Monthly Archives: November 2016

Tasting Notes: Marie de Beauregard Chinon

Chinon is an appellation in the Loire valley of France – and it’s just about the only appellation in the region that makes almost exclusively red wines.  The Loire is best known for Chardonnay, Sauvingon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, and Melon de Bourgogne.  Chinon wines are typically straight Cabernet Franc (although up to 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is allowed) – this bottle is 100% Cab Franc.

Marie de Beauregard (2014) Chinon, France – $20

Color: quite dark, purplish black – a good sign that this is made from very ripe, concentrated grapes, so it should avoid the off-putting green bell pepper notes that are sometimes found in Cab Franc.

Aroma: bingo! Ground black pepper, earthy notes of leather and mushroom, and some dark berry fruit underneath that.  I’m really looking forward to the next step…

Taste: classic Cabernet Franc, this is an excellent example of the Chinon style.  Blackberries and black pepper, with moderate acidity and medium tannins on the front and sides.  This could be aged for another 4 years, but it’s certainly drinkable now.

Pairing suggestions: straightforward roast beef or leg of lamb – something with some fatty richness to ameliorate the tannins; and the earthy notes would work wonders with the mushrooms in Beef Wellington. Also consider medium-rich cheeses like crottins de chevre (aged goat cheese medallions), Mimolette, or Gloucester.

Highly recommended!  Imported by Pasternak Wines, and they distribute in all 50 states.

2016 Beaujolais Nouveau roundup

It’s that time again!  I’ve got 3 examples of the special early wine from the Beaujolais region in France, made with the Gamay grape.  One of these is an old standby, and two of the brands are new to me.  So let’s get at it!

Albert Bichot Beaujolais-Villages Nouveau (2016) France – $15

Domaine Manoir du Carra Beaujolais Nouveau (2016) France – $12

Georges DuBouef Beaujolais Nouveau (2016) France – $12

Color: All three have a solid, red color, without any wateriness.  That said, Manoir de Carra is one shade lighter than the other two.

Aroma: Albert Bichot is the clear winner – plenty of ripe cherries, with kirsch and some hard-candy aromas to follow.  The Manoir de Carra isn’t quite so dense, but still pleasant.  DuBouef has a sweeter nose, also dominated by cherries, but the banana/hard-candy/bubblegum complex is close behind.

Taste: Again, tip of the hat to Albert Bichot – rich and full, with a good length on the finish, and a solid food-friendly complex across the tongue.  Cherry and berry flavors predominate, but there are some dusty bramble notes as well.  DuBouef is made in a similar style, but doesn’t fill the mouth as nicely, and drops off relatively quickly.  Manoir du Carra is a lighter and more acidic style – I think this would be a good aperitif or tailgate wine, and it’s great for the folks who absolutely love cranberries.

Bottom line – the Albert Bichot is highly recommended.  It’s a great wine for Thanksgiving or holiday parties, and I think it’s just fine with a nice dinner as well – I’m making a sage-crusted pork roast right now and am highly anticipating the rest of the bottle!  It’s imported by European Wine Imports in Cleveland – they distribute in quite a few states, so ask your local retailer about getting access to this wine.