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The Cellar: French Finds Under $20

Friday, June 08, 2012

 

These two discoveries will put some French style into your wine cellar at a very friendly price.

This week we focus on two interesting wines from France; a classic Loire Valley white made from Chenin Blanc and a more contemporary red blend made of Grenache and Syrah from the value-driven region of Languedoc. If you have a thirst for more and would like to expand your knowledge about wine in a fun and relaxing atmosphere, you should consider attending one of my ‘Evening with Wine’ events. The next such event, featuring the diverse wines of Italy, is scheduled for Thursday July 12th. For more information visit www.ProvidenceWineAcademy.com

2010 Domaine Lavigne Saumur Blanc, Saumur, France

The 10,000-acre sub-region of Saumur is located in the middle of the Loire Valley, one of France's most famous wine regions. The vineyards in this region cover the banks that run East-West along the river that bears

the same name. In Saumur winemakers make all types of wines—whites, red and sparkling—dry as well as sweet. The primary grapes are Cabernet Franc for reds and Chenin Blanc for whites, with smaller portions of Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes being grown as well.

Domaine Lavigne is a small family affair. The Domaine’s main focus is Cabernet Franc with 90 of their 95 acres planted with Cabernet Franc. The rest, about 5 acres, is planted with Chenin Blanc. If you have never had a Chenin Blanc from Saumur, the 2010 vintage is a great vintage to try. It is a vintage loaded with acidity. Pears and melon on the nose gives away to fresh lemons, minerality and hints of melon on the palate. It ends with its trademarked acidity leaving no one to wonder what this is: a classic Loire Valley Chenin.

2011 Gayda Flying Solo Grenache – Syrah, Pays d'Oc, France

Ever noticed how some wines say ‘Vin de Pays d'Oc’ on the label? Well, the ‘Vin de Pays’ portion is a French term which translates into country wine and refers to the wines quality level. ‘Vin de Pays’ is a step above

‘Vin de Table; or table wine, but below the more widely recognized AOC (Appellation d'Origine Contrôlée) levels. There are six regional Vins de Pays, which cover large areas of France. The most voluminous contributor to this category of wines is Languedoc-Roussillon’s Pays d'Oc, located in the south of France.

The 2011 Flying Solo Grenache-Syrah is a typical Pays d'Oc. It is cheap, easy drinking and, by French standards, mass produced. It is made by value-focused Domaine Gayda, which sources its grapes all over the Languedoc. This specific wine is a blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah. Like I said, this is a very approachable wine. It displays very ripe red fruits on the nose, as well as on the palate with soft tannins and hints of spice. This $10 value goes down smooth, although lacking some structure.

Enjoy!

Steffen Rasch CSW is ready to answer any wine-related questions, comments or concerns you may have. Feel free to email him at [email protected]. And as always, don’t forget to follow GoLocalProv’s Wine Cellar on Facebook and sign up for one of his tastings through the Providence Wine Academy.

For more Food + Wine coverage, don't miss GoLocalTV, fresh every day at 4pm and on demand 24/7, here.

 

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