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Nov 15, 2011 08:45 PM

I think I am done with French wine

Chateau Pesquie 2009, 80% Syrah, 20% Grenache.
Acid burning my tongue some fruits in background.
Could be it has really aggressive tannins and needs another 5 to 10 years in the bottle.
Never had my tongue burning like that before.
In any case I don't think it was worth $20.
I don't know much about French wines other than they have Bordeaux, CDR, CDP
The names baffle me and have no meaning.
Rather than decrypting all this I am sticking with California wines were I can visit the wineries, know what I am drinking, and pay an appropriate price.

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  1. Great, leaves more for the rest of us!

    3 Replies
      1. re: jlbwendt

        Exactly what I thought when I saw the thread title!

        Okay, pantani, I won't bring you any wine back from Burgundy! :)

      2. favorites at present are v dry light reds from chile my 30s my favorites were v dry french reds ~10-12--macon rouge, chateauneuf de pape are inexpensive & v good imo; but i also coveted v dry chilean the good stuff ~50...but bolder heavier than my current bold ones like medoc but i had a good medoc a couple of weeks ago @ a new restaurant in asheville's river arts district 9 for a european pour...too expensive despite quality imo...if you're willing to try a dry red french but expensive try margaux...~120 or so...careful of the year...i live in "green" country...asheville nc...and have tried the organic non-sulfites but don't like them...

        8 Replies
        1. re: cbjones1943

          The only quibble that I have, is a very personal one - while I keep looking to Chile, with but two exceptions, I have yet to find one that I would buy. I am sure that there are good ones out there (besides the two, mentioned above), but I have yet to try them. With two retailers, and two distributors, I get many mixed cases free, as they know how I feel. So far, they are all "batting zero," though they try very hard.

          I am sure that good to great Chilean wines exist - heck, many here, and respected CH winos, love many. I write down the recs., buy them, taste them, and then ask myself "why?" It's all about personal palates.

          Still, I never turn my nose up at any country's wines, even the UK. I have recently had an interesting UK sparkler, that surprised me.

          I have dozens of Arizona wines in my cellar, however odd that might sound, so I keep an open mind, and taste a lot. Surprises everywhere.


          PS - Asheville, NC, is wonderful country, and maybe where we will retire.

          1. re: cbjones1943

            "chateauneuf de pape are inexpensive"

            May be the first time I have read this.

            I disagree.

              1. re: sunshine842

                I've been shopping for wine for 40 years and have yet to find CdP that could be considered inexpensive.

                I read today (just now in fact) that Trader Joe's sells a $10 CdP - while that is inexpensive, as with "2-buck Chuck'. I hardly think it supports the claim that wines of the type are "inexpensive" .

                Off the top of my head, I can think of no CdP that sells for under $20 and none at that price point.

                You say I'll find "them". List me a few to look for would you?

                1. re: FrankJBN

                  You really don't want to know what I pay for CdP (you'll cry) -- I live in France and drive to CdP to buy mine directly from the producer.

                  1. re: sunshine842

                    And, as you know, that's less than what you would pay in Paris . . .

                    Sunshine, that's hardly a fair statement to make, under the circumstances.

                  2. re: FrankJBN

                    I've seen some good Chateauneufs for under $20. For example, K&L was selling Comte Louis de Clermont-Tonnerre "Cuvée Tradition" Châteauneuf-du-Pape 2009 for $14.99 last year. And I regularly see very good Cote du Rhones in the $10-15 range.

                    Everyone I suppose has a different definition of inexpensive and I'll grant you that most CdPs that I see are over $25. Whether they can be considered inexpensive or not, I think there are many great values. I can get much more from a cdP for $25-40 than I could from a Napa Cab at a similar price point, and that is not so expensive that I wouldn't consider opening it and enjoying it home alone on a weekday night.

                2. re: FrankJBN

                  For really good CndP, I have not found a "cheap one," but obviously have not tried them all.

                  Pretty much the same could be said for Pinot Noir, or even Chardonnay. Each can produce some fine wines, and even some great wines, but it's tough for me to find "cheap" versions, that I really enjoy.


              2. may reject this suggestion outright; but most v good chain markets...say harris teeter...sell louis'd be surprised @ how good they are...maybe you have tried them...

                1 Reply
                1. re: cbjones1943

                  Jadot is a respected négociant. One of his Meursaults, the Les Perrieres, 2004 was one of the best, that I have tasted, and blew the doors off of some other Meursaults at 10x the price. They produce/market/sell some very good wines, and a lot of just good ones. Much depends on the varietal, region and vintage, but even their lower end wines are still pretty good, though not a fan of their Pouilly-Fussiés. Even their Mâcon-Villages can be quite nice, though somewhat one-dimensional.


                2. Making a judgement about an an entire industry based upon one single bottle is a bit shortsighted, and brings to mind noses and spite and faces.

                  The names refer to where they are grown and produced, and have meaning (much more than just saying Grenache or Syrah or Pinot) and like anything else that's worth learning, there's a learning curve.

                  There is a LOT of French wine available for less than $20 a bottle in the US.

                  There are thousands of pages on the Internet that do a decent explanation of French wines, as well as books and any halfway-respectable wine seller in your area.

                  17 Replies
                  1. re: sunshine842

                    Well I can't say I didn't expect these responses.
                    I am sure there are French wines worth seeking out, but I would rather spend my time and money on California being that there are more than enough wines here to satisfy my tastes.
                    Most decent wines here say on the label where they are produced and what is in them.

                    1. re: pantani

                      "I am sure there are French wines worth seeking out, but I would rather spend my time and money on California being that there are more than enough wines here to satisfy my tastes."

                      So no wines from Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Alsace, Austria, Australia, New Zealand, Chile, Argentina, Hungary, Portugal, Canada, South Africa, New York, Oregon, Washington, Romania, Turkey (and many, many more) either?

                      You must realize how preposterous and provincial you sound.

                      1. re: invinotheresverde

                        This is the way Europeans (except the wealthy) have traditionally drunk wine -- they eat and drink that which is produced nearby. Makes perfect sense when you think about it. (Although I fancy wines from all over.)

                        1. re: pikawicca

                          You are correct, though mainly with regards to Europe. There is usually little better than the cuisine of a region, paired with the wines of that region. The two, cuisine and wine, grew up together, and evolved together. There is often nothing better, but then many of those regions have had 600+ years to refine their fare.


                          1. re: Bill Hunt

                            which also makes pairing considerably easier -- if in doubt, choose something from the region where the dish originated -- or from an area known for similar flavors.

                          2. re: pikawicca

                            Yes, because there was often little availability of other nations' wines, barring metro areas. If you're from a small village in Piemonte, it's obvious what you'll have access to. Access is not a problem in CA, though I admit it's historically easier to fine OW wines on the East Coast. I've heard that may be changing, which is a great thing.

                        2. re: pantani

                          Please do not misunderstand, but *clearly* you know not of what you speak. It is impossible to be MORE SPECIFIC than to call a wine Bordeaux or a Châteauneuf-du-Pape. By that one name alone, I can show you exactly WHERE on a map it was grown, exactly WHAT grapes are in the wine, and (often) exactly HOW the grapes were grown, harvested, and made into wine . . .

                          Where you say, "Most decent wines here say on the label where they are produced and what is in them," nothing is further from the truth -- UNLESS the winery *chooses* to add extra information on a back/side label.

                          For example: a varietal wine must contain no less than 75% of that one grape. (Let's use Cabernet Sauvignon as an example.) What is the other 25%? Unless the winery *volunteers* the information, you have NO IDEA -- the wine could be 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, but the rest could be anything, from Merlot to Zinfandel to Chardonnay to Chenin Blanc.

                          For example, if that Cabernet Sauvignon bears a political appellation (e.g.: Sonoma County), 75% of the grapes must come from within that geographic boundary, Where are the other 25% of the grapes grown? Who knows -- could be Sonoma, but it could also be from Napa, the Central Valley, Temecula (Riverside County), or anywhere within California. OTOH, if that Cabernet Sauvignon bears the name of an AVA for its appellation (e.g.: Alexander Valley), well, you know that 85% of the grapes were grown there -- but again, the remainder can come from anywhere.

                          So . . . you tell me: is it a case of one nation's wine labels being more informative and reliable, or is it a case of familiarity -- you being more FAMILIAR with California labels, ergo, they're making much more sense to you; conversely, being less familiar with the labels on French wines, they are more confusing and (perhaps) intimidating.


                          P.S. No one is suggesting you MUST buy French wines, or that you must even *like* them. For purely selfish reasons, I hope you don't -- less demand = lower prices and more selection for me and people like me. People are certainly free to spend their money where and on what they wish, and if you prefer to buy California wines, GREAT! Part of me, and certainly many of my friends still in the California wine trade, applaud your decision -- again, for purely selfish reasons: more money in our pockets! But to dismiss an entire country based (seemingly) upon one bottle of wine you didn't like is, well, astonishing, quite frankly. And has been already said, makes you sound provincial at best, preposterous at worst.

                          1. re: zin1953

                            "By that one name alone, I can show you exactly WHERE on a map it was grown, exactly WHAT grapes are in the wine, and (often) exactly HOW the grapes were grown, harvested, and made into wine ."

                            I don't think you can.

                            Let's try: I have a wine labeled "Bordeaux". You don't need to see label, because "by that one name alone", you claim to be able to tell us "exactly WHERE on a map it was grown, exactly WHAT grapes are in the wine". Please do so. On the map, be clear from which side of the river the wine comes. For those who don't know grapes, please statee whether "Bordeaux" on this label means a red or white.

                            Is this one of the cases where you can tell from that one word "Bordeaux" "exactly HOW the grapes were grown, harvested, and made into wine"?

                            1. re: FrankJBN

                              if it is an AOC Bordeaux, yes, it's possible to know how they're grown, harvested, and made into wine, because the AOC requirements are stringent and very exact.

                              And Jason could tell you because he's forgotten more about wine than you and most of the other posters on this board have ever known.

                              1. re: sunshine842

                                While I am sure you have no iidea how much information I have forgotten about wine over the last 40 years and indeed that which I have not forgotten, I will make one response to your defense of the poster I to whom I posted my challenge and one more comment on the cliams made..

                                You say "it's possible to know how they're grown, harvested, and made into wine, because the AOC requirements are stringent and very exact."

                                So what do the AOC requirements say about fermentation in steel, or concrete, or wood? Your implication is that two of these three would be prohibited.

                                Jason's claim I will refute one word: "It is impossible to be MORE SPECIFIC than to call a wine Bordeaux " - Medoc.

                                1. re: FrankJBN

                                  I don't have the exaact requirements to hand -- but the requirements to be allowed to put an AOC label on one's production are long and stringent, and vehemently enforced.

                                  Whatever is restricted, is restricted -- because the AOC growers have agreed on the rules.

                                  And Medoc is a different appellation. Bordeaux AOC is Bordeaux AOC; Medoc is Medoc (and not to be confused with Haut Medoc, Margaux, St Estephe, or any of the other 18 appellations considered a part of the Bordeaux region).

                                  Yes, it's confusing -- Medoc is from the Bordeaux region, but is not a Bordeaux -- and a Bordeaux is not a Medoc.

                              2. re: FrankJBN

                                And it took you seven months to come up with a reply?

                                Frank, elsewhere, you wrote,

                                >>> While I am sure you have no idea (sic) how much information I have forgotten about wine over the last 40 years . . . <<<

                                I could say the same, but let's not turn this into a p***ing match, shall we? Presuming that your statement above is true, then you know EXACTLY what I meant by the statement I made, and you know EXACTLY the point I was making.

                            2. re: pantani

                              For the most part, I'm with you on this one. While there is a whole world of great wine from other places, there is nothing wrong with a localized approach. Pretty much all major varietals are grown here and very well. There is more great wine here than you will ever get to ,so specialize in California if you want. The rest of the world's wines will still be there and after a few years you may be ready to give-em another try. Or not..

                              1. re: budnball

                                Not drinking wine from any place other than California does NOT equal "specialize(ing) in California". It means limiting yourself to California.

                                The OP had ONE bottle of wine he didn't care for (which was far too young to be drinking in the first place) and suddenly the ONLY place in the world that makes quality wine is California? That's a pretty backwards, and, frankly, incorrect idea.

                                Also, just my opinion, but I feel many noble grapes DON'T show particularly well in much of CA unless grown in the ideal microclimate, which the vast majority of the state does not. I'm thinking of CS, CH, SB, PN and more.

                                1. re: budnball

                                  California makes the BEST California wines in the world! France makes the best French wines, and those Italians -- they make the best Italian wines in the world!

                                  The *point* is that they ARE different from one another -- in far more ways than they are the same. No one is saying that someone *must* like French wines . . . or California wines, or wines from any single particular place, If someone wants to buy wines from _______ because they have tasted wines from elsewhere (wines, plural) and found they prefer the wines from __________, that's GREAT, and i'm all for it. But if someone says, "I had a wine once from there, and it sucked; all wines from there suck, and I'm only buying wines from _________" -- well, on the face of it, that seems to me rather simplistic and more a matter of cutting off one's nose to spite their face.

                                  OTOH, there's nothing wrong with, for example, learning about the wines of a particular region, country by "diving in head first," so to speak -- by tasting dozens and dozens of wines from _____________ to the exclusion of all else in order to really get a sense, an understanding, of what that region/country is all about. Or, for that matter, there's nothing wrong deciding to drink local -- whether for political/economic reasons ("Buy American!") or ecological/environmental ones (smaller carbon footprint, etc., etc.) . . . IF that is indeed the reason.

                                  But the reasoning is key, IMHO, and -- speaking strictly for myself -- I find the reasoning as expressed by the OP to be unfathomable as stated.



                                2. re: pantani

                                  On a personal level, there is nothing wrong with that. It is about what one enjoys, and no comments, books, Web sites, or other, should change your tastes. If they change, it should be personal, and over time.

                                  Still, I would urge you to keep an open mind, and not rule out any wine, just because a bottle, or two, that seem similar, were not something that impressed you.

                                  For many years, my wife was focused on big, buttery domestic (US) Chards, and enjoyed them greatly. I introduced her to many FR white Burgs, and in a few years, she became a "convert," though that was never my intent. I just loved those wines, and with certain dishes, felt that they paired better. I applied no pressure, and it just happened. Now, when she's traveling without me, she looks first to FR for whites, where she'd have likely gone with a Tally, a Mer-Soleil, a Shafer Red Shoulders Ranch, or similar, just a few years ago.

                                  There are a lot of wines out there. Same for countries, regions, AVA's, and Sub-AVA's. One uninteresting bottle should not turn you completely off of the wines from there. As I mentioned to another, above, I still look into Chile, though I have had many dozen (hundreds?) of disappointing bottles, and some at very high price-points.

                                  Keep an open mind, and do not hesitate to deviate from your "comfort zone," on occasion. Though I love wines from around the world, probably 30% of my cellar is US, and 99.9% of those are from California.

                                  Most of all, enjoy,


                                  1. re: pantani

                                    California wine law requires that in order to be called a varietal on the bottle, it only needs to be 75% that varietal. So in a word, no. You have no idea what you're really drinking.

                                    aaaand now I feel like a dunce for responding before I read the entire thread, as someone already discussed this upthread. my bad :)

                                3. Why not find a local wine club and join. You can explore new regions with people of similar interest and share your thoughts.