Thierry Germain’s Cabernet Franc

by Russ Anderson on June 14, 2018

Cabernet Franc is an often under appreciated grape in the wine world. Getting lost in the shadows of Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon this grape is a little more unassuming and few people realize the deep and elegantly delicious wines it can produce. If poorly handled it may sometimes show a slight vegetal side, in the hands of a master, like Thierry Germain, it produces truly delicious and often captivating wines.

Thierry Germain, producing wines from one of the best regions for Cabernet Franc in the world, Saumur Champigny. Thierry relocated to the Loire Valley from Bordeaux in the early 1990’s. At first, he made point driven wines that were rich and oaky, but after a serious illness said he went “from making wines with his brain to making them with his heart.” And while the previous wines were good they were not captivating, even mesmerizing, with their lively nature and spirit. Today his wines are rich and lively, lower in alcohol and heavily sought after. A year ago January, while touring the French country side tasting wine, this estate was one of the real discoveries of the trip. Since then, I have tried to snap up all of the bottles I can, especially of these two labels which are his entry level bottlings. They represent astounding value for the price point, $28 a bottle.

They are both delicious and worth having in the house or cellar. The first bottling with the blue label is the Les Roches, it is a bit more smokey in nature but richly fruited and elegant on the tongue. The Domaine bottling is almost velveteen on the palate. The label for this wine changes color each year with Thierry’s daughter picking the color. This vintage he acknowledged that she unknowingly chose correctly for a black and white label as the first part of the season was difficult and worrisome with poor weather and frost but the end of the season helped craft grapes to make a delicious wine. They are wonderful everyday wines that offer a lot of drinking pleasure, they pair wonderfully with lamb burger, grilled portobellos, a nice stew or similarly rich summer foods. We were fortunate to get a couple more cases, each is $28 a bottle.

Note: For those seeking to further their wine knowledge, these two make a fantastic comparative tasting with friends. Get a bottle of each and six people together for an enjoyable and discursive evening on how they are similar but different.

Bastide Bandol Blanche Rosé

by Russ Anderson on June 14, 2018

Each year it seems as if this rosé cannot arrive soon enough only to pass through the store equally quickly. It has been a perennial favorite at home and in the store since we opened our doors. As you explore rosé you learn that they are not all simply “pink wine.” There is a range of styles that includes crisp mineral summer sippers, light bubbly treats and also wines of more body and substance. Bandol is one of the better known regions for Rosé and a great source for fuller bodied wines.

The wine is made primarily from Mourvedre with Cinsault and Grenache. The Mourvedre is direct pressed while the Cinsault and Grenache undergo 24 hours of skin contact to bring a deeper color. This is a complex, perfectly balanced wine, with lovely aromas of raspberry, peach, blood orange, rose petal and garrique herbs. The palate is dense with cherry and raspberry fruit, citrus and stone flavors, ripe and full with a bright balancing acidity that makes it pair well with tomato dishes.

It’s remarkable how rich this wine can be and while delicious now, just decant or open an hour in advance, the wine will also improve over the next few years. So buy 6 to have some now and save some for later. Delicious with grilled tuna, Salade Nicoise, pork and chicken, of course, and mild cheeses but perfect with bouillabaisse or another tomato fish stew. For a local pairing, it is delicious with a tomato pie. This year it is $23 a bottle, 5% off by the 6 pack, 12% by the case.


March 22, 2018

Many people mistakenly think rosés are a new phenomenon, but they have long been popular in Europe, especially in the south of France. Rosé, rosato, rosado, etc has been drunk for years, usually a dry wine that gives some feel for the vintage and provides a wonderful bridge for what I call the “in between.” […]

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White Burgundy = Chardonnay

March 16, 2018

Most people don’t know white Burgundy is predominantly made from Chardonnay.Still some of the most striking whites made today they satisfy those looking for less oak influence on their white wines. I thought it would be fun to explore these wines by also exploring the regions of Burgundy. Today we will start with the southern […]

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Two Rose Favorites

March 10, 2018

Houchart – Provence Rosé It’s not just a pretty label, this is a delicious bottle of wine and the best selling rose in the store. Whatever quantity we are able to get this year will probably, like last year, move quickly. Houchart – Cotes de Provence (France) From the sunny hillsides of Provence comes this […]

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Featured Wines

February 6, 2018

Gaston Chiquet Champagne One benefit of running an independent wine shop, is “extra” inventory taste incredibly good sometimes. This past weekend, we were lucky enough to share a bottle of Gaston Chiquet Champagne with some friends that more than demonstrated this fact. First a note on “grower” Champagnes, they truly reward a year or two […]

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Champagne for the Holidays

December 29, 2017

In the northeast corner of France, and at its closest, only 100 miles from Paris, is one of the best known wine regions in the world – Champagne. Originally a home for still wines, it is now known almost solely for its sparkling wines, certainly they are the most celebrated. For much of the production […]

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Bubbles for the Holidays

December 28, 2017

We truly believe bubble should be drunk more often throughout the year, who doesn’t enjoy the lively and fun sound of corks popping and sipping of crisp lively wines, but we fully embrace the fact that they become a more central focus this time of the year. Did you know there’s a whole world of […]

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Fabulous Syrah from Drinkable to Collectible

October 30, 2017

Along the steep, narrow valley that traces the northern Rhône, the appellations of Côte-Rôtie, Condrieu and Saint-Joseph take their place among the great wine regions of France. Here Domaine Faury is one of the region’s most artisanal producers. Philippe Faury took control of the winery in 1979 and grew it to 11 hectares. Since 2006, […]

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Featured Wines in the Store

October 30, 2017

Casaccia Spumante This is a gorgeous wine year in and year out. It offers so much artisanal quality it is hard to believe it is so inexpensive. I am thrilled to have it back on the shelf. Casaccia Spumante is 100% Chardonnay. This is a Blanc de Blanc from Italy’s Piedmont region. The wine is […]

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