Etienne Dupont Cidre Bouché Brut de Normandie

Maker: Etienne Dupont, Victot-Pontfol, Normandy, Francewpid-2014-11-18-10.22.09.jpg.jpeg

Vintage: 2012

ABV: 5.5%

Purchased for $12/750 ml

Appearance: light ochre with a big fizzy head that disperses soon after pouring.

Nose: Dry and flinty with a hint of yeasty funk.

Palate: Fizzy, apple juice, sourdough, chalk dust.

Finish: Fairly clean with a little funk and a touch of sweetness.

Parting words: There are very few denizens of the Wonderful Land of Booze that I just don’t enjoy. Sherry, flavored vodka, American blended whiskey, Coors/Bud/Miller beer and French cider all fall into that category.

This cider is drinkable enough, but the combination of funky yeast and dry chalk don’t exactly keep me coming back. Maybe I should have started my cider journey in Normandy and then sailed to the UK and US, or it’s over or underaged but this is not a repeat buy, especially at this price. Not recommended.

Domaine de Pouy

Maker: Tariquet, Eauze, Midi-Pyrénées, France (Grassa family)

Grapes: Ugni Blanc & Colombard

Place of origin: Côtes de Gascone

Vintage: 2012

ABV: 11.5%

Appearance: Golden straw.

Nose: Crisp and lightly fruity. Peach, pear, tangerine.

On the palate: A bit more citrus, but still crispy. Peach, Clementine, lemon thyme drying to flintiness. As it opens up, more grapefruit comes to the fore.

Finish: Drying. The fruit is still there but loses out to minerals in the end. Leaves a slight bitterness on the tongue.

Parting words: I love wines (and beers and whiskeys and other stuff) that defy my expectations. You see, I had decided that I didn’t like French whites from the western part of the country. I had some dull white Bordeaux and so I wrote off the entire area.  But being an adventurous soul, I saw this wine recommended as a “crisp summer white” by a local wine-monger who has never failed to find me good values in French wine in the past. So I bought a bottle.

I’m glad I did. It certainly delivers on the crispness and it would be hard to ask for a better wine of this type at $10 or less. Might buy a couple more of these before the summer is out! Domaine de Pouy is highly recommended.

Domaine de Font-Sane Vielles Vignes

Maker: C. Peysson & Son, Gigondas, France

Grapes: 70% Grenache, 30% Syrah/Shiraz

Region: Ventoux AOC, Vaucluse, Rhone Valley, France.

Vintage: 2008

ABV: 13.5%

Appearance: Deep plum.

Nose: A bit of oak, lightly sweet and grapey. Pluot plums, black raspberries.

On the palate: Semi-dry. Easy going, sweet and mild upon entrance, but turns chewy. Strawberries, Black raspberries, blueberries, plums, then oak and leather.

Finish: Fruity and woody. Faintly lingers for a long while, but who wants to let it? Pour yourself another glass quick!

Parting Words: Domaine de Font-Sane Vielles Vignes is an easy drinking, but fairly complex red Rhone. Fruity but tannic and assertive. It is very food friendly. I would almost say it tastes even better with food. And it’s cheap to boot. This was a supermarket wine guy recommendation, and I must say I will be asking for another recommendation from that guy very soon.. Domaine de Font-Sane Vielles Vignes Ventoux earns a recommendation.

Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac

Maker: Delord Family, Armagnac, France

Region: Bas Armagnac, Gers, France

Age: 6 y/o

ABV: 40%

Appearance: Auburn with thick, heavy legs.

Nose: Pungent, rustic, but rounded nose. Solera sherry, prunes, plum eau de vie.

On the palate: Very full-bodied, boozy and sweet. Raisins, prunes, star anise, clove. A tiny tannic hit of oak.

Finish: Warm and dry with a little more oak. Plenty of heat that seems to get more intense after a swallow.

Parting words: Armagnac has long been Cognac’s lesser known older brother, but the upside of that is while Cognac is dominated by big foreign-owned producers (the product of the British love of Cognac), Armagnac is still filled with family producers like the Delords.

This is the first brandy I’ve reviewed for this blog, and it was a fun one. Brandy is not something I drink a lot of, especially in the warmer months, but even on an 80 degree day Marie Duffau was a pleasant companion. She’s brash and spicy, but I’ve always enjoyed the company of such ladies. The Delord family makes a full line of Armagnac, all of which are very good according to bandy-loving friends of mine. Being a younger expression, this one is also a good value and a nice introduction to the flavor profile of Armagnac. Marie Duffau Napoleon Armagnac is recommended.

Domaine Bott Frères Gewürztraminer Reserve Personnelle

Maker: Domaine Bott Frères, Ribeauville, Alsace, France

Grape: Gewürztraminer

Region: Alsace AOC, France

Vintage: 2008

ABV: 12.5%

Appearance: Old gold,

Nose: Woodruff, thyme, paper white narcissus, tangerine.

One the palate: Thick and lightly sweet. Bartlett pears, tarragon, lavender, woodruff.

Finish: Thick, sweet, herbal and floral. A voluptuous sweetness tempered by a light bitterness that clings to the roof of the mouth and the cheeks for the whole afternoon.

Parting words: I rarely buy bottles of wine based on what’s written on the back label. The presence of this stream-of-consciousness poem on the back is what drew me to  this bottle. It reads as follows:

“Robe slightly lemon yellow with an unctuous leg. In this aromatic and scented wine, one may notice aromas of the litchi [sic] fruit and hints of oriental scents. Served with dishes seasoned with spices, with chinese [sic], indonesian [sic], or indian [sic] cooking but also with cheese such as munster [sic], blue of Auvergne or Maroilles.”

Note that only the names of French places are capitalized. Do with that what you will.

At any rate, this is a thick, luscious, one might even say unctuous, wine that does pair well with spicy food or just on its own. Bott Frères Gewürz is recommended.

Trimbach Reserve Pinot Gris

Maker: Trimbach¸Ribeauville, Alsace, France (Diageo)

Grape: Pinot Gris/Grigio

Region: Alsace

Vintage: 2005

ABV: 13%

Appearance:  Medium Gold with thick, persistent legs.

Nose: Pear, apple, tangerine, maybe a little wood.

On the palate: Full bodied. Like an annoying country music group: Big and rich. Pear, apple, and lavender. As it warms, citron, orange and the tangerine again.

Finish: Light, sweet, and citric. Lingers on the tongue and in the nose for what seems like an hour.

Parting Words: What can I say, this is an excellent wine. Pinot Gris is one of the specialties of Alsace and Trimbach knows how to put it together. Even at six years of age, this wine is vibrant, rich, and deep.  I wish I had more to say about this fantastic wine, but it has rendered me speechless. Highly recommended.