Posts Tagged ‘Fleurie

What I Learned at VinExpo

VinExpo, one of the world’s largest wine trade shows, welcomed nearly 50,000 visitors last month — including yours truly. See below for a list, in no particular order, of what I learned from my whirlwind trip.

Warm climate wine producers have the coolest booths.

While the Piedmontese and the Burgundians took a low-key approach to their stands, not so the Corsicans:

Corsica

Corsica VinExpo

the Lebanese:

Lebanon VinExpo

or the Brazilians:

Brazil VinExpo

Gamay is full of surprises.

I know my way around a cru Beaujolais, but I was still (very pleasantly) surprised to taste the wines of Joseph Burrier. The wines are subtle and focused, and Burrier — a 6th generation winemaker — was chock-full of quotable observations. One of my favorites: “the key with Gamay is to avoid vulgarity.” There was nothing remotely vulgar about these wines. They’re the Audrey Hepburn of cru Beaujolais. Graceful, elegant and unadorned. My favorites were the 2011 Saint-Amour “Côte de Besset,” refined and delicate, and, at the other end of the spectrum the 2001 Fleurie les Colonies de Rochegrès. Here it is, on the right, next to one of its younger compatriots. (You know the tasting starts getting real when the winemaker pulls out the unlabeled bottles.)

Bourrier_Fleurie

The very name Fleurie puts these wines at a disadvantage, says Burrier, as it inevitably prompts drinkers and even writers (ahem) to call these wines floral, charming, and unserious. He uses older vintages like this one to prove that Fleurie has a serious side. The wine is indeed drinking nicely now, and falls into what I think of as “October” wines.

Marketing can’t beat Mother Nature.

The boosterism that pervades events like this was no match for the cold (literally) hard reality of the weather. It was raining cats and dogs — or perhaps just cats if this whimsical sculpture installation was any indication:

Cats

In all seriousness, the horrible weather blanketing western France cast a pall on things. It remains to be seen how much the deluge will end up affecting the vintage, but, as they say in PR, “the optics were not good.”

The children are our future.

Tasting and drinking a lot of  wine was great, but the best part of my trip was meeting the next generation of France’s wine professionals, from sommeliers to winemakers and everything in between. A young couple who had abandoned their life in Paris to start a winery in Savoie focusing on indigenous grapes. One sommelier with the extremely quixotic, and extremely worthy, pursuit of introducing French people to wines from around the world. (Not an easy task. One Parisian diner, upon seeing Vega Sicilia on his wine list, asked, “they make wine is Spain?”) A Bordeaux winemaker who took as much pride in his Bordeaux Supérieur as his Pomerol. France’s obsession with rules and bureaucracy has a way of sucking the life out of its brightest young people, so it’s beyond encouraging to see all this dynamism and creativity.

 

 

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Miss Vicky Wine — With Free Shipping No Less

I’ve been pressed for time these days, which is one reason why I’m delighted to kill two birds with one stone in this post: supporting one of my favorite wine peeps and offering all you lovely STBNY readers a nice deal. Miss Vicky Wine, who I’ve written about before, is a super-energetic young Frenchwoman who is on a mission to bring her family’s wine to the world — or, at the very least, the U.S.

The wine in question is Fleurie, one of the cru of Beaujolais. We’re not talking bubblegum fruity Beaujolais Nouveau here. Fleurie, and the other 9 crus (=subregions, more or less) of Beaujolais produce fruity, highly satisfying, and highly undervalued wines. Miss Vicky’s 2007 Fleurie fits squarely in this category. Fresh, with subtle fruit and more than a hint of earthiness, this wine practically screams fall. (Keats’ “season of mists and mellow fruitfulness” and all that.) It would be great with roast chicken or any straightforward poultry or light pork dish.

It’s priced at $18.80/bottle, and available only online. And if you email me at sasha@spinthebottleny I will send you the free shipping code. And let me know what you think!

In the meantime, check out this vid Miss Vicky (that’s Anne-Victoire to you) made of this year’s harvest, which looks to have been both exhausting and a pretty kick-ass time.

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Happy Bastille Day!

As my regular STBNY readers (all 4 of you!) know, I’m a Francophile. To paraphrase Chico Escuela, France has been bery bery good to me. I’ve had a lot of great food and wine there over the years, and the French have welcomed me into their homes, restaurants, vineyards–hell, even their school system–with graciousness, good humor, and Frenchy charm. In this era of “small plates” and wearing jeans to four-star restaurants, let us turn to France to guard the sanctity of the appetizer-main course-dessert trinity and dressing like grown-ups for dinner.

France is at its best when it manages to combine this old school adherence to tradition and standards with open-mindedness and energy. I thought of this a few weeks ago when Anne-Victoire Monrozier, aka Miss Vicky, stormed our shores with bottles of her father’s fresh, elegant Fleurie in hand.

I enjoyed the wine, but what really struck me was her aptitude for “le marketing” — not something that comes easily to a lot of smaller French winemakers. She traveled from Walla to Napa to the Lower East Side to promote the wine and deployed a truly impressive social media blitz. (Plus come on, how cute is this label?)

So Miss Vicky, I salute your embodiment of all my favorite French traits–and hope more and more of your compatriots follow your lead.

Santé!

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