The French wine options

With the new year, I wanted to repeat my rules of engagement with wine. Also, with the continued plethora of people writing about wine and selling them as well, I decided to remind my readers, I DO NOT shill. I do not take money or free wines. I pay for my wines and I write about them, no matter what others think. I do go to wine tastings and yes, at that time I do not pay for the wines, but neither does anyone else at the wine tasting. So, yes, I bought these wines from and I am posting my notes about them. I am also adding my notes about a few wines that I tasted at YC’s house when he had a few wines as well. Those notes and the tasting can be found here, and I will post them at the end, just for completeness.

Many of these wines are produced by Louis Blanc, a producer that makes lower level wines at very reasonable prices. Sadly, when they get here, the prices are somewhat elevated. Depending on the location you can find the Brouilly below for 10 euro or so, but here in the USA, it goes for 23 dollars or so. Figure in the shipping, the extra hand (AKA extra person/company) in the mix and you get the price you get. Still, some of the wines are nice enough to buy, IMHO.

Sadly, the best reasonably priced French Bordeaux wine, that I have tasted so far, that costs, in France some 11 euro, would be the 2014 Chateau Grand Barrail, Prestige, Red. It is far better than any of these wines listed here, other than the crazy good 2016 Chateau Guimberteau, Lalande de Pomerol, but that is 4x the price!

I wanted to keep this simple, so the wine notes follow below – the explanation of my “scores” can be found here:

2012 Louis Blanc La Gravelle Chinon, Cuvee Terroir – Score: 90 (QPR)
This wine has changed since the last time I had it. It is showing far better than the clearly bad bottle I had in Israel. This wine is made from 100% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine starts off a bit funky, with time it opens to show lovely barnyard, mushroom, with a rich garden of green notes, earthy, foliage bomb, with crazy raspberry, red fruit, showing loads of floral and tart notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice and layered, and restrained, with nice elegance, showing green notes, soft tannin, and bell pepper, lovely with lovely balancing acid! The finish is long and green, with hints of leather, tobacco, and rosemary. Nice! Drink now through 2019!

2012 Louis Blanc Duc de Serteil Coteaux Bourguignons – Score: 86
This wine is a blend of 60% Gamay and 40% Pinot Noir. The nose on this wine is a bit closed, but with air, it opens to cherry notes, Kirshe, with olives, green notes, herbs, and strawberry, with currant, and foliage. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is a bit too simple, it shows great acidity, with nice enough notes, but the metallic notes and soft tannins make it a bit too simple. The finish is average and nice enough, with more herb, and cherry red notes. Drink UP!

2014 Louis Blanc Vintage Servigny, Cotes du Rhone Village – Score: 90 (QPR)
The wine is a blend of 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah. The nose on this wine is nice enough with ripe blue and black notes, with herb, and black pepper, followed by some nice fruit, and blackcurrant. The mouth on this medium bodied wine starts off flat and closed, with air it opens to a bit more with good structure showing blackberry and blueberry, dark plums notes, herb, garrigue, loads of acid, dirt, and earth. The finish is long, green, blue and tobacco, with cigar smoke. Nice. Drink by 2020.

2015 Louis Blanc Beaujolais Julienas – Score: 90 to 91 (QPR)
This wine is 100% Gamay. The nose on this wine shows the Gamay fruit in all the correct ways, with nice green and red fruit, followed by some black fruit, with herb, rosemary, loads of floral notes, bay leaf, with nice menthol, and good bright fruit, with smoke, loam, and great fruit. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is fuller in the mouth, with ripe red fruit, raspberry, black plum, and good nice tannin structure, with nice sweet strawberry, and crazy floral note, like rose hip, and some nice earth. The finish is long and riper, with good fruit, tannin, and rich earth. Nice. Drink until 2020.

2016 Louis Blanc Beaujolais Moulin a Vent – Score: 84
This wine is 100% Gamay. This wine is more herbal than the previous wines, with loads of smoke, and spice, showing cinnamon, cloves, coriander, with loads of bay leaf, and some red fruit peeking behind the veil of smoke and spices. The mouth on light to medium bodied wine is nice enough, but sadly it is too light to work for me, it has ok tannin, just enough to make it work, with a soft to plush feel, but there is really not much else there. Showing loads of red fruit, herb, and spice. The finish is long, green, herbal, and red with currant. Drink now!

2014 Chateau Montroc, Lussac St. Emilion – Score: 87
This wine is a blend of 80% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine is fun, green, red, and enjoyable, with good fruit, loam, mushroom, and nice herbal notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice enough but is lacking something, at opening time, the wine shows flat, though I think it is clearly capable of being a good wine and may need air, with solid black and red fruit, followed by a rich mushroom farm, with barely any tannin, but acid galore, followed by green notes and rich spices smoke, nice! Drink up!

2016 Chateau Bruni, Bordeaux Superieur – Score: 85
The nose on this wine starts simple, like a classic simple Bordeaux, with loads of green notes, herb, and red fruit, Bramble galore, with garrigue, and rich foliage. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is nice, showing great acidity, with a nice amount of green notes, with ripe red fruit, hints of dark plum, along with nice chocolate, earth, mineral, and nice enough of a mouthfeel. The finish is long, green, very tart, with tart raspberry, cranberry, red flavored quince, and tart cherry, with mineral, graphite, and nice herb. Nice. Drink now!

2015 Louis Blanc Cote de Brouilly, La Ferrage – Score: 90 to 91 (QPR)
I loved the 2013 vintage, and the 2014 vintage was simple, the 2015 vintage looks nice. The nose on this wine is slow to open, with rich saline, herb, nicely ripe and very balanced fruit, showing red and black fruit, foliage, and nice heather, with creamy notes of red and black fruit. The mouth on this medium-bodied wine is nice, really nice, showing the structure I crave from a Brouilly, with great acidity, ripe fruit, all well balanced with rich mouth coating tannin, coming together to show ripe plum, raspberry, tart. creamy, and plush blackberry, with hints of boysenberry, and rich salinity, all coming together with a plush mouthfeel, nice! The finish is long, green, plush, herbal, with graphite, snow peas, dark chocolate, and rich spice. Bravo! Drink until 2021.

2016 Chateau Alvignes Cahors – Score: 83
So, this wine is 100% Malbec, and when you taste it side by side the Flechas Malbec, sadly, there is no comparison. Look, to me the 2015 Flechas is better than the 2016 vintage, and the 2016 Flechas Malbec, is far more balanced and controlled than the 2016 Chateau Alvignes Cahors. What is sad, is that the Alvignes has an alcohol level of 13.5%, while the Flechas is at 14.5%. Sure, alcohol has a massive fudge factor built into it, but still, I expected a lower date juice quotient than what I found with this wine.
The nose on this wine starts off nice enough, but with time it opens to straight-up date juice, overly ripe, unbalanced, and so fruit-forward that it calls into question the alcohol content. The nose on this wine is ripe, really ripe, with fig and date notes, followed by dark and brooding fruit, with tar, and melting asphalt. The mouth on this full-bodied wine is sadly straight date juice, it is so unbalanced that there is really no fruit to be found outside of date, fig, cooked prune, and cassis, all wrapped in a classic Israeli-style mouthfeel and structure that is 100% date, followed by rich saline, and a nice tannin structure. The finish is dark, brooding, date-like, and really not my cup of tea. For those who like it drink until 2022.

2017 Louis Blanc L’Oree de Manseng – Score: 87
This wine is infuriating! It angers me, North Carolina is in love with this grape, and I can see why, sadly, this wine does not show its potential.

The nose on this wine is crazy, showing too much tropical fruit to bring this all together. Still, if you want this wine, PLEASE do NOT refrigerate this wine. This wine needs to be cool, but cellar temp, not refrigerator temp.
The nose on this wine starts with orange blossom, with crazy honeydew, yellow melon, jasmine, with paraffin, pineapple, and really sweet notes. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is ripe and sweet, unbalanced, and sadly short on the acid, but man is it fun, complex in what the fruit/grape can bring, but so sad in what this wine has to offer, with mango, peach, apricot, and grapefruit that tries to bring it together, but falls a bit short. The finish is long, sweet, and tropical, with some slate, more wax, nice bitter notes, and sadly not enough acid to get this thing around. Bummer. Drink up!

————————- Notes from previous tastings —————————–

2016 Chateau Guimberteau, Lalande de Pomerol – Score: 92 to 93
The nose on this wine is lovely, richly expressive, redolent with blue fruit galore, backed by black and red fruit, lovely dirt, earth, and lovely licorice. The mouth on this medium bodied wine is lovely not overly ripe, with lovely smoke, with layers of blue and black fruit, with blueberry, blackberry, with lovely dark cherry, and red currant, that gives way to lovely smoking tobacco, with tart/juicy fruit, and mouth coating/drying tannin. The finish is long, tannic, tart and green, with graphite and rock, giving way top coffee galore, and leather. Nice!! Drink until 2024.

2012 Chateau Cheval Brun, Saint-Emilion, Grand Cru – Score: 92
This wine is made from 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. The nose on this wine is another huge Brett bomb, with crazy mushroom, rich green notes, earth, red fruit, smoke, and nice tar. The mouth on this wine is layered, sweet, and lovely, with rich elegance, and fun, showing blackberry, raspberry, and mineral galore, with graphite, earth, mushroom, and forest floor, with rich extraction. The finish is long and earthy, with mushroom, barnyard notes, and rich tobacco, and tar. Bravo! Drink till 2025, maybe longer. (I last tasted this in May 2018)

2015 Chateau Mayne de Valence (Magnum) – Score: 90 (QPR)
This wine is made from 85% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Cabernet Franc. Now I do not normally apply a QPR to a 50 dollar bottle of wine, but this is a magnum, so it is TWO bottles of wine for 50 dollars.
The nose on this wine is really fun, showing green notes, earth, with chocolate, foliage, and red and black fruit. The mouth on this wine is green, earthy, tart, with tar, and fun green and red fruit, raspberry, cherry, with a lovely mouthfeel, mushroom, and green notes that give way to foliage and tart fruit. The finish is green, nice, with good layers of fruit, enough complexity, and earth with tart fruit. Nice! Drink by 2023. (I last tasted this in May 2018)

Posted on January 15, 2019, in Kosher Red Wine, Kosher Semi Sweet Wine, Kosher Wine, Wine, Wine Tasting and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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