French Wines - Dean? Anyone?

Old Apr 20th, 2002, 11:04 AM
John H
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French Wines - Dean? Anyone?

Seeing what a huge hit the Italian wines thread is, could some people make similar suggestions for French wines (Burgundy, Bordeaux, Loire Valley and Provence)? Personal favorites, what to look out for in each region, "reasonably priced" wines of quality (however you define it), .... would be welcome. Wherever price range information you have would also be appreciated.

Thanks to all posters in advance.

John H.
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 11:25 AM
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Not one of the great wines, but for everyday drinking, I am a big fan of (red) Saumur Champigny. The better ones are very pleasant indeed. It's not an expensive wine--you can get a good bottle for $5-10. Saumur Champigny and a certain Austrian pinot noir are the wines we tend to drink at home. And in Paris, I tend to go to one brasserie not because it has the best food, but because they serve a very nice, inexpensive Saumur Champigny in pitchers.
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 11:55 AM
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A reasonably priced wine that I don't find much in the U.S., but can occasionally buy in some wine specialty shops, is Cotes de Provence---a nice, pleasant red that is somewhat to me a cross between the flavors of Bordeaux and Burgundy. Obviously, it comes only from a fairly small area in Provence.
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 12:24 PM
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I live in Languedoc, the largest French wine producing area.

The weather is like california, 300+ days of sunshine each year

This area has a full history of winemaking -

1)Originally colonised by the Greeks (from 600BC), then Romans, for wine and olive production.
2)Wine for local consumption
3)Large volumes of weak wine to mix with stronger wine from N African colonies
4)Replanted to make high volume high alcohol wine
5)World excess of cheap wine production
5)Now being replanted to make high quality wines, using new world techniques

It is worth tasting many of these wines, many aged in oak. They offer improving wines at a low price.

If you are visiting the area, it is pleasant to stop off for free winetasting experiences.

What do we pay for local wines ?

Well, the local wine cooperatives have wine from 0.75 Euro litre if you take your own container (VRAC).
Slightly better is to buy a Vin D'OC or Coteaux de Languedoc at 2 Euro the bottle (but 1 Euro VRAC).
Individual domaines offer better wines both bottled and VRAC at a slightly higher price. The best Domaines sell wonderful wines at 15 Euro the bottle.
The challenge is to find good wines that have not yet been discovered, at a reasonable price.

A litre is about 1.3 bottles.

You can learn more about Languedoc on my homepage -

Check out Languedoc !


Old Apr 20th, 2002, 01:58 PM
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John: As a part-time denizen of the Dordogne/Périgord region in the SW of France, I've come to love some of the "petits vins" of the area. I'm primarily a red wine drinker, so I'll concentrate on those: Bergeracs, Pécharmants (the latter being almost impossible to find in the USA, at least here in the DC area), Gaillacs, and Corbières (both outside the Dordogne area, but not to much farther south). You can buy a good bottle of any of these for under $10 most of the time. If you like white wine, the Bergeracs are good (both sec and moelleux), and Monbazillac is a sweet white, a bit like a Sauteren, that is traditionally drunk with foie gras (a far too rich combination for my palate, but that's how the locals drink it).
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 01:59 PM
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That was meant to be "Sauterne."
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 02:23 PM
John G
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My favorite sauternes is Chateau d'Yquem 1962. I just shared a bottle with a close friend over terrine of foie gras. For my last meal I want Chateau d'Yquem and foie gras until I burst.

What about Chateauneuf-du-Pape? It is very peppery and goes well with heavy meat dishes. I don't know what part of France it comes from, however.
Old Apr 20th, 2002, 04:21 PM
silly billy
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Chateauneuf-du-Pape comes from, oddly enough, Chateauneuf-du-Pape.

Old Apr 20th, 2002, 05:57 PM
Uncle Sam
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IMHO one of the very best French wines available is Chateauneuf du Pape.

I particulalry like Chateau Mont Redon, Vieux Telegraphe and Barton & Gaustiere (less expensive and I believe they are a recoltrant).

BTW, buy and hold every one of these and others if you can get 1998. It was a great year for the Rhone wines.

Uncle Sam
Old Apr 21st, 2002, 08:22 AM
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Old Apr 21st, 2002, 04:36 PM
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ChNdP is from the area just north of provence. There are roughly 29 varietels that are grown in the souther rhone. The primary grapes are Grenache, Mouvedre, Cargnan, Cinsault adn Muscat. The town of Orange is roughly the center. Although unique in their own way, 98', 99' & 00' produced a trio of succesful harvests. I have enjoyed Texier, Pontifical, Beaucastel (the one to look for), Les Cailloux, Marcoux, Grand Veneur, Pegau, Rayas... I could go on.
As with may of the top Rhone wines age will have a marked effect on the wine's taste, smell and feel. 10 year old wines often develope a musky smell sometimes described as "wet earth or leather" and "sweaty tennis shoes". All I can say is
don't -knock-it-til-you-try-it. Young ChNdP are also attractive.
ChNdP's are southern rhone wines, as are those of Gigondas, Cotes du Rhone et Ventoux, Luberon, Lirac, Tavel and up and commimg Beaumes-de-Venise. Some of the best French bargins are found in this
In the Northern Rhone area from Lyon south to Valence are the wines of Cote-Rotie, Cornas, Hermitage, Crozes-Hermitage, St. Joseph, Condrieu & St-Peray. While Hermitage and Cote-Roties can often command $200 plus prices, St Joseph, Crozes-Hermitage and Cornas are easier on the pocket book. There are several Cote-Roties priced under $50 a bottle (Levet, Stephan, Bergaud, Gangloff, Jasmin...) The varietel here is primarily Syrah and Viognier with about 25 others grown in the area.
To learn more about wine check out
Cheers! Gregg
Old Apr 21st, 2002, 04:56 PM
Randall Smith
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One of my favorite subjects.

No one has yet mentioned Alsace. A wonderful area of France with great white wines. I'm not really a white wine drinker and am rather board with the Chardonneys coming from California. So if you would like something different and very enjoyable. Look for Pinot Gris or Tokay Pinot Gris which is the king of the alsacien whites but also try the Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Gewurztraminer, and if you can find it Muscat. The last we had in a little auberge just outside of Ribauvillé on our first trip to France, and I fell in love with it. Look for Hugel and Trimbach for producers. And when you're in France, it's a wonderful area to spend some time.

I would also recommend the Rhone wines, Chateau-neuf du pape, Gigonda and Hermitage are very nice and somewhat pricy, you can frequently find some nice Côte du Rhônes, which have a lot of the some character as the more expensive ones noted above.

I also would recommend Cahor and Bergerac from the southwest.

The Côte de Provence and Côte d'Aix are very nice in the summer, as they are light enjoyable rosés.

Finally Cassis white and Bandol reds can be quite good, maybe a little hard to find in the US.



Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 05:43 AM
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topping for john
Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 07:14 AM
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I too like the Alsatian whites, Provencal roses, but the white burgundies are my favorites... Mersault and Montrachet are good bargains in France and around $40-50 a bottle here.
White bordeaux are nice too, we had one yesterday called La Mothe that was exquisite.
Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 11:11 AM
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One of my favorite subjects as well!

I've been enjoying wines from the Coteaux de Tricastin (Drome) one of the relatively new A.O.C. areas. Domaine de Grangeneuve is a favorite.

The wines from the Cooperative at Visan (Enclave des Papes) deserve wider recognition, too.

I love Muscat de Beaumes de Venise (in particular, Domaine de Durbain) as an aperitif, but we bought a red BdeV in Paris this year that was pretty good.

Also enjoyed discovering the reds of Irancy (Burgundy).

One of my favorite $15 bottles of wines is a Minervois, Abbaye de something (Tholemy??? can't remember, sorry).

The site I mentioned with regards to Chablis ( has some great Chateauneuf du Pape pictures on it, too. It's fun to compare the soil in the Chablis photos (almost white limestone) to the rocks of Ch d P (well, it's fun for me--but I'm a dirt geek).
Old Apr 23rd, 2002, 12:39 PM
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What can anyone tell me about the wines of Saint-Pourcin? I'd never heard of them until a recent trip to Paris, when we had a delightful, light white from that region.
Old Apr 24th, 2002, 12:37 PM
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This article in today's LA Times mentions a book that may interest some of you. Cheers!
Old Jun 10th, 2002, 06:55 PM
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topping fro Dan
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