Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tasting the Local Drop

In Australia and especially South Australia, we are very fortunate to have top quality wines right at our door step. In France, the reputation for producing top wine is much the same as Australia. So during our time in Paris, we found a wine bar which specialised in French wine. The Chateau wine bar in Paris, allowed customers to taste a small sample of some of the most exclusive wine France has to offer and at a resemble price. We could not resist trying the local drop while we were in France, so we were excited about what they had to offer. When we arrived at the Chateau Bar, we were instantly impressed with the range of wines. Hundreds of French wines all temperature controlled and measured in specially designed refrigeration systems. These guys took their wine very seriously. I was a little hard to understand the menu, as it was written in French, but the bartender was helpful in explaining to us the qualities of the wine on the menu.

We decided to try 4 wines, 2 whites, a rose` and a red. We started with a Chenin Blanc from the wine region of ‘Vouvray’ (south west France). Chenin Blanc grapes have been growing around Vouvray since the 9th century, but it wasn’t until the 16th and 17th century that chenin blanc grape vines were planted and production of wine began. The chenin blancs of Vouvray are said to have a higher acidity than usual. Characteristics are honey, figs, apples, nuts and ginger. We found this wine to be quite refreshing. It would be perfect on a warm summers day.

Next was a Pinot Gris from Alsace (north east France). The wines from Alsace have a strong German influence because of the town being located so close to the border.  German grape varietals are said to be more aromatic and floral and their wine generally is produced with a higher percentage of alcohol. So when we tried this wine, we could definitely taste the German influence. It had a stronger punch of flavour. The higher alcohol of the wine meant, you could only take very small sips to really appreciate it. Don’t get me wrong, it was a top drop, but one glass would probably be enough.

We then moved on to Cara’s favourite type of wine, the rose`. This rose` was made at Chateau de Romillac in the small town of Corbieres (South France, not far from Marseille).  The region of Corbieres specialise in only producing red wine and rose`s. Due to the colder climates from the north and the warm Mediterranean whether of the south, this region is able to grow many different varieties of red grapes. The rose’s of Corbieres always use a minimum of 2 grape varieties. When we tried this wine, we could straight away taste the Mediterranean influences. Very light and refreshing. It would be very easy to drink on a hot day. It had both dry and sweet qualities. Sweet when it first hit the palette, but then with a dry finish and after taste.

Last, we tried a red wine. It was a Mourvedre from the town of Bandol (south France, half way between Marseille and Nice). Wine has been made in the region for around 2,600 years, since the ancient Greeks. The area is known for producing some of the best spicy, full-bodied red wines in the world, and the wine we tasted was no exception. When smelling, it had very subtle flavours, but then when you tasted, it gave you a spicy and peppery kick. It was definitely a wine worth savouring, so i was taking as smaller sips as possible out of my sample. It was delicious. It would be the perfect wine to drink on a cold winters night.

We thoroughly enjoyed our wine tasting. We could have tried everything on the menu, but we might have to save that for another trip, another time.  

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