Category Archives: Loire

Acid & Smoke: The Styles of Sauvignon Blanc

What white wine goes well with a wide range of foods, from salads and vegetable dishes, to seafood dishes, lemon chicken and many cheeses? Sauvignon Blanc. And what’s one of the best values you can find on any restaurant wine list? Yup, again, Sauvignon Blanc. Continue reading

Posted in California Wine, Loire, New Zealand Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Great Grower Champagnes and other Sparkling Wines for the Holiday Season

Terry’s Estate Selections and the sparkling wines and Champagnes from the WineWise Portfolio that were presented at the tasting event I attended in mid-October include most of the great grower producers: Vilmart, Pierre Péters, H. Billiot, Chartogne-Taillet, Gaston Chiquet, Henri Goutorbe, Jean Milan, Marc Hébrart, A. Margaine and Pierre Gimonnet. These great Champagnes, represented in many cases by the winemaker or a member of the family that owns and runs the domaine, were poured alongside a variety of other sparkling wines. In all, I tasted 87 sparkling wines from 25 producers at this event. These were impressive wines across the board, and a very strong group of producers. Continue reading

Posted in Champagne, Chardonnay, German Wine, Loire, Pinot Noir, Rosé, Spanish Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on Great Grower Champagnes and other Sparkling Wines for the Holiday Season

2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

This is an event I look forward to every year, even if I’ve ragged a bit on the opacity of the selection criteria in the past. There’s always an eclectic group of producers ranging from the very well known and perpetually excellent to the less well known and only occasionally excellent, or at least aspiring to excellence. There’s enough of each to keep it interesting. There’s also always great food on hand. This year’s venue, the Metreon, had its pluses and minuses. The view from the Metreon balcony is one of the best in San Francisco, so the outdoor, balcony part of the event, especially given the beautiful weather conditions, proved to be a scenic and inspiring place to taste wine. The indoor part, on the other hand, especially after dark, tended to be gloomy, cavernous and more than a little depressing. Continue reading

Posted in Australian Wine, Awards, Burgundy, Cabernet Sauvignon, California Wine, Champagne, Chateauneuf du Pape, Greek Wine, Italian Wine, Loire, Napa, Northern Rhone, Port, Rhône, Riesling, Winemakers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on 2011 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting: Highs and Lows

Selection Massale: New Importer of Natural Wines from Overlooked Places

Selection Massale is a wine import company based in the Oakland area. The principals are Cory Cartwright and Guilhaume Gerard, who originally met when both worked at San Francisco’s Terroir Natural Wine Merchant and Bar, where Guilhaume was a partner. They launched their new company last year, and it took months to get the licenses needed to bring their wines in through San Francisco’s port, but they’re fully in business now. The focus of their efforts is small, traditional producers, many of whom fall into the growing “natural” or “authentic” wine category. Most of their producers so far are in France–the Loire, Savoie, the Languedoc, Chablis–but they’ve also brought in some Sherries and Canary Island wine. Continue reading

Posted in Burgundy, Chardonnay, Jura, Loire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Superb Summer Treats: Non-Champagne European Sparkling Wines

The summery theme for our July Euro Lunch was sparkling wines from throughout Europe with the exception of Champagne. We excluded Champagne so as to give more focus to our theme, and to afford ourselves the opportunity to taste and compare some of the wonderful Cavas, sparkling Loire and Jura wines, and fizzy Italians that are out there, among others. As usual, our chef at Donato, Pedro Ayala, did an outstanding job of pairing very creative dishes to our wines. The result was a delightful summer afternoon of bubbles and flavor that made me thankful for the felicitous combo of summer weather and sparkling wine, as well as for wonderful wine-loving friends to enjoy them with.
Continue reading

Posted in Alsatian Wine, Australian Wine, Italian Wine, Jura, Loire, Rosé, Spanish Wine | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Loire-Themed Euro Lunch: Huët, Chidaine, Clos Rougeard

This Loire-themed edition of our monthly Euro lunch was one of the most delightful yet. Not only did our wines show well, and we had a couple very interesting verticals, but the food, which was excellent as usual, also paired beautifully with each course. We can’t wait to do this theme again. Continue reading

Posted in Loire | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

François Chidaine 2005 Vouvrays and Montlouis blindtasted

Chenin Blanc has to be the most versatile of grapes. Its high acidity lends itself to making not only sparkling wines, but dry whites, as well as semi-dry and sweet whites. And in the hands of a great winemaker like Chidaine, Chenin Blancs from different plots in the same year can show a kaleidoscope of different colors and flavor profiles. Continue reading

Posted in Blindtastings, Loire | Tagged , , , | 1 Comment