Tasting Notes: Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuisse

Calling all Chardonnay lovers out there! Pouilly-Fuisse may be difficult to pronounce (pwee fwee-say), but don't let the confusing name throw you off... it's Chardonnay! As some background, Pouilly-Fuisse is an appellation within the Macon sub-region in Burgundy, France. Uhhh... come again? French wine is confusing, but just think of Pouilly-Fuisse as a specific type of wine made in and named after a small part of southern Burgundy. Anyway, I wanted something that would go well with the chicken pot pie I picked up at Whole Foods, and Pouilly-Fuisse is known to go well with poultry, especially in a cream sauce.

Jadot Pouilly Fuisse.jpg

The Facts

  • Producer: Louis Jadot
  • Region: Burgundy, France
  • Vintage: 2014
  • Variety: Chardonnay
  • Where I purchased: Gift, but is widely available (grocery stores, Total Wine, etc.)
  • Price: $24-31

The first thing I noticed was that the wine was a yellow-gold color, darker than most whites I've had. It had notes of yellow apple and lemon. I also picked up on some almond on the nose, which may be from aging in oak. Most Maconnais Chardonnay is light and unoaked, but my understanding is that Pouilly-Fuisse (a smaller region within Macon) usually sees some oak. In reading Jadot's winemaking notes, a portion of the wine is fermented in vats, while another portion is fermented in oak barrels. This helps keep the crisp and fruity flavors, while also adding some body and weight to the wine. I have to say that it was a great choice for chicken pot pie. The creamy mouth-feel of the wine matched perfectly with the gravy filling, but there was enough acidity to cut through the richness. Overall, I really enjoyed drinking this wine, but for the price point, it wouldn't be my daily go-to. I would highly recommend having this for a party or bringing as a hostess gift. It is food friendly, and I think it would please both oaky Chardonnay and unoaked Chardonnay drinkers!

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Tasting Notes: Ropiteau Pinot Noir

I'll be honest: I'm always very skeptical of "cheap" Pinot Noirs. Why? Because Pinot Noir is a very tough grape to grow and its flavors are very nuanced; therefore, I feel like the higher price you usually see for quality Pinot Noirs is justifiable. So, when I see a Pinot for under $10, I have low expectations. I definitely judge a book by its cover. But, I saw that this one was on Total Wine's list, and they're usually on point. For $10, it was definitely worth a try!

Ropiteau Pinot Noir.jpg

The Facts

  • Producer: Ropiteau Freres
  • Region: France
  • Vintage: 2016
  • Variety: Pinot Noir
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $9.95

As soon as I poured it out, I thought, "Man, this going to be light." It was a pale ruby color*... think a transparent purple-red. There wasn't much on the nose, but then again, I wasn't using a varietal specific glass. I had this on Halloween and had to get in my last use of my jack-o-lantern wine glasses! Sometimes festivity should outweigh practical. Anyway, the wine was straight tart cherry. It was more mouth drying than I expected since I find Pinot Noirs to be more acidic than tannic, but I kept getting that mouth drying sensation. Unfortunately, my expectations were accurate. The wine was one-note, thin, and just not very fun to drink. Did it taste BAD? No, definitely not bad. I just wanted more complexity and earthiness to go with our mushroom wild rice soup (YUM!), but perhaps that's too much to expect from a wine under $10. 

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*If you've ever wondered where I get my color descriptions from, I reference the always awesome Wine Folly and their wine color chart. You can find it here

Tasting Notes: Louis Jadot Beaujolais-Villages

A couple of weekends ago, Kevin and I did a virtual class with Elizabeth from Wine for Normal People where she walked us through how to taste wines. I have done several different classes around tasting skills, and I always pick up something new from each class. Every person has their own way of describing things, and I enjoy learning tips and tricks from all! Elizabeth is so personable and has a (for lack of a better word) no-bullshit approach when it comes to wine. Hence, Wine for Normal People. Anyway, this Beaujolais wine was the red wine selection for the class. Kevin and I were both surprised by how much we liked it, so I thought I'd share!

As a little background for those unfamiliar with the region, here are some notes on Beaujolais. There is a classification system, specifically three (or four) levels:

  • Cru Beaujolais - The highest level, and only 10 of the 96 villages are able to label their wines as such. These typically are labeled as the Cru name and the 10 villages have their own personality. To get a summary of the different personalities, check out this post from Wine Folly.
  • Beaujolais-Villages - Tier below Cru. There are 38 villages that are in this bucket, and the wines are a bit lighter than Cru and more fruit forward.
  • Beaujolais - The lowest level and most general description. I think of this as the "Kleenex" issue... all Kleenex are tissues, but not all tissues are Kleenex. Similarly, all Crus can be Beaujolais, but not all Beaujolais can be Cru. Note that wines just labeled as "Beaujolais" can vary widely in quality.
  • Beaujolais Nouveau - These wines are released the 3rd week in November. I've seen some in stores that have crazy colorful bottles. Many feel that these wines have not fully developed before they're shipped because there isn't much time between harvest and bottling. You can therefore get sort of funky notes like banana and bubble gum. 

The Facts

  • Producer: Louis Jadot
  • Region: Beaujolais, France (south of Burgundy)
  • Vintage: 2015
  • Variety: 100% Gamay
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $9.97

Edit: I also found this at my local grocery chain for $15.99.

Jadot Beaujolais Villages
  • Eyes: Lighter and more of a cherry red in color, fairly transparent. This immediately gives me the impression it'll be a lighter bodied wine.
  • Nose: Very fruit forward! Smelled like ripe red berries. Some other students picked up on a more earthy smell, but the fruit is what was most apparent to me.
  • Mouth: This is one of those wines where what you smell is what you get. It is very fruity with cherry and strawberry shining through, but don't confuse fruity with sweet. It's not sweet. I also picked up on a hint of earthiness, which is common in French wine, but I didn't feel like I was eating dirt or anything. It's had a nice medium body with good acidity. Tannin was not apparent, which is characteristic of the grape. 
  • Thoughts: This red, and Gamay in general, is a great summer wine because it's light and fruit forward. It's also best when slightly chilled, so perfect for those warmer days! I think think the fruit flavors and slight earthiness would work great with pork dishes. For die-hard cab lovers, this is probably too light, but if you like Pinot Noir or other lighter grapes, give Beaujolais a shot!

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France: Where to start?

Where to start? That is the question I have been asking myself for at least a year now. If you've been around for a bit, you know my love and appreciation for Old World wines has grown so much over the last year, mostly due to the wine education classes at Corkbuzz. But ever since my eyes have been opened, it's also been so overwhelming. Why?

To start, here's a map of the wine regions of France:

Source: forgetburgundy.com Different Wine Producing Regions in France

Source: forgetburgundy.com Different Wine Producing Regions in France

I mean, look at all of that color! TWELVE major regions. If that doesn't seem so bad to you, the French AOP (Appellation d'Origine Protegee) system ends up subdividing the regions into tiers and has specific laws for each of these, restricting what people can and cannot do with their grapes and their wine. It is never ending, let me tell you. France has the grapes we've all heard of (Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Merlot, etc.), but it is also home to hundreds of indigenous grapes you've never seen before. I'll never forget when I read on Wine Folly that if you wanted to try a new French wine every night, it would take you over EIGHT YEARS to taste them all. Crazy, right?

So how am I going to start? I'm debating between Champagne and the Rhone Valley. Champagne is a classic region that everyone has heard of (plus I love my bubbles!), but Rhone Valley and its Grenache-Syrah-Mourvèdre (known as GSM) blends have quickly become a favorite red of mine to drink. Now, I know that learning about France may not appeal to masses, but isn't everyone looking to learn something new? Anyone? Bueller? 

Help me decide! Champagne or Rhone Valley... leave a comment below and tell me which you'd rather hear about, or follow me on Instagram at @the.green.grape and leave a comment there. Cheers!

Tasting Notes: Chateau des Deduits Fleurie Beaujolais

Earlier in the season, I came across this article from Bon Appetit that discussed good alternatives to rosé during the summer. One of those was the Gamay grape, which is the grape of Beaujolais, France. I thought it would be great to try out a wine made from Gamay, mainly because I still crave red wines in the summer, but don't necessarily want a heavy Cab or red blend. According to this article, it can also be found in California and Oregon now, but I decided I would try a version for its homeland first. The self-proclaimed "wine nerd" at Total Wine helped me pick this one since Fleurie is known to be a lighter "cru" (or group of vineyards) and generally less expensive.

The Facts

  • Producer: Chateau des Deduits
  • Region: Beaujolais, France
  • Vintage: 2011
  • Variety: Gamay
  • Where I purchased: Total Wine
  • Price: $19.99
  • Eyes: This wine was a medium red color with just the slightest hint of purple. It was also partially transparent... you could see through the outer edges, but the very center was opaque.
     
  • Nose: This Fleurie smelled of dark red fruit like raspberries and plum. It was very aromatic and took me a second to grasp what it was... floral! I am not great at picking out specific floral aromas, but it finally dawned on me that it smelled like flowers! Of what flowers, I am not sure, but maybe roses? 
     
  • Mouth: The raspberry definitely came through on the palate as well. There was a hint of spice, but at first I found the wine to be sour. Maybe sour isn't the right word, but tart and acid was very present. It was definitely a lighter body red, which was nice.
     
  • Thoughts: Overall, this one wasn't my favorite, but it did grow on me a bit as the glass went on. I think the lightness almost came across as thin and the tart acidity really threw me off. I'm starting to wonder if I served it too cold, but even after it would have warmed up, I wasn't wowed. Or maybe I should say that I would prefer other light reds, like Pinot Noir. I'm not giving up on Beaujolais or Gamay, but I may give an American version of Gamay a try next. 

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