French you can afford

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Everyone knows France makes a lot of great wine, but everyone also seems to know that French wine is difficult to understand, as well as being way too expensive for the average wine drinker. Well all that’s changing. There’s still a market among collectors (many of them newly rich Chinese business tycoons) for the arcane “cellar selections,” but the rest of the French wine world wants to sell its bottles to the rest of the wine drinking world. So we’re getting well-made wines with understandable labels and very attractive prices.
     Last summer we had the opportunity to taste some nicely made French wines from Victoire Imports. We liked a lot of what we tried, and we pre-ordered a number of them so we could get the best price. Well, now they’re here and we’ve got some great wine-drinking opportunities for you.
Regular Price is followed by the Feature Price (20% Discount)

Chateau Morillon 2008 (Saint-Emilion Grand Cru) - $25.00/$20.00
An elegant red from the Bordeaux’s “right bank.” The blend is 80% Merlot/ 20% Cabernet Sauvignon and the grapes are all grown according to French biodynamique principles. The predominance of Merlot means the wine is ready to drink much earlier than the Cab-heavy wines of the other side of the river. A very fine bottle of wine to give as a gift or bring to a holiday feast.
 
Marquise de Lalande 2006 (Lalande de Pomerol) - $17.85/$14.28
Classic Pomerol style of mostly fruity, ripe Merlot with some Cab Franc and Cab Sauvignon for structure. My tasting note was simply, “Excellent!”
 
Chateau Coustaut La Grangeotte 2009 (Bordeaux) - $12.50 no discount
A blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is everyday Bordeaux wine at an everyday price.
 
Yvon Mau is a new project of the Spanish Freixenet company. Their mission is to produce good quality everyday French table wines and very reasonable prices.
 
Yvon Mau Colombard/Chardonnay 2009 (Côtes de Gascogne) - $9.95 no discount
In Gascony, Colombard is the grape used to produce the famous Cognac from Armagnac. Here it is blended with 25% Chardonnay to produce a wine with a very nice mouthful of fruit and a good, clean finish. A steal of a deal!
 
Yvon Mau Merlot 2009 (Vin de Pays de L’Aude) - $9.95 no discount
100% Merlot in a very soft and easy-drinking style, we gave this one 3 Stars (“Must Buy”) when we tasted it. Another of the extraordinary bargains we’re getting from Languedoc.
 
Chateau Lafaurie 2007 (Sainte Croix du Mont) - $14.50/$11.60
We finish with a dessert wine made, like the great wines of Sauternes and Barsac, of a blend of Semillon (80%) and Sauvignon Blanc (20%). This one is also made sweet in the classic French way of letting the vines get the botrytis mold or “noble rot” as the French call it. This furry fungus intensifies the flavors of the grapes (flavors of raisin, fig, acacia, honeysuckle, pineapple, apricot and peach). Sainte Croix du Mont has limestone soils above a layer of fossilized oyster beds, a terroir that gives the wine it particular style. The wines of Sainte Croix du Mont are not as full-bodied and intense as the best Sauternes and Barsacs but are fresher, more airy and livelier. They are powerful, complex and intense with a long finish. This will be a revelation to your guests when served in small glasses at the end of a meal. Come by and try it.