Wines of France Tasting

Wines of France Tasting

Jun 13, 2023George Bovill

Welcome to Crushed & Cured, the premier destination for wine enthusiasts in Southsea, Portsmouth. Join us on a delightful journey as we explore the fascinating world of French wine regions. In our recent wine tasting event, we had the pleasure of highlighting some renowned appellations from France, including the Loire Valley, Jurançon, Chablis, Madiran, Beaujolais, and Saint-Émilion. Discover the distinct characteristics and flavours that make each of these regions unique and captivating.

The first stop on our wine tasting Tour de France was the Loire Valley, nestled along the picturesque Loire River, the Loire Valley boasts a rich winemaking heritage. This region is famous for its diverse range of wines, including crisp whites, elegant reds, and delightful rosés as well as wonderful, sweet and sparkling wines from a variety of red and white grapes including Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Franc & Gamay The Loire Valley is home to renowned appellations such as Sancerre, Pouilly-Fumé, and Muscadet. Wine lovers can relish the refreshing Sauvignon Blanc from Sancerre, with its zesty citrus notes and mineral undertones, or indulge in the floral and fruity Muscadet.

We tasted the beautifully crisp Mes Lie Melon from winemaker Jérémie Huchet at the family run estate La Chauvinière. A delicate blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Melon de Bourgogne blend. Located in Nantes on the banks of the river Maine, the cool vineyards allow slow ripening, producing fruit with wonderful acidity and crisp aromas and flavours. The harvested grapes are gently pressed in a pneumatic press and are fermented with six yeasts unique to the winery and surrounding vineyards. Fermented for fifteen days to a month at cool temperatures to protect the aromatics of the two grape varieties.

The second stop for our guests was to taste wine from Jurançon. located in the southwestern part of France, Jurançon is a lesser-known yet remarkable wine region. It is recognized for producing exquisite white wines. Jurançon wines are made from Gros Manseng and Petit Manseng grapes, offering a luscious and aromatic experience. Historically and sweet wine only appellation, the region now produces beautiful dry whites. These wines exhibit a perfect balance of sweetness and acidity, with flavours of tropical fruits, honey, and a touch of spice.

The second wine in the wine tasting was L’Eclipse from Domaine Cauhapé. Founded in 1970 when Henri Ramonteu sold the family cattle business and purchased 4 hectares of vines. The Domaine has grown to be one of the most well-respected wine makers in the region. Forty-three hectares of vines in the foot hills of the Pyrenees at up to 400 meters above sea level all sustainably farmed. The wine is a blend of Gros Manseng and Lauzet. Hand harvested, crushed and macerated for 12 hours to extract colour and flavour from the skins the must is then gently pressed before fermenting in stainless steel. A small percentage goes through malolactic fermentation before spending five months on its lees to add flavour, texture and complexity.

Those that attended the wine tasting were able to note aromas of white peach, citrus with some delicate spiced notes and flavours of ripe exotic fruits with a touch of brioche from the time on the lees.

Traveling north to the renowned Chablis region for the third wine in the wines tasting evening, our enthusiasts are greeted with an exceptional Chardonnay. Chablis is known for its unique terroir, characterized by Kimmeridgian clay and limestone soils, which impart distinct mineral and flinty notes to the wines. Chablis wines showcase bright acidity, crispness, and flavours of green apple, lemon, and wet stone.

The wine selected for this wine tasting was a wonderful Chablis from Domaine Corinne Perchaud. Established in the 1920’s this family run winery is headed up by Corrine and Jean-Pierre with their daughter Eve.

18 hectares in the commune de Fleys, 13 are dedicated to Chablis from 25 year old vines that are farmed organically. Steep north, northeast facing slopes perfect for slow ripening the chardonnay grapes used to make this superb wine.

Hand harvest and pressed immediately on arrival at the winery, the juice is transferred straight into stainless steel tanks with no skin contact. Fermentation is carried out at between 19 and 22°C. After fermentation the wine goes through malolactic fermentation to give a more rounded texture and spends seven months on the lees for complexity.

Those that attended the wine tasting were able to experience this classical Chablis and its intense fruit aromas, lovely minerality and bright acidity, flavours of ripe apple and pear with crisp citrus notes.

Venturing southwest for the fourth wine of the evening, the wine tasting took us to Madiran, wine lovers are introduced to robust red wines crafted primarily from the Tannat grape. Madiran wines are renowned for their full-bodied nature, bold tannins, and rich dark fruit flavours. These wines offer complexity and age-worthiness, with nuances of blackberry, plum, chocolate, and spice.

We tasted the brilliant Chateau Barrejat, Madiran, Tradition. An honest old-fashioned wine from forty hectares of vineyards in the Commune of Maumusson. The forty-year-old vines are farmed biodynamically, using natural fertilisers and no chemical pesticides.

A rich blend of Tannat, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, the ripe grapes are hand harvested, crushed and fermented for eighteen to twenty-one days in a combination of cement, stainless steel and old oak turns before being bottled.

A deeply coloured wine, a typical characteristic of Tannat, vibrant black berry and black current flavours with light tannins and vibrant acidity. A wonderful way to kick off the reds in this wine tasting.   

Heading further east the next stop in this wine tasting was the Beaujolais region. A vibrant and light-hearted selection of red wines. Gamay, the dominant grape variety in Beaujolais, produces wines that are fruity, fresh, and approachable. The region's most famous wine, Beaujolais Nouveau, is released just weeks after harvest, creating an annual celebration of the new vintage. Savour the youthful charm of Beaujolais with its bright red fruit flavours, soft tannins, and a hint of floral notes.

Domaine Lagneau, Regine, Beaujolais-Villages was selected for the wine tasting for its supercharged black cherry and blueberry flavours. From one of only nine Beaujolais - Villages appellations in the region this Domaine sits in Quincié-en-Beaujolais, one of the best terroirs for Beaujolais – Villages. With eight generations of wine makers and over 200 years’ experience wine making Domaine Lagneau produce this outstanding wine. The seventeen hectares of wines are biodynamically farmed, and they have been awarded Haute Valeur Environmental Level 3, the top sustainability certification from the French Government.

The seventy-year-old vines produced and wonderful quality of fruit with deep concentrated flavours and a wine with a little more body than your typical Beaujolais. The steep sloped granite schist rich soils also contributing to the outstanding quality of fruit.

Using semi-carbonic maceration, a technique used to extract maximum flavour from each grape before fermenting at 20 to 25°C followed by tank ageing to allow the flavours to develop further.

A perfect example of a classical wine producing region for the wine tasting.

Our French wine tasting journey concludes in the prestigious Bordeaux region, specifically in Saint-Émilion. This appellation is renowned for producing exceptional red wines, predominantly from Merlot and Cabernet Franc grapes. Saint-Émilion wines exhibit elegance, structure, and finesse, with flavours of black cherry, cassis, cedar, and subtle hints of earthiness.

Chateau Fleur de Lisse, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru was selected for the grand finale of the wine tasting, a chateau dating back to the 1940’s located in Saint-Étienne-de-Lisse. The 45-year-old vines are grown organically and biodynamically with the Chateau awaiting certification for both these practices.

A rich blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and a touch of Cabernet Sauvignon are grown on rocky silty soil, the vine working hard to source water and nutrients that translates to freshness and acidity in the ripe grapes.

Following hand harvest the grapes are hand selected before and after destemming. Crushed grapes are fermented in temperature controlled concrete vats for two to four weeks at close to 30°C. The wine is then aged for 18 months in new French oak barrels and clay amphora to soften the tannins and add flavour and complexity.

A wine with vibrant red fruits flavours with blackberry and cassis from the Cabernets, ageing has developed chocolate and nutty characteristics as well as elegant smooth tannins.

A spectacular way to end the wine tasting!

Embark on a sensory adventure at Crushed & Cured in Southsea, Portsmouth, and explore the world of wine regions and grape varieties. Our wine tastings are hosted monthly featuring producing countries or noble grape varieties as well as specific styles of wines. Join us for our next wine tasting event as we continue to celebrate the diverse and captivating wines from around the globe. Cheers to a delightful journey filled with exquisite flavours and newfound wine knowledge! We also offer private wine tasting events that are fully tailored to your group. All Wine tastings include an array of British charcuterie and cheese.

We hope to see you at our next wine tasting!





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