Joyeux Noel, mes amies! That’s French for “Happy Christmas, my friends,” and after two weeks drinking all the wine in France (and eating all the cheese in France), I am most definitely having a French-style season. This month, I received three delicious samples of some super-interesting French wines, in the name of inspiring you, my friends, to drink French this season!
And because I stand for truth and honesty, I’ll just say it: due to the French travels, I had no time to whip up any beautiful dishes to pair with these wines. I’m living on cheese (specifically, Camembert) and restaurants these days, so this blog post is going to be a review of some of the best things I ate in France and these gorgeous French wines. Ready? Allons-y! (Let’s go!)
Three Festive French Wines
Domaine Cauhapé Chant des Vignes 2017 Jurançon Sec: Wow, wow, wow. This was a fun one, because I’ve had this producer’s sweet dessert wine made from a grape called Petit Manseng (crushes it with Easter Peeps!). This wine, however, is dry and crazy delicious. If you like Chardonnay, I think you would love this. The grapes are Gros Manseng (60 percent) and Camaralet de Fin Septembre (40 percent). Wait, what? Yes, these are two rather obscure grapes, super-specific to the Jurançon region, which is in far southwestern France. But you know what the coolest thing is? This Camaralet grape is ancient — super rare and nearly extinct! But the people at Domaine Cauhapé are keeping it alive in this sexy wine and I love that! I think the “fin de septembre” part of the name refers to when they harvest it.
This golden white wine smells like green apple and lemon curd, with a fresh n’ zesty edge. It tastes like a lemon meringue pie had a baby with a margarita. It’s loaded with citrus like lemon curd, lime zest and blood orange, and has a racy acidity that makes your mouth water. It is medium weight, with maybe a tiny bit of oak, so it’s very round and lush in the mouth and I wish I hadn’t finished the whole damn bottle, because I want more! Delicious with: a plate of ham, green salad, double- or triple-cream cheese, such as Camembert or Delice de Bourgogne and tiny roasted new potatoes. (Holy French Bistro, this lunch nearly had me proposing to the waiter, it was so good.) Retail: $15. Importer in Illinois is H2Vino.
Domaine Paul Blanck 2017 Riesling, Alsace: So this bottle was interesting, because the label revealed almost nothing about the wine. Greeeatt. Dry? Sweet? Doesn’t say, haven’t got a clue! Let’s crack that screw cap (I love a screw cap because you don’t have to worry about potential cork taint from TCA). Ah, oui! The is dry, with bright rays of sunshiny citrus beaming through a core of flinty acidity. And, oh, hello, ginger … there you are adding a little zippy thing to the whole situation! Delicious with: salty potato chips topped with salty, rich Norwegian smoked salmon. Retail: $20. Importer in Illinois is Cream Wine.
Domaine de l’Hortus 2017 Pic Saint Loup YES! Let’s take a quick trip down south to the Languedoc-Roussillon region, down in southern France. This ruby-hued beauty is a GSM – which means it is a red blend of three grapes including Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre, which is one of my faves! Pic Saint Loup refers to the place, specifically the mountain where the vineyards are in southern France. This wine is bursting with vanilla, chocolate, cherries and an earthy note of mushrooms. It’s well-balanced, and easy to drink.
Delicious with: duck confit, mashed potatoes and green salad with a balsamic vinaigrette. Would also play well with a hamburger, sausage and mushroom pizza or braised lamb shank. Retail: $15.Importer in Illinois is Cream Wine.
You know what else was super festive in France? Friday night dinner with my fellow French Winophile blogger and friend, Lynn Gowdy, who lives in Bordeaux! This is one of the things I love the most about blogging: the people you meet and get to know online, through emails, each other’s blogs, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook. And then sometimes you get to meet in person! It’s just so great to expand your circle of friends through blogging, because that is what wine is all about, if you ask me – bringing people together. (Also, Lynn coordinated the samples, so thanks, Lynn!)
If you are in the mood for more French-style season inspiration, check out these posts by other members of the French Winophiles and join us Saturday morning, Dec. 15 at 10 am. CST on Twitter – just use #winophiles when we’ll talk France, wine, and holidays. Cheers et Joyeux Noel!
- Camilla from Culinary Adventures with Camilla whips up “A French #Winophiles Fête: Fois Gras, Pain d’Épices & Champagne Drappier”
- Jill shares from L’OCCASION shares “How To Bring French Holiday Traditions Home”
- Gwen at WinePredator has “Season’s Greetings French-Style”
- Wendy at A Day In The Life On The Farm gives us “A Holiday Gathering with French Foods and Wines”
- Martin at ENOFYLZ Wine Blog shares “A Taste of French Inspired Holiday Food and Wine”
- Deanna from Asian Test Kitchen tells writes about “Ants Climb a Tree with French Wine”
- Lauren at The Swirling Dervish tells us about “Parisian Holiday: A Few of My Favorite Things”
- Michelle of Rockin Red Blog writes about “A French-Inspired Holiday Alsatian Style”
- Kat from Bacchus Travel and Tours writes about “Noel en Provence“
- Jeff from foodwineclick discusses “What is French-Style Season?”
- Payal writes at Keep The Peas shares “Bonnes Fêtes à la #winophiles”
- Robin at Crushed Grape Chronicles entices us with “Un repas de Noël pour les fêtes de fin d’année (A Christmas Dinner for the end of the year celebrations)…with wine”
- David Crowley from CookingChat shares “Festive Pairings for Pouilly-Fumé and Other Special French Wine”
- Lyn writes at L.M. Archer tells us about “The Hedonistic Taster: French-Style Season Edition”
- Jane cooks things up at Always Ravenous shares “A French Inspired Winter Dinner”
- Nicole from Somms Table shares “Crocus l’Atelier Malbec de Cahors with Château Mercuès Saffron Chicken Soup“
- Liz from What’s In That Bottle tells us how to “Frenchify Your Festivities with Fun Wines“
- Rupal from Journeys of a Syrah Queen shares “French Inspired Holiday Wines”
- Lynn on Savor the Harvest shares how to “Give a Little Touche Française to Your Holiday