleur de Mer 2018

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

In France during my stay for the holidays, I was visiting my good friends who are regular consumers of Chateau Roubine. We have had it regularly throughout my visits over the years, in red or rosé, which are both very good. But I had never had it in white, that was a first for me. So I took the opportunity to take some tasting notes for the blog.

It’s a Côte de Provence, cru classé, 13.5% vol.

In the bottle it’s pale yellow, almost white or even transparent, leaning towards a hint of golden.

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

Côtes de Provence Château Roubine Cru Classé White 2016

In the glass it looks a deeper yellow, leaning towards rose gold. Greasy against the walls of the glass and long legs.

The nose is powerful with strong scents of honey and honeysuckle. It has a strong scent almost like a perfume but in a pleasant way.

In mouth it’s acid but balanced, a pleasant acidity. Slightly fizzy at first, a nice bitterness and a dry after mouth.

The taste is very honey-like as was the nose, but very dry at the same time : it has the taste of honey but not the sweetness nor sugary taste. It also tastes a bit of ripe apple.

A very pleasant wine.

We enjoyed it with foie gras (an excellent one, the very one from the Hotel Carlton in Cannes ! ) and fig bread.

The foie gras we had with Chateau Roubine White

The foie gras we had with Chateau Roubine White

Pessac-Léognan Château Le Bruilleau 2013

Pessac-Léognan Château Le Bruilleau 2013

Pessac-Léognan Château Le Bruilleau 2013

Still going through my parents’ Bordeaux wine collection, this one is a Graves (grand vin de Graves), namely a Pessac-Léognan, red, 13% vol.

In the glass the color is dark red (grenat) to brownish : this wine looks actually almost brown but at the same time ruby red when looking by transparency against a bright light source. Gras (greasy) on the walls of the glass and nice legs.

The nose is leather, tannins and wood.

Very supple (souple) and smooth in mouth, with notes of leather and wood. The wood notes are nicely mellow (fondues) and it has mellow undergrowth notes too. No fruit notes at all, this wine is at its peak and must be drunk at once.

It is very pleasant and has long after mouth with a slight (pleasant) bitterness.

This was our Christmas lunch wine and it paired nicely with our meal, a chapon à la provençale. (capon with provencal seasoning and ingredients).

Pessac-Léognan Château Le Bruilleau 2013

Pessac-Léognan Château Le Bruilleau 2013

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

This one is a cru artisan and not a cru bourgeois as it is usually the case with Médocs. I don’t know the intricacies of this denomination / labelling difference. In any case, a cru artisan from Joël Blanchard.
It had been also a médaille d’argent (silver medal or second place) at the yearly agricultural fair and contest in Paris, in 2016. Usually those medals are a guarantee of quality and this additional label on the bottle, mentioning this award, is strictly enforced. One cannot claim it if it’s not true. 13% vol.

The wine is very dark in the bottle. In the glass it’s also very dark, a very dark purple red leaning to a very dark almost black color with red accent rim. Nice legs on the glass. Looking from the top of the glass it’s dark ruby.

The nose is very closed, it has almost no scent at all. It needs to aerate — at least for the nose.
The mouth is closed too, so definitely it needs to aerate.

I leave it in the open bottle for a while before drinking it again. At that point it starts to smell of venison and undergrowth. In mouth it’s woody, undergrowth and has a slight bitterness. We left it a bit more in the open bottle before tasting it again, then seeing it doesn’t open more or at least not really fast, I decid to decant it in a carafe.

After one hour in the carafe : superb legs on the glass after that one hour left alone opened in the carafe. The nose opened to cherry, more on the cooked and crystallized cherry (confites) side. Superb nose of cherry, almost cherry liquor also. In mouth it has de la mâche (chewy, in a good way) and a taste of agrumes (citrus) at first. Really very chewy, the mouth is then cherry, wood, it tastes of cask or wood — a little bit on the green wood side that is.

It envelops the mouth very pleasantly then wood again after the cherry and a very pleasant slight bitterness. It is very woody actually and it could wait a couple of more years to mellow and soften up.

We enjoyed it with pasta, a mix of mafaldine and tagliatelle with a cooked sauce of zucchini tomato basil and green olives. 

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014

Haut-Médoc Red Château de Coudot 2014