There was a good number of regular and – equally pleasing – new members at the October Wine Club meeting. All had come to see Michael Jelley from this specialist wine merchant in Summertown and Wallingford talk about some of his favourite wines from across France.
Armed with a little bit of knowledge, you can make some wonderful selections on wines for very good prices. Our first wine was a great example of this. If you like Sancerre wines but don’t enjoy paying a premium, then try the Bellevue Touraine, also from the Loire Valley, but not far from the Sancerre region. The same Sauvignon Blanc grape but at a fraction of the price!
Next, we went to North Burgundy, where we tried Domaine Besson Chablis. This was a wonderful wine from a small vineyard that produced a Chardonnay wine with very crisp non-oaked tones. Perfect if you like the grape but don’t enjoy the creamy buttery taste offered by some wines from this grape.
In contrast then, for our next white, we went to the South of France, where we tried a Champ des Nummus Chardonnay from Limoux. This wine had been exposed to some ageing in oak barrels, that allowed it to react with oxygen to create some wonderful buttery notes, synonymous with some wines made with Chardonnay grapes.
Our final white for the evening was a Chateau Lapuyade Jurancon. A really unusual wine, made from grapes harvested late in the year. This has given each grape the maximum amount of sun, turning the wine a wonderful deep yellow colour that you would normally expect from a sweet wine. If you like dessert wines but find them a little too sweet then try this, with some wonderful butterscotch and honeysuckle flavours coming through.
Our first red of the evening was a real crowd pleaser. A Julienas Cuvee Six Beaujolais Villages. Made from the Gamay grape, this is a very affordable, good quality wine that has soft tannins and a very refreshing red berry taste. Perfect if you have a large number of guests over and are likely to get through a few bottles!
Our next wine was not something many had tried often, if at all. A red wine from the Sancerre region. Reds from this region are typically Pinot Noir and the Berthier Sancerre was a really good example of a light red wine from that region. If you are a fan of Pinot Noir and want to give your guests something a little different then try this.
The next wine we tried came from Bordeaux, a Château des Gravières Bordeaux Superieur. A typical Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot blend that provides you with that classic black cherry, Oak taste that you would expect from this region. A good price and one definitely to try if you like wines from this region.
For our last wine of the evening we tasted wonderful GSM (Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre) blend from the Côtes du Rhône region. The Domaine Dionysos ‘La Devèze’ was wonderfully smooth with deep red fruit flavours and a touch of spice. Great for Christmas!