Fine Wine Friday: 3 Fine French Wines

Do the French produce the best wines in the world? Here are three worthy Fine Wines from across the country…

Chablis 1er Cru ‘Mont de Milieu’ Domaine Pinson. The Pinson family has been ever present in Burgundy sine the 1640s, making and selling wines from Chablis since 1880, and one of the first Domaines to sell wine directly to the public in the 1940s. The name Pinson is steeped in the history of Chablis, with a Rue Pinson named after three Pinson brothers lived in a house on that street. Wine making at the Domaine remains a family business, with brothers Laurent and Christophe and Laurent’s daughter Charène. The Chablis region lies to the north of Burgundy, and is consequently one of the most northerly wine making areas in France. The key elements and flavours of Chablis wines are due in part to the cold northerly climes and the ancient Kimmeridge clay soils dating from the Jurassic era, as well as limestone outcrops that give the wines a fresh vibrancy, mineral, or steely aroma and flavour. Although most Chablis is drunk young, Premier Cru wines can age for extended periods due to the concentration and vibrancy of fruit.

Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Tradition 2008/2009 Pierre Usseglio. The vineyards around the ruins of the Papal residence are responsible for some of the greatest and longest lived wines in the world. As well as the distinctive ruins, the soils of the area are made up of a layer of large ‘pudding stones’ known locally as galets that are the remnants of Alpine glaciers that have been eroded by the Rhône river over millennia. These pudding stones heat up during the day and radiate heat overnight aiding ripening of the grapes, and also preserve moisture over the dry summer months. The Domaine was established by an Italian, Francis Usseglio in 1948, which is currently run by his grandsons. Like all Châteauneuf-du-Pape wine, the Tradition is a blend, although heavily focused on Grenache, with Syrah, Mourvèdre and Cinsault making up the wine. Aromas of roasted herbs, black cherry, plums and dark berries lead to a full bodied, very rich, thick and textured body of dark fruits, sweet spice with firm, ripe tannins and a lingering, savoury finish.

Château Bourgneuf Pomerol. The wines of Pomerol are heavily influenced by the soils the grapes are grown on. The clay soils retain moisture more effectively than sandy and loam soils, so vines that thrive in damper conditions are required making the blend or cépage, as it’s called in French, very different to the wines from the Medoc. Six generations of the Vayron family have produced wine in the small Château on the Garrone’s right bank from a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc from vines over 40 years old. The vineyards are hand harvested, hand ploughed, and all other work done manually. Rich, dark berry aromas with a hint of chocolate, some savoury aromas and plums, leading to a warm, slightly earthy yet still sweet fruited body of ripe tannin and a lingering, spicy finish.

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