In honor of the Storming of the Bastille, which will have occurred 230 years ago on Sunday, we'll feature four wines from France. When we think of France's influence on wine, our minds might first go to Bordeaux and Burgundy, or Merlot and Chardonnay, but France has a wide and varied wine culture that goes way beyond the most famous regions and grapes. So, we'll get off the beaten path in France tomorrow, and though you may not know what you're drinking, you know it'll be delicious.
Domaine des Ardoisieres 'Argile Blanc' 2017
From steep hillsides deep in the French Alps comes this superb blend of organically grown Jacquere, Chardonnay and Mondeuse Blanc. Domaine des Ardoisieres was founded in the 90's, with the goal of restoring long-abandoned vineyard sites that had first been planted by the Romans. The project has been rewarded by international acclaim and fast-selling allocations; the world, especially the restaurant world, loves these wines. If you're into Chablis or Muscadet, mineral white wines that emphasize acidity over sweetness, you need to try this wine.
Patrice Colin 'Gris Bodin' 2018
The grapes for this lovely pink wine come from an organically farmed vineyard planted in 1920 by Patrice's grandfather, Georges Colin. The grape is Pineau d'Aunis, and if you're a regular of our tastings, or just into interesting Loire wine, you may have already encountered this quirky cepage. If you have not, take the opportunity tomorrow, it'll be worth the trip. The 2018 rendition of Gris Bodin is fresh and crisp, with notes of tart red fruit, herbs, leaves and peppery spice. It is the perfect summer wine. We have only limited quantities, so get it while you can.
Domaine Ilarria Irouleguy Rose 2017
The vineyards of Domaine Ilarria are certified organic, but what is certainly more notable is that the owner of the estate, Peio Espil, is a follower of Masanobu Fukuoka, the Japanese agronomist famous for his unique hands-off approach to farming. At Ilarria, the major input is meant to be nature, and humans should add very little to the wine. Their pink wine is one of the most distinct in the world. Always released a little late, you'll notice that we have the 2017 to offer. Firmly dry, full of red and purple fruit flavors, accented by notes of herbs, blood and flowers; its profile might remind one of a dense red, except it is light and lively, and barely tannic. Dreaming of grilled sausages with this wine, but it'll be easy to pair with many foods.
Brumont Madiran 'Petit Torus' 2015
We've poured the 2012 and 2014 of this wine, and it has always been a hit. The 2015 is certainly more ripe and dense than the vintages that preceded it, so we're quite confident that we'll have another crowd-pleaser on our hands tomorrow. A blend of 60% Tannat, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Cabernet Franc, on paper this wine might look to be quite tannic and rustic, but for Madiran it is rather tame and gentle, with intense dark fruit flavors and subtle notes of leaves and spice. It is also an absurdly good value.