I am totally spoiled these days, with impromptu wine tastings at The Fine Wine Source. All of the wines that they carry have been curated by the owner and the staff, and sometimes guests. They don’t compete with gas stations, party stores, convenience centers, grocery stores, department stores or big box stores. It is a pleasure to speak with knowledgeable people, who can even direct you to some new unknown mystery that will be totally satisfying.
We were enjoying Vignobles Verzier Cave de Chante-Perdrix La Madone Syrah St. Joseph 2018. St. Joseph is the largest appellation in the Rhone Valley and encompasses both red and white wines. It was designated in 1956 and originally had six parishes, and in 1969 the boundaries were extended to twenty-six communes and along thirty miles of the Rhone. The Verzier family has owned the farm estate since 1828, and of the current family Philippe at the age of nineteen took over the estate and even planted some terraced vines overlooking the Rhone and next to the Madone statue. In 1988 he stopped sending his harvest to the cooperative and created his own wines in his converted cellar. Now some of the vines in the Madone vineyard are around fifty-years-old. The family plot called Chante-Perdrix, a singing partridge, is where they grow the Viognier. The fruit is hand-harvested, destemmed for maceration in either concrete or Stainless Steel. The fermentation takes between eighteen and twenty-eight days using natural yeast. For La Madone they use a mix of medium and heavy toasting of the barrels for longer aging. The wine had a nice deep color with floral notes, leather, smoke and pepper. The flavor was deep with black fruits, earthy and savory with a medium count finish and definitely Old World in taste.
Then trying a totally different French wine was Chateau Bourdieu Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux 2019. The story goes that Luc Schweitzer used to pass by this property on his way to his boarding school and the property goes back to 1464. Eventually he followed in his parent’s footsteps and became a winegrower and he bought this property in 1993 and has worked to add and expand the estate to where it is now one-hundred-eighty-five acres. The winery is run as a sustainable agriculture vineyard with modern methods of farming and no reliance on chemicals. When I was in my teens, they use to joke that in music one often hears of the three B’s, off to the side of Bordeaux is another set of three B’s. The Cotes de Bourg, the Cotes de Blaye and Bergerac are productive wine districts on the wrong side of the Gironde (which encompasses Bordeaux). These two areas were producing wines before the Medoc was even planted. They are classic made wines known as Claret. They unfortunately have been totally eclipsed by the Medoc and even the Bordeaux wines. The Cotes de Bordeaux appellation was created in 2009, to put all the “cotes” under one banner; Blaye, Cadillac, Castillon and Francs. The wine is a blend of eighty-seven percent Merlot, ten percent Cabernet Sauvignon and three percent Cabernet Franc with vines averaging thirty-five-years in age, and aged in Stainless Steel. The wine was a ruby red, with a nose of red fruits and black currants, on the palate red and dark fruit with integrated tannins and a medium finish.