Celebrate Bastille Day with French wines
Bastille Day – This coming Friday, July 14th is Bastille Day! And what better way to celebrate the French National Day than with good French wines from across the region. Probably the SAQ will do a promotion with the red, white and blue French flags across their outlets to celebrate the French National holiday.
In France, Bastille Day celebrates the storming of the Bastille fortress in 1789, marking the beginnings of the French Revolution. Bastille was a symbol of the ancient Louis XVI’s regime and its capture marked an end to his absolute monarchy and the birth of the Republic of France.
Similar to American Independence or Canada Day, the French celebrate their holiday with parades, huge outdoor feasts and fireworks. In the evening, Parisians attend the Bal Du July 14, a dance party with live bands and brightly coloured costumes open for all to participate.
Wine recommendations for Bastille day
Château de Maligny La Vigne de la Reine 2015 SAQ # 00560763 $23.45
An stunning Chablis for a small price. Vanilla, pear nectar, white nectarines. Orange cocktail. Fresh, and quite digest. Zesty with lime and verbena flavours. Crisp and refreshing mid palate. With flavours of green apple. Subtle mineral nuances that bring to mind wet rocks.
Mommesin Beaujolais Villages grandes mises 2015 SAQ # 13212213 $19.50
A Beaujolais not for the faint hearted no. Breathtaking. Nuances of ripe dark raspberry, licorice and violet oil. Powerful with an impressive structure. Generous flavours of blackberries, vietnamese black pepper, red cherry. Dangerous gourmand!!. Finely woven mouthwatering fine tannins with a medium acidity. A finale that brings to mind raspberry sorbet. The sunny vintage of 2015 is reflected here.
Pascal et Alain Lorieux Saint-Nicolas-de-Bourgueil Les Mauguerets – La Contrie 2014 SAQ # 00872580 $22.45
Cab Franc goodness from the Loire. On the nose complex aromas of damson plums, bell pepper, chewy liquorice and adobo. In the mouth, medium to full body with a mouthwatering acidity. Retronasal nuances bringing to mind rhubarb, tangy strawberry ( in a very bright form). Velvety tannins. A pleasure to drink.
Domaine La Montagnette Signargues 2016 SAQ # 11095949 $16.40
Quite possibly the best Montagnette that I have tried in a long time. An example of the great 2016 vintage of the Rhone. Decadent and luscious aromas of black cherry, raspberry, blackberries with liquorice with nuances of bay leaf and liquorice. On the mouth, dense and mouth coating with ripe and chewy tannins. Buy it by the case.
In a Northern Rhone state of mind
In my earlier trip to the Rhone in April, I had the chance to taste the wines of the house of Delas in the Rhone. As i write these lines, most of these wine are available at different outlets of the SAQ. These are grand wines that will grace your cellar. If you dare, why not opening a bottle of Hermitage to celebrate Bastille day with a Northern Rhone spirit.
Delas Freres is one of the top producers of Rhone wine across many appellations. However, they specialize in Cote Rotie and Hermitage from the Northern Rhone. The company also produces one of the finest value wines from the region in their Cote du Rhone. Delas Freres has one of the longest histories in the appellation. The enterprise was created in 1835 when Philippe Delas and Charles Audibert agreed to purchase Maisons Junique. Eventually,they changed name to Audibert and Delas.
Hermitage wine, with the good amount of bottle age, stand side by side of the world’s great wines. Hermitage wines are full bodied, dense, tannic wines that can evolve for decades. In fact, these Northern Rhone wines often will need 15-20 years before being interesting to drink, let alone mature. When young, Hermitage is like a young teenager, powerful, tannic, stern and even austere. On the nose it is common to find black fruits, herbs, olives, cassis, iron and earthy scents. They are difficult to drink young. Hermitage wines must be allowed time in the cellar to mature as they are the longest lived wines in the Northern Rhone
The Hermitage appellation is located about 30 miles south of Cote Rotie, not far from the village of Tain l’Hermitage. Hermitage is also on the east of the Rhone river, making it the only major Northern Rhone appellation that is not on the west of the Rhone.
While the appellation of Hermitage is small, many of the best producers also make wine from nearby communes, such as; Crozes-Hermitage, Cornas, St. Peray and St. Joseph. These have similar terroirs to what you will find in Hermitage, although the exposures are quite different than what you find in the hill. That is because most of the famous hillside vineyards in Hermitage enjoy a southern exposure, allowing the grapes the maximum amount of sun and warmth.
Here are my impressions of some of the wines from Delas tasted in April:
Le Clos Crozes Hermitages 2014 ( SAQ # 13235589, $62.75) is a powerful seditious expression of Syrah with nuances of grilled and cured meat. It is powerful, with lots of tension and very long. Buy whatever is left and forget about it for 10 years in your cellar.
Grands chemins Crozes-Hermitage 2014 ( SAQ # 13235554, $44.00) is vibrant with black cherry and white pepper. It is more civilized than the clos but a bit angular with gamey flavors bringing to mind pork skin and bacon. Edgy but quite elegant. If you are drinking this now, carafe it for a least 1 hour. If you are able to resist, keep in your cellar for the next decade or so.
Delas Crozes-Hermitage Les Launes ( SAQ # 11544126. $25.45 for the 2014) has a more smoky nose bringing to mind toasted coffee and menthol. On the mouth, it displays more an open approach reminding me of sweet black fruit and spearmint. Quite approachable than the previous wines and also charming elegant. The 2015 will be available soon in the SAQ shelves at the end of November. Ready to drink now but will keep quite nicely for the next 5 years or so.
Delas Les Bessards Hermitage 2014 ( SAQ # 13235634. $235.75). Greatness come at a price and this wine is no exception. This is perfectly built for the cellar. The nose is expressive, yet at some many levels austere and full of questions. Nuances of gauloises tobacco, star anise. Full body, quite rugged with flavors bringing to mind cocoa, and a complex palette of animal nuances. Dry tannins with a lovely aftertaste that brings to mind espresso cream.