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Regional France Growers Tasting


#1

I went to the Regional France Growers Tasting in London last evening and much enjoyed the event and the opportunity to taste so many wines. In fact I restricted myself to just a dozen or so of the 44 wines on offer as I find that eventually I don’t really appreciate the wines even without swallowing! I was particularly interested in tasting some of the cru beaujolais wines on offer to see whether I might order some from the recent WS offer.

I only tasted a couple of whites:
Corbieres Blanc, Le Blanc Paysan, Castelmaure 2017. I found this to be fruity and fresh and quite delightful.
Domaine des Coteaux de Font Cure, Beaujolais-Villages Blanc 2018 This was lovely with goosebery fruit , easy drinking and a pleasant aftertaste

I tasted one rose:
Minervois Rose, Chateau Sainte Eulalie 2018 Interesting as I enjoy red wines from this estate. There was spice on the nose and a taste of redcurrants on the tongue, but I did not find the suggested citrus notes. There was a slight tannic aftertaste.

Of the reds:
The Society’s Exhibition Fleurie 2017 For me this was the star of the show. It has a light red colour, perfumed aroma with a hint of apple and cherry taste on the tongue. It is very soft and has a warm aftertaste. I have not ordered this before but will be adding this to my wish list for my next order
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Regnie Vallieres 2017 Sorry but this was not to my liking
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Les Charmes 2017 Pleasant easy drinking, rounded and with a pleasant aftertaste
Domaine Jean-Marc Burgaud, Morgon Cote du Puy 2017 The best of these cru beaujolais wines. … but at £5 a bottle more than the Fleurie not the best value for me
Pinot Noir Puy de Dome, Cave Saint Verny 2016 The description in the tasting notes were not as I found this wine which I did not enjoy. This is a purely personal response and may reflect the fact that I am not a great fan of pinot noir wines
Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge 2014 One of my favourites. This is a brilliant alternative to Bordeaux reds and this is now eminently drinkable. It has a great bouquet, the tannins are soft and the taste on the tongue and the aftertaste is of red fruits.

I tried a few sweet and fortified wines to finish:
Monbazillac, Ch Pech la Calevie 2015 What a brilliant alternative to Sauternes at a competetive price. Richly sweet but yet fresh - a great pudding wine
Rivesaltes, Parce Freres 1988 30 years old fortified wine. Spice and complex sweetness not unlike a nutty sweet sherry
Maydie Tannat 2015 Fortified tannat: very fruity and very sweet and I would say good wine to match chocolate puddings and also a possible alternative to port

Well those are my thoughts on last evening - and very personal thoughts at that! I really enjoyed the event and thank the team and the growers for the opportunity to attend.


#2

That sounds like a steal at £22.5 per bottle on the table. TWS drinking window also suggests longevity… Never tried Mas de Daumas Gassac wines before.


#3

Thank you: very interesting, and helpful. I have had the Monbazillac and the Maydie Tannat for earlier years, and it is good to know that they are still good.


#4

David

Thanks very much for writing up a review and I’m really glad to hear you enjoyed the event. Hopefully there might be a few others who attended last night or are going along in Exeter or Bournemouth tonight and tomorrow who will also share their thoughts.

The Mas de Daumas seemed to be quite polarising during the night and also divided those of us in the Tastings Team. I’ll jot down some other comments on other wines including best sellers and most talked about wines at the end of the series of tastings.


#5

Daumas Gassac is one of the grand Crus of the Languedoc. And nice people too. I’ve had a chance to meet Samuel and his mother here in London and also to visit the property, and tried pretty much everything on their portfolio. The Rose Frizante is amazing. I once bought 60 bottles of it, from them, directly. None are left. The reds are an obvious choice, but the Cuvee Emile Peynaud is also a rare treat (though not produced every year and at 5x the price of the main wine).

There are also cheaper options, under the Moulin de Gassac label, which sources grapes from nearby places.

Last, their Vin de Laurence is quite something, but not sure we you can’t find it in the UK, as quantities are tiny. And finally, do yourself a favour and watch Mondovine. The old man is there, himself, and many other stalwarts.


#6

Massive fan of Daumas Gassac. Fantastic wines and apart from the Emile Peynaud, still very fairly priced!


#7

I went along with no real idea what to expect. Beaujolais is a blank map to me. I have to agree on the Pinot Noir Puy de Dome - it was flat and sweet. I really enjoyed Coteaux d’Aix en Provence Ch Vignelaure, especially the 2010. Lovely forest fruits, plummy and very long peppery finish.


#8

I attended the Exeter event, along with about a dozen others from Exeter Wine Tasters and found it useful and enjoyable. But I was very disappointed by the range of wines, especially the reds.

Out of 22 reds, there were 7 Beaujolais and 3 other gamay wines - so gamay accounted for 45% of the reds. Leaving Bordeaux and Burgundy out of the reckoning, gamay accounts for 22% of the society’s reds.

For the gamay enthusiast, a rare treat. For the rest of us, a poor sample of what the society has to offer. Would I be right in thinking that the selection was determined largely by which growers were willing to pitch up for the London tasting? (I don’t think any made it to Exeter.)

Apart from my own disappointment, I think the society misses a trick when it fails to make the most of the sales potential of a tasting. There is so much lovely stuff in the list from the Rhone and the south that went completely unrepresented.


#9

I thoroughly enjoyed the Bournemouth event last night. The number of wines on offer was significantly less than for the London tasting but I agree with DavidTheChemist that too many options serves only to blur the taste buds. chrismg also makes a valid observation that the reds were over represented with the gamay grape. As a fan that was no personal hardship although a fair number of other attendees expressed disappointment.

My favourite was the Chateau Vignelaure 2011. Learned others told me I should prefer the 2010, but who said it’s all a matter of taste!


#10

Hi Chris.

I’m sorry to hear you found the range so disappointing.

The Regional France tasting showcases French wines outside of those that have their own individual tasting meaning Rhone, Bordeaux, Burgundy*, Loire and Alsace are not included. I appreciate that many members don’t get the opportunity to attend these other region specific events but that is the reason why no Rhone wines were included in the tasting.

On our current list, gamay makes up 56 of the 141 (40%) red wines covered by “Regional France” so the numbers were proportional to what was being featured but I appreciate if you are not a gamay fan then it wasn’t the balance you would choose.

In response to your question about the process of selection, it is the buyers of the particular region who select the wines to be shown at the respective events. Each have their own methods in choosing the final selection but we encourage them to curate a selection that tells a story and allows members and guests to leave with a greater appreciation of what defines their respective regions.

I thought in this instance both Tim Sykes (Beaujolais) and Marcel (everywhere else) put together a really interesting line up of wines. I really enjoyed the two horizontal flights of Beaujolais from 2 excellent but different style of producers. I found the mini vertical of Chateau Vinnelaure fascinating and thought there was enough variety in the 12 non gamay reds to both please and challenge most palates. Though obviously I’m biased and defending us.

Finally, whilst this event was in the format of a Growers Tasting, we were aware that not many producers would be able to attend which is why it was offered with a reduced ticket price . I will be closely analysing the response to the option of taking “Grower Tastings” to locations which would not normally have regional specific tastings as it is a new concept for us but it may be that sticking with the format of offering more general wider ranging themed tastings is what regional members prefer.


#11

Worth remembering that it is possible to ask in advance for the list of what is being shown, and this should be available before the deadline for cancelling a booking. After one disappointment, I have made a point of asking, and did once decide to cancel.


#12

Of course, and we are getting better at this. Further, if the reason you wish to cancel is the selection of wines, we will allow this so long as the system doesn’t get abused repeatedly.

The 7 and 14 day cancellation policy is stricter in principal than it is in practice and is always applied based on the fairness principal.


#13

@Tim_S. I’m looking at your comments and can’t help thinking there’s a big gap somewhere. Many members can’t attend the Rhone, Bordeaux, Burgundy, Loire, Alsace tastings but these are not included in the regional France tasting because they have their own tastings. So, in effect, many members can’t have an opportunity to taste these at all. Not wanting to be difficult, but this just doesn’t seem right.


#14

Not quite sure what you mean by there being a big gap @Andy999

This series of Regional France tastings was a Growers Tasting showcasing the wines of the South, South West and Beaujolais just as the Bordeaux, Loire, Alsace Growers tastings showcase the wines of those specific regions. It was never promoted as offering a chance to taste the wines of the other regions.

Or are you saying because we can’t offer a tasting to all members then we shouldn’t offer it at all? It is a reality that most members can’t taste most of the wines on our list. But does that mean we shouldn’t offer a tastings programme at all?


#15

No, I’m not suggesting you don’t offer tastings (though it might be a legitimate debate).

I don’t follow all the tastings and the way they are set up. I’ve read this thread which seems to indicate a certain level of disappointment with the choice of wines at these regional tastings. That the desired wines were available at other events that people could not attend seems little consolation. On the other hand if some people at the regional tastings were expecting something that was never meant to be there anyway, then they simply suffered from their own misguided expectations.

The “gap” I suppose seems to be between the number of people who want to try certain wines, and the number who can. Not an easy gap to fill.


#16

I’ve been buying them on and off for over 15 years. I prefer them with some bottle age.
If you come across the white, I now prefer that over the red that no longer does it for me.