It was on Friday evening at “happy hour” when Gary, Eve and I drank the wines I am sharing with you today. First, a bit about my friend Eve. We have worked together for years in the wedding business and became fast friends. Known for its high-stress situations and perhaps a Bridezilla as well, weddings have a way of bringing vendors together, as we bond over the craziness of that day. She and I have been on opposite schedules for months, so we needed some private time to do some serious catching up. So on this night, we talked and we sipped and we talked while we sipped and when we uncorked these two amazing wines we just knew it was to be a great night.
Note to self: Call Monarch Wine Merchants and order a mixed case of these two wines. These amazing wines must stay in the rotation as long as they are available. They are both from France and very affordable. One is a white and the other a rosé and they both jumped way up to the top of my favorites list for the year.
Most folks when they see or hear the word Beaujolais they think of light-bodied, easy-drinking bistro red wine. So light and usually so young that a chill on the bottle is needed to hide its youth. I know I did until only recently. As a matter of fact when I pulled out my Hugh Johnson’s Modern Encyclopedia of Wine there is no mention of any other grape being grown in Beaujolais other than the red Gamay. So when I first saw a Beaujolais Blanc, I was perplexed. As it turns out 99% of all wine produced in Beaujolais is red so do not beat yourself up for not knowing about Beaujolais Blanc. What you should now know is that this 1%’er is made from the Chardonnay grape. So now do bust a move and track down some of this 1% wine. It is a wine worth finding.
Finding this new 1%’er
I will not bore you with the details again of my first trip to Monarch Wines Merchants. You can read about it from the post on July 13th. The important part of the story as it applies to this wine is that I mentioned my first experience with Beaujolais Blanc when Justin was asking me about my likes and dislikes regarding white wines. Thus after listening intently, he mentioned that he has a Jean-Paul Brun Beaujolais Blanc that I might like. I loved the La Galoche from before; it only made sense that I try this one as well. And OMG… this wine will make this grown man cry it is that good.
Jean-Paul Brun Domaine des Terres Dorees Beaujolais Blanc 2015
Chardonnay from Beaujolais AOC (Charnay)
Loire have you been all my life
This next wine was also found at Monarch on Gary’s first visit with me to the store. As he meticulously studied the rosé wines that sit on a table in the center of the store he picked up this wine. Justin saw him pick it up and said: “that is a nice one.” Gary made some comment about Chinon as I looked on pretending that I knew – but was clueless. Wine talk back and forth…yadda, yadda and I take the wine from Gary and hand it to Justin, saying, “we will take it.”
I am not sure what I would do without Gary when it comes to our wine selections. He learned so much during his three years in wine retail. I am reading and learning as much as I can, but he is such an asset to me and this blog. So looking forward to more amazing wines with Gary’s guidance.
Jean-Maurice Raffault Chinon Rosé 2016
Cabernet Franc from Loire AOC
This bottle is the first one cracked for the evening. Gary states that this wine is made from Cabernet Franc grapes as that is the primary grape from this region. (I checked, and of course, he was right.) When checking, I also learn that Jean-Maurice Raffault is a highly regarded producer of the finest rosés in the Loire Valley. I have decided we are in for a treat.
This wine is a beautiful rose pink with gold edges. The nose is bright and full of soft red berry fruits. This wine is what is called “fruit forward.” Meaning that fruit flavors lead the way as you drink this wine. It is in the nose, on the palate, and in the finish. It does not mean “sweet, ” and one should not assume that a fruit forward wine is a sweet wine as those characteristics are unrelated. Sweet is related to residual sugar and fruit forward relates to the fruit flavors released into the wine.
This Chinon rosé is a perfect wine for me. It is medium-bodied and fruit forward but not over the top. The remaining characteristics are well-balanced with light tannins, acid and lower alcohol making this very drinkable as an aperitif wine but also holds up well to food.
These two wines are starting a list of Rick’s amazing wines 2017. Hmm, what else should be on this list?
A Note about California Wines:
It has been mentioned that I share my thoughts on more California wines. I want you to know I am not dissing California. I have been a red wine drinker most of my life, and California plays prominently with those wines. Drinking red wine is hard to do when its 100 degrees outside. So when the temperature drops and I begin focusing on more reds, California will have its place. However, you will need to wait until late October. In the meantime as a neophyte white wine drinker and a lover of dry rosé, I tend to stay old world for now. Hopefully, after my November trip to Northern California wine country, I will find more amazing wines beyond the reds that I know.
Well, that is all for now.