Tasting Notes: French Wines
The following wines have proven to be of consistently good quality and may in general be purchased with confidence.
- George Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages Flower Label
- George Duboeuf Brouilly Flower Label
- George Duboeuf Morgon Flower Label
- Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages
- Mommessin Beaujolais-Villages
- Château Bonnet
- Château Thieuley
- Sauvion & Fils
- Fortant du France
- Val d’Orbieu
- Paul Jabolet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45
- M. Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône Belleruche
- Leon Beyer Pinot Blanc
- Pierre Sparr Riesling Carte d’Or
Here are some specific wines, the ratings they received, and some tasting notes from Wine Spectator.
Red Wines by Appellation
- 89 Georges Duboeuf Morgon Domaine Bellevue 1996. Round and generous, this rich red shows deep color, ripe plum and meaty flavors and well-balanced tannins that make it a great match for food. A beautiful expression of the Gamay grape.
- 88 Georges Duboeuf Chénas Domaine des Darroux 1995. Quite powerful for Beaujolais. This wine is dark in color, with intense plum aromas, and big tannins under ripe plum and cassis flavors.
- 88 Georges Duboeuf Morgon Jean Descombes 1995. Kirsch and spice flavors are vivid in this unusually dense Beaujolais, with a firm tannic underpinning.
- 88 Robert Sarrau Juliénas Château des Capitans 1995. Well made, harmonious and true to type, this appealing Beaujolias is plush yet firm, combining bright black cherry and plum flavors with smoky and gamy accents, firm tannins and bright acidity.
- 87 Georges Duboeuf Brouilly Château de Nervers 1995. Round and quite rich, showing good concentration for a Brouilly, with flavors of ripe plum and chocolate. Delicious.
- 87 Georges Duboeuf Régnié Domaine du Rotet 1995. Distinctive. Attractive floral and bell pepper aromas, ripe cherry and chocolate flavors. Thick on the palate, with solid tannins beneath. Juicy and rich.
- 86 Georges Duboeuf Chénas Flower Label 1996. Lively, its bright flavors of cherries and raspberries gaining complexity from spice and black pepper notes. Firm and fresh on the palate, a good match for food.
- 86 Georges Duboeuf Juliénas Flower Label 1996. A distinctive and seductive Beujolais in an almost Californian style, this wine is ripe and fleshy, with jammy flavors of crushed black-berries and black-cherry syrup. Yummy, and so reasonably priced.
- 85 Château La Grange De Grenet Bordeaux 1995. This balanced red shows ripe cherry flavors, light smoke notes and firm, integrated tannins. It’s food-friendly and harmonious.
- 84 Bruno Prats Cabernet Sauvignon Bordeaux 1995. Fresh and lively, this offers straightforward cherry and light herbal flavors, with modest tannins and a clean finish.
- 83 Château Bonnet Bordeaux 1994. Gamy and smoky aromas give way to ripe plum flavors in this firm, solid red. Enough structure to improve through 1998.
- 88 Sauvion & Fils Saumur Champigny Les Gravières du Roy 1995. This lively wine offers textbook flavors of Cabernet Franc: red berries, green berbs and tobacco. Though light on the palate, it’s well balanced and should match well with food.
- 87 Sauvion & Fils Chinon Les Roches Chachées 1995. Bold in flavor yet light in body, this red shows ripe raspberry, leaf, licorice and light metallic flavors, and finishes with firm tannins. Slightly disjointed now, may be better in 1998.
- 86 Domaine Berthet-Rayne Côtes du Rhône-Villages Cairanne 1995. A ripe , round red layering plum and pretty smoke flavors over firm tannins. A bit closed now, but the concentration and balance show promise.
- 86 Paul Jaboulet Aîné Côtes du Rhône Parallèle 45 1995. Round and ripe, this offers attractive black cherry, licorice and light herbal flavors, with firm but unobtrusive tannins that add backbone. It’s nicely balanced and drinking well now.
- 86 Perrin Réserve Côtes du Rhône 1994. The ripe plum and gamy flavors of Syrah shine through this rich red, a new offering from the owners of Château de Beaucastel. Firm yet generous, it’s tannic enough to age yet balanced enough to drink now.
- 84 J. Vidal-Fleury Côtes du Rhône 1994. Supple and ripe, this makes up in rich plum, chocolate and cinnimon flavors what it lacks in concentration. Drink it now, while it still has enough tannin to stand up to food.
- 85 Armand Roux Coteaux du Languedoc Pic St. Loup 1994. Floral aromas and raspberries are the hallmarks of this medium-bodied, firm red. A “dusty” character and chocolaty accents add interest and complexity. Drinkable now.
- 83 Moillard Côtes du Rhône Les Violettes 1995. Flavors of plum, black cherry and chocolate are fresh and focused in this round red. It’s soft on the palate, yet has a firm tannic core. Drinkable now.
White Wines by Appellation
- 87 Alsace Wilm Pinot Blanc Alsace 1995. A crisp, firm white that offers bright citrus and mineral notes. It’s a bit tart on its own, but a good foil for food and a bargain for all its Alsace character. It’s clean and long on the finish, too.
- 85 Pierre Sparr Pinot Blanc Alsace Diamant d’Alsace Réserve 1995. Aromas of spring flowers and lime give way to a delicate white full of green apple and mineral character. Poised and balanced, for drinking now.
- 85 Trimbach Pinot Blanc Alsace 1994. Big for a Pinot Blanc, showing a nice balance of ripe pear and crisp lime flavors that are clean and firm. It can stand up to food. A good value for what it offers.
- 84 Meyer-Fonné Pinot Blanc Alsace Vieilles Vignes 1994. Light-bodied, yet rich in honey, melon and creamy flavors. Though there’s not quite enough acidity for balance, the floral sweetness has its own appeal.
- 87 La Cour Pavillon Bordeaux White 1995. Rich and full-flavored, with lovely peach, melon and herbal flavors. Well-balanced and focused with nice acidity and texture. Finishes on a good, crisp note with a touch of honey to boot.
- 86 Maître-D-Estournel Bordeaux White 1995. Intense aromas of grass and flowers give way to crisp, lively flavors of citrus, green apple and herbs. A fresh, clean white with style and balance.
- 85 Château Thieuley Bordeaux White 1995. Shows solid varietal character with appealing herbal and fig-like flavors that linger on the finish. Also has decent depth, is well balanced and focused.
- 89 Chéreau Carré Muscadet de Sévre et Maine Les Vergers 1995. Distinctive, this Loire white exhibits unusual weight and concentration for Muscadet, yet it’s still crisp and bright, with lime and light pineapple flavors. Will perk up a wide range of light dishes, at a price that will perk you up.
- 88 Domaine De La Pépière Muscadet de Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie 1995. A bracing white with classic Muscadet character--from the firm acidity to the pear, light herb and spice flavors to the fresh, clean finish. It’s muscular yet balanced, and very refreshing.
Loire: Vouvray / Other
- 89 Château de Montfort Vouvray 1995. Enticing aromas of walnuts and dried apples give way to crisp yet rich flavors of apples, honey, tea and minerals in this lively white. It’s crisp, yet hints at sweetness. A delicious aperitif.
- 84 Jean-Claude Bougrier Vouvray 1995. Soft and fresh, with bright floral and apple notes and just a hint of sweetness to round out the crisp, lemony acidity. A nice aperitif.
- 88 Henry de Fontenay Sancerre Les Roysiers 1995. Soft and fresh, with bright floral and apple notes and just a hint of sweetness to round out the crisp, lemony acidity. A nice aperitif.
- 84 Perrin Réserve White Côtes du Rhône 1995. Notes of grilled almonds and vanilla add interest to this firm, spicy white. Clean and well-balanced, with apple and melon flavors.
- 80 Delas Côtes du Rhône White St.-Esprit 1993. Maturing now, this amber-colored wine offers walnut, butterscotch and herbal flavors. Not much fruit flavor, but still holds together well. Drinkable now.
- 84 Domaine Talmard Mâcon-Villages Macon-Chardonnay 1994. Well-structured, ripe and mature with good pear and apple flavors, honey notes. Spicy and buttery on the finish. Full-bodied.
Wines by Grape Variety
- 84 Vignobles Barde Cabernet Sauvignon Bergerac Cuvée Angeline 1995. Well made and expressive. This shows hints of black currant, black cherry and vanilla flavors, focused and vibrant. Enough tannin to wait until 1998.
- 81 Maison Charmê Cabernet Sauvignon Vin de Pays de l’Hérault 1993. Black currant and bitter chocolate flavors marry well with the somewhat lean, medium-bodied structure.
- 81 Dulong Merlot Vin de Pays d’Oc 1995. Pleasant and fruity, with good cherry and plum flavors and a bittersweet chocolate note. Turns ripe on the finish.
- 83 Michel Morrilleau Chardonnay Vin de Pays du Jardin de la France Prieuré Royal Saint-Laurent Réserve 1995. Light vanilla notes add interest to this crisp white, and the apple and lemon flavors are bright and clean. A good aperitif.
- 82 Ballena chardonnay Vin de Pays d’Oc 1996. A soft, fruity wine with lots of pear and banana flavors. Simple and satisfying.
- Château de Beaudrnard Côtes du Rhône Blush 1995. Vibrant strawberry and watermelon aromas give way to lively citrus and berry flavors in this assertive rosé. Clean and dry, with a refreshing quinine note on the finish.
And some random nice wines
- 1996 Chartron La Fleur Bordeaux.
- 1996 Alsace Willm Gewurztraminer Medium bodied and highly aromatic, with good (but not over-powering) spiciness, and dandelion/rose floral characteristics. semi-dry.
- 1996 Georges Duboeuf Beaujolais-Villages.
- 1995 Cotes-du-Rhone Nice wine, easy to drink; well-balanced fruits and tannins make this wine excellent with pasta or pork dishes.
- 1994 Chateau de Jonquieres Corbieres
- LaFiole du Pape (N/V) Excellent wine (although the old-world bottle was a little cheesy).
- 1991 Chateau d'Armailhac Grand Cru Classe Pauillac
- 1993 La Chapelle de Bebian Corteaux du Languedoc
- 1995 Les Vergens Muscadet Seure et Maine
- 1995 Chaateau Roumieu - Lacoste Haut-Barsac Sauternes