From our Hang Time tasting on Thursday, July 9, 2015…
This year marks the 102nd running of the Tour de France, the most grueling and prestigious bicycle race in the world. The course this year includes 21 stages and covers 3,360 kilometers. Twenty-two teams from 15 countries, 198 riders in all, will compete for about $2,600,000 in prize money. The Grand Départ took place in the Netherlands on July 4, moved briefly into Belgium, and remains in France for the rest of the race. Today is Stage 6, 191.5 km along the northern French coast.
Red Feet’s Tour de France has only five stages, one for each wine. Our tour begins in west central France, with the Ch. d’Arveyres Bordeaux Blanc 2014. This crisp blend of Sémillon, Sauvignon Blanc, and Muscadelle comes from an estate overlooking the Dordogne River that’s been in the same family for 125 years. Pair with fresh summer greens, gazpacho, or seafood of all sorts.
We’ll break away from the peloton (the main group of riders) for an unusual wine from an unusual place. Dom Cauhapé Jurançon Sec Chant des Vignes 2014 is a dry wine from a region known for sweet; it is a blend of Gros Manseng and Camaralet, a grape rescued from extinction by producer Henri Ramonteau. While not widely known outside this corner of southwest France, these grapes produce a highly aromatic, full flavored wine with tangy, peachy, floral, tropical, and melon notes. A fine partner for full flavored Asian food, turkey or veggie burgers, creamy chicken and pasta, or seafood, it also pairs well with honeyed goat cheese or fruit salad.
Moving eastward to the Languedoc, we’ll pause for a rosé, Dom. de Fontsainte Gris de Gris 2014 from Corbières. This deeply colored wine is a blend of five varieties made using the saignée (bleeding, rather than pressing) method. It offers raspberry, cherry, strawberry, and mango and manages to be dense and rich while preserving a beautiful freshness. Serve as an aperitif with crostini and olives, or pair with a range of foods from stir-fried vegetables with garlic aioli to rosemary chicken to lamb tajine.
East again, stopping near Avignon for Dom. de la Guichard Côtes du Rhône 2013, a blend of Grenache and Syrah from a husband and wife team who work entirely alone except for a few weeks during the manual harvest. The estate sits high atop the Massif d’ Uchaux and is farmed biodynamically. This is a spicy wine with both red and black fruits and a hint of licorice. Grill sausages and fennel, or pair with a mélange of summer vegetables.
We’ll move northward to the Morgon region of Beaujolais to sample the Lapierre Raisins Gaulois 2014, made from the Gamay grape. Organic viticulture, late manual harvest, natural yeasts, traditional fermentation, and no fining or filtering make this wine special. Its bright, fleshy fruit has a palatable joie de vivre that’s reflected on the label—this is just plain fun to drink! It pairs well with charcuterie, Greek or pasta salads, grilled sausage or tuna, or a hearty brunch.